The weather was not favorable and trains were delayed.
It is mid-January, so it is not surprising that there is snow on the ground, but this year's snowfall was not so heavy. There were only small piles of dirty, grayish snow in the back alleys where the sun did not shine. Only the cold air was as usual. Without gloves, I could not move my fingertips properly.
I check the map on my phone, look up, and look for the signboard that lights up against the night sky. There was no way I could easily find my destination on the street, which was overloaded with information like an advertisement on a shopping site, since I have a poor sense of direction. It was cold, crowded, and hard to find. I finally arrived at my destination just before I lost my mind.
I was on time for the meeting, but it was just before the meeting time, so I entered the restaurant right away.
I was sorry. I got lost and was late.
The men cheered when they saw me. They were grinning so much, it was weird. As I stood there, not knowing where to sit, Tsuru took me by the hand and led me to a seat.
I thought you weren't coming. Thank goodness.
I forgot you're directionally challenged. And the train is bad.'
'Well done for getting there! That's all of you!
Most of my classmates from senior year are here.
We had our coming-of-age ceremony yesterday, and today is our class reunion. Seeing my classmates for the first time in almost two years made me feel nostalgic. Some of them have changed so much that I didn't recognize them at first, and some of them have not changed at all. It seemed like a long time ago that I spent three years wearing the same uniform with them. Even though it was only two years ago.
The volume of everyone's voices rose unbelievably with the alcohol. They probably couldn't hear themselves very well.
I was barely drunk because I was hiding and sipping oolong tea. So I was on the listening side, talking to the ladies and silencing Hwasai who tried to take off her clothes. At first the seats were broken into pieces and people were moving around regardless of gender.
One of the members who happened to be there was Masao Tanaka, with whom I spent a lot of time although we did not have much to do with each other.
We had no contact since the gymnastic festival, and graduated without much progress beyond a brief conversation about comets. Feeling a little more open, I took the plunge and spoke to him.
'Masao-kun. Do you remember me?
'Of course. The gymnastic festival is a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life.
He had the physique of a bodybuilder in high school, but now he's even more upgraded. But his .50s were still the same. I won't go into the details because of the sadness of the situation.
What are you doing now?
I'm on the football team at university. I'm not a homecoming team anymore.
'As it should be. It's just like you.
'Is that so?'
'Yes. I think you'd be great at it. I'm going to cheer for you if you make the Japan national team.
'Oh no, I can't do that, I've only been doing this for two years. But I will try my best.
At the time, he would not have said 'I'll do my best. He was an introvert, always lacking in confidence, his gaze fixed at an angle. I still vividly remember the scene when Comet was trying hard to improve him by praising him during the inter-company relay practice. I was impressed that he showed such a glimpse of ambition.
'Um, that ......'.
'What's wrong with you. You've suddenly become so reserved like you used to be.
'Do you know anything about comets ......?'
He asked me so that no one around me could hear.
'Yes. He's still sleeping.
'I see. ......'
When he heard my answer, he kept his eyes down and bit his lip.
I want to thank you, Comet. Even though it was only for a few weeks, I learned very important things from you. I can walk with my chest out now, and I've decided to go to the reunion. That's why I wanted to tell you here. ...... I see. I'm very sorry.
''Yes, I know. It's a pity because I have a lot to say to him too.
'I'm sorry. It's the hardest thing for Alina.
''Don't worry about it.''
That's not true. It's the Comet family that suffers the most.
I'm just... I'm just arrogant.
I'd like to meet the other ex-homecoming club members. I wonder how Takakura, Eiji, and Rinne are doing.
'Yes, I do. Takakura-kun must be on the path of the elite.
''We'll meet again sometime.''
The power of alcohol is frightening and can easily break down one's rationale.
Especially the men. They are more excited about love-related matters than the ladies. I was caught in the middle of it.
He has been telling me for the past two years how much he likes me, saying that he likes Alina. As you can imagine, I was a difficult and swollen thing to deal with at the time, but I felt guilty, so I dealt with him with a wry smile on my face.
Hiu. I actually liked her!
'I know. I dumped you freshman year.'
It was Makoto Takane who screamed and held his chest. He too had dyed his hair a little and was making his college debut.
He is a good friend of Comet's and his face is bright red and he doesn't take his hand off the beer mug. I thought that a drunken and troublesome guy had come, but I decided to talk to him because I was overwhelmed by nostalgia.
'By the way, you used to date Ryuka, didn't you?
''Don't do that.''
''You broke up with her?''
'Ah! We broke up! Aaahhhh!'
'I can't do long distance or something!
I see. I felt a little sorry for you.
So it is! I'm single now!
'Why are you talking like you're divorced?'
'Hiwa! I love it!
'Shut up. I'm calling the police.
'd*mn it! Well, it's impossible. ......I was so scared. ......Hiwa, you've become even more beautiful. ......I was already scared. ......I asked you if you're from Venus. ......Wow, I gotta go to the bathroom. ......'
'Go on, go on. Don't come back.'
I love you!
'Oh, shut up.'
I am convinced today that there is no one more troublesome than a drunken person.
When I appealed to his refusal to have a conversation by covering one ear and drinking oolong tea, he finally got up and tried to go to the bathroom. But once again he looked back at me.
'I went to see Comet recently.
He became serious, as if all his previous antics had been a lie. He put his empty mug on the table and continued.
'Wake up early,' he said. Well, I slept soundly.
'It's been like that the whole time.'
'You still want to wait?'
The way he said it annoyed me, and it made my heart flutter.
I could see my own brow crease.
I was relieved. I guess that's what you mean when you make that face. He also said this to Comet. If you don't wake up, a beautiful woman will die alone.
I wonder who this beautiful woman is. I wonder where I can find such a stupid woman.
I don't know. But I don't think he's stupid.
'I usually can't stand it. I go crazy thinking of all the bad endings. It's not something anyone can just sit around waiting forever with their hands folded.
With that as his defining line, he ran for the restroom.
'He's a good guy, isn't he?
I chuckled and muttered.
'What? You remembered!
''You're talking too loud.''
Tsuru, who was so drunk that he forgot how loud he sounded, told me that I had remembered everything about the comet. She rolled her eyes and fell back.
I'm sorry! That means that the cultural festival and the first visit to ......!
'It's embarrassing just to think back on it.'
'Oh, ......, that's so ...... bad.'
'Stop crying. If you cry now, you'll shed black tears with your makeup.
'Evidently! I'll do my best! You just remembered that recently?''
About six months ago. Maybe it was the watch. I happened to see that watch I'd seen so many times in high school at a store I stopped at. And it was like a chain of visions of him blossoming.
This is probably the second time I've had that feeling. The first time was when my father died and all my memories before eighth grade came flooding back.
Looking back, I realize how unstable I am. That's why I thought he was such an unusual and amazing person to talk to someone with all the problems I had that day. I'm really embarrassed just to think back on it. He was always angry, always complaining. Just a child.
Thank you, Tsuru.
'Alina's thank you is very rare! Wow!
I could not thank her enough for being a good friend to me. This is too big a feeling to convey in just five words of gratitude. How can I express it?
'Oh, my God! What, what, what?
I hugged Tsuru tightly and muttered again. Is this the first time I hugged someone? I don't remember. Or maybe I forgot.
Thank you so much.
I wonder if they'll understand. Not with sound, but with my heart. I hope so.
If I could, I could wake him up.
I feel weird. Alina, you're too drunk.
'I don't want you to tell me.'