53. Forgotten Feelings
……Ah, crap. This. I totally fell asleep, right? Oh, sh*t. Is this the pattern where I raise my head, and for some reason, the teacher is just right there, ready to say ‘Good~ mor~ning~’?
Man, I messed up.
What time is it even?
Time to focus on my ears! But── hm? The sound seems so far away? Wait, it feels like something is stuck in my ears… or not?
──Ah, I can hear, I can hear something. This way of speaking…it’s the world history teacher.
The world history teacher, who had 90s-style bangs, was pretty funny because not only having that interesting sense of hairstyle, but the talking in the lecture was ‘interesting’ as well. As soon as the mumbo jumbo started, I always looked at the bangs, as if I was being enchanted.
That bangs, must’ve been purposedly set… I wonder, would I get lectured if I blew air at those bangs? Probably…
Anyway, if this is world history class, then this must be the third period. Seems like I was sleeping for quite some time…. Haaー, Ootsuki-chan (my homeroom teacher) will definitely hear this, and then I’ll get sent to student guidance and counselling, getting an earful from Nakamura……
…Wait, I can hear the sound of chalk. Sensei must be near the blackboard right now. Isn’t this the perfect time to raise my head? Right, now or never. And then, I’ll act like I was never asleep.
Alright, one, two.
……H-Huh? Weird, I can’t raise my head. No, seriously. It won’t go up. I mean, I’ve never had to use this much strength to raise it up… Hm? Or, was my head always this heavy? W-Well, let’s try again.
One, two ───
…Ahh, this one’s bad. My head hurts. This headache really hurts. Let me say it again, it hurts. Especially the front part of my head. And the earth’s gravity and this light, just making it worse. A, a large amount of information….. a large amount of information is coming to take me down! Why am I doing some live broadcasting…!?
Ah, now I get it. This is why my hearing felt so far away. Means, I’m under the weather. Yes. Yes. That must be it.
That soft voice, Ashida? Must be. I mean, at times like these, she really has a great perception. But sorry, I can’t really respond right now.
So dizzy… Hold up. Is my head actually still on the desk? Nah, that’s not it, the pain in my head is messing up with my balance. Hm? Wait, am I actually seriously sick…?
“Have you finally woken up, Sajou-kun?”
─I got caught…
The teacher found out, standing right in front of my seat. Well, that was to be expected. Of course, a teacher would throw a complaint at the student sleeping during their class. Also, I was the only one wearing a PE uniform right now, so of course, I stood out.
“I’ve heard the circumstances. Well, I do understand what you must be feeling, but that isn’t a proper reason to sleep during my class.”
“Be sure to be under the assumption such trouble may happen on your way to school next time.”
“……Yes. Excuse me……”
“What is it?”
“Could I go to the infirmary please…..?”
The words came out much easier than I anticipated. Since my cold had only started, it made sense that my throat still somehow worked.
You there, from where did your cold start? [TN: He’s repeating the line used in Japanese commercials for cold medicine.]
In my case, head.
Ahhh… But, I don’t think I should’ve said that mid-class. I’d only stand out even more. I mean, saying that after asking permission to go to the infirmary will only make others give weird stares. I could’ve just sat and listened until the end… perhaps I should’ve just waited until the class is over.
The teacher gave me a slightly confused glance, but seemed to be seriously considering it at least.
“…I don’t mind. However, make sure to be back for the next class.”
I was planning on carefully standing up. But… As expected, I was really messed up. My body felt heavier than expected. I shouldn’t have worried about standing out and all that…
A loud collision sound rang out. I didn’t feel any pain, but it was like my brain was shaking left and right, making it hard for me to take a breath for some reason. I couldn’t tell what kind of position I even ended up in. But, because I let out a groan, I must have bumped hard into the door.
What am I doing…… I never wanted to stand out like this. I need to get up, and head over to the infirmary… Huh? How do I even put strength into my arms? Weird, I might be pretty sick after all.
Wait, what was I even doing just now?
Eh? I’m lying down? On top of a bed? What a perfect timing, I was just feeling a bit sleepy, so let me rest a bit……───
When I moved up to my second year in middle school, I was trying to keep up appearances for the first time.
The reason was, ‘because everyone else was doing it’. Surprisingly enough, even the slightly shunned me could fit right in not long after, and became able to hang out and joke around with the others.
After that, what I had started as a test continued far into the future.
About each and every little thing, I never stated my honest feelings. That was the reason.
Then, as I started getting more and more cynical, I also observed everything with a different point of view. And, while I was doing that, I realized— ‘Ah, so this is what it means to become an adult’. Since we couldn’t get along while keeping our ‘childish purity’, we had to cast that aside, become someone else, and create a shield to protect our own feelings. In such a fumbling kind of way, feeling things out, I increased the number of people I was close with.
