After the representative teacher educated us on how to spend the winter vacation, the closing ceremony ended with a few words from the principal.
The students walked in disorder toward the exit at the rear of the gymnasium when they were told to disperse. In the flood of people, I spotted Alina and spoke to her.
'Can you do me a favor?
I want you to invite Shirana and the others to the year-end party. It's hard for me to invite them. ......'
'...... huh. How long are you going to hold out on me? You're so small for a man of your size.
'I'm sorry ...... but I haven't talked to Shirana since that thing.'
That's when she called me to her ex-rose garden and confessed her feelings for me. Since that day, I have not exchanged a word with Shirana, except for a few brief exchanges of nods.
This is partly because of the contract with Mr. Kanzawaguchi, my senior, which restricted my activities. I wish I could say so, but the truth is that we have been avoiding each other. My first words do not come to my mind, let alone clear my throat. My throat tightens and my spit almost flows backwards, and I cover it up with awkward nods of the head. I can't help it.
'Um, could you do me a favor?
'Good. I'll take care of it.
'But I have a condition.
'Come on, stop feeling guilty about Shirana.
She said cutting him off.
'I feel sorry for Shirana if you're like that. She might regret not confessing to you, you know?
'I know that, too, but ......'
'You don't understand. You don't understand a millimeter of Shirana's courage. Are you really human?
'I have Japanese citizenship, so I'm probably recognized as a human being. ......'
Alina sighed deliberately three times,
'Shirana is going to ask you out, but be firm, okay? I'm in a position where it's hard for me to ask you out too.''
'......? Why not?
'You f*cking dullard! Remember why you said no!
The reason I said no. Why I didn't accept Shirana.
It's because I didn't have romantic feelings for her and because of Alina's .......
Shut up, you're embarrassing me!
She slapped me hard as I went crazy.
Let's keep these feelings to ourselves. I'm going crazy. Alina will behave in an uncharacteristic manner.
Back in the classroom, I think about it calmly and wonder how well we understand each other. I told Alina I liked her on the spur of the moment, but I think I made it somewhat unclear by adding the other Alina's name shortly afterwards.
Let's keep our true feelings a mystery. If I had said so, it would have destroyed the free relationship between the two of us.
I wonder how Alina feels about it. But whatever it is, I'm sure we like the distance we have now.
I think she simply doesn't want to move any closer or further away.
'Oh dear. ......'
I never thought I would have such complex and sensitive feelings.
After the closing ceremony, the students began to sort out their belongings, forgetting about the winter cold.
I, a professional student who went home, had brought everything home the day before, so I put the can in my mouth and downed a glass of tomato juice with ease. I waited for my homeroom teacher to come back, wondering what next year would bring.
I went home without doing anything, especially after school.
'Shut up. Welcome home, brother.
I'm off for about two weeks from today. I really wish I had two years' worth. Two years at home is not so bad, I thought, since I can merge with my bed, but I'm going to miss my skin. I should not stay in the house because Ugin would be worried more than anything else and she would clam up when she is asked about her siblings at school.
It was too much trouble to even go back to my room, so I dove into the sofa still in my school uniform. I lay my entire body on the couch as if my whole body had turned into a thick fluid. Beyond weakness, my metabolism has stopped and the chemical reactions in my body have become unmotivated. I want to melt. As if to trample on my desire, my sister sat on my back on her stomach.
Don't take the couch all to yourself.
I feel like I'm going to break my spine. You're making a disgusting noise.
'It's okay. It will grow back.
'It's not a lizard's tail, and what kind of a mystery of life is it that it grows after it's broken?
We gave in halfway and sat down together.
'I can't wait for summer vacation.
''Isn't next summer vacation for you, brother, studying?''
'Don't, don't be too realistic right now. It's terrible that winter vacation has just arrived.
I'm sorry. Do you have any plans for winter break?
'Yes, I do. I'm going to get together with my classmates and look back on the year.
''Like a year-end party?''
'Yes. I'm very happy that my sister is smart.'
'I don't like it when people treat me like I'm smart just because I'm smart. I don't know.
'On the other hand, do you have any plans for Ugin?'
All my friends are taking exams, so I hardly have any. I do go to Hatsumode, though.
'Good. My brother would have been furious if I had said I was going on a date. ......'
I don't have a boyfriend. But he told me a few times.'
'What the hell ......? What's the point of trying to date in middle school ......? First of all, who are these people who approached you ......? I'm gonna pull your liver out and feed it to the plankton, you bastard. ......'
'I know it's unwilling, but I didn't think it would make sense for me to go out with you now either. I'm your sister after all.
'Of course. Don't follow your instincts too much. The difference between humans and animals is that we have a second self that suppresses our instincts.
'Yes, yes, difficult, difficult. Look, a farmer is introducing his crops on TV.
'Whoa! Show the tomatoes! I don't care about cucumbers, I want tomatoes!
It was after twenty-two o'clock.
I was reading Heinlein's The Door into Summer. I told Ugin that I missed summer vacation, and I had a sudden urge to read The Door into Summer. As I was lying on my bed reading, my phone buzzed at the climax of the book. It was a message from Alina.
I invited you. She's going.
Short and concise, just what you want to say. It's very Alina.
I decided to make fun of her, so I left the room and knocked on Ugin's door.
Can I come in?
Ugin was still awake.
I immediately explained about the year-end party and the message Alina had sent. Ugin raised his eyebrows a little in disbelief, as if something had suddenly happened.
I asked him if he could use his JC power to make a chaotic text for me. I want you to reproduce the language written by that guy whose brain seems to be made of tofu, full of emoticons and emojis. I wanted to see how Alina would react if I sent it to her.
'Are you trying to say I'm tofu, brother? Terrible, gusun'.
'Ugin is my goddess, so don't be like that. Now, make it.'
'Oh, yeah, yeah, okay. Give it to me.
Ugin took my phone and started flicking it at high speed. If there was a flicking test, I think Ugin would get first class. He was that fast and mechanical.
Here you go.
'Thanks. Let's see...'
I'm looking forward to the year end party I'm really looking forward to the homework...(crying face emoji) but let's both do our best ( ) I can't wait to see you (heart) (heart) (heart) )"
'This is bad. ...... Japanese is broken. ......'
'Is that so? I think it's a valid Japanese language!
No, this is amazing. It's like seeing the Cyrillic alphabet for the first time.
'Aren't you going to send it?'
'Send send send. Here we go, send! Radio waves--rush through the air!
'You don't have to say that, it will be delivered.
I finished sending it. I wonder how they will react.
Just as I was about to leave Ugin, Alina called me. Ugin grinned and stretched up to put his face close to my ear. I considerately put her on speaker.
Hello, this is Sakakiki.
'Are you all right? I called because your message was a little strange. If you're having trouble, talk to me.
'What? No, not particularly.
I wish. I hope you're all right. Are you sure you're okay?
'Wait, wait, wait. I'm just kidding. I was just asking Ugin to hit me to see how I would react.
The phone went dead.
It was a pattern of concern. I feel bad for making fun of Alina's conscience, but she was really worried about me, so I was scared. Alinan, I'm so sorry.
I'm sorry you got a death threat. Have you erased your computer and phone history?
'Hey, hey, hey, Sister. It's as if there's something you don't want me to see.
'I thought the conversion suggestions on my phone were a little weird.'
'Prohibited broadcast term!
Alina. Come and kill me now. We'll die together. I'm dying of shame.
Ugin said, 'Hmm. Hmm. Hmm? He cornered me with a mean look, sniffed triumphantly, and closed the door.
Unauthorized use of a cell phone is absolutely prohibited.