Chapter 16 – Understanding and love (2)
Translator – Vodka
The Shinra Minato course.
What a cheap-sounding name.
That kind of tour would be fun when looking back on the life of someone well-achieved. However, the things that would surface from the recollections of the past of a high school boy were those that could only be taken to the grave.
Clad in a long coat and biker-gang gloves, the dark past of trying to summon creatures from the abyss while shouting, “Darkness is nigh!” could only be buried away in silence.
……Not me. I am talking about a neighbour, a high school boy who is a year older than me.
At any rate, I couldn’t think of any place she might want to visit or the stuff we could be doing today that would fit her schedule for the date.
Except for one.
That’s right. I am talking about my home.
It was the place with the greatest connection to Shinra Minato’s life.
In conclusion, it could indirectly be said that the right choice was to call it a day so that I could be on my way back home.
What? If it’s some small talk, we can do that over the phone.
Such playfulness!……No way can I get out of this huh.
While keeping the joking to a moderate, we set out. Kirasaka had closed the distance between us in one go.
It would be even more appropriate to say that she attached herself to me.
I shook her off several times, but she employed a series of fluid movements and linked her arms with mine.
She put me under a tight grip, nullifying my evasive skills. I forgave my arm that had failed to isolate itself, and, in the end, resigned to fate.
It was hot, and we were so close that it was tough to move.
[TN – Ya, die MC]
Wasn’t walking around the town arm in arm with a girl supposed to be the best thing that could happen? Why was I not feeling that way?
I didn’t think it would be this hard to move when your hand was being restrained.
Having to cut through an already congested space was tough enough. It was nuts that one would want to reduce the scope for movement even further.
Feelings resemblant of respect towards couples surfaced as I noticed that people around us were glancing in our direction.
Since Kirasaka was linking her arm with mine, it was even more troublesome because now, I was being stared daggers at from all directions. It was so unpleasant. Another thing that interrupted my train of thought was the soft sensation emanating from the body part peculiar to females, assaulting my elbow joint.
What fearsome creatures women are!
I needed to educate Kaede once I returned.
Onii-chan will be sad if she grows up to be a little devil.
We left the residential area behind us, and before we reached the road that was connected to the national highway, I asked Kirasaka.
“So? What course is the Shinra-Minato course?”
Looking back on my short life, I couldn’t think of any particularly interesting places.
The only ones that came to mind were home, the library, the shopping district, and the park.
For the most part, I had either soloed or spent my time with Kaede or Shizuku. My more recent memories involved hanging out with Yuuto occasionally.
To my question, the woman next to me, steeped in mysteries, issued a vague reply.
“I think the correct approach to getting to know someone is to acquaint oneself with their growth process. In other words, we will be going around the places that hold a special meaning to you.”
“……That’s why it is so-called? I am sorry to say this, but you would probably be disappointed.”
Reality often fails you.
Kirasaka was looking at a map on her smartphone. Then, she looked at me and concisely communicated to me, our first destination.
“We are going to your elementary school.”
“……Why elementary school?”
You really want to start from the beginning huh.
One would have to go past the residential area and cut across the national highway to reach my elementary school.
Adjacent to the school, there was a small building where groceries and local confectionaries were sold. However, there wasn’t anything fun there.
It was indeed nostalgic to come back to a place I haven’t since graduation, but I wouldn’t leave home on a holiday for only this.
Despite having conveyed the same to Kirasaka, she decided to stick with the plan.
Eventually, we reached the school. I stood in front of the school gate and stared at its exterior for a brief period.
Silence pervaded in the air for a short while. It was a run-of-the-mill school, but Kirasaka looked around with great interest.
I went through the gate and roughly surveyed the surroundings for the first time in a long while.
I had a feeling that the number of playground equipment had decreased, but there were no changes to the school building itself.
The last time I came here was probably on the day of Kaede’s graduation.
It was about five years ago.
It was natural to feel nostalgic about a place from the distant past. As I was having these thoughts, Kirasaka, who had finished sightseeing, asked.
“Does Shinra-kun have any memories of elementary school?”
“Memories huh……none in particular.”
It was an immediate reply.
There truly were none.
The kids gathered there all lived in the same area. That might have been the reason I found it hard to make precious memories.
Though, it made sense since I have had a warped personality from an early age.
I only had memories of Kaede and Shizuku. No number of trips down memory lane could alter that.
More time is spent in elementary school than in any other educational institution.
However, they were the only characters that kept popping up in my head.
Hypothetically speaking, if I met Yuuto in elementary school, things might have had been a bit different.
I spent uneventful days at the school. When I returned home, I had to accompany Shizuku and Kaede to the park or the Kanzaki residence.
When I returned in the evening, mom would pamper me to death. Then, I hit the bed.
That was pretty much it, in rinse and repeat.
“I didn’t do anything special in elementary school.” (MC)
“Didn’t you forget an ‘either’ at the end?”
Pointed out Kirasaka, a grin plastered on her face.
I did. Got a problem?
That hit a nerve. I narrowed my eyes and made eye contact with her.
She chuckled at my reaction and starting walking around the campus.
“This is where Shinra-kun used to commute. When I think of it like that, this place feels special. Is that my imagination?”
In the first place, you didn’t commute here, you know? You’re not wrong about it being your imagination?
We went around the different spots – the playground, the gymnasium, the pool, the second playground at a bit of a distance.
However, none seemed to have left a deep impression.
It was because I hadn’t done anything worth remembering in this school.
The faces and names of my classmates that had been disappearing in some corner of my mind wouldn’t resurface just because I have come down to the school like this.
It was just not a very memorable period.
I asked Kirasaka. She was walking behind me at a leisurely pace, taking pictures for some reason.
“I wanted to see Shinra-kun’s classroom. Oh well, nothing we can do about it. Let’s head for the next place.”
Before putting away her camera, she pointed it at me and took a picture.
“This is a commemorative photo. Don’t tell me you have a problem with this too.”
“I don’t particularly mind……there isn’t much point to it though.”
The photo of an ordinary boy from an ordinary school.
You gonna be fine with that? It’s not a picture worth posting on social media you know. What can you even do with it?
“Why are we going around these kinds of places?”
As we were walking to our next destination, I inquired about her true motive for going about the date like this.
Judging from the direction we were walking in and how our first destination had been my elementary school, I had a rough idea about our next stop. However, I couldn’t fathom the point in all this.
Shouldn’t we have headed for the city center by train for the date or something?
We could have gone to the movies, or the arcade, or gone shopping.
We could be faced with multiple choices there, but we wouldn’t be able to do anything if we didn’t leave this area.
I couldn’t make heads or tails of her plan.
“We don’t necessarily have to hit the movies or go shopping for a date, right?”
“That’s true……is going around the countryside like this fun though?”
“It is. Even if it isn’t much, I am getting to know more about Shinra-kun like this, and that too while being accompanied by the person himself.”
While facing the front, she replied with the most natural expression on her face.
At the very least, it didn’t feel like a lie.
This just felt like an unconventional date.
Though, my knowledge was derived from the likes of novels and television shows since I had never been on one before.
However, one thing was clear. This date wouldn’t go the way I had thought it would.