Summer would soon come. Even so, elderly people were doing radio exercise like usual with familiar sounds. When it was over, I heard another nostalgic chorus that sound like a cumulation of hoarse voices.
Whether it was a hopeful day or not, it was a fresh morning to leave home on weekdays. Until now, I had always gone out from home 20 minutes earlier than today to match Natsukawa. The position of the sun changed drastically in just that much time. And unlike yesterday, today I was part of the masses, the crowd of people, who were rushing to work or school.
Please let me join as well!
Still, last night was tiresome.
After Natsukawa went out, it was natural that I was pursued by my Mom and Sister with a scary face. What kind of relationship did you have with that child? What kind of trick did you use? and What kind of thing were you talking about just now?
And finally, they said, how dare I ask for another girl in front of such a cute girl, but when I was asked that, I said, “How do you think I can be with such a cute girl?”, and the two of them fell silent.
Honestly, I don’t mind if they replied to that question, I don’t mind at all you know?
But, after the night passed, I feel very refreshing now.
I’ve made efforts more than enough to be with Natsukawa. Of course, all of it is to stand next to her, who is good at everything. Thanks to that, I’ve habit to study and do moderate exercise.
Still, my effort never reaches Aika Natsukawa. I thought I would go down the more painful road just to stand next to her, but now, I don’t feel the need for that at all. And if I adjust the standards of things to my own potential…? Oh wow, now, I don’t have to expect much from everything I do anymore.
“….As I thought, it’s scary.”
“Reality”. It approached me head-on, and the dream I was always seeing collapsed as if the glass of a window had shattered.
The reason why something in me has cooled down can only be understood now that I’ve gotten over it. The soccer ball that suddenly blocked my way put a lot of stress on me and greatly discouraged me from chasing her. Perhaps it calmed me down forcefully and made me view my environment more objectively at that moment.
I still didn’t know what had happened at that time. However, on the same day, I saw myself with a stoop in the mirror of the toilet and was reminded of myself. “Who the fuck do you think you are?”, That was the best self-analysis I came up there.
Let’s make this skill useful for job hunting in the future.
The bell that started the school rang. I was near the classroom, so I could make it in time today.
I can’t be late like yesterday.
Well, just because I left home more slowly than usual didn’t mean I would arrive at such a last minute like today. Honestly, normally I would have arrived in the classroom already and would have talked with some friends around me.
But, one thing stopped me from that. I remembered the seat next to me, Aika Natsukawa’s seat.
“As I thought, this’s impossible.”
Awkwardness 120%, even just by sitting down near her, the stress that I would feel might be the type of stress that could make you go bald fast. I tried to keep my confidence like usual, but my heart was also like usual.
Do you think that the lowly citizen who did that kind of thing yesterday could proudly stand next to the princess?
I dived into the classroom at the moment when the teacher could be seen from the end of the corridor. It was a mission complete, thanks to most of the students making noise, I was able to disguise myself as ‘Student Z’. ‘Student Z’ wasn’t a character who would go around like an important character..…
Immediately after I got to my seat, Natsukawa spoke to me. I remember all of last night’s scene at once, but I didn’t want to cut off any relationship with her. Rather, if I could get close to her as a classmate or friend, I would be thankful.
Well, I’m her number one fan.
We became silent for a moment, but I managed to make eye contact and reply while stuttering.
“You, why are you late today….”
When Natsukawa spoke something to me, the teacher entered the room.
Megumi Otsuki-sensei…….. Known as “Otsuki-chan”, stood still as if she remembered something, she caught me at the very beginning and cracked a smile.
I don’t think it’s a smile with good meaning…. I’m sure of it!
“Good morning, everyone. ‘Today’, it looks like everyone is there, without being late.”
“What are you talking about, Otsuki-chan, Sajou, he hasn’t…. he is here already!? Why are you here already!?”
“I’m always behind Aika Natsukawa, you know.”
“You’re lying, right? you…”
Starting with Otsuki-chan’s words, Yamazaki recognized my existence. Then, everyone looked at me with their faces saying, ‘This guy, seriously?’.
….. Is this what they always do daily? Even Natsukawa is looking at me with an amazed look too… Don’t say that this girl also doesn’t believe it either….
“Sajou-kun. Will you come to the staff room later?”
It was too late when I noticed my failure. I just remembered I couldn’t make a joke because some classmates knew that I had been chasing Natsukawa for two and a half years since I was in middle school second-year.
Megumi Otsuki… A beautiful teacher who had been assigned to the school at the same time as I entered this school. However, if someone said that she had a graceful personality, I would say that was not entirely true. She would get angry when it was the time to get angry, laugh when it was time to laugh, and had a very close relationship with the students.
Now, even after I’m back to reality and realize how average I am, I still think that I’m a central figure (Who makes the class feel more alive, basically a clown) in the class. But, it mostly me doing a short performance called ‘Chasing Aika Natsukawa’, and I’ve never mean to be someone like that. But, probably that’s not possible anymore, right?
I need to fade out.
First of all, I will start with Otsuki-chan. The teacher came to this school at the same time as me, early spring of this year, but compared to my classmates, I didn’t spend much time with her at school. Taking this first call as an opportunity, I’ll appeal that my attitude toward Natsukawa is not serious. From there, the target goes into the class, and going from that point, my student life will have no restrain, and I will change it to a calm one.
For that reason, I’m willing to accept the teacher’s binder edge (attack)….. Hm, Otsuki-chan, no, I mean teacher? Isn’t the binder you have in your hand different from usual? It looks like something from metal…. Argh.
“… What I said earlier, without saying everyone knows that it’s just a joke, right?”
“Sajou-kun, if it’s you who said that, it can’t be counted as a joke.”
“Huh, is that so?”
Even though I have the opportunity to look back at myself and realize my own value, but, that is just me, not how others look at me. As far as I look at the atmosphere of the class and how the teacher talks to me, it seems that they consider as a rather ridiculous person.
As I was replying while thinking about various things, the teacher looked at me with a surprised face.
“It’s so unexpected… I thought you couldn’t be frank here. And, you seem to be in a normal state too.”
“Well, there are only teachers here.”
In the classroom, each student has a standing position. It is something that every student understands, even if they never say it, and teachers rarely intervene there.
It can’t be seen directly… but most teachers should be aware of the existence of that hierarchy.
“Are you okay to be like that in front of the teacher?”
“Well, it doesn’t make much different…”
“Is that so…”
In reality, there would be no demerit when the teacher saw a boring side of a student. It would be more troublesome if you got familiar with a teacher more than necessary. The best thing should be to become a little disliked troublesome student. Even during the lecture, that student would probably not get pointed.
So, I made myself look casually so that she wouldn’t be interested in me, but the teacher somehow had a depressed face, and strangely enough, it remained in my mind.
Author’s note : If I’m a teacher, and my student think like this, Somehow it’ll make me feel sad