One Month to Figure out my Future
I woke up in a better mood. I had already forgotten the discussions I had with my parents and Hayato. I never want to hold grudges.
With the speed of a snail I headed for the kitchen to have breakfast.
“Good morning Miyo.”
“Good morning to you too, big brother. Feeling better?”
“Yes, thank you. I’m all right.”
“Today I have an exam so I’ll be leaving a bit earlier to make sure I get to school in time.”
This meant I would have been able to have a peaceful breakfast.
“Sure, no problem.”
“Take care of your club president. I’ll be off then, see you.”
“Yeah, later Miyo.”
Once I also got to school, I saw Megumi with other girls all around her. As soon as she noticed me, her face became all serious and the other girls started staring at me too. It was really unpleasant but I passed by them as if I didn’t even see them. How can someone be so fixated on being the center of the attention?
Satoshi was already in the classroom while Rihoko’s desk was still empty. At first I didn’t really think about it too much, but when class started and Rihoko was yet to arrive, I checked if there were any messages from her. I tried to be stealthy so that the teacher wouldn’t notice me using the smart phone during class. Indeed there was a message from Rihoko: “Sorry Satoshi, today I can’t go to school, a problem came up. You can go home this afternoon. I’m really sorry.”
I took a piece of paper and wrote: “Do you know what happened to Rihoko?”
I crumpled it up and threw it to Hayato. He immediately grabbed it with a lot of curiosity. He wrote something on the same piece of paper and tossed it back to me.
It just said: “No.”
I took another piece of paper: “I’m sorry for yesterday, I was a bit tired and I overreacted for no reason.”
Hayato replied with: “Don’t worry. You should go visit her today.”
Was I really willing to commit myself to such a difficult task? Furthermore, I didn’t even know where she lived. The weird thing is that, I was actually considering that idea. Normally I would have just thought: “Not a chance.”
“Perhaps Narukami and Kamizaki have something to share with us since they have been exchanging what I hope are important notes related to math problems.”
I can’t believe it, how did she see us? It’s always the same story with our math teacher, she is basically equipped with eagle eyes. Hayato and I usually don’t pay much attention to her class, I usually go really well in math so I don’t need to be always paying attention, while Hayato just hates math with all his heart.
Regardless, we didn’t reply and this got the teacher even angrier.
“To Miss. Kamuro’s office, now!”
Hayato tried to loosen up the situation. “Come on teach, we didn’t do anything that serious.”
“I’m not concerned by only what you did today, but what you have been doing for months! But, if you think you are right, please solve this problem for me.” And she offered Hayato her chalk.
Should I help him? It’s not going to work but whatever: “I guess it shouldn’t matter which one of us two solves it right? May I?”
Yes, I should have stayed quiet…
“That’s enough! Out!”
We walked outside with all the eyes of the other classmates on us, I didn’t really care much because I never talked to most of them.
Today I was the one who started it all, so I tried to apologies to Hayato: “I’m sorry, I should have waited after the class was over.”
“Don’t apologize, if only I was as smart as you are, I could have solved that problem.”
“Hayato don’t say that, you that’s not the point. We shouldn’t have been into that situation to begin with. Now let’s go to Miss. Kamuro so we can get this over with.”
Once again I was in front of that door knocking.
“Narukami and Kamizaki, aren’t you two supposed to have class right now?”
Hayato decided to speak first: “About that, we may have been kicked out of the classroom.”
Her face had a really disappointed face but strangely enough, she didn’t seem too angry.
We came in and sat down; it was starting to feel really familiar hat office.
“So let me guess, you drove Miss. Katsuragi crazy?”
This time I was the one replying: “Sort of.”
“Come on guys, just tell me what happened.”
As you would expect we just told her the truth.
“Miss. Katsuragi already complained of you two doing this sort of stuff during her class. Look, I don’t need to tell you that you did everything wrong today, you are smart enough to figure it out by yourself. Can I trust you learned the lesson this time?”
Hayato and I answered in chorus: “Yes.”
Next she looked at me and said: “Good. By the way what did you have to tell Narukami? Was it just some stupid nonsense or there was something more?”
“I was wondering why Rihoko wasn’t at school today, you know, with all the stuff we have to do, I was surprised not to see her.”
“I see, that’s actually unexpected. You don’t have any news about her?”
“She just wrote a text to me saying she had things to take care of.”
Miss. Kamuro started acting as if she was deeply thinking about something. Then she locked her eyesight with mine.
“Kamizaki, would you mind paying Sonoda a visit this afternoon?”
“But if she had things to do, I doubt she will be home.”
“I’m almost certain that, it won’t be the case.”
“Can I ask you why?”
“Women’s intuition I guess.”
“I don’t even know her address and I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
“No problem I have her address, consider this as an official assignment and punishment from your teacher. I will need a full report tomorrow.”
Punishment? All right Hayato, now it’s payback time for when you plotted against me with the helpo of my sister.
“I think Hayato should be punished too.”
Hayato slowly turned his head towards me as if he wanted to say “I hate you”. I mean we both deserved a punishment, it was the right thing to do.
“Yes, don’t worry about him, I have something planned for Narukami too. For now, I think we are done. You should go back to you beloved math class.”
Before leaving Miss. Kamuro handed me a piece of paper with Rihoko’s home address and then we left.
