In the blink of an eye, it’s after school. I was having a chat in the hallway with a friend from the homecoming club, but our conversation was overridden by a loud voice with a clear core.
The voices came from a pair of guys. I was at the other end of their line of sight. As I watched the familiar faces of the juniors bowing their heads in greeting, I thought to myself.
Oh, so that’s how it is.
“……Yo. Do your best.”
When I replied with a lackluster voice, the juniors bowed and walked away.
For them, after school is not free time.
They would not waste their time having a chat in a place like this, but would hurry to the gymnasium.
“Who was that? Is it an acquaintance of Natsume’s?”
A friend of mine who is not acquainted with them throws a question mark at me.
“Just a junior. We hardly interact anymore.”
“Even if you’re such a senior, they greet you when they see you, the hierarchical relationship in the sports club is very tight, isn’t it?”
He shrugged his shoulders as if he was impressed, but it might be hard for someone who has always been a member of homecoming club to understand the atmosphere of the club.
Though even I am now a member of the homecoming club.
I parted from my friends whose homes were in different directions at the school gate and left myself alone on my way home.
A familiar route to home. The scenery of Kisarazu, with its general residential areas and countless small boats lining the rivers along the coast.
Since the opening of the Aqualine, the convenience to Kanagawa and Tokyo has improved significantly, and the shopping district around the station has been losing its vitality due to the influence of large shopping facilities moving into the suburbs.
It is said that “Mimachi Street” near my house used to be a shopping street, but my generation probably only has the impression of a residential area where stone statues of tanuki greeted people.
I think I understand why I want to go to a university in Tokyo like Haru-senpai.
But …… I like this town.
Just passing by various places, I can feel the memories with Haru-senpai.
Because I met Haru-senpai in this town and I am in love with her—
Although I am tired of seeing the scenery of Kisarazu, I am in love with it.
As I blended into the hometown scenery as an ordinary citizen and approached the Fujimi Bridge on the Yana River—a bicycle approached from behind and briskly passed by.
The driver of the ladies’ bicycle clutches the brake and stops in the middle of the small bridge. The driver, a female student, twists her waist around and looks back at me with only her upper body.
That’s why I am stopped on my way home, too.
“Isn’t that familiar dumb face Natsume-senpai?”
The familiar dumb face is for both of us.
Her name spontaneously spills out of my own dumbfounded mouth.
Her short bob haircut, the tips of which touch her slender shoulders, gives her a fresh summer look, but her voice is filled with coldness, and her eyes, which reflect mine, are a little stiff.
After school, I even feel a vivid sense of nostalgia when I see Takanashi Touri, a second-year student wearing the uniform of the high school I attended, in front of me.
“……I usually don’t see you, senpai, you’re unusually going home early today.”
I am sure that she is not praising me, judging from her voice mixed with sighs.
“I may look like this, but I’m a student who’s taking an entrance exam. It would be bad if I didn’t go straight home and study once in a while.”
“……I feel like it’s a harbinger of the supernatural phenomenon for senpai to be so motivated.”
You are a very rude junior.
“Are you going to shop for supplies, Touri?”
“Yes, indeed. Because it’s the manager’s job.”
“You’ve come a long way for shopping, haven’t you? If all you want is a drink, shouldn’t the convenience store near the school be enough?”
“……I saw senpai trying to go home, so I thought I’d check in on him once in a while.”
Did you have to come after me on a bicycle just for that?
Apparently, they are very worried about you, you useless examinee.
“You could have talked to me near the school. You could have caught up with me right away if you were riding your bicycle, couldn’t you?”
“……It’s been so long since I’ve talked to senpai, I just wasn’t sure how to talk to you.”
It seems that she kept wandering behind me while she was thinking of the first words to say to me.
Finally, she made up her mind and her first words as she briskly rode past me on her bicycle were, “Isn’t that familiar dumb face Natsume-senpai?”
“Pfft……that’s so Touri.”
“……What are you laughing at? Senpai is as irritating as ever.”
I miss this contrast between a senior who spurts out a laugh and a junior who looks somewhat sulky.
I had almost forgotten it over the past year.
I thought I would never be able to experience this kind of after-school page again.
Although we started walking side by side, a strange sense of awkwardness enveloped us. A cold, itchy feeling clouded the air around us.
It’s not that we’re in a bad relationship. It’s just that it’s been a while since we last spoke, so it’s taken us a while to regain the distance we once had. At least on my side.
“……Is it Haru-senpai?”
“……the reason why Natsume-senpai is motivated is because of Haru-senpai’s involvement, right?”
“No, no, Haru-senpai has nothing to do with it. Just your imagination.”
“……I can guess by your impatient reaction, senpai.”
I can’t strongly deny it because it is true, but I hesitate to easily affirm it.
Although I don’t sense anger in her calm tone of voice, I wonder if it is just my imagination that there is a small thorn in her words.
“……Natsume-senpai has a habit when you lie.”
“Really? I’m not aware of it, tell me for reference.”
Come and read on our website wuxia worldsite. Thanks
“Don’t wanna…….Wouldn’t it be more interesting if I were the only one who could see through it?”
