When I had arrived home after releasing Shina Hayashi from her somewhat imprisonment in the storage closet I couldn't help but imagine her smiling face. Each time I laid in bed hugging my pillow to my face I imagined her smile. It was a beautiful smile that she seemingly showed only to me, that is how I felt. This is how I ended up thinking about Shina Hayashi through the rest of the night till I fell asleep in bed.
Finally when the second day of the new semester arrived. I awoke from my be bed with my hair sticking out from all sorts of directions. I took it upon myself to fix it in the bathroom after refreshing myself with water. Cleaning up my appearance, I yawned loudly in front of the mirror. My head was still swirling around with thoughts about Shina Hayashi. I wonder how she'll greet me in the morning, today.
After grabbing all the necessities I needed for school and stuffing them into my bag I head out the front door of my apartment. It was not an uncommon sight to see high schoolers living apart from their parents in Japan anyway. I was no exception. Greeting the people I passed by on the streets I arrived at school after taking the 30 minute train.
The front gate of the school was being checked by the teachers for any uniform violation, but seeing as how I had none I just walked straight past them without so much as a complaint from them. The sun was shining too brightly today I couldn't quite handle the bright rays. I squinted my eyes each time I looked up at the blue sky above me. My earphones were playing music as they were plugged in my ears.
Shina Hayashi, I wonder if she has already arrived at school. Perhaps I am too curious about her. Something is definitely wrong with me. Is this truly love? I still don't completely understand.
Once I reached the front entrance of the school which had millions of metal cupboards aligned within I grabbed my shoes from my shoe locker. The cupboards were used as shoe lockers to hold our indoor shoes for the school. It was a tradition in Japan to have both a set of indoor and outdoor shoes for use so that you could switch them out and not dirty the floors of the school.
Putting on the shoes, I tap my foot in so that the shoes don't fall off and head into the hallway to the classroom. Just as I step out of the shoe locker area I spot her. It's Shina Hayashi. She picks up her own shoes from her shoe locker, but I notice she is scowling unpleasantly at the shoes as she looks inside. Don't tell me? Could it be that the girls from before did something to her shoes? They seriously aren't even kids anymore, I'm surprised they're so desperate to bully her. I want to reprimand those girls who seemed to be bullying Shina, but...it is none of my business. She also did not ask for my help. I also hate bothersome things so it's best if I don't get involved, but what is this feeling in my chest?
My right hand moves to grip my left side chest as I hold the clothes they become slightly wrinkled.
"What is this?" I mumbled to myself.
Taking a look at Shina, she seems to be trying to put on the shoes but before she does so she flips her indoor shoes upside down. When she does, from the inside of the shoes I see several thumbtacks come tumbling out of her shoe. She uses her finger to get what appears to be the rest out of the shoe. So those girls did indeed do something to her shoe and whats more it was something way too common in bullying!
My heart thumps an unpleasant sound, it wasn't one of happiness or the attraction I was feeling for Shina but something else. It was a hot feeling that began to well in my chest. It felt as though I felt guilty and angry for Shina. Guilty for not doing anything but watching and angry at the girls who bullied her. What could she have ever possibly done to have the girls bully her?
I couldn't take it any longer. My hands gripped into balls of fury as I walked up towards Shina from where I was standing in the hall. I lifted my face up and took off my earphones looking straight into her face. She seemed to have noticed my feet standing in front of her as she was still looking down. She turned her face up and looked at me. Our faces were a bit too close so I took a few steps back. My heart was racing.
"What happened?" I asked.
She gave me a look of surprise but didn't say anything. Instead of talking about the thumbtacks in her shoes she quickly put them on and tried to pass by me. However, I wouldn't let her get through so easily. I grabbed her left hand with my right and pulled her to a stop. She turned and looked at my eyes, studying me for a reason. I said nothing to her and just stared back. We, both, scanned each other for a reaction of some sort.
"Do not talk to me" she said and then turned around swiping her hand away from my grasp.
My heart stopped cold. What the hell was that? Here I was worrying for her and she told me not to talk to her! We talked yesterday and now it has returned back to what seemed to be like after yesterday's exchange! She is too strange, I seriously cannot figure her out.
She walked to the classroom and I followed behind, instead of catching up to her and asking her again I just plugged back my earphones and pretended as though nothing happened. At that instant, the image of her crying flashed into my mind. I held my hand to my mouth hiding my expression as I thought about her reason for crying. If she was used to being locked in the storage closet, did that mean each time she cried like that? She truly is incomprehensible.
Entering the usual classroom I sat in my usual seat and next to me Shina also sat down. She did not turn her head to me or speak a single word to me. I, too, did not say anything to her. My music was playing classical music as I took out a book from my bag to read. Faintly I could hear the sound of my other classmates talking behind my music. I couldn't really concentrate on my new book so I took this opportunity to see what the current class was discussing.
I strain my ears to pick up the whispers of my fellow classmates while lowering the volume of the music player. Certain parts caught my interest. The ones that mentioned Shina Hayashi.
Several of the female classmates in the classroom were discussing Shina, loudly enough for everyone to hear but no one paid any attention to them, they didn't want to get involved. They seemed to be talking smack about Shina, although I still couldn't understand why. The only information that I really got from their gossip was that Shina was apparently being hated by the entire female population of the school. How stupid and trivial it must be to hate on a single person. Before I could hear more of what they were discussing the teacher arrived.
Classes went on as usual, that is until science class came around. KoiBane-Sensei was incredibly persistent with me. He pulled me to the corner of the classroom and began to bombard me with various questions.
"So how did it go yesterday?"
"What, can't tell me? Come on, Yukimura-kun! Let me hear your experience!"
"Sensei... It isn't what you think."
I sigh while facepalming myself with my hand. Sensei gives me a look as if mocking me.
"Sensei, please your face is too close." I push away KoiBane-Sensei's face and take out the storage key from my pocket. "Sensei, I seem to have forgotten to return these." I hand away the keys to KoiBane-Sensei. He takes the keys from me happily but continues to pester me.
"Well, well, well~ Yukimura-kun, I never expected you to be the type to use the storage closet for such deeds!"
"That's not how it is Sensei..." I was beginning to get irritated.
For the rest of the class period, KoiBane-Sensei continued to bombard me with questions however each time I avoided answering them directly. I will need to clear things up later at lunch and I could also ask questions about Shina Hayashi's bullying problem.
I feel as though something inside me is changing. It isn't like me to worry this much about someone. Still, for some reason, I feel that I must do this. I need to clear the confusion in my mind. I need to stop these overwhelming thoughts of this one girl. Going through each class, I waited patiently until lunchtime to visit KoiBane-Sensei.