Once finished the last class of the day, I quickly set Rihoko’s house as my destination on my smart phone navigator and started walking. I needed to also take the underground but I usually really enjoyed it. While on the train, I was trying to come up with a proper way to justify my sudden appearance at her place. “Hi it’s me I was wondering what happened?” No, too nosy. “Hi, Miss. Kamuro told me to check on you.” No, almost I could believe it.
I was still thinking about what to say when I finally got in front of the building where she lived. It was a fairly new complex since it looked in pretty good conditions.
I looked for Rihiko’s surname and dialed the corresponding apartment number.
I heard from the speaker: “Yes?”
“It’s me Satoshi.”
There was silence for quite a few seconds.
“Sa… Satoshi, why you are here?”
“I just wanted to check on you, is everything all right?”
“Yeah, nothing really concerning.”
“Actually, Miss. Kamuro also wanted me to come. But if everything is all right I guess I’m off. Sorry for bothering you.”
“No wait Satoshi… you can come up.”
“I mean you came all the way here, it’s the minimum I can do.”
I heard the building’s door getting opened electrically. Then Rihoko added a few instructions: “Fifth floor, apartment 6.”
Of course I took the elevator, which was really cool compared to the one in my building. I still wasn’t sure why I agreed to come up.
I found apartment number 6 on the fifth floor and knocked. I wasn’t even done knocking when Rihoko opened up the door and dragged me in.
“Are you sure it’s ok for me to come in?”
“Yes, make yourself at home. I already saw your place, it’s just fair that now you see mine.”
Rihoko didn’t really feel as spontaneous as usual.
“I can even offer you tea, not only water.”
Yeah that time it wasn’t really ideal to offer her water, but what could have I done? I hate even the idea of getting close to the stove. The cooking talent wasn’t evenly distributed in my family, it all went to Miyo.
“I can have some tea thanks.”
I couldn’t have said no, I was there and I had to play along even if tea wasn’t really my favorite thing.
After a couple of minutes, that I spent looking around like if I was at an exposition, Rihoko came back with two tea cups.
“Sugar, lemon or milk?”
Wow she was really well prepared.
Some good old milk can mask the tea flavor that I usually really dislike.
We started drinking; neither of us was talking and it really felt like the first time we met.
Finally Rihoko decided to start a conversation. Wait am I happy to talk? Well, it’s better than the usual awkward silence.
“So, how did it go today at school?”
“Not great, Hayato and I made Miss. Katsuragi a bit angry.”
“What did you do?”
“Well, we were sort of communicating during class.”
She didn’t reply so I had to keep the conversation alive: “If I may ask, what happened today? I mean I don’t want to sound nosy, but I was surprised since we have a lot to do for the club.”
“You are right I’m sorry, it’s just…”
She clearly didn’t want to talk, it was probably something not really fun.
“You don’ have to tell me if you don’t feel like it.”
“If Miss. Kamuro sent you, she might be concerned about this situation, so I should let you now.”
So there was actually a serious reason why Miss. Kamuro wanted me to check on her…
“It was all my fault.”
She was looking down to her knees and almost started crying. I have seen this girl crying, way too many times.
“Why, what did you do?”
“Yesterday, I was out for shopping and I came back later than expected. My father was at home and he was expecting me to cock. I have been cocking for him since my mother died, but this time I was late and he got really mad. He said that he expects to be treated well since he works hard all the week. He was really angry and I felt so bad I couldn’t put myself together, so I skipped school.”
What an asshole! How can you get so mad just for that?
“Did he do something to you? Did he hurt you?”
“No, I’m fine. He just smashed a couple of plates.”
“Does this happen frequently? That’s why Miss. Kamuro was concerned about you?”
“Yes, ever since my mum died.”
“Was he drunk or what?”
“I think so… Satoshi you shouldn’t get involved in this. I’m telling you because Miss. Kamuro would want to know but this is my problem.”
It would have been great if I had the power to solve her problem just like that, but unfortunately it wasn’t the case. Regardless, she was in a bad familiar condition and that was the subject of my concern.
“There is nothing wrong in asking for help, sure there is not much that I can do, but it’s always possible to figure something out.”
“I can’t let you, it’s really complicated you can’t understand.”
There wasn’t really much to understand: her father a drinking addict with anger problems who was still loved by her daughter because he was the only thing she had left in this world.
“You think tomorrow you will come to school?”
“Yes, I promise.”
“Ok, I‘d better be leaving now. Take care.”
We both went to the door.
“Thanks for coming and listening to my problems, I guess you are used to it by now.”
“I think you could say that, don’t worry. See you tomorrow.”
I went back home still using my navigator because I already forgot how I got to Rihoko’s house.
My house was still empty and when Miyo came back… : “WHAAAAT, you are already back? Again?
What happened this time?”
“Hi Miyo, welcome back, hope you had a great day. How did the exam go?”
“Yeah good I guess, now you have to tell me why you are not with Rihoko.”
“No need to worry, she simply didn’t come to school.”
“Seems like she is trying to avoid you. Are you sure you didn’t do anything to upset her?”
“I didn’t do anything wrong, as a matter of fact, I even went to her place to check if she was doing all right. I also have to specify that this was Miss. Kamuro’s idea.”
“You first bring a girl home and then you go to a girl’s house? Almost too good o be true.”
Miyo is so funny, as usual. To be clear, I was sarcastic.
“And how she was doing?”
“Well not that great, but I’m not sure I should tell you, it’s some pretty personal stuff.”
“No problem. When dinner is ready you can tell me everything.”
“Hey did you even listen to what I said??”
And, just like that, she disappeared in her room.