The instant I saw her, my life got better.
Middle school was fun in and of itself, but I didn’t have the same romantic experiences that the people around me did. Compared to everyone else, I always felt like I was a little different. And yet, I fell in love right when I saw her. Just watching her, even simply thinking about her, was enjoyable.
If I saw her during club, I would try to do a cool play instead of something normal. If our eyes met, I’d get delusional, and I would dwell on even the slightest disagreement.
I felt just like a middle schooler, but I was happy. I hadn’t ever felt like this before.
And I wanted more.
I wanted to be together more.
I wanted to be closer to her.
Those feelings got stronger, and I made the decision.
“I’m gonna confess.”
“Sorry, Echizen-san! Were you waiting?”
“Nope, not at all!”
It was 10am on a weekend of the last half of September, when the rhythms of a crumbling finish to summer vacation returned again. I, Kenji Kawachi, had been waiting for my beloved Echizen-san at Toyama station.
She had short, blonde hair and her eyes were almond-shaped, but that pulled out the beauty in her. She had such an atmosphere about her that made her seem older than she was. Moreover, she had on a black blouse that was almost transparently thin, and some white cargo pants on. She seriously seemed like an adult.
“Well, shall we go?”
With butterflies in my stomach from the sight of her. I called out, and we headed to today’s destination – the movie theater.
“I can’t believe you won these tickets! You’re pretty lucky, huh?”
SHE started the conversation?!
Our relationship wasn’t even that great. We both went to a school information meeting together, but we didn’t really talk at school even after that. It was just love at first sight, and I was content with that. Because of that, her simply starting the conversation made me ecstatic.
I tried to shut out all those feelings, and when I had, I calmly opened my mouth.
“Yeah, I really am lucky! And I happened to get tickets to a movie you wanted to see. Unbelievable!”
Yes, the reason I’m watching a movie today with Echizen-san is because I, or rather my mom, won some movie tickets. Honestly, I had no interest in the movie, but I heard a rumor that Echizen-san wanted to see it and decided to ask her, and now we’re here.
When she said, “Okay,” I wouldn’t have cared if I died that moment, I was so happy. My friend said that I was in such good spirits that it was annoying, that’s how much I wouldn’t shut up about her. Actually, I was still so happy, I could have died right then, but here we are.
“Hehe, it’s exciting!”
“Hm? Kawachi-kun, what’s up?”
“N-nothing, I’m fine!”
I avoided her eyes and answered her with a stutter. But that smile she just had on her face…
I threw a sideways glance at her, but of course, that’s cheating. She’s always so composed and dignified, but when Echizen-san flashes that childish smile, it’s so cute it hurts! Surprisingly – no, it was because of that smile – I was a little flustered, but I somehow kept my cool and we finally arrived at the movie theater without incident.
And after about 130 minutes of Sci-Fi action, we were back in front of the station. It was still only around 1pm, and I felt like going home right then would have been kind of early.
“So, you have any plans for the rest of the day?”
“Uh, aren’t you gonna go home?”
Echizen-san probably didn’t have any ill-intent, but those words pierced my heart. But I’m not the kind of guy to get discouraged by something like that.
“Nah, why don’t we hang out a little more? I mean, if you’re busy, I get it, but…”
She thought a little when I stammered that out. And after a moment, she suddenly lifted her head.
“You’re right. I’m not busy, so let’s hang out a little more!”
I did a little fist pump that Echizen-san couldn’t see. But, what should we do now..? I thought. I had no idea what to do… At that very moment, she spoke.
“Well, where are we gonna go?”
Ehh, what should we do? Something we can do together would be great, but I can’t come up with anything! I’m such an idiot! Bemoaning my idiocy, I desperately looked around. There’s gotta be somewhere, a place we can have fun together…
Ah, that reminds me! Didn’t my friend say there was a good cafe nearby? I don’t know where it is, but why don’t we go there? If I’m not mistaken, the name was…
“Hmm, why don’t we head to Mon Pet Kuwa?”
I somehow managed to pull that off.
“Can I quit?”
As I was near the kitchen grabbing a fork and chopsticks, I heard those words come from Setsu-kun. I was shocked, so much so that I dropped the fork in my hand, but they didn’t really seem to notice.
I got out of sight and relaxed a little. I mean, I didn’t think it really mattered if they knew I found out, but if I was Setsu-kun I wouldn’t want to be eavesdropped on. So, I wanted to avoid that if I could. But despite wanting to quickly go back to my seat, my feet were glued to the floor. Setsu-kun’s really been on my mind. Is he really going to quit his job? I couldn’t help but think about it.
As I was standing there, the owner spoke with that same tone of voice he always has.
“It’s just like, I got a job I wanted at another place and…”
“Hmph! And you can’t work here at the same time?”
“It’ll be a little difficult, I think…”
“I see. Well, if that’s the case, there’s nothing I can do. It’s not like we’re short on people or anything…”
“Really? Thank you so much! Is it alright if I finish this month?”
“Sure thing. Well, keep it up these last two weeks then, okay?”
Without showing any signs of disappointment, he went back to his work with a smile. Setsu-kun’s hands reflected somewhat happily off of a polished cup. From my point of view, they both seemed really at ease about it, but I felt like I had been left behind. I had lost my composure. A weird feeling welled up within me. I was full of self-pity.
However, I had no clue how the feeling would stop. That disappointment in my heart kept growing.
No! I don’t want Setsu-kun to quit his job! There are things I haven’t been able to tell him. I still want to work with him. I’d try to express that desire to him, but I don’t think I could say something like that to his face now.
I returned to my seat, feeling all the more uneasy inside.