The evening classroom. Still in the middle of the after school assembly, however, I, Saginomiya Iori slumped down on my desk by the window in a corner of the room looking outside with a bored look on my face.
For some reason, my classmates were getting excited as if all of them had realised something fun. I guess it's natural since tomorrow is the day winter vacation starts. When you're not yet in the 3rd year of high school, you still get to look forward to long holidays, so it's normal. Well, both school and vacation is equally boring to me though.
The high school that i attend is a combined highschool. In short, you get to make some friends and stay with them throughout this six year period. For certain reasons, I skipped half of junior high and can thus be labeled a truant. I was also transferred into this school midway through junior high. From anyone's perspective, even mine, i would be considered extremely antisocial.
(TLC: Junior High = 7th,8th,9th years/secondary school, High school = 10th,11th,12th years/Junior College)
(ED: Combined high school = Junior High + High School)
While being a hikikomori during my junior high days, my parents would often yell "Go to school!" and "You will get kicked out of school if you skip too often!" many times. I didn't listen to my parents, and after being called to some tens of times of parent-teacher conferences, i wasn't expelled thanks to the wonders of compulsory education.
(ED: hikikomori: A shut-in. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hikikomori)
Because it's a very typical and orthodox high school, as long as you get passing marks, everything else is OK. That is just my pet theory though.
Like this, the truant managed to safely graduate junior high, thanks to getting pointlessly high marks on his tests.
"The escalator system is great." said I right after the school entrance ceremondy ended. I still think of it as a wise saying, even now that I'm in my 2nd year of high school.
After i became a high schooler, I did a 180° turn from the time i was in junior high, i would attend school dilligently every day. In response to my sudden change in conduct, a question indavertently arose within, and so they guess - "so you can get expelled in high school" - and in the following days, my favourite dishes that used to line the dining table slowly diminished.
The true answer to that question however, still remains a mystery.
Because I had skipped most of junior high due to various overlapping circumstances, I ended up not having made any friends. I think it might be due to the atmosphere i bring about. However, the main reason is probably the fact that i avoid most, if not all social interactions.
I, Saginomiya Iori, with mannerisms that donesn't seem to care to get involved at all, and previously a truant, got tagged with the worst label possible, a gloomy guy. Obviously, no one would voluntarily call out to me.
"The combination of the traits of gloomy and commushou is a super hybrid existence!! In other words, they just have not come to appreciate your godly calling. Be patient, your time has yet to come!!", is what i once consoled myself with, however, at the end of the second year after i said that in my room, I'm still in this situation.
Perhaps a tidy appearance would give me a refresing atmospehre. A set of glimmering teeth would probably also be good.
For those years where i skipped school, I had obtained the title of "Lonely male High School Student who Gets Ignored by Everyoned". It's what i got after all that happened in those 2 years.
At the moment, the class considers me a bookworm... and because I'm a bookworm, I am often alone in class doing my own thing. Although I can't say I'm dissatisfied with this status quo, it doesn't hurt meo r anyone else, and I'm already quite happy for the change in my image.
However, I've realised that this loner title can become a bad status when it comes to PE classes in high school.
The reason is simple. "Start warming up, make teams of two and do stretches!!", were the worst words that the PE teacher would shout out every time. I'm quite sure that paired stretching did not exist in junior high, but ever since we moved up to high school it started. I've even started hearing that line in my dreams and considered whether or not to wear earplugs during PE.
Why does it have to be pair stretching at high school? Are you picking a fight with loners? These questions would hold no importance to normal high schoolers apart from myself, who couldn't talk because of this and that; thus I have made up many excuses to skip. The loner I am has made it so that even my shadow is faint. As expected of a loner!
It seems the reason for the change to paired stretching was due to a suggestion my class' current PE teacher made. Since that day, once a month, a long nail is driven, full of fury, in to the stomach of a straw doll (voodoo).
