It was the last day of the summer holidays.
A black-haired Naomi-chan welcomed me back when I returned to the Reien Girls College dormitories.
“Hey, welcome back. Anything interesting happen?”
Naomi-chan was Naomi-chan as usual.
Without breathing even a word of the personal tragedies that occurred to her, she was easygoing and languid, behaving like the common modern schoolgirl.
“There wasn’t anything interesting, but there was one thing that was original. I, for the first time, have experienced this thing called a broken heart.”
Ahem, I threw out my chest.
Naomi-chan looked at me like I was some kind of rare animal, but, well, I’ll let it go this time.
“Wait, broken heart, you mean like unrequited love?! You said there’d only be a mass of old people at your familial home, Seo!”
“That’s true. I just had a little meeting before going home. Oh, I bought the CD. Should I bring it out now?”
“Ah… um, sorry, something a bit different came into my hands. I’ve dubbed it, so I’ll give it to you. But leaving that aside, what’s this broken heart! Talk about your broken heart!”
The bait was so good that she became like a piranha. Reflecting upon the beauty and terror of female friendship, I replayed the summer memory.
Hiding away all the comments about precognition, it was a story about meeting a man in black-rimmed glasses, in the middle of a certain street, getting to know each other because of a trivial coincidence, then being together for only an hour for tea.
Naomi-chan, hearing it from the beginning to the end, gave a single sigh of displeasure.
“Oh, was it boring?”
“No, it was interesting. But Seo. It’s hard to say this, but, that’s not love.”
Just as I expected.
I knew those words since three days ago.
“You think so too, Naomi-chan?”
“Yeah. You were just admiring him. You were just getting enthusiastic at an idol, screaming and making a fuss, just a happy fan. Love is more, how you say, unprecedented and indecent, and worse, you can’t predict it, and it’s like you take a deep breath on a roller coaster and the only things left are the collisions and the goal. To be frank, it’s not something that would leave behind a clear memory…”
Naomi-chan, with a girlishness beyond me, exploded, her circuits going full-throttle with her philosophy on love.
It doesn’t even need to be said that I had understood this to be the case.
My emotion at that time was truly an instant of tender attachment. True, I did like him, but it was like I hadn’t thought about anything beyond that; really, it was a childish passion.
But, as Naomi-chan said, it was a very happy time. Even if it wasn’t love, even if it was a misunderstanding, I’ve decided to always remember that hour of that day, as unrequited love.
“Well, whatever. By the way, where’s that man – ”
Naomi-chan’s question overlapped on the query of the former me.
The parting on that day had began with that question.
“Um. By the way, where are you from, Kokutou-san?”
“Hm? I was here all the way from middle school to university. Why do you ask?”
“N-No, I don’t really know, either. I got the feeling I had to ask you.”
For some reason, I breathed a sigh of relief. A usual bad habit of mine appeared, but perhaps this was also a gathering of conditions needed to see a more certain future.
– On the other hand.
Mikiya-san fleetingly turned his eye towards what’s outside the window.
In contrast with the dimly-lit cafe, the street of buildings was illuminated by the midsummer rays. There, a slightly conspicuous shadow stood. It was a kimono… worn casually with a pongee, a stylish man – wait, that’s not
Blood. Blood. Blood. An almost tremendous number of jellybeans. Like stinging taco sauce. Bloodstained metal, and bloodstained concrete, and bloodstained woman, and bloodstained black clothes.
” – ”
A daze so severe I’ve never felt one like it before blew away my sense of time in reality.
If my precognition was an operation based on information processing like he said, then that person in the kimono was a severe factor that can let me easily predict the future just by being there.
“It’s taken quite some time. I should leave soon.”
Mikiya-san took the chit while looking at his watch.
I frantically gulped down whatever it was in that scene I just saw now – no, it was too fragmented to begin with, I couldn’t even make out anything specific about it – and shook off my daze.
“T-Thank you very much.”
As I thanked him, I looked at Mikiya-san with upturned eyes.
Rather than finding fault with how I had not left my seat, Mikiya-san waited for me to continue.
Firmly mustering the last piece of courage for today,
“Well… at the beginning, you said that precognition isn’t rare, that you know someone like that… is that Kokutou-san’s lover?”
I splendidly stepped onto the land mine myself.
“Ah, no, um, is she?”
Mikiya-san was shocked even as he looked embarrassed. His gaze was aware of the beautiful woman in the kimono outside the window.
But the shock I felt was many times beyond that. Ah, farewell, heartbreak. It was too short a dream. After all, there’s no way I can be a match against that. Whether it be through brute force or a duel of love, there was such a difference in our abilities that if we fought one hundred times, I would be killed one hundred and one times.
