“Hey, Nazumi-san. What do you think of Mizuno-san?” Kyashii asked during their break.
“I’m talking about that chick over there. That’s Tomoka Mizuno.” Kyashii’s lips wiggled as she watched Tomoka laughing in a crowd of girls.
“Oh, her? I’d say she’s outgoing and socially confident. It is also my understanding that she’s already somewhat popular. I see her making small talk to random students from other classes. Mmm… Is she someone you would like to be friends with?”
A dark expression suddenly engulfed Kyashii. “No! I doubt I’ll get along with her.” She pulled a face.
“Huh? She’s quite friendly, though. She just greeted me with a smile recently. I think you’ll likely get along fine with her, Mikami-san.”
“Haah?! I don’t think that’s the case. I don’t like her.”
“Huh? Why? Has she said anything strange to you?”
“There’s nothing like that. There’s just something about her that I don’t like. The thing is, there’s this certain amount of intimacy between her and Yuyo; she can even hug her like it’s nothing. It’s so ironic that I think I’m the best friend here, yet I can’t even give a normal hug to that stoic human being. Hmmph!” Kyashii pouted.
“Ooh~...” Hana sees what’s funny about Kyashii not liking Tomoka. “So, why not try hugging Shibasaki-san? It wouldn’t do any harm to give her a simple hug. Besides, I don’t think Mizuno-san is to blame for why you haven’t hugged your best friend yet, right?”
“How am I supposed to do that?! No matter how much I would like to hug her, the thought of hugging her makes me feel awkward!”
“Yes! Even the mere closeness of her face to mine is too much! Hmph! It’s pretty annoying. It’s like there’s an invisible barrier between Yuyo and me that I can’t get through.” Kyashii finds it frustrating that Tomoka can hug her best friend with no reservations while she hesitates to initiate physical contact with Yuyo.
How can Mizuno-san pull that off?
“Is there anything wrong with having her face close to yours, Mikami-san? As close as this?” Hana’s face moved closer to Kyashii’s.
“Yeah… Exactly like this. The closer her face gets, the weirder I feel.” Kyashii shrugged her shoulders.
“And yet you don’t mind my face being so close to yours, Mikami-san?” Hana smiled.
“I don’t... Do you know how quickly I backed away from Yuyo in PE class last week, Nazumi-san?! If having your face this close bothers me, you can bet I could have done the same. Besides, you’ve got a cute face, so there’s no reason to feel awkward.”
“Ahaha! Could you be saying Yuyo’s face isn’t cute, which is why you feel awkward when her face is near? Also, thank you for the compliment.”
“You’re most welcome. And no, it’s not like that. There’s no denying Yuyo’s cuteness. There’s just something unsettling about having her face so close to mine. She has an annoying icy expression that makes my heart skip a beat.” Kyashii stared into space.
Umm… Maybe if she smiles more, I won’t feel so awkward?
“I can learn a lot from you, Mikami-san.” Hana backed away from Kyashii.
“Mmm... Is it okay if I ask a personal question?”
“Ah… I g-guess that’s fine. It’s okay for me not to answer, though, right?” When a conversation touches on her private life, Kyashii tends to grow ill at ease. It is not her nature to discuss personal stuff with others, especially when they ask about it.
“Certainly.” Hana smiled when she noticed Kyashii getting unsettled. “Did you ever have a boyfriend, Mikami-san?”
“Ahh… That…. Honestly, I never had a boyfriend. Though some boys in middle school confessed to me, I never went out with anyone.”
“Why is that?”
“Umm... I have no idea how to deal with dating. Other than that, I'm not comfortable being alone with guys. Even the thought of guys taking me somewhere so they can confess to me makes me queasy.” Kyashii drew in a breath as she recalled several confessions from her middle school.
A number of embarrassing and awkward incidents marked my middle school years. I did not mean to reject every guy, though; I just didn’t feel comfortable dating someone I had just met.
“I see… Do you mean you wanted to date someone you already felt at ease with?”
“I guess so?”
“Mmm... But that kind of person doesn’t just appear out of nowhere. You have to give it a shot before you say no, right?”
“Well, that’s one thing. Still, I don’t think it’s that hard to meet people like that. Interestingly enough, I felt that way when I met Yuyo for the first time.” The recollection of how her awkwardness melts when she’s with Yuyo brought a look of happiness to Kyashii’s face. Something about being with her best friend makes her feel different. Should she decide to date someone, she wants to date a guy who could make her feel that way.
