It’s the second day of the trip. I woke up to find both Kenzo and Tomonaga already awake. They had already taken a shower, so I did as well and then all three of us headed down for breakfast. Again, our group was eating together. Sitting on one side of the table were, me, Kenzo, and Tomonaga, and on the other side were Yukawa and Nozomi.
NOZOMI- ‘So, it’s Kyoto university museum today, right?’
YUKAWA- ‘That’s right!’
NOZOMI- ‘You know, I have an idea. To improve our productivity, how about we all go for different stuff.’
KENZO- ‘That’s a great idea!’
TOMONAGA- ‘Hold on, what does that even mean?’
‘Yeah, what do you mean Nozomi?’
NOZOMI- ‘I mean like two people should look at paintings and two people on sculptures, like this.’
TOMONAGA- ‘So you’re suggesting we should form subgroups.’
NOZOMI- ‘Yeah, that. That way we can observe even more interesting stuff.’
YUKAWA- ‘That’s not a bad idea.’
NOZOMI- ‘Right Chizuru? So how about you with Akio?’
Woah, she just said it so directly without any hesitation.
YUKAWA- ‘Hmm… sure.’
TOMONAGA- ‘And the rest of us? There’s three of us left, will we leave one alone?’
NOZOMI- ‘Nah! All three of us will be in a subgroup.’
TOMONAGA- ‘So, basically you’re just dividing the group in two. You’re unbelievable.’
KENZO- ‘Anyway it’s settled! We’ll leave in ten minutes.’
After finishing our breakfast, we went back to our room and regrouped outside the hotel in ten minutes. As discussed, I and Yukawa were sub-grouped so as we arrived at the Kyoto University Museum, we left the others and went alone.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve been alone with Yukawa. It’s a bit exciting and intimidating at the same time. Now that I’m aware of my feelings towards her, keeping calm around her is even more difficult than usual.
She wasn’t wearing her glasses, so I could gaze directly into her sparkling blue eyes. She wore a black sleeveless top over shorts and sneakers, with a hat on her head, she was looking extra pretty today. I was wearing a blue sweatshirt over black pants and white shoes.
First, both of us looked around at some artifacts. There were all kinds of ceramic and textile. The design definitely looked ancient but they were still in pretty good condition, they must take very good care of these items here. Which only makes sense, I mean they are considered national treasures.
Kyoto University Museum is the oldest museum in all of Japan, it holds some of the most ancient and invaluable relics. I guess visiting the museums wasn’t a bad idea. Aside from doing normal research, we are getting to see some of the most historical remnants of a long-gone era. It’s like living through a different time. And not just one, this place is filled with antics from so many different times. All these forms of art, remains of history clustered together in one place. It is like heaven for a lover of art.
Wait, is that it? Is Yukawa into the arts? Come to think of it, my painting piqued her interest during the art class. But then why did she pick science for her major. Maybe it’s something like a hobby for her. In any case, I at least got something to talk about now. It’s almost time to go and I haven’t even said a single word to her.
‘Hey Takase, come here.’
I went to her side, she was looking at what looked like some really old mechanical equipment.
YUKAWA- ‘What do you think?’
‘Nothing, just isn’t it amazing?’
‘I’m not following.’
TOMONAGA- ‘Hey you two! We’re going back, let’s go!’
We couldn’t complete our conversation, thanks to Tomonaga. But what was she talking about? What was so amazing about that old piece of technology. I’ll try to ask her about it later.
We went back, on our way back, Yukawa was with Nozomi and I was with Kenzo. He did ask me if things went well. I could just lie to spare me a lecture but I knew he would find out from Nozomi anyway, so I told him the truth. Which then unsurprisingly enough, ticked him off. Apparently, they also had a little argument with Tomonaga. Before going to our rooms, Nozomi and Kenzo stopped him for a discussion. I left them alone and went to take a shower so I don’t know what exactly happened between them.
But later when he and Kenzo returned to the room, he didn’t seem in a good mood. Both of them took turns to take shower and later, we went to the restaurant again to eat our dinner as a group.