Ocassionaly, I hear that the gym teacher had to take a leave due to adbominal pains, but that's probably because he has a sensitive stomach. Probably.
It's nothing like how it's written in manga and light novels; I lived through a school life that can't really be called glorious.
Put bluntly, I want to get my graduation certificate as soon as possible... I hate PE...
Giiiin, Goooon, Gaaaan, Goooon. (School Bell)
The sound of the chime that had changed just a little, resounded throughout the school. The condition of the chime is rather strange. A month ago, the higher-ups of this school had sent a notice stating it will be fixed soon, but it never was.
Don't be so stingy and just repair it...
"Hey! You all! Don't remove all the panels just because winter vacation is starting!! And if any of you dares to make light f the deadline for the homework... we'll have a parent-teacher conference. ... Since there's nothing else that you need to know, you may go!!"
The assembly was dismieed with a few informal words from the form teacher, Minase Seigi. Whether it was because of her informal way of speaking, or her friendliness, everyone calls the embarassing nicknamed, "Miss Justice!"
(Seigi = Justice)
At first, she would tell us "Please stop that, It's embarassing!! Call me properly!!" and argue with us, but lately, possibly because she gave up or it became troublesome, she now allows us to call her that.
The moment she mentioned the parent-teacher meetings, the whole class resounded in rejection that ranged between "no way..." and "I don't want that!!, except for one who snorted at that, me.
Parent-teacher meetings? Give me a break, I'm a veteran of parent-teacher mettings. Those words are nothing to me. You just have to "hang your head down in remorse," and wait for it to the end. Heed my words, I'm a veteran. I can't be wrong... probably..
While i was thinking about these kind of trivial matters, i somehow managed to listen through the last assembly before winter break officially starts and finished packing my things, ready to go home. That moment when we stood up to bow, the classroom door was violently opened and all our gazes turned towards the source of the disturbance.
"Gararararaa!!" (Sound of grating sliding door being opened)
An oddball ran straight for me as she shouted. This person who's coming at me is the only person who can communicate properly with me in the whole school, Mochizuki Kaede.
That energy of hers is seriously dangerous. It's like I'm red mantle-wielding matador while she's the bull. One must prepare for every scenario or something will for sure happen. She head-butted me right in my solar plexus, forcing all the air out of my lungs, as she had been doing just recently.
Her black hair hung down till her wast; she was so beautifull, the word attractive seemed to exist just to describe her face, her figure and her limbs were slender. She was also apart of the student council, thus becoming quite the popular person in school. It might be because she was worried about me being lonely, but she often comes over to see me. By the way, she's also a chilhood friend who's one year older than me.
It's not a very nice thing to say about someone, but it was these very actions of hers that hastened my transformation into a loner.
"Kaede... didn't I tell you that you don't have to force yourself to come see me?.. My status is different from the normal loners, rather, I'm more of a super loner.. Ah, wait, I was wrong...?! Wait a sec!! Don't hug me! This is the classroom! A classroom! It hurts, stop it! Everyone is looking at us!!"
It's actually rather frightening how used my class is to seeing this scene of me sweating while trying to break free from Kaede.
"But...isn't it fine? You used to call me "Kaede-nee-chan!!" Kaede-nee-chan!! and come hug me.. Nee-chan is so sad! Sigh... time is so cruel..."
Pouting her lips as she said those words, she started crying "Boo... hoo... hoo...".
I can see a bottle of eyedrops in her right hand, and she looks like she's really crying. Hmm? A bottle of eyedrops? As i thought about it ,something very similar to tears flowed down her cheeks.
As kaeded pretended to cry, I let ouf a sight and hoisted her up with my hands, against her will. As if that action became a fire-lighting spark, the whole class seemed to suddenly surge with hostile anger and intent.
Those piercing gazes all landed upon my body. I who was completely and utterly fed up with this, placed my hands on my head, while the culprits of these gazes, Kaede, seemed to not notice those gazes. There wasn't a trace of shame on her.
