Chapter 16 – Understanding and love (4)
Some drunken thoughts about the novel’s future and mine while at that.
I was trying to figure out the reason.
I wondered if I had anything in common with the girl named Kirasaka Rei.
However, I was wrong to think like that. There weren’t any reasons for me to excavate.
After all, she was only confronting her feelings.
Somewhere in my heart, though, I thought she was different.
I wouldn’t say that we were the same, even if I were doing a handstand. Her looks, compared to mine, were on a different league. Our personalities and abilities differed as well. However, I had thought that there were some similarities in our way of thinking and perception of the world.
I would rather not use such corny words, but a similar feeling had indeed budded its way into my heart. I saw a compatriot in her.
That was why I had thought that she wasn’t one to harbour such feelings for another person……Such was my selfish assumption.
A feeling of disgust surfaced.
I was disgusted at myself for judging her by my standards, thinking she was the same.
She was always looking at her classmates from the corner of the classroom, saying she was bored.
She didn’t affiliate herself with anyone and stayed true to her beliefs.
She doesn’t have any interest in romance, and even if something does sprout in her heart, she wouldn’t feel the need to confirm the identity of the same.
I had presumed such to be the case.
In reality, it was different.
She didn’t join any group. She calmly observed them from the distance.
However, she was capable of processing feelings of love and friendship.
What about me?
Wasn’t all that I was capable of was to hate flocking in groups and averting my eyes from Shizuku’s feelings to go about my life as usual?
Wasn’t I wrong to think that I could just continue like this?
And so, I soliloquized. Over and over again.
Seemingly a bit embarrassed, Kirasaka averted her eyes. I spoke.
“I don’t understand the ‘special feeling’ you talked about……All I can think of is that you must be mistaken.”
On the day of the school entrance ceremony, I must have indeed said something to her.
It might have been something important to her. However, the person named Minato Shinra shouldn’t be as important.
By mere coincidence, was I there, and had spoken to her, the words she had wanted to hear.
I would sometimes think that it must have had to be me. However, in reality, I was a mere coincidence, not a necessity.
Saying otherwise would really be stretching it.
It was predestined.
It would be easier to think like that.
This didn’t only apply to Kirasaka.
It was the same in the cases of Shizuku Kanzaki and Yuuto Ogiwara.
Coincidentally, I lived across the street from Shizuku and got to know Yuuto in middle school. It didn’t have to be Shinra Minato in particular.
I have always been telling myself to not get ahead of myself by thinking that I am special. That was how it has been until now.
If I didn’t think like that, I would end up expecting.
I would end up thinking that I might be the same as them.
At my words, she widened her eyes for an instant, but her expression returned to its previous state the moment after.
Then, she said with a smile, “Why so, I wonder?”.
An unadulterated question, devoid of a hidden agenda, unlike every other time.
“People like Kirasaka are in a league of your own. I know that the best.”
I stuck out like a sore thumb next to these people.
There was an undeniable difference in our abilities too.
I would always question how it so came about that I was standing next to them.
However, I still couldn’t pull away.
Was it because it was comfortable?
Was it because I didn’t have to force a conversation or a smile with those people?
No matter what I said, they didn’t mind. That must have spoilt me.
However, the situation now was different.
It couldn’t continue like this. That much was clear.
Our relationships were changing every day.
The awkward relationship between Yuuto and Shizuku and the discord between them and Kirasaka were bound to change in the coming days.
……No wait, it’s highly likely that the discord thingy is here to stay.
However, I too needed to change.
I needed to think it through. I needed to decide on a stance. Something had to be done.
Kirasaka too was undergoing a change.
She was trying to identify her feelings by facing them head-on.
However, I didn’t know what to do.
I couldn’t comprehend the emotion called ‘like’ that had changed the three.
Consequently, I didn’t know what it was that I had to do that could be considered a step taken in the right direction.
And so, I spend my days indecisively.
At my words, Kirasaka lowered the tone of her voice a little and spoke.
“The Minato Shinra I know doesn’t care about such pointless stuff.”
“Not having a care for what others might think, always being upfront about your feelings, not giving anyone the special treatment……He is that kind of person.”
Did I seem that remarkable of a person in her eyes?
I didn’t have a reply to that.
It wasn’t because her sharp gaze was too frightening.
Just that, I was trying to recollect the kind of person, the Shinra Minato she mentioned, was.
……Wait a minute.
Am I, perhaps, a loner?
It wasn’t that hard to figure out. After all, every jog down the memory lane fetched memories of me being in solitude.
This is a serious illness.
Confronted with this obvious interpretation of the situation I was in, a bitter smile hung on my lips.
“You don’t need to have a right to talk to other people……Who created such a thing? It’s no more than a self-imposed rule. You aren’t the kind of person who cares about such stuff……Isn’t that right?”
“……Well, going along with the herd is probably not me.”
She nodded to my words.
The air of intimidation from before had dissipated.
However, the matter from before was yet to conclude.
“It’s that……You find me special only because I have a twisted personality. Also, I don’t give you the special treatment because I have been acquainted with others with high specifications like you for a long time. At this point, an addition to the squad wouldn’t change much.”
I tried to address it as casually as possible.
I could have just honestly told her that she didn’t need to pay such an excessively undue amount of attention to me.
However, my personality, and more than anything else, the nature of our acquaintanceship until now, hindered such progress.
It had to do with the pain-in-the-ass pride of an adolescent. What an embarrassment.
As a mere high-school kid, I couldn’t pull off saying such a cliched line.
Seemingly having read my thoughts, Kirasaka spoke with a smile.
“That’s right. However, I am free to feel any way I want about you, right? If so, then just give up. There has been no escape since the moment I had locked on to you.”
“……Is that so?”
I stood next to the chucking her with a bitter face.
There seemed to be no way I could win against her.
I had no memory of ever winning against her in the first place.
“Well then, let’s continue with the date.”
No matter how negative of a comment I make, she would come up with an answer with that unparalleled quick wit of hers.
The war of words came to a halt and silence was reinstated.
However, for some reason, Kirasaka seemed more cheerful than before.