Friday. It's been five days since I met this person I don't really understand.

“Hey~, I want to go this way today.”

I still couldn't get a grasp of him.

A-kun. His real name is still unknown. According to his testimony, he's in the same grade as me, and he's also in a club. And he's egocentric, can’t read the mood, insensitive, and a person obsessed with slacking.

———But I don’t really dislike him.

If it wasn’t like that, I wouldn’t have broken the usual character of ‘Mitsumine Iroha’ when I met my friends a while ago, I wouldn’t think of wanting to be with him for just a while longer, my mood wouldn’t have become strange just because he praised me, and I wouldn’t be together with him everyday since Monday in the first place.

Even if it was because I was threatened.

If it hadn't been for A-kun, I would have slit my wrists as soon as I got home to an empty house. In the first place, I would have jumped off the roof.

Normally, that is what would definitely have happened.

Thinking of such disturbing things, I traced my left wrist, where I could still feel the cold fingers of A-kun when he put the bandage on it. It was because of the spell that had been placed on me at that time.

Just because he said, “Call me if you want to die,” and wrote his number, I couldn't slit my wrists anymore. I had lost one simple way of committing suicide all too easily. Instead, I started grabbing my left wrist whenever I was in pain.

I don't know why, and I don't intend to find out, but I plan to die before I do. Somehow, being with him is comfortable. But at the same time, I felt an unfamiliar feeling.

And above all.

“…Ah, just now. That Was Mitsumine-chan, right? What happened? Did you leave something behind??”

My thoughts were interrupted. I replied with a perfect smile plastered on my face as usual.

“No, I finished eating, so I came to throw away the trash. I heard there's a trash can here.”

“Ahh, I see, I see!”

Mochizuki Kurumi-senpai. An alumnus of Kinosaki High School, and apparently A-kun’s club senior. Since she works at this taiyaki store, it seems she came out here to clean up.

“The taiyaki was very delicious. Thank you very much.”

“I see, I see, that's good~!”

Aah, her smile is so dazzling. She’s a bright, beautiful and nice senior. I didn't think that A-kun would be on good terms with Mochizuki-senpai.

Or rather it might be better to say that I didn’t expect that Mochizuki-senpai would have a junior who she’d intimately call ‘Kouhai-kun’.

Mochizuki-senpai was so famous that even I, who had little to do with her last year, knew of her. In a good way, and a bad way.

No matter how lax the school rules were, her near-white hair and altered uniform with a very short skirt were quite noticeable, and no matter how many times she was berated by the teacher, she remained resolute and said, “If I don't get first place on the test, then I'll stop.”

I heard that she couldn't remember the names of any of her classmates. I also heard that she repeatedly joined and quit club activities, but in every club activity, she outperformed the experienced members.

I heard a lot of bad rumors about how she was an eccentric person.

I admired her, but I didn’t really respect her. She was a lone genius who didn't mingle with others, standing about 15cm away from her surroundings. That was the image I had.

“By the way~, you might get angry if I ask this, but are you and Kouhai-kun going out?”

“W-we’re not going out.”

The abrupt and blazing fastball almost stopped me from breathing.

“Ehh, so that’s how it is. So you’re just friends. So I was just mistaken because it was the first time Kouhai-kun came here with a girl, huh~~~”

Mochizuki-senpai said in a disappointed tone, and laughed limply, “Sorry for saying something weird.”

I wonder if that's why. I wondered if it was because I knew that this senior was definitely not interested in me.

I found myself saying things that I would never normally say.

“We're not just friends, though.”

In fact, we're not even just friends.

I added in my mind and looked straight at Senpai's face.

I felt that if I looked away here, I would lose something.

“Ahhh, I see, that’s how it is.”

Aah, I’m such a detestable woman. That was a horrible way to put it.

I've only known him for five days, and even though I've already told him, I didn't think I'd be this attached to him. I realized it now, after I said it myself.

I'm sure I didn't like the fact that A-kun was talking to someone other than me, about something I didn't know about. A-kun was the only one who knew that I wanted to die, and he even gave me his contact information.

