Chapter 12 – Preparation and malaise (2)
Translator – Vodka
At this time, middle school students and elementary school students from this locality would be dropping by the shopping district, on their way home from school.
There were a few hotspots in this area which were especially appealing to the students.
There was a bento shop that would clear out its daily stock of unsold deep-fried food every day, a traditional small-time candy store. So, many would drop by on their way back.
I caught sight of a few students from our school, be it from the same year, or junior year. Well, that figured, because they were from around this locality too.
When we passed them, they would turn to look at us. However, as expected, since we weren’t at school, they couldn’t make a fuss about it.
For them, the school was their home-ground. They would be unfettered at school where they didn’t have to worry about being on the receiving end of others’ gazes. They didn’t need to be afraid of being judged. It would seem that they would refrain from such actions when there were many eyes around them.
Now, that too was odd.
First, we went around a few shops because Shizuku had to get in some shopping done.
We went to a general store, then to a stationery shop.
For the most part, she was buying the things she assumed she might be needing during the ‘Work experience’ program.
She didn’t choose a gaudy pink colour or the likes, which was very much like her.
In contrast, Kirasaka had unexpectedly chosen a conspicuous bright colour.
“You only ever choose plain colours, don’t you?” (Kirasaka)
“Right back at you, you only go for the gaudy ones……are you a child?” (Shizuku)
And, fire in the hole!
With Shizuku’s words as the turning point, the curtains had been raised on the imminent battle, as the two began war preparations.
“Calm down, the two of you. I think both colours are good.”
Without a moment’s delay, Yuuto stepped in to arbitrate the situation. It was thanks to him that we were able to avoid troublesome situations until now. So, it was the right decision to get him to tag along, right?
“Which one do you like, Minato-kun?” (Shizuku)
“Right, I would like to listen to your opinion too.” (Kirasaka)
Having said that, they produced before me, the things they were holding in their hands.
Well, they were holding the same thing. Memo pads.
Shizuku’s was navy blue colour, whereas Kirasaka’s was a light shade of pink.
Both had simple designs, no illustrations or the likes drawn onto them. When I looked inside, both embodied faintly drawn patterns.
Both were too cute for boys.
A woman could even be put off by a man using such a memo pad.
[TN – please help translating this line for me, isn’t making sense to me、これを、俺でなくとも男子が使っていたら、女子に引かれる可能性もある。]
“……Asking a guy won’t do you any good, you know.”
Men and women were attracted to different things.
I didn’t hate either of the two colours, but it couldn’t be helped that both were too cute for me to consider ever using.
[TN – well I think I had go for the blue one over the pink one, eyes closed, but not the patterns please, I best like my stuff black though, except for vodka, which is transparent]
Well, since both were selling for a hundred yen, either was fine……
Both seemed dissatisfied with my answer. However, they backed down, albeit reluctantly.
“……Isn’t this one better?” (Shizuku)
“There’s no way.” (Kirasaka)
We four were the only ones here.
With no one to further discussions with, although unwilling, they gave their opinions regarding each other’s choices.
They were just browsing around the shop, but it was quite the spectacle to behold.
I was intrigued by the scene that was playing out before me because I was aware of their usual relationship.
If you guys dislike the notion of discussing with each other so much, shouldn’t you just ask the guy standing next to me?
Ain’t you guys bored of this already?
“You could have just honestly answered them.” (Yuuto)
“……You were the one with the vaguest answer.”
Which one do you like?
Towards a question like that, saying both looked good, was a vague reply. It didn’t suffice as a proper answer.
However, looking at it from a different perspective, it was indeed a viable option.
Negate neither option and leave it to them to make the decision.
If you chose one of the two, the other party might be, even if only a little, hurt by it.
Yuuto was eliminating that possibility, wasn’t he?
*Yuuto has invoked ‘Kindness’*
[TN – can someone tell me what is the proper format of writing notifications? I can’t remember]
In the course of having lived as a popular person until now, he would unconsciously invoke his ‘Kindness’ skill here and there.
This time too, he had unconsciously invoked his ‘Kindness’ skill, and it had chosen to refrain from making a choice.
It was always like this.
Yuuto always operated in a manner that didn’t hurt others. He prioritized others over himself.
He would worry more about others than he would worry about himself. If need be, he was willing to sacrifice himself.
I was unable to agree with his volunteer-like mentality, however, as a human being, I was able to understand where he was coming from.
There were a few people who were too kind.
While Shizuku and Kirasaka were still contemplating, I realized something.
They would probably be angry if I said it out loud, but there wasn’t going to be much of a difference, no matter whichever they picked.
After all, more than anything else, they themselves were going to be standing out.