“Really? What kind of feelings are we talking about here?” Kyashii’s account piqued Hana’s interest.
“An overall sense of calm, perhaps? I didn’t experience the discomfort I normally feel when meeting new people when I met Yuyo. Almost as if I knew her, even if I didn’t. Ahm… A second way of putting it, I’d like to date a guy who can give me the same feelings I had when I first met Yuyo. Someone who puts me at ease just by being there.”
“So it’s the same as saying you want to date your best friend?” Hana smiled inexplicably.
Kyashii squirmed. “Were you not listening to me, Nazumi-san? The thing is, I want a guy like Yuyo, not Yuyo herself. Hmph!”
“What if you only ever encounter one Yuyo Shibasaki throughout your life?”
“Huh?! What do you mean? That she’s one of a kind in terms of her personality?”
“Oh, she’s not?”
“Well, I don’t think there are only a few people who share her personality. There’s no shortage of annoying people like her. The train just had me trip over one of them like that.” Kyashii pouted.
I definitely don’t think Yuyo is one of a kind. It’s an exaggeration to say that.
“Mmm... People come and go, as they say. Meeting a remarkable person is not something that happens every day. But yes, I don’t think Shibasaki-san is exceptional either. I’m sure you will meet another like her in the future.”
“Riigghht?! That’s what I’m saying! I’m sure there’s a guy out there like Yuyo.” Kyashii was smug, knowing that Hana finally grasped what she was trying to say.
“Yeah, of course, Mikami-san. Therefore, it won’t be a problem should Shibasaki-san walk away from your life in the near future since you can easily find someone who will fill her shoes. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new best friend or a potential boyfriend, right?” Hana is looking at Kyashii with a sly grin.
“. . . . .”
Kyashii couldn’t say a thing after taking in what Hana just said. In two ticks, her heart aches at the thought that Yuyo will no longer be in her life.
But… But that’s fine, right? It’s common for such things to happen once we graduate. I mean, there’s no doubt I could meet another Yuyo.
“. . . .”
She slowly dipped her head as her fists tightened at the hem of her skirt uniform. At that point in time, a sharp pang hits Kyashii’s chest when she thinks Yuyo might disappear from her life one day. Her lips tremble while a tear forms in her eye when she imagines the day she and Yuyo will be apart and never to see each other again.
….No! I don’t want Yuyo to leave my life, now or in the future.
This is making me want to cry!
Ugh! I had no idea I was this sensitive. Gaah!
“Mikami-san?” Hana felt she had overdone teasing Kyashii, who appeared to be on the verge of crying. This was not something she was expecting to happen. The plan was to catch Kyashii off guard, but things don’t seem to have worked out that way.
“Ah! There you are, my high-maintenance best friend...” Yuyo joked as she approached Kyashii and Hana. “Ahh… Hello there, Nazumi-san.”
“Hey…” Yuyo turned to Kyashii, who didn’t bother to look up as she maintained her head low. “I’m sorry, but I can’t walk home with you today. Council duties call for my attention.”
“It’s fine. I get it.” Kyashii ended up giving Yuyo a slow-moving glare.
“You say that, but your eyes tell a different story. Did I do something wrong?” Yuyo is unsure what’s up with Kyashii’s intense stare. In any case, she doesn’t remember making fun of her earlier today.
“It’s okay if you can’t walk home with me today, Yuyo. What’s not okay is for you to walk out of my life! I don’t give you permission to do that!” Kyashii snapped before bolting off towards the restroom.
Gaahh! I’m really weird! Oh, my goodness! I don’t know what’s going on with me!
Yuyo was left dumbfounded. “….Uuhh? Uhmm… What just happened?” She shot Hana a bewildered look.
“Aha-ha! Mmm... I d-don’t know either, Shibasaki-san. M-Maybe Mikami-san isn’t in the mood right now.” Hana stuttered. The stern expression on Yuyo’s face is enough to make her feel discomfiting.
“Hmm… Yeah. It seems so. That girl is quite a handful one, huh?” Yuyo tapped her forehead before heading back to her seat.
“But I see you can handle her well, Shibasaki-san,” Hana muttered to herself as she watched Yuyo walk away.