YUKAWA- ‘I had a blast today, Kyoto University Museum really has one of the best collections.’
TOMONAGA- ‘Glad to hear you had fun, but we’ll need to focus a little more on the researching tomorrow.’
NOZOMI- ‘Are you kidding? We aren’t going to the museums tomorrow as well.’
KENZO- ‘This is a school trip. We’re here to enjoy ourselves.’
NOZOMI- ‘That’s right, which is why tomorrow we’ll go to an amusement park.’
Apparently, at the end of our day out today, Kenzo and Nozomi had a discussion that went something like this:
NOZOMI- ‘What the hell is he doing? On the first day, he just kept saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’, and on the second he didn’t say anything at all, is he even trying?’
KENZO- ‘That guy’s a lost cause. I think unless we give him a really good push, he won’t be able to crack out of his skull.’
NOZOMI- ‘So, what should we do? We already tried giving them some alone time!’
KENZO- ‘Although we have rejected it in our previous discussion, maybe we should try the amusement park.’
NOZOMI- ‘But doesn’t he have motion sickness?’
KENZO- ‘We’ll try to avoid rides; I have a plan we can execute in the water pool.’
NOZOMI- ‘And if he still doesn’t open up…’
KENZO- ‘We’ll lock him and Yukawa…’
BOTH- ‘alone in a room and leave.’
It’s a really scary thought. And knowing those two, they might actually do it. I just happen to know about their secret plan by complete chance. I overheard them when they were discussing it in the corridor.
TOMONAGA- ‘Are you kidding me? Do you think this is a picnic? We’re students of St. Stephen’s international school! We have to spend each minute, each second to improve ourselves. With that kind of thinking you won’t get very far. You’ll fall to the bottom ranks.’
KENZO- ‘Ah… Everyone here except for you is a topper. Do you really think you’re in any position to criticize our methods?’
TOMONAGA- ‘Huh? Is that so? You’re telling me to mind my position? You think I’m lower than all of you?’
KENZO- ‘It’s not what I think, it is a fact.’
TOMONAGA- ‘Facts? I’m surprised Ishiguro, you’re supposed to be the top student of the school, yet you’re so dumb! Both of you are using that so genius brains of yours to help his worthless ass!’
He pointed his figure at me as he said that. I had no idea what got into him, or why he was talking like that about me.
NOZOMI- ‘Shun! Shut up!’
TOMONAGA- ‘Why should I? and you? Rank 5 Nozomi Matsui, as smart as you are, a topper. Even you can’t figure out something so simple. Do you see anyone? notice anyone around you? Do you even try to understand, how they feel? Anyone other than that failure of a topper.’
KENZO- ‘That’s enough Tomonaga!’
TOMONAGA- ‘Get your hands off me. I have no intention of staying a part of this stupid drama skit anyway. I’m leaving this group.’
Tomonaga left the table, his dinner unfinished. In his entire rampage, he mostly targeted me. Why? I get the idea that he doesn’t like me, that feeling is mutual anyway. But this? It wasn’t just not liking, it was like he hated me. For what reason? It was him who always insulted me, I never even said anything offensive to him. Then just why did he hate me so much?
‘What got into him?’
NOZOMI- ‘Oh, don’t mind him, he’s just incredibly serious about stuff.’
‘It didn’t look to me like, he was so serious about the research, he was only lashing out at me. What did I do to offend him?’
KENZO- ‘You didn’t do anything. It’s just as Nozomi said, forget about him.’
YUKAWA- ‘It’s my fault, isn’t it?’
YUKAWA- ‘I joined your group out of the blue and started making all the decisions. He must’ve hated that, he might have something else planned’
NOZOMI- ‘It’s not like that, Chizuru, none of us feel that way. As I said he’s just too serious. Don’t mind him.’
YUKAWA- ‘But, he left the group…’
KENZO- ‘Don’t worry about it, he has enough research material to submit a solo report. And it’s not like we kicked him out, he left on his own accords.’
‘But he definitely had a problem with me…’
NOZOMI- ‘Oh, shut up you two. Just stop with the negativity. It’s a school trip, we gotta enjoy ourselves. Because an opportunity like this won’t come again.’
