Arc 1 - Chapter 5
Wrote by Mark K.
Edited by Kunal S.
"Is that Kobayashi?"
"It must be hard to come back to school for him."
"What happened exactly?"
I heard these voices as I walked on the way to my classroom. I passed through several doorways in a long corridor, but neither of them interested me.
May 30, 2011. Yesterday I realized that it would be stupid to continue my life the way I did in the past few weeks. Maybe it was my fault that Hana and Shiro died. Maybe I'm guilty for even being alive. Maybe they really judge me for not being able to save them. But one thing is for sure. Nobody wants me to become a shut-in. I should move on eventually and I should spend time with people I like being with. Especially with...
"H... Hayato?" A short, but cute girl with beautiful brown hair spoke to me.
"You... why are you here?"
"I was thinking abo-" But I couldn't even finish the sentence and Ichika was already hugging me. She wasn't crying, we were in school after all, but I could see a few tear drops on her shining face. As soon as she realized the situation, Ichika pushed me away and turned over.
"Hayato! Don't embarrass me in school!"
"You really are a tsundere, aren't you?" I smiled, thinking about how much time I must have wasted. I was a delinquent, living by stupid rules. Seriously?! Sneaking in to restricted areas? The question wasn't if an accident happens or not. It was only when it does. Meanwhile I ignored things that are important. Including my family... What do they think about me? Are they embarrassed about my behavior? And Ichika! She cared about me, she was here with me all along. Even when I hit the bottom, after the accident, she cared about me. Nobody else wrote me, just Ichika. Maybe I got another chance? Is this really a new start? Can I really start a new life? A normal life?
Despite her not turning back, I could imagine her face getting red. Rushing back to her classroom she said "I'm glad you came back anyways." and disappeared after the first corner.
My second try to go to school was a lot better. I'm not saying it was great or I could get along with my class again. It was just a little bit better than before. At the end of the day, I didn't have the feeling that I don't want to come back ever.
Classes were normal. Of course I felt the eyes of my classmates, looking at me from time to time, but it didn't bother me too much. Everything is part of my recovery, I guess. Soon enough, my presence will be normal, we will graduate eventually and life will be back to normal...
I was leaving the school premises, when I noticed somebody peeking from behind the lockers. The mysterious stalker's identity was revealed soon, since she couldn't hide her cute ribbons fast enough.
"What are you doing here, Ichika?"
Her plan was ruined so it was futile to remain silent.
"I just... I left something here." said Ichika, and tried to act according to her adorable lie.
"Don't worry. I'll help. What are you looking for?" I tried to sound sarcastic, but Ichika didn't notice and blushed even more.
"It's just... Never mind! I just remembered I left that thing at home! Good bye Hayato, I have to go!"
"Wait!" I called after her, but she didn't stop. Not seeing any other way to keep Ichika from running away, I grabbed her arm. Because of the sudden touch, both of us blushed even harder than ever before.
"Hayato! Don't be such a perv!" and she slapped my hand with her other arm.
"Eh... can't you just drop that tsundere style?" I smiled again, but Ichika didn't seem like a girl who's in the mood for joking so I toned down my mood. "Anyways, can I walk you home again? It was really fun yesterday and now the Sun is up too."
"What do you mean?! Don't act so strange! I will slap you, even if you say these things in school!"
"With all seriousness, you are the only one who I can talk to now. It's just... I somehow feel relieved when I'm with you..."
Even I didn't believe I said these words. Ichika's face just recovered from the earlier blush, but I'm certain it turned way more red than it was before.
"F... fine by me." she said these words so quietly that even I could barely hear them.
We exited the school and started walking. Ichika's house wasn't that far away so it was unnecessary to use public transport.
"You didn't take any clubs this year, huh?" I broke the silence.
"No. I really liked volleyball, but studying is first. I must get into a university so clubs were out of question this year. What about you? You never really joined any of them, right?"
"Ehh... no. They just weren't that interesting for me. I was in the English club, but only because teachers always said I should join one. I don't even know English..."
"Too bad."（ツベッド）Ichika told me in English and although I didn't understand, she was smiling so I guess it wasn't anything serious. "And after high school?"
"Haven't thought about it yet."
"You really are a delinquent..."
"I'm not particularly good in anything. I don't even know what to do in life. And university is not for people like me."
I went along but noticed after a brief moment that Ichika stopped. I turned back and saw she was looking down and tears were flowing from her eyes.
"Ichika! What's wrong?"
I ran back but she slapped my face with all her power.
"Can you just fucking quit being so stupid?" said Ichika. I was shocked since she doesn't usually swear or even get angry. "Are you really that stupid? Do you do that on purpose?"
"What are you saying, Ichika?"
"When the fuck did you become blind? I've been trying to help you for years. I was there for you, even though you kept ignoring me. And all you can do is live your life like nothing happened? Don't get me wrong, it really was a tragedy. But do you still want to waste your life? What do you mean you aren't good in anything? Of course! You never wanted to do anything serious. Just those stupid afternoon adventures. I watched you destroying your future for more than a year. Do you even know how hard was that for me? Every Monday was a relief when I see you survived those things. And I went home every Friday, knowing that you may die that day. You never learn and still pass the subjects, so don't even dare to say you are not good in anything."
She ran out of energy and leaned to my shoulders. Her eyes were still full of tears, but from the mad tone, her voice turned to something softer.
"Ichika... I'm... sorry."
I couldn't hold back any longer. Tears started flowing from my eyes too.
"But what should I do now? This is our last year! Even if I start studying, there's no way I could get into a good university. I'm a wreck. I'm good for-"
Ichika kissed me.
I could feel her lips were shaking, but got calmer every second that passed. It could be hard to estimate the time it lasted, but when we opened our eyes everything was calm.
It was strange in a relaxing way. I swear even the wind stopped blowing for a few minutes. No sounds of cars, people or animals could be heard. And we were standing there looking at each other.
"I'll help you. I won't let you go. Never. Never again."
"No room for excuse! You'll come here every afternoon and I'll help you."
"W... why? Why me?"
"You really can't change, aren't you? Your life is in my hands, huh."
Ichika smiled, but I was unable to show any facial expression from the shock.
"So... bye, you stupid."
Ichika ran away and I was unable to say a single word. When she disappeared in the distance, I collapsed onto my knees.
Still crying, maybe even harder now, I collapsed onto my knees. Maybe this world has other things for me than just suffering? Ichika...
"T... thank you."
site: mark k.story: mark k. and kunal s.