I was desperate to feel special about that.

One word from you lifted my mood and I wanted to spend more time with you than with my friends. I was also relieved when Senpai called him ‘Kouhai-kun’. I didn’t want her to call him by his name, that I still didn’t know.

I didn't know what to call this feeling, because I had never felt anything like this before. I didn't even want to give it a name because I felt that if I did, it wouldn't be mine alone.

I smiled vaguely, not denying Senpai's reply.

I wanted Senpai to keep misunderstanding me like this. It's fine if I'm the only one who thinks A-kun is special.

Aah. I'm getting worse and worse.

“You see, Kouhai-kun is a good boy. Like I said before, he can’t read the mood, but he’ll never say anything that might hurt someone.”

I know.

“He's always cheerful and positive, and he's a slacker, but somehow he thinks he's serious. He's so confident that it's a mystery.”

I know.

“And yet, he thinks that he’s ‘normal’ apparently. I don’t really get it, he wants to be ‘special’. He longs for something like us.”

…………I don’t know…… !

“…But, you should already know that. You guys look like you’re close. Mitsumine-chan, your facial expression and way of talking is slightly different from when you’re around Kouhai-kun.”

Senpai laughed as if she was amazed. I don’t know, I don’t know. The ‘special’ that A-kun longs for, and that I don’t act like ‘Mitsumine Iroha’ around A-kun.

I didn’t know any of it. I didn’t want to know any of it.

“…………I’m sorry.”

I squeezed my voice out of my throat. My footing grew unsteady.

Aah, what should I do. I want to just die.

Because I wanted to die, I gripped my left wrist tightly. It hurts. It's cold.

I think of A-kun's body heat. ———I don't want to die.

“Aah no, I’m not criticizing you or anything. Rather, I was happy. Back when I was still in school, whenever I saw you, I felt like there was a girl just like me.”


“It's easy to be labeled as ‘special’, isn't it?"”

Senpai smiled and looked lonely, holding a broom.

“You have a lot of good things, but just like me, you have a lot of bad things too. But, you can’t really talk about those bad things, can you?”


“Because the good things are seen too easily, when I say I don't like the special treatment, I'm told I'm being selfish or greedy, so I hide my bad feelings and build myself up, and eventually I no longer know what I am.”

It was a perfect description. It sounded just like my story.

“Ahaha, well that was the story of when I was a first year student. Back then, I was a proper honor student you know? At that time, my skirt was still of proper length and my hair was still black. I was even the class representative.”

“…I, see.”

“Yeah. But I got sick of it all and threw it all away!”

Then Senpai laughed. The evening glow dyed Senpai’s lightly pigmented hair. The sunset dyed her wavering smile.

That smile was so dazzling that I almost became dizzy.”

“Well although, even though I was the type who could throw it all away by saying ‘I’m throwing it all away, heh!’, there are people who can’t be like that. You’re too kind, so you’re the type who’d just keep enduring it forever, so I’m worried you know. It might not be any of my business though.”

“…………Really, it’s really not any of your, business.”

Completely, really, it is none of your business.

I couldn't say, “That's why I was going to die,” but I wanted this person to hear me, so I said as much I could squeeze out.

Aah, now I get why I was jealous of A-kun and her talking. I finally realized it. Both of them are definitely people who can evaluate others for themselves.

They are people who place the axis of value judgment on themselves. They are people who can place value on themselves.

That’s why, until we talked today, I thought that Mochizuki-senpai was a strange senior. I thought she was a bit off the rails, and I didn't want to be like that.

That's why I went to the trouble of asking A-kun for confirmation. I felt a bit guilty, so I whispered.

There are a lot of rumors, though. That stuff doesn't mean anything to me.

It's just a story you heard from someone you have no interest in. They are words that are not worth believing.

But A-kun said that Senpai was a good person, as if none of that mattered. Mochizuki-senpai also thought of my lie-filled self in this way.

I'm jealous of you two.

I'm frustrated that I can't live anymore, thinking that my small world is all there is.

Aah. I'm not the kind of person who deserves to be thought of this way by the two of you. I'm the kind of person who survives on flimsy, needy make-believe.