KENZO- ‘She is absolutely right! So, are we all in agreement about the amusement park?’
YUKAWA- ‘Huh? We’re still going? But Tomonaga has left the group.’
KENZO- ‘Yeah, and he was the only one against it, so I guess yes.’
I didn’t say anything. I decided to go along with anything they’d decide as I’ve been doing until now. I was still confused at Tomonaga’s behavior. But the fact that he hates me does explain everything else he did until now at least.
After finishing our dinner, we all went back to our rooms. We found out that Tomonaga had switched rooms with someone else. The new guy was in the same group as the fourth one living with us until now, so they agreed instantly. He had taken all his belongings and left without a word.
Back in our room, neither I nor Kenzo mentioned him. We brushed our teeth, took our baths, and went to bed, without ever discussing what happened.
The morning broke and with it, we woke up. As usual, the other guys in the room woke up before me. Kenzo had already taken a shower and was getting ready to go for breakfast. I took a shower and brushed my teeth and joined him soon after.
Unlike before, now the group of four of us was sitting on our usual spot. I didn’t ask but it didn’t seem like any of them had contacted Tomonaga either. I didn’t even saw him. I guess it was really him who was in the wrong. Freaking out like that, without any good reason, he really was a freak show.
After having our breakfast, we went to an amusement park as planned. Since it’s a hot day, we first went to the water pool. Which meant, the girls would be in their swimsuits. Which meant, our pervy friend here would have trouble controlling himself. And he showed no sign of failing my expectations.
KENZO- ‘Akio! Am I in heaven?’
‘Not yet but you might get there if you don’t control yourself.’
KENZO- ‘Control me? What do you mean by that? I’m totally in control of myself.’
‘If you are then would you stop staring at girls?’
KENZO- ‘I’m sorry that isn’t something I can help.’
‘Like hell, you’re in control!’
NOZOMI- ‘What are you boys still doing out here? Let’s go in the water.’
After getting changed Nozomi and Yukawa came out, also in their swimsuits. This time even my heart skipped a beat. Looking at her white smooth skin. I left a gasp. But this behavior of mine was completely overshadowed in the presence of Kenzo, whose mouth remained open for the next few seconds as his nose bleed.
KENZO- ‘We were waiting for you two, of course. My dear… friend Yukawa and my sweet Nozomi.’
YUKAWA- ‘Huh? Now, why are you getting so worked up, geez! Let’s go.’
KENZO- ‘As you command!’
What a pervert!
We all went into the pool and played volleyball. In the first round, it was boys vs girls, in which we lost terribly, all thanks to the lack of focus of somebody who was more focused on the opponents than the ball. In the second round, we decided to have a fairer distribution of players. I was the one who suggested the idea because I was the one who was at the most disadvantage due to my team. But apparently, Nozomi and Kenzo thought of this as me trying to get in a team with Yukawa. I think that because they both instantly decided that they’ll be in one team. Kenzo seemed extremely happy about it. It might just be what he had planned, the plan that he was talking about with Nozomi before.
Before the beginning of round two. Nozomi came to me and praised me for finally taking the initiative. Even though it wasn’t intentional, I ended up playing together with Yukawa. My intention was only to shake off the useless companion I had, who was actually more than just happy for me, he was so grateful his eyes got teary with happiness. I didn’t understand if his happiness was for me getting in a team with Yukawa or him in a one with Nozomi.
NOZOMI- ‘Here we go!’
The match was pretty one-sided. Now that the defective part was in Nozomi’s team, she was at a clear disadvantage. Her teammate was more interested in her than the game. So, they lost horribly. And the individual score was now 2,1,1,0 for Yukawa, Nozomi, me, and Kenzo respectively.
For the decisive battle, they decided that the ones with the lowest score will pay for the food. This meant that if my team won it’ll be 3,1,2,0, so only Kenzo will have to pay, but if their team won, it’ll be 2,2,1,1, so both Kenzo and I’ll have to pay. But that wasn’t the issue. Nozomi wasn’t satisfied with the punishment so she suggested that the loser would have to dive from the highest ramp and they all agreed. That’s something I’d like to avoid. And even if it wasn’t for that I’d like to win in my first match with Yukawa as a partner.