While the mean Touri wore a meaningful expression on her face,
“……as usual, you’re not very good at lying, are you? Natsume-senpai.”
She shifts her gaze toward me and leaves a smile with a hint of warmth peeking through. Touri is in a good mood……No, Touri who expresses her good mood in her facial expression is rare, and it was unexpectedly cute.
“Touri too, as usual, is not very good at smiling.”
“……Noisy. I mean, I’m not smiling.”
She expressed her displeasure, and Touri’s fingertips poked me on the shoulder.
“I think you look cuter when you smile than when you look sulky.”
“……Please don’t say I’m cute carelessly…….It troubles me when senpai teases me.”
“Ah, you’re always cute. Touri is really so cute. She’s so da*n cute.”
She poked me repeatedly each time I called her cute, but the force was softer than the first poke.
“This place……has been emptied before I knew it.”
A short distance after crossing the Fujimi Bridge, Touuri stopped pushing her bicycle as she stared at a vacant lot in a corner of a plain alley dotted with a few snack bars.
“……Senpai, do you remember? When we were in junior high school, I used to accompany Senpai to his morning practice using the abandoned building here as a meeting place.”
“Yeah, of course. We didn’t have a phone at the time, so we were meeting at this place that was close to each other’s homes…….”
“……that’s right. Every time Senpai overslept and was late for morning practice, I would grumpily wait in front of the building.”
We reminisce about the details of the building.
The building was an entertainment center with a bowling alley and arcade, but it was completely out of business by the time I was in junior high school.
Only the old, abandoned building with the smell of the Showa era remained to this day, but it seems to have been demolished after we stopped meeting up here.
“When this place was still open, I was taken there once. They had table tennis and billiards as well as bowling, and it was really fun.”
“……I’ve never heard of it before. Did senpai’s mother bring you here?”
“No, with Haru-senpai, who was in junior high school.”
The moment I let out a nonchalant word, Touri’s eyes became cold and heavy……or something?
“……Whenever there’s a chance, you talk about your memories of Haru-senpai, Natsume-senpai.”
“Ugh……I can’t do without clinging to memories of the past……”
“It so Natsume-senpai, who has been making things worse with his first love.”
“Are you mad about something?”
Novel ini diterjemahkan oleh Musubi Novel
This novel was translated by Musubi Novel
“……I’m not angry. I’m just thinking that there’s nothing I can do about it.”
The sigh Touri lets out may be a mixture of dumbfounded and frustration, like, “This guy can’t be saved,” She’s a harsh junior. Give me some warm words.
“……I’m similar to you, so we both know there’s nothing we can do about it.”
I couldn’t understand from her abstract lines which part of us was similar, but I’d like to see Touri’s momentary smile as many times as I can, just like at this moment.
We stopped for a few minutes in front of the vacant lot, and our smoothly spinning banter was …… suddenly halted.
“……Was there any change in Haru-senpai after she graduated?”
“Haru-senpai was just as usual. If anything, I feel like she’s more energetic than before.”
“……That’s a relief. I haven’t seen her face since she graduated,……so I’m glad she’s leading a normal college life.”
Perhaps the memories of the past that Touri and I have in common have passed through our minds, and the sound of each other’s voices tightens gravely. The light atmosphere disappeared, occasionally letting our gazes wander to our feet.
“……Next month is the Winter Cup qualifier. For third-year students,……it’s their last tournament.”
“It doesn’t have anything to do with me anymore.”
“……Senpai won’t be going back to the club anymore?”
After a few seconds of silence, though it is hard to say, Touri said so.
“Yeah. I won’t play basketball anymore.”
An immediate answer.
Without making any change in my facial expression or tone of voice, I replied in a matter-of-fact manner.
“Are you trying to imitate the life that your brother walked through, Natsume-senpai?”
“I told you when I left the club. That has nothing to do with it.”
It’s very Touri to tickle my weak spot without any hesitation at all.
“There was something more important than basketball. I wanted to be by Haru-senpai’s side, even if it meant being a substitute for my brother. That was all I wanted.”
After saying that, I start walking in the direction of my home.
Leaving Touri behind who would be returning to school on the other side.
Touri’s voice pierces my lonely back and I have no choice but to look back.
Touri took out a cylindrical object from the plastic bag in the basket of her bicycle and threw it in my direction.
As soon as I grabbed it with my left hand, which I quickly held out, I felt the cold sensation of metal and condensation permeate my palm.
I received an aluminum can of juice. It was an orange juice.
“It was a gift for Senpai, who is working hard on his studies.”
I remember when I was in the club, I used to get this kind of gift from Touri, the manager—
Nostalgia swelled and ran instantly through my entire body.
“……Although it probably won’t be possible, I hope you can get into the same college as Haru-senpai.”
“To be honest, I’m still unsure……whether or not I’m going to take the college entrance exam.”
“……You’re really a person who makes me worry all the time, Natsume-senpai.”
Touri turns her back this time, while muttering in an almost faded voice.
As she started pedaling, the back of my junior gradually became farther and farther away, and it took less than a minute before my eyesight could no longer recognize her.
I’m sorry for making you worry.
Thanks for coming all the way out here to check on me, Touri.