Because I felt like I was being told that it was okay to stay here as long as I could be what I needed to be. Before I knew it, I didn't think there was a single person who would love me for who I really was.

I can't go back now.

I can't love anyone and I can't trust anyone and I hate being alone. Even though A-kun says I'm hardworking and strong, I’m still too weak to call out for help.

———I didn't want to be ‘perfect’, I just wanted something real like you two. I just wanted one thing that I could rely on, one special person.

“Ahhh, I’m sorry okay? I forgot that I sometimes talk too much, so I ended up giving you some conceited advice. I mean, even I was in a lot of pain back then.”

Before I knew it, tears were running down my cheeks. My feelings were broken. Even though I didn't want to cause trouble to anyone. Especially Mochizuki-senpai, I didn't want to cause any trouble to her.

Even though I’m the absolute worst for that, Mochizuki-senpai gently wiped my tears with her hand.

“I hope you'll be able to smile and talk about it someday. ‘It was really hard for me at that time!’ like that.”

At that moment, I suddenly saw the cuffs of her black hoodie, that Mochizuki-senpai had countless cuts on her wrists.

Until now, I hadn't noticed it even a little. It was far from the image of Mochizuki-senpai. Watching from afar, Mochizuki-senpai always seemed to be having fun, and I couldn't imagine any reason for her to slit her wrists. In the first place, I had never even thought about it.

I'm the worst. I'm just like everyone else, aren't I?

I'm no different from the people I've always thought were disgusting, the people who make assumptions from afar based on appearances and rumors, and paint their own image ‘special’ or ‘perfect’.

I was deeply disappointed in myself for only seeing what I wanted to see and for not trying to see the real picture.

I'm not the only one who wants to die. I don't think I'm the most unhappy person in the world. But everyone else is living their lives as if it's a matter of course, so somehow I've only been able to see myself.

“I hope you can find someone who is easy to be with. I'd recommend Kouhai-kun. He's a little slovenly, but I guarantee you he's a good guy.”

“…I know that.”

“Aha. Then I’m glad. Maybe next time you come here, you can come as his lover!”

Senpai laughed and stuck out her tongue.

“I’m sorry. I think that would be impossible.”

I answered immediately. I crushed the taiyaki wrapper in my hand.

My hand was sore from the forceful crushing.

“I'm not good at making promises to people.”

The reason I made a promise to A-kun was because he threatened me. I don't know if I'll be able to fulfill even that promise, and I'm spending my days in such a precarious situation that I regret making the promise, but I can't make more promises.

I try not to make promises that I can't fulfill.

———After all, I’m going to die next Monday.

I don't know why I couldn't say so clearly.

I don’t know why I can’t say that I don't like A-kun and that there's no way we can be lovers.

“I see~~. Well, I'm basically always here, you know. Because I'm working a lot of shifts. I have to earn money during the summer vacation, you know!”

Mochizuki-senpai smiled brightly as if to blow away this atmosphere.

Taking advantage of that, I smiled a little and threw the trash into the trash can.

Then I started walking towards the park where A-kun was waiting.

My thoughts resumed. I started thinking again about what I had been thinking earlier.

I don't know why, and I don't intend to find out, but I feel comfortable with him. But at the same time, I felt an unfamiliar feeling.

And above all.

“I don't want to get any closer to A-kun.”

I muttered to myself, my voice echoing on the road lit by the setting sun.

I can't wait for the week to be over. I don't want to be with him any longer. I don't want to be carried along by that incomprehensible pace any longer. Because it would destroy my sense of value. Because I feel like I'm going to fall in love with myself.

You're such a good person that I can tell in three days. You are a really good person. I've come to understand that.

I picked up the commuter pass that was attached to my bag on my shoulder and gently traced the top of it.

Inside was the bandage that A-kun had put on me that day. There was also a piece of paper on which I had carefully written down the phone number you had given me.

I had already memorized the number because I stared at it so many times on sleepless nights, but for some reason I wanted to check it, so I carefully took the paper out of my commuter bag.