Oh shit! I was lost in my thoughts and the ball was heading my way. It’s in between me and Yukawa but it’s closer to me, I still have to thrust my body to reach it. Jump Akio, or you’ll have to jump from the dive!
My eyes were on the ball, as I thrust myself in the direction it was heading, I used my right hand to bounce it back, but that wasn’t the only thing I touched. On my other hand, I felt a soft touch. The smooth skin on a slender shoulder, my hand was on Yukawa’s shoulder and I was in the air. I didn’t notice until I landed, landed on her. We both fell in the water with me on top of her. This sight was enough to distract both of them from the ball. They didn’t even try to touch it, they were too focused on the sudden dramatic development of my slow as hell romantic ride.
My mind was in a state of shock. There was water in between but I was on top of her, I was touching her. My left hand was touching her back just below her shoulder, her eyes directly looking into mine. Her deep blue eyes, from this close, looked like gems in the ocean. Her face, directly in front of me. Our lips, so close, our bodies, just a few centimeters apart. I could feel her warmth, her smell, it was so nice. This was the first time I had ever been this close to a girl. My heart was beating so fast I thought it’d burst. Even in the water, I could hear its beating. The beating of my heart and hers. Her heart beating, her breathing I could hear it. It was like all my senses were razer sharped. Yet my mind was more frozen than ever. Looking at her face, her deep eyes, her flowing hair, made me lose my mind. The touch of her skin, her warmth, it all felt so good. I couldn’t feel anything else. For me, it was like time had frozen at that moment.
I came back to my sense the moment we touched the ground, and now more than ever before I was embarrassed. This time even I’d admit I was freaking the hell out of myself. I immediately tried to get stand up. She fell below me so she had to follow after me, but she stood up soon after as well.
My face was red, my mind messed up. This was much more than a normal Yukawa case. I couldn’t bring myself to look at her. But I tried. From the corner of my eye, I saw her face, it was red as well. Both of us were embarrassed out of our minds about what happened. But the first one to have the courage to speak was her.
YUKAWA- ‘Hrr… So, we won! Now Ishiguro has to pay for lunch and jump from the ramp.’
KENZO- ‘Oo, I’ll jump from anywhere you like, after all my friend Akio here has made such a big jump.’
NOZOMI- ‘Didn’t know you were so bold, Akio!’
‘It’s not what you think!’
YUKAWA- ‘It was just an accident!’
KENZO- ‘It looked to me like he jumped straight for you.’
NOZOMI- ‘That’s right! He didn’t aim for the ball; the ball was coming from in front of him.’
‘I couldn’t jump in the direction it was coming from, I had to jump to where it was going.’
KENZO- ‘And it’s not just him, Yukawa jumped into his arms as well.’
YUKAWA- ‘I was just going for the ball, have you forgotten about the game.’
KENZO- ‘Have we now?’
NOZOMI- ‘I think we should give them a rest.’
KENZO- ‘Yeah, right.’
NOZOMI- ‘So, Kenzo. Go and jump!’
He jumped screaming and later we changed and went to get something to eat, Kenzo had to pay obviously. And after that, we walked around a bit to get the food settled and then enjoyed few rides. They did anyway, I was mostly busy keeping the food inside.
YUKAWA- ‘You’re such a scaredy-cat, Takase!’
‘If anything, it’s you guys who are monsters, how can anyone do this smiling?’
NOZOMI- ‘Still I didn’t expect you to vomit three times.’
KENZO- ‘He has motion sickness, remember?’
‘Merciless monsters, you knew and still forced me to come.’
YUKAWA- ‘Maybe cotton candy will cheer you up, you guys want some?’
NOZOMI- ‘Yeah, sure!’
KENZO- ‘Yes, please.’
YUKAWA- ‘Ok, then I’ll go get some.’
Yukawa went to the nearby stall to get the cotton candy, and as soon as she was out of hearing distance, I was ambushed.