But, since I wasn’t a ‘real adult’ yet, I couldn’t just constantly maintain that. And surely, some people around me must have realized that.
At that time, the best field in which I could maintain this appearance of mine was, the classroom after all. As I hadn’t gotten used to all of that, whenever I stepped foot outside and ended up alone, I became a ‘Half-refined child’. This probably led me to lower my guard.
Back then, it was raining as well.
There was a loud metallic sound. Food and tableware flew through the air. Nothing dangerous, just that because of the moisture in the air, the floor of the cafeteria ended up slippery, and I happened to tip over more flashy than anybody else ever had.
For the me now, even if someone saw me fumbling like that, I would probably just think ‘Ahh, I sure messed up, but whatever.’, and nothing more.
However, for the me at the time, it was different.
During that period, I was being extremely cautious of how others thought and felt about me. I was terrified of being seen as ‘lame’ by the people around me, more so of being called one out loud. Looking at me, the people stopped making noise. However, the fact that they didn’t even try to help, must have been because of the same reason. After all, they were all in the same period that I was.
Not even a few seconds, as I became aware of my own situation, I wanted to run away before anyone could even look at my face, just like what an immature child would do.
There, I heard a voice directed at me.
As if to stop me from letting out my immature side, a single girl came running toward me. I even forgot to move, as I was merely so entranced by her. It was a moment I would never forget.
I learned about her after that, and it didn’t take long for me to be swallowed up by the bottomless pit that she was.
I couldn’t even bother trying to figure out if the ceiling above me looked familiar or not. All I could do was gritting my teeth, so much so that it could be seen on my face, to relieve the uncomfortable feeling I was having.
I must be at rock bottom right now. But, that was the only word I could muster to curse my own misfortune. Even though I normally wouldn’t say such a word.
Thinking about the rain and moisture of this season, I grew even more annoyed.
“Are you awake now?”
As I even failed to fully open my eyes, someone called out to me. I could pick up the faint scent of medicine and chemicals.
This is… the infirmary?
I didn’t remember fully, but apparently, I somewhat made it to the infirmary in a daze.
When I slowly opened my eyelids, I spotted a familiar mature female teacher.
“I’m Shindou, the nurse here. Last saw each other, this morning when you gave me your wet clothes, right.”
“Do you remember? I heard you collapsed in the classroom. Then, you were carried here with the help of a few others, you know?”
So, I didn’t make it here in a daze after all. And was carried here instead?
Oh my, oh my, I hope they didn’t touch me anywhere─ (※female-like voice)
── Man, I sure am calm about this… Am I really sick……?
But, I really don’t remember at all. Last I remember is thinking to myself that I’ve to go to the infirmary. After that, I don’t remember.
I looked at Shindou-sensei, and tilted my head in confusion.
“I, do I have a cold…?”
“That’s right. 38.6°C. No running nose or cough yet….. Does your throat hurt now? It’ll probably only get worse from here on out.”
Well, that’s life… it’s been so long since this kind of calamity happened. As expected, a heavy one after so long is just this bad. I’ve always been very confident with my health, but I guess when it’s time, it’s time…ahh, my head hurts.
“Huff… I was feeling just fine this morning…”
“There is a saying, ‘a chain is only as strong as its weakest link’. You getting splattered by that car must have done a lot, but I’m pretty sure it would have happened either way.”
“A sudden fever’s symptoms often appear through injuries or lack of immunity. And the immunity can be lowered through exhaustion. You’re probably tired?”
Well, I definitely don’t have an injury… Eh? Tired? I don’t think I was working that hard or anything……
“Not physically, but mentally. When they’re not in unity, things like this can happen. Well, there are even times when the person themselves isn’t aware of it. Happens especially to people working for companies.”
“Is that some future premonition?”
Mental exhaustion, is it…
I didn’t have any idea what it might be about, and yet it stung me right in the chest. Feeling it, ‘Ah, so this is it.’, I agreed to it. But, what exhaustion caused the ‘exhaustion’? Even when I tried to think of an answer, nothing came to mind.
“For now, sleep. If you’re either hot or cold, let me know.”
I didn’t feel sleepy at all. In a daze, I stared at the ceiling. For some reason, the raindrops started to sound so nostalgic. The scent of the medicine, and the light of the fluorescent lamp. And then there was the ceiling, which had a pattern that looked like insects crawling around on it, and was so thin that a broomstick could easily make a hole if you poked it.
Anyway, I could tell that my head was pretty much empty. Depending on my mental focus, I could hear the sound of the rain. Despite my head hurting so much, the time of me staring at the ceiling felt so comfortable.
TN: Join my discord channel if you want.