Chapter 2:

March 2: An unexpected encounter

One Month to Figure out my Future [Short]

The next day I forgot my lunch box at home; as a result, my only option was the school cafeteria and Hayato decided to join me even if he had brought his own food. I was standing in line next to him, but before I even had a chance to apologize, Hayato says to me: “You know, I thought a lot about what you told me yesterday”

As he was saying that I immediately tried to let him know that I was sorry: “About that, I shouldn’t have sai...”

He did not even let me finish my sentence: “You may have not realized that but, yesterday you said the right thing at the right time, you do not have to feel sorry.”

I was actually pretty surprised: “Wait what?”

“I was getting all gloomy because my disease basically ruined all my dreams of becoming a professional basketball player, but you indirectly reminded me that I had to think about the future, you know…, move one, otherwise I would have ended up hurting myself and all the people around me.”

Now I was even more surprised by how he was able to extract positivity from almost everything.

“Well, when you put it that way, it doesn’t sound too bad.”

“I know right! As a matter of fact, I was actually thinking about speaking with Miss. Kamuro about the career plan to see if she can give me some tips. Would you mid accompanying me to her office after school, just to have someone I can count on?”

“Yeah, sure that’s the minimum I can do for you.”

Hayato with an ecstatic expression on his face replied: “Awesome! Now let’s have some food!”

After classes ended, we headed to Miss Kamuro’s office. She is a great homeroom teacher. Whenever she enters the class, you immediately notice her sparkling green eyes always full of joy, but do not let that look fool you, she can also be harsh.

At the end of the day, she is almost our second mother, in fact she might even know us better that our parents. She loves her job, that’s for sure; I wonder how she ended up as a homeroom teacher. Did she write it on her career plan back when she was in high school too? Anyways while I was wondering off as usual, we got in front of Miss Kamuro’s office.

Hayato knocks on the door.

We hear papers being quickly moved and then a voice: “Coming!”

Miss Kamuro opens the door and greets us by saying:” Kamizaki and Narukami, what brings you here? I was actually having a look at the essays I had you writing last week.”

Hayato after a deep breath tells Miss. Kamuro he needs to speak with her about his career plan and that he is looking for advice, and apparently, because personal matters must be discussed one on one, I ended up waiting in the hallway without even a chair to sit on, and you can imagine that my weak “computer guy body” could not withstand such a difficult task for much time.

As I was giving up and starting to slowly sit on the floor, a girl I did not see coming asks me with a timid voice: “Is Miss. Kamuro busy right now?”

I quickly put myself together and started acting as I was doing some stretching in order to not look too weird and I replied with a straight: “Yes.”

“I see… I guess I’ll be waiting here too if you don’t mind.”

To be honest I would have gladly stood up and said, “Yes I do mind”, because I knew after that we would stand next to each other immersed in an awkward silence. But the only thing that came out of my mouth was yet another single word: “Sure.”

And as I predicted the awkward silence began. I was leaning with my back against the wall and the girl was doing the same but, in the meantime, she was also reading what it looked like a book. It was definitely a book, too thick to be a manga. Of course, I was not going to burst out a book and start reading too, so the only thing I could do was trying to have a better look at the girl without looking too creepy. So, while I had my head up, faking to be looking at the ceiling, I gradually tilted my eyes towards my left where she was standing.

First thing I noticed was her long purple and silky hair which was gently resting on her shoulders, I could not see much of her face because it was submerged in that book, but I could see that she was wearing glasses. It was not that difficult to figure that she needed glasses considering how close to that book her eyes were. Then something in the back of my mind awaked. I had seen this girl somewhere before, but I could not remember precisely when or where.

She probably noticed with the tail of her eyes that I was looking suspicious, so she raised her head while I quickly moved my eyesight to a random spot on the ceiling.

She says: “You are Kamizaki, right?”

Well, again I was right, if she knows my name, I probably know her too, but it would be great to actually remember her.

“Yeah, that’s me. How did you…”

“It just happens that we are in the same class.”

Oh, come on! Is that even possible to mess up every single conversation before it’s even started? Because it seems like I am a champion in doing so. But wait, seriously now, I do not recall anyone in my class who looks like her, I said she has something familiar, but I cannot put my finger on it. Did she transfer recently, and I did not notice? Is it possible I spaced out so much lately that I did not even notice a new student in my own class? In the meantime, I was standing next to her with an expression on my face that could be described as a mixture of embarrassment, doubt, curiosity, and panic.

“Maybe you are not used to see me with this hairstyle, I usually wear a messy bun, and also, I only use glasses when I read; I’m used to people not recognizing me at first sight.”

