Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
It’s been a few days since Suzuka started dating Taniguchi, the ace of the baseball team. Since that fateful evening, our conversations have gradually decreased, and now we hardly even talk to one another. Our biggest interactions now are hellos and goodbyes.
She picks him up from the station every morning and visits his class every recess. Even after school, they go home together or participate in the same club activities, so the only time she’s seen is during classes.
They are always together, never hiding the fact they’re dating from onlookers. Since they were both popular to begin with, their relationship was widespread throughout the school, and now they’re officially recognized by every soul around.
Taniguchi is always by her side. That place is no longer mine.
Since I was usually with her, I started to spend most of my time alone during school. The ones who were around me then were her friends, so if she wasn’t with me anymore, why would they?
Once, I couldn’t handle it and asked her out for lunch. Needless to say, the result was, “Eh, I’m sorry, Hinata. I’ll eat with my boyfriend today,” she said while preparing lunch. She didn’t even look at me.
I was heartbroken.
I’d rather not talk to her at all than receive another cold answer like that.
I’ve been coming to school every day with no motivation to do anything. I wake up at the usual time, go to school, do nothing there and just stare listlessly out the window. This flow is engrained into my routine.
I could barely even listen to the class, unwilling to pay attention to anything. Something was missing, I could feel it. It’s as if I could pass my hand through the gaping hole in my chest. Days like these, empty and listless, made me realize that what I lost used to take up all of me.
All my energy, the meaning of my very existence, I lost everything.
Deep into my mind’s bowels, I didn’t realize most of my classmates were already gone. The sound of the chime brought me back to reality, and I see the classroom had become empty before I knew it. Today’s class was Study Camp, so my hands scurried to prepare my material before I suddenly stop.
Should I just skip it? …That might be a good idea.
Wanting to be alone for a while, I left the classroom without taking my textbooks. If I skipped with my stuff, I’d likely be caught right away. I wandered about until I reached the rooftop, a place where teachers wouldn’t normally be. Usually, this place would be stock-filled with students, but it’s empty and quiet now.
The sun and wind were dancing a harmonious tango, and I sat down in a way no one could see me from below. Laying on my back, I gazed upon the boundless sky. However, even when alone and in silence, this chaotic mess that is my heart wouldn’t calm down.
Out of nowhere, a shadow suddenly fell over my face, covering the soft rays of the sun.
“…? Ah, Kuraki-san?”
What I saw after my eyes got used to the light was Kuraki’s face. She looked down at me as I lay there. “Quite unusual, isn’t it? You’ve always been so serious,” she said while sitting down next to me. I couldn’t hide my surprise at her sudden appearance.
“K, Kuraki-san?! What’s wrong? Classes are going on right now.”
“I know, I’m skipping too. Calm down, I won’t tattle you.”
“O, okay. Sorry. Do you come here often?”
“Well, yeah. It’s nice and quiet during classes, isn’t it?”
She was still there, sitting next to me while enjoying the scenery. Through the seldom gaps in her swaying hair, I could see her earrings shining against the sunlight.
“You’re not feeling well these days,” she noted.
“Hmm?! No that’s not… true.”
“It’s Ichinose, isn’t it?”
“…” I could only stutter after she went straight where it hurt without any context.
“It’s a shock, isn’t it? Her having a boyfriend, I mean.”
“…Haah, am I so readable?”
“Well, you’ve been like that for a while now.”
“I figured no one cared, haha, ha…” I turned my head and gritted my teeth, desperately trying to swallow these emotions swirling within me with a sigh.
Crying in front of Kuraki, whom I have nothing to do with, will only make things awkward for her. It’s also extremely pathetic. Yeah, I thought so…
“It’s okay, just let it out. You’ll never get relief if you keep bottling it up.”
My widened eyes darted back to her, yet all she did was look at me with warm eyes and a worried expression. Her gentle words urged me to spill out these swollen feelings.
“We… we’ve been together for so long, I thought we’d stay like that forever.”
“So, when she suddenly up and left my life, I felt lost. I don’t know what to do…”
“I, I’ve been—hic—together with you for so much longer… hic… I thought forever… hic… I… I…”
Once a droplet fell on the floor, it never stopped. Thoughts became words, then tears, and they stained the floor without reprise. I let out my messed up mind, which I myself could barely understand, all while an uncoherent babble of words parted my lips.
I looked down, embarrassed by my shameful display. However, as my eyes met the ground, I felt a warm sensation on my head.
“It’s lonely, isn’t it? I’m sure anyone would cry if they were in your position, so it’s okay… It’s okay to cry,” she softly said while gently running her fingers through my hair.
I cried so hard I couldn’t even think, and with the momentum to throw it all out. And while I let go of every single bottled frustration, confusion, and sorrow, she kept sitting by my side, stroking my head with care.
A chime rang. It seemed all afternoon classes came to an end, and since no one ever came to the rooftops except during lunchtime, I skipped two hours’ worth of classes while crying pathetically. By this time, my jumbled mess of a mind gradually put itself back together and embarrassment soon overtook me.
“K, Kuraki-san, um, I… uh…”
“Hmm? Didn’t you calm down after crying?”
“Um, eh, I’m sorry. I’m embarrassed for making you go through that with me…”
“Well, I’m not. When you’re sad, you want someone to listen, right?” She didn’t make fun of me once. Her words and her poise were very mature to me.
“You’re so mature, Kuraki-san.”
“What’s with that, we’re the same age.”
“No, I mean more in terms of mental age.”
“Well, I’ve been called a lot of names, so I’ve learned not to be upset at anything they throw at me.”
“Y, you’re having a hard time…”
“I’ve heard them ask, ‘how much for a night?’. What sort of question is that? Disgusting.”
“Ugh, wow. I didn’t want this graphical picture in my head.”
“Don’t say that, I listened to you, didn’t I?”
“Yeah. Thank you very much for that. I’d be delighted to hear your story, Kuraki-san!” I shot back like a machine gun.
She giggled at my quick response, and I laughed along with her. I wondered how many days it’s been since I’d laughed. At least I can finally turn my mind back on.
“Now, for real. Thank you, Kuraki-san. I feel like I’m a new man.”
“You’re welcome to visit anytime, fellow skipper.”
“Ahaha, that’s right. Oh, but I want to properly give my thanks, so, do you have anything you’d like?” I offered.
“Anything I’d like, hmm~?”
“What do you want me to do~? Anything’s fine!”
“Well then, first things first, nice to meet ’cha!”
T/L: Before anyone says anything, he’s a teenager, so of course he’s emotionally immature and doesn’t know how to go about life. He won’t choose a perfect way of dealing with things, and neither would 90% of other guys his age.
He wasn’t angry with Suzuka, but rather sad and confused. So no, he’s not an incel or a nice guy, if that’s what someone thinks.
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