By the way, because she speaks to me in such a friendly way despite my reputation as a truant, some people decide to call her a "holy saint who would even talk to a truant".
Both teachers and students of this school.. you think too highly of her...
"And also, Io-kun, I've told you many times, but glasses don't suit you at all, you know? I can't see your face behind your glasses and mask!! It's kind of a waste since you're pretty good looking..."
Pursing her lips and knitting her brows in displeasure at my mask and glasses, she stretched her hands out to take them off.
“… Why does it matter? I can wear whatever I want.”
As i said so, i brused away Kaede's hand which was reaching towards my face.
It's been 1 year since we started arguing like this constantly. I guess people get used to things.
As pointed out by Kaeded, I wear nerdy glasses and a mask every day. It isn't because I have poor eyesight, but on the way back after the entrance ceremony, I just happened to find these plain glasses which people wouldn't give a second glance to, and swore to live quietly using them. It doesn't feel right i I don't wear them now.
What's with the swearing you ask? Isn't it obvious? When the boys who used to skip school isn't plain... "Uwaaa! The truant Saginomiya changed his image!! Disgusting, though her's seriously good-looking!", wouldn't that happen? I didn't have any other choic than to lay low.
Hmm?? Chicken? I don’t find anything wrong with that.
I somehow feel that i used to be called "cool!" and "handsome!", but that's probably an error on my part, since humans tend to remember things so they are convenient for them. Wait a sec, why did i ever skip school in the first place?.. not that it matters now.
For some reason, Kaede is always trying to take off my essential-for-junior-high-planness items, the glasses and mask. It would've been okay if she was just going to take them off, but she would so while saying, "I'll brush them to bits!!". Well, I've managed to save them every time.
"well, i guess it can't be helped... but you must take them off at least once before i graduate, and skip school together with me, okay? Promise me, cross your heart and hope to die? It's a promise! Don't you dare forget!"
The moment kaede pointed that finger, it was so full of vigour you could ask, "Is that a whoosh sound effect there?" In response to her endlress prattling, the overwhelmed me simply tried to look the part, while ignoring most of it and being carefull to not ler her notice i wasn't paying attention.
“………Hey, just so you know, don’t consider my silence as affirmation; I didn’t even nod or say yes. This is ridiculous……eh? Kaede, your friends from the student council came.”
Two girls and two boys with studen council badges were standing in the doorwar. As usual, they were both amazed by Kaede coming to my class. They didn't use to pick Kaede up, however, she once dragged me home saying "Let's go home." I guess she skipped out on a meeting. Afterwards, they always came to pick her up.
The girls would say, "You're disturbing Saginomiya, so let's go back to the student council now! Back to work!" Well said! They would sometimes speak to me, and are very gentle people, but with anyone other than Kaede, i basically only reply "Yes", "ok", "no" and "sorry"... or rather, that's all i manage to say. I'm a commushou, making small talk is a very high hurdle for a loner.
Well, although they are basically good people, I think they don't like a certain someone all that much.
I digress, but the members of the student council are elected through student votes. Because of that, the male members of the student council have pretty faces and get a lot of support from the female students.
Ah, the shrill voice at that time was truly annoying.
And because of this, he seems to have some confidence ins his appearance. "What is Mochizuki-san doing with such a gloomy guy... she's better off with me..." he spat.
This is why the good-looking men...
That very person stayed in the doorway clicking his tongue, looking full of himself and was very irritating.
That guy, is he not salty enough? I'll replace the sugar in the studen council room with salt the next time he drinks coffee. I'm still pretty nice...
The girl who had come to call Kaede back was about to step out of the classroom and at that moment, every one was enveloped in a mysterious light.
Being confronted with these unfathomable events, I let out a surprised sound. At the same time, I couldn't hear my voice any longer. Alll of us, the teachers and students, without leaving anyone out, disappeared.
~Guest Edited by Ydobon