KENZO- ‘Dude, what are you doing? No girl will like you if you act so pathetic.’
NOZOMI- ‘Why would you vomit in front of her?’
‘It’s not like I can control it!’
KENZO- ‘Anyway, listen to me, you’ve been completely incompetent throughout the whole trip.’
NOZOMI- ‘There’s only one hour left until return time, which means we can stay out here for a maximum of 30 minutes before we head back. And this is the last day of the trip.’
KENZO- ‘Ok, man listen to me. If you want to do this, then this is your last chance, this is the… this is the last last chance.’
NOZOMI- ‘We’ll give you two some alone time. Tell her we got a call from a teacher regarding something and had to head to the hotel.’
KENZO- ‘No buts. Take full advantage of this time and do what you gotta do.’
And with that, they left. Why is it the last chance? can’t I do it some other time? Does it have to be on this trip? But maybe they are not wrong. At least during this, excluding Tomonaga’s interferences, I hadn’t had to deal with our general competition. All four of us toppers weren’t rivals but just a group of friends. Back at the school, the environment will be completely different. I don’t even know if I’ll keep the same mindset. I really have to do it here, today.
YUKAWA- ‘Where are Nozomi and Ishiguro?’
‘Oh, they got a call from a teacher regarding something so they had to go back to the hotel.’
‘They both did?’
Damn it, they couldn’t even come up with a better excuse than this. Now that I’ve said it, I have to make it sensible.
‘Well, Nozomi did, Kenzo is escorting her.’
‘Oh, well they sure are close. I guess we’ll have to finish their share as well.’
They totally forgot about the cotton candy.
‘Yeah, I guess we’ll have to.’
‘Hey! Do they have a thing for each other?’
‘I mean, they always try to get alone together.’
You’re misinterpreting their intentions. But I guess that might the case for one of them.
‘Nah, it must be just a coincident.’
‘You think so? Anyway, what should we do now?’
Ok, Akio think! What should I answer? What is the best situation I can create for the confession? Arr… it’s no good. I have no experience with these sorts of things. Romance is even more of a foreign language to me than Math. I don’t even know all the days in Valentin’s week, and what’s the point of so many days anyway, most of them are basically about different kinds of gifts, roses, teddies, and cholates. Gifts! Yes, I should buy a gift for her. But won’t that be too straightforward? I mean why would I suddenly buy a gift for her? We don’t even know each other that well. Besides even if I wanted to, would I leave her in the park alone, while I go shopping? Shopping! Exactly, I should take her shopping for souvenirs that won’t look out of the blue.
‘Hello? Earth to Takase!’
‘Why are you spacing out? I asked what should we do?’
‘Arr… do you wanna go shopping?’
‘For souvenirs I mean!’
‘Oh, sure. Let’s go.’
Ok, the first hurdle crossed. Now just gotta get the mood set by buying something for her, and confess. It’s easy enough to plan, but executing it is a different thing entirely.
We went to some local shops and she bought some stuff she claimed were local specialties. My lack of knowledge held me back again. Plus, I have no idea what kind of gift a guy should buy for a girl he’s about to confess to.
While we were in a market, I spotted something that piqued my interest. I saw a pendant with a blue gemstone, from the first sight it reminded me of her eyes. I was no expert on gifts for women, but throughout our whole shopping, if I had to say, I’d say this would be the best, for a gift. So, without letting her know, while she browsing some other store, I went and bought it. It was more expensive than I’d expected but now I finally had an excuse. All that was left is to say it. As soon as we left the market and started heading for the hotel, I gathered my wits and made up my mind.
YUKAWA- ‘It was so fun, Nozomi’s idea of visiting the amusement park was right.’
‘Yeah, it was really fun. And you sure bought a lot of stuff. Let me carry those bags.’
She was carrying four bags. She really went all out.
‘Thanks, oh wait a minute. Let me get something from this one.’
‘Thanks, and here you go.’
She gave me a box of a smartwatch.
‘It’s a smartwatch.’
‘I can see that, but why are you giving this to me?’