If anything, it was possible that whatever they had on them, would start selling like hotcakes.
In high school and the likes, usually, it would be the things that the popular students had on them, that became the trend.
After confirming that the two girls were still going at it, I too started looking around the shop.
This shop was targeted at women, so there were only a few items that could appeal to a boy, but I could also be purchasing something for Kaede.
While harbouring such thoughts, as I was looking around, Yuuto picked up a commodity.
“Don’t you think this will be good for Kaede-chan?”
It was an accessory case with a cat illustrated on it.
I wonder why……this cat has a sense of déjà vu about it.
I have seen this cat somewhere. For sure……
I stared hard at that commodity with suspicion. Shizuku closed in on me from behind.
“Ah, that cat resembles that one a lot, right? The cat which often comes to Minato-kun’s house, Muku-chan!”
This unmotivated face.
Indeed……it is the spitting image of the cat next door, Muku.
No wonder it seemed familiar.
That lazy cat was probably at my house, at this very moment.
It is probably idling about, sprawled across the lawn. When it sees Kaede, it is going to show its belly and beg for a snack. No doubt.
I wanted to see Kaede’s reaction when I gave her the case. So, I decided to get it.
I completed the purchase at the counter. Then, I went outside and merged with the three who were waiting.
“Which reminds me, are you guys done with your shopping?”
I asked the two girls who had the exited the shop even before me.
Until only a while ago, you guys were kicking up a fuss. Did you get those goods?
At my question, the two raised their shopping bags and answered.
“Yes! I got the one from before!” (Shizuku)
“I too got the one from before.” (Kirasaka)
As expected, they got those.
First impressions were important.
It would seem that human beings too, generally, decide on their relationships, based on their first impressions of the other party.
It was truly important.
There was still a little bit of distance left until our next destination. So, the four of us walked side by side.
The shops on both sides of the road of the shopping district lit up.
Housewives were going about their shopping, and students were buying sweets and consuming them on the spot. Such a spectacle truly made me feel like another day was coming to an end.
“I want to drop by here.”
“Bookstore is it……”
Kirasaka pointed at a very ordinary-looking bookstore.
It was the only bookstore in the shopping district, and the only alternative to it was a slightly bigger one in front of the station.
Recently, I had not been able to get much reading in. Now that I have chanced upon this opportunity, I decided to get a book.
Shizuku busied herself with cookbooks and fashion magazines. Yuuto browsed through mangas and fashion magazines. I alone hit the ‘novel’ corner.
New works, old works, and those that had a ‘shop recommendation’ tag to them were all lined up on the shelves.
I picked up a conspicuous-looking book, ran my eyes over the summary on the back of it, and put it back.
After I repeated this process a few times, I finally found one that seemed like my cup of tea.
To finish the purchase, I started walking towards the counter. Then, I noticed Kirasaka standing at a somewhat remote corner of the shop.
It was a corner dedicated to reference books and books related to overseas schools.
If it was for learning English, wasn’t it no-good if the book was completely in English?
If there wasn’t any Japanese, I wouldn’t be able to understand so much as the synopsis.
I called out to Kirasaka, who was looking at the book in her hand.
“What are you going to do by reading that?”
“……It will be helpful to me.”
So, you are saying it won’t be of any help to me. I understand.
She didn’t take her eyes off the book. I let out a sigh and turned around.
“I want to ask you something. Is that fine?”
“What’s it I wonder.”
Well, you are going to ask me even if I said no, aren’t you?
I stood next to her and grabbed hold of a reference book from the shelve in front of me. I thought it would only be appropriate to do so.
I understand nothing……
“If someone close to you suddenly disappeared……what would you do?”
“……There is no way I would know about some like that.”
In the first place, I had never gone through the trials and tribulations of a close friend disappearing on me.
Heck, I didn’t even have that many friends.
If we were talking about a hypothetical situation, the answer was simple.
Since it hadn’t occurred yet, and it was only a future possibility, I didn’t have an answer.
Unless I went through the real thing, I wouldn’t know what it was that I should be feeling.
It was exactly because these things were unpredictable, that it made us sad.
I had a feeling that even if I looked for an answer to a parting that I had known of from the beginning, I would still have been left with no choices.
[TN – someone give me their opinion here, 最初から知っていた別れに答えを求めるなら、俺に選べるほどの選択肢は出てこない気がする。Am I missing out something?]
“You’re right……Sorry, please forget what I said. “
“……Unfortunately, I have a good memory.”
Now, whenever she was going to do something strange, I would be reminded of her remark from before.
I thought if I should try to make a guess at the hidden meaning, but I could be splendidly off the mark.
However, for now, I would be keeping that remark in mind, in a nook of my memory.