“That was a shock. Did you see that?”
The behaviour of Mikiya-san, hiding his embarrassment by asking this, was, hmm, criminal in various ways. I crumbled down, feeling more and more dejected, but there was something much more important than that right now.
“No, I don’t know so much that I know what kind of person she is… but, please listen, and don’t be angry.
….Um. If you keep on going out with that person, you will lose your life, Mikiya-san.”
” – ”
In terms of time, it was about five seconds.
To me, it was a frozen silence.
Mikiya-san looked blank, and yet, he definitely did not laugh.
Afterward, when I thought about it, if I were to say that I felt unrequited love, it would be this instant that broke my heart.
Miki – no, Kokutou-san accepted my precognition with a calm expression.
“I see. Thanks, Shizune-chan.”
The way he was just now, it was something I would never forget for the rest of my life… would be saying too much, but if possible, I wouldn’t want to forget it for the rest of my life.
It was because the explanations and the advices from before weren’t a match for this smile.
“But please don’t tell me the details. It’s scary, but if I hear it, I think I wouldn’t be able to do something important.”
The man with the black-rimmed glasses smiled bitterly as he rose from his seat.
He was saying that, more than his own fate, what he was afraid of was if he ran away.
To that strength, there was respect and admiration from the bottom of my heart.
Even if it was just a meeting of one hour, to me, it was a guide that would be difficult to find something to exchange for.
Thus, we separated before the cafe.
Kokutou-san, after seeing me off as I headed towards the station, rose his voice to the someone waiting outside the cafe.
I watched the two of them from afar while slipping into the crowd, murmuring ‘thank you’ one more time, and left the summer streets behind.
– The above were the details of the summer.
I can see the future as ever, and I live on day-by-day even as I lose my nerves to the sudden bursts of self-hatred.
Nothing has changed and nothing has been resolved, but at least I will ignore the act of worrying to the best of my abilities. Like the smile that Kokutou-san showed me, if I don’t trust in the me right now, a future of joy won’t come.
For someone like me who cheats with the future, it is obvious that there is a obligation that comes with the cheating.
It was because I believe that it will definitely be a good thing for someone that I can accept these experiences regardless and without discrimination. Just as it was wished, let’s move on facing forward.
“So you know, there had to be an operation, so they totally shaved all his hair off, but when that idiot brother woke up, he looked in a mirror and said, don’t I look cool without hair? He was trying to pass it off with some bull like that! It’s not cool, you’re just bald, what’re you, a skinhead? We don’t need a Venusian in the family! I bopped him across the head, and the wound opened up again – !”
Before I knew it, we were talking about her little brother, and Naomi-chan was seriously cheerful.
…When she had gone home, with an expression as though the world had ended, she must have desperately fought in the passenger plane. A strong prayer against the future. Even if what awaited her was an immovable fate, with her strength to decidedly see the future with optimism, when it ended, the painful past was laughed off as ‘a good thing’.
“You were cool, Naomi-chan.”
“I know, right? Of course it’s better to be cool than cute! Nowadays, high-class mistresses or honour students are just annoying. This is going to be the age of the cool beauty. Just spare us the baldies!”
Then. The wonderful laughing voice of Naomi-chan came to an exact stop.
Her gaze was on something behind me. The newcomer who was making herself at home slightly removed from us up until now, came over to our table.
” – You need something?”
Che, Naomi-chan clicked her tongue. Please be silent; how vulgar; her enmity was so obvious that I thought she would starting letting loose with warnings like that. But.
“Oh no, you just seemed like you seem having fun. Would you mind if I joined?”
Contrary to our expectations, she greeted us.
Independent from our confoundment, a first-rate smile appeared on the face of the first-year girl; ‘how do you do?’
Naomi-chan’s mouth opened and closed as she remained speechless, and I saw the future of this girl who seemed to be the concept of ‘young mistress’ given form.
“Oh? Could you be Seo-san? This saves me the trouble of going to greet you.”
I, in my own way, was shocked in a different way than Naomi-chan, blinking many times, and roughly understood the situation.
It will be a year, no, even longer.
I will share a room with this girl, and live these school lives, filled with troubles.
Most likely, the impression she got that we wouldn’t get along, would be overwritten in a single second.
We would become roommates, swearing to each other the oaths of a strong friendship.
It was the last night of the summer holiday that I met my dear partner-in-crime, one who will eventually stand at the peak of Reien.
“By the way, where are you from, Kokutou-san?”
because I ask such questions, she will always become mystified.
It was the same here. I felt relief when I thought it was just the same family name; her correcting this mistake was another story, considerably further into the future –