‘Ah… when we… when we had that accident in the pool. Your smartwatch got broken, right.’
‘Yeah, but it was an accident. You don’t have to give me this.’
‘No! it’s that… hmm… your hands… your hands were on my back, so… so when we landed on the tiles it broke.’
‘Hmm… yeah, but… but that doesn’t make it your fault.’
‘Oh, just take it. Think of it as a gift from me.’
‘Yeah… from one friend to another…’
Okay… This just got easier for me. I can now just give her the pendant as a return gift. But wait, she had a reason to buy this for me, if I just give it out of the blue, it’d mean I bought it for no reason at all. But isn’t that the point? I’m giving her the pendant so I can talk about my feelings.
YUKAWA- ‘It was so good, this trip. And now from tomorrow, it’s back to cram school and studies and then school as well.’
‘Oh, yeah, I almost forgot about school.’
‘Yeah, right? I don’t understand what happens to all the students at school? Why can’t they enjoy themselves as they did here?’
‘Well, it is St. Stephen’s, if they relax even for a bit, they might lose their ranks.’
‘Really? even you think like that.’
‘That topper bullshit! Ranks and scores and stuff. Like that’s all that matters.’
‘Hmm… isn’t that just reality. What matters if not rank?’
‘Ranks do matter. Just not the way you, Tomonaga, and the others might think.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘In life, one can’t just live by ideals alone. But that said, one shouldn’t live without them entirely either.’
‘Tell me, Takase. Why do you study? Why do you pursue the top spot? Why do you want to become a topper? Why does everyone at our school want to become a topper?’
‘Isn’t that obvious? The toppers are the best students in the whole country. They get to go to whatever college they want. Why won’t anybody want to be one.’
‘So, is their goal is to become the top student? Or is their goal to get admission to a top college? What kind of goal is that?’
‘Why won’t anyone want to get into their dream college? What’s wrong about that?’
‘Collages, schools they are supposed to be a path to one’s true goal. One can attempt to get into a certain college if that would help them achieve their true goal, but just wanting to get there for no other reason than to study in a really prestigious institution is not much of a goal in my eyes.’
‘Wha? What are saying? Then what is a goal to you?’
‘To me? a goal should be achieving one’s dream of course!’
‘There are those at our school, with natural talents like you and Ishiguro and others with a reason to push harder than others like Nozomi or Sasaki.’
‘They aim to be something after the school is over. They aren’t competing just to be a topper or stay one of the toppers, they are doing everything they can to ensure a path for their ultimate goal. Maintaining their rank is an important part of that, but it’s just a part, not the entirety.’
‘An ultimate goal?’
‘There are others too, who are the same, who have bigger dreams, but not enough potential. That’s also a reality of life, not everyone is equal. But since they have a clear goal in mind, they know what they wanna be, they can look for other ways to achieve their goals. Since their goal isn’t just being a topper, they always have options. Those who only aim to be a topper for no real reason, they don’t.’
YUKAWA- ‘They end up depressed over every little failure, they don’t even try to look for any other ways, because they know there isn’t. The only way to be what they want is to increase their ranks. They don’t have any other options whatsoever. They have to push everything aside and just try to burn themselves to work until they reach it. And still, not all of them will, life isn’t that fair. Hard work does not always pay back.’
‘So, you’re saying that you don’t care if you don’t stay a topper?’
‘I won’t say that, but it’s not like my life depends upon it.’
‘Then you have it easy.’
‘You’ve probably never had to prove yourself. You haven’t been compared your whole life…’
‘Everyone gets compared, it’s in human nature to compare things. And sometimes, it’s important too.’
‘You’re saying comparing people is right.’
‘No, what I’m saying is everyone on earth regardless of line of work, age, or gender gets compared to someone, by themselves or by others. You can’t control what others compare you to, and I don’t think it should even matter. But you can control what you compare yourself to, and that’s what really matters.’
YUKAWA- ‘You shouldn’t compare yourself with the ideals of someone else or with what others might be comparing you to, you should compare yourself with the ideal version of yourself, that you wanna become so that you can see how far you have to go and then all you need to do is figure out the way to get there, there can be many ways, so can have many options. It doesn’t have to be just one, like where you have to be the topper of a certain school.’
