Chapter 9 – Change (7)
Translator – Vodka
Damn, this chapter was long, hah……btw guys, I will kind of be like on a hiatus, after posting the next chapter on 15th December, for the festive season is approaching. The next to next chapter will be posted on 5th Jan 2020.
What was the first unpleasant event that took place after you entered a company?
Wonder when it was, but I had asked about it to my grandad when he returned home from his work.
At that time, my grandad said this.
“The first time I had a meal with my boss alone”
It indeed must have been an unpleasant event for new employees who had to deal with people who had a higher position within the corporate hierarchy or were older than them. It was also nigh impossible to grasp the distance that had to be maintained with such people at the outset.
It was exactly like the situation I was in now.
The person who was sat in front of me was the student council president. She was a senior, with whom I came to be acquainted only recently, and there were many things we had in common.
However, for students who weren’t in any clubs, school years were of little importance.
In the first place, students had little involvement with others from outside their school years. It wasn’t possible to discern the school year of a student, by looking at them for a moment.
You had to look at the colour of their indoor shoes to be able to comprehend the school year they belonged in.
I had started to become familiar with the student council room, but there was an awkward mood in the air.
The president brought out a container wrapped in a cloth from inside of the refrigerator that she would, in the normal course of her activities, seldom use. From inside of that container, she produced a sandwich.
The freshness of the vegetables in the sandwich was apparent from how they shone resplendently. It stimulated one’s hunger.
“Did your sister make your bento?”
I answered, my gaze directed at one point of the bento.
There were this one variety of green pulses that had orb-like structures in my bento.
There it is. Green peas……my eternal foe.
It was a strong entry that came right after eggplant in my list of hated vegetables.
I skilfully moved the chopsticks to grab them, and then, carried them over to the edge of the bento.
Kaede will warn me again about how I shouldn’t waste food like this, but since it was something I hated, it couldn’t be helped.
For some reason, the president, having compared our Bentos, gave a little nod with a “Fumu”.
“I too am making my own bento every morning, but it doesn’t look like I will be able to win against your sister”
“Just making it is amazing. In my case, I am reliant on my sister”
For women, cooking must be a status.
She had a bitter smile on her face. Did she feel a sense a defeat, after looking at the cooking of a girl who was two years younger than herself?
“Ah, I am reminded”
As the president said this, she stood up and walked to the back of the room.
She must have had gone to the kitchenette.
Hino-kun would usually be headquartered in that place.
From the back of the room, she brought two mugs along with her. A familiar smell enveloped the room.
It must have been instant coffee that has been poured into those mugs.
“It’s instant, but what do you say about some coffee? Although, it doesn’t go well with a bento”
“Thank you, even though I should be the one pouring the coffee……”
“Don’t worry about it. I am bad with those hierarchical relationships. Come now, drink it”
She flashed a smile and then held out the mugs she held in both of her hands.
I accepted a mug from her and took a sip after I let the steaming content cool down a bit.
The president sat in front of me. She was holding the cup with both her hands and looking at me with a smile on her face.
No, it was as if she was observing me.
There wasn’t a trace of constraint in that attitude of hers.
Being able to look at people so majestically, was a feat in itself.
My hands were still moving while I was thinking of these things.
“Ren was……the girl I knew, would rarely express her emotions”
The topic had suddenly changed as the president started to talk about Kirasaka with a distant look in her eyes.
“Maybe it is misleading to say that she rarely expressed her emotions……even then, she is like a sister to me. While I too am happy that she has changed, I have mixed feelings about this”
“……It seems to me that she hasn’t changed, though?”
If something did change, I would say, it was her image. Now, I knew the rumours about her were untrue. Pretty much only that
Although, I couldn’t refute the possibility of her not being abundant in expressing her feelings.
……I guess the rumour that she was, through and through, apathetic towards people whom she didn’t have any interest in, was true. Especially, towards Yuuto.
She could perceive the intention of the other party, but if she didn’t feel the need to further engage with them, she would take a cold and unreactive attitude towards them, befitting her title of “The Ice Queen”.
Only she was aware of how that demarcation worked.
She was much better than those girls, who would behave amicably on the surface, but who knew what they were thinking in their hearts.
It was only coincidence that she had put me on the favourable side of that demarcation line, while Yuuto wasn’t.
When it came to her relationship with Shizuku, from the very start, it had nothing to do with the demarcation line. They fought like cats and dogs……would be an appropriate expression that described their relationship.
“Only Ren knows if there had been developments or changes to her state of mind or not. Even then, it must have been because of you. It’s because it is something I couldn’t achieve that I am feeling envious of you”
“It’s not like that……”
I wasn’t so exceptional that I could stimulate someone’s growth like that.
The changes to her state of mind were due to the changes in her environment.
I mustn’t have been the impetus for that change either. It must have been due to the influence of people like Shizuku or Yuuto.
I hadn’t done anything to the extent the president said I did.
Therefore, I couldn’t help but doubt.
I couldn’t figure out what she was thinking about. So, it was only natural for me to be frightened of her.
“Lately, Kanzaki seems to be having fun too. That’s is a good thing”
Although the President’s words had no ill will, they pierced my chest a little.
It was as if the fact that I was looking away from reality, was being shoved in my face.
The president didn’t know about how Yuuto had confessed to Shizuku, or how Shizuku had conveyed her feelings and real intention to me.
Shizuku and Yuuto had both desired change.
They must have had wanted growth and progress in their relationship with the person they liked.
As a result of that, the current vague relationships were born.
The cause was obvious. My answer.
That was exactly why the President’s words had brought forth an unpleasant feeling.
You can’t escape by yourself.
This reality was being thrust at my face.
“……is it only me?”
“Hm? Did you say something?”
The president who had stuffed her mouth with the sandwich was rather cute, but I immediately averted my gaze and looked down.
I closed the half-finished bento and stood up from my chair.
“Kaichou, for the next class, I will have to change the classroom. So, I will take my leave here”
[TN – “Kaichou” is “President”, I think I will keep it in Japanese]
“……Is that so? Sorry to make you keep me company. I will inform you of the date and time of the photography session during the council activities after school”
When I was in front of the door, I turned around to look at the President once. I bowed to her before leaving the room.
“Sometimes it’s the correct thing to not desire change, Shinra”
From behind me, I could hear these words of the president, wafting to my ears.
It was a gentle voice.
It felt kind of like being consoled……
The person who gives her attention to the students, much more than anybody else, was the student named Hiiragi Akane.
That was why she was able to catch on to the meaning behind the slightest changes in human nature.
In this case, since it involved a person she had known for a long time, naturally, she was able to narrow down the contents.
I, who was able to understand a little bit, the meaning behind her invitation for us to have lunch together, exited the student council room.
It was still lunch break. The voices of the students reverberated in the hallway. I was walking alone. I let out a feeble voice, that seemed to have been drowned out by the commotion of the lunchtime.
Today was a day when the reality that I had unconsciously, not been thinking about, was thrust at my face.