Gears started turning in my brain desperately trying to figure out where she was sitting in class and at least remember her name. I got it! Last row, her name is…

She anticipated me: “Sonoda Rihoko, glad to finally have a chance to talk to you”

To my defense, I was close, just needed a couple more seconds for the name to come out of my mouth.

“Oh, that’s right the girl sitting in the last row, sorry for not recognizing you, I must be pretty tired.”

I know it’s an excuse, but I am really tired of standing here.

“Don’t worry about that, as I said I’m used to that”

Ok now that I’m in this situation I should at least try to keep the conversation going, otherwise this time the silence will be even more awkward and I’m sick of embarrassing situations.

“So, you are looking for Miss. Kamuro?”

Of course, she is, idiot, why the hell should she be standing there for? She even asked you if Miss Kamuro was busy! Great, now not only I talk to myself, but I also insult myself.

“Yes, I was looking for advice for my career plan, it’s embarrassing but I am yet to decide what to do.”

I could have expected that, but I think I can manage a decent conversation on this topic.

“My friend who’s in Miss. Kamuro’s office right now has your same problem, there is nothing embarrassing about it.”

“Thanks for saying that but I still think that at our age we should at least have a clear vision of what we want our future to be like, and not just a bunch of silly dreams.”

For being a girl that almost passes unnoticed in class she is talking quite a lot.

“I guess that as teenagers it’s pretty normal to have silly dreams as you say, but I feel like people are taking this paper too seriously, it’s not going to determine your future, it’s just to make the teacher happy.”

“I know but it should also ring a bell in our brains as a reminder that our high school days are coming to an end, and we should look more into the future.”

She sure does have a point, but I’m sure she will realize how easy it will be to fill that paper.

“Sorry I have been bothering you with my problems I shouldn’t have been so strict with my opinions”

“You don’t have to apologize; you have a fair point.”

Now I started noticing that her face was getting red, and she brought the book really close to her face as a way to hide her expression and timidly asks: “So did… did you considered it… you know… the literary club?”

Now I remember! I saw her in this “form” a couple of weeks ago outside of school passing out flyers advertising the literary club. She caught my attention because it was a weird time of the year for recruiting people for a club, considering that we are going on summer break in a month. I got a flyer and there were three suggested books to read during summer break and an invitation to a discussion about the books in the literary club classroom the next year.

“Honestly, you had a really cool idea, I’m still deciding which book to try. I’ll let you know when I start one.”

I would not have anything better to do during summer brake anyways so, why not give it a try, she has been nice to me so I guess I can return the favor. But do not overthink it, I do not want to join any club, it’s just too nice to get home earlier than most other students.

Rihoko finally decides to let her face be seen again and reveals a sweet smile and says: “Thanks, that means a lot to me.”

In the meantime, I heard some noise inside the office and said to Rihoko: “I think they are almost done; you can go in next. I am just here waiting for my friend.”

As predicted, shortly after the door opened and both Hayato and Miss. Kamuro came out. Miss. Kamuro looks at me and asks: “Kamizaki are you here to fill me in with some new philosophical theory of yours? You know I’m always ready to listen, you do not need to only use my essays as a form of expression.”

She often compliments me for my essays where I just write what I have in mind, and I guess I tend to always be a bit philosophical.

“Sorry to let you down Miss. Kamuro but I think I will stick to using a pen for a bit longer.”

“You know what they say: a pen can hurt much more than a sword, keep it up Kamizaki!”

After that she tilts her head to have a look behind me.

“And what we have here, president of the literary club Sonoda Rihoko, you know, you and Satoshi would be a nice pair, a reader and a writer, it sounds interesting.”

Rihoko’s book once again turned into a shield to protect her red face, and shortly after she commented: “Miss. Kamuro please stop making these jokes, it’ embarrassing. I just came here to discuss my career plans.”

“In that case, please follow me inside, see you later to both of you Narukami and Kamizaki.”

As we were heading for the school exit, I was a bit curious and asked Hayato: “So how did it go?”

“I explained my issue, and, in summary, Miss. Kamuro said that, for now, I should try to not think about what happened too much and instead have some fun to clear all my ideas, and only after that start thinking about the paper.”

“It makes sense, do you want to head to the arcade and play some games?”

Thant’s the first thing that came to my mind, I like to go the arcade to play instead of playing on my computer at home whenever I want to release any kind of bad feeling.

“That’s why we are friends, I was thinking the same thing! Let’s go and destroy some records.”