‘And you have an image of your ideal self?’
‘Do you know why I choose to research museums?’
‘Can’t say I do.’
‘I wanted to look at the machines used during the industrial revolution. The ones that we saw in Kyoto university museum.’
‘It’s just fascinating. How those machines that work on principles that are now basics for a high school student, once upon a time changed the way of how work is done. To those people, those machines must look like miracles.’
‘Why would they look like miracles? Wouldn’t they know what the machine does?’
‘Don’t think of it like that. Do you remember when you first learned about the moon’s light?’
‘Probably in sometime in elementary school.’
‘When someone first told me that the moon’s light is not its own but is only reflected sunlight, I couldn’t understand it at all. But to my defense, I was only 6. I couldn’t just imagine how would a rough surface reflect light like a mirror. But then when I asked my dad, he took me to a dark room and showed me a demonstration.’
YUKAWA- ‘He used a ping pong ball to represent the moon and a tennis ball to represent the earth. He used a flashlight to enlighten the ping pong ball, and then explained.’
YUKAWA- ‘The ping pong ball was the only thing visible in the darkroom, like in the dark sky. And the light being bounced back by the ping pong ball made the tennis ball slightly visible too. After seeing that, I could imagine it on a much larger scale and understand the phenomenon.’
‘What’s your point?’
‘When people only told me, what happens and I couldn’t understand it, it seemed like a magic trick, like a miracle, but when I understood how it happens, it filled me with joy.’
YUKAWA- ‘Our universe is filled with miracles. How the galaxies are formed, how black holes affect space-time, or even the most common things nowadays, like how electricity is conducted or how radio waves work, unless explained they are all like magic tricks, with only those who know trick understanding the real thing. I like to get on that side of the picture because that’s what’s makes me the most excited, that’s what makes me feel alive.’
‘Oh! So, then your goal is…’
‘to become a scientist, I want to find out all the secrets behind these tricks. That’s my motivation for pushing forward. And that’s the reason I came to this school. So that I can research the mysteries, the tricks yet to be unraveled.’
‘You’re right. That is a nice goal!’
‘Woah we’re already here. We kept talking and arrived at the hotel.’
‘Right, thanks for the watch. I’ll see you later.’
‘Ok… later then.’
She was right. Everything she said was completely right. Well, you did solve one mystery already, now I understand why I was getting behind, why my rank was falling. And here I was blaming you for it. It wasn’t my love for you that held me back, it was me. I myself held me back. Going after an aimless goal, what else could’ve happened.
All my life I whined about being compared to my father, and I myself compared me with them. I never had such a grand dream or anything, I just wanted to prove something that wasn’t even true. Like she said not all people are the same. They were always ahead of me because they were chasing something from far ahead, while I was always behind because I was only chasing them. That kind of thinking would only take me so far it did.
But as she said, she’s different. She has a purpose, not for being a topper but for keeping up her studies. That’s why she won’t get distracted, she reads manga and watches anime, plays video games, and goes outdoor, but still maintains her rank because she has a much bigger dream. She doesn’t have time to bother with other people’s opinions, she would rather spend that time refreshing her mind, because she knows that it won’t matter if she maintains her ranks or not, she has alternate paths to her ultimate goal.
I don’t have anything like that, so I can’t get to enjoy any of that, my only option is to burn myself to secure my spot because I don’t have options. She answered another question of mine, something that bothered me before coming here. But now I know, I shouldn’t get involved with her.
Unlike her, I can’t afford to get involved with anything other than my petty goals. Because I don’t have options and it's not like she’ll get involved with me anyway, now that she knows what kind of person I am. She said herself it’s not even a goal in her eyes. Such a person is not worthy of her. And I don’t want her to get distracted either. Now I know I shouldn’t go after her.
And with that, the long-awaited school trip came to an end, without I ever confessing my feelings for her, and instead, giving up. At that time, I couldn’t have imagined that what waited for me ahead was even more pain.