Chapter 1:

¥1,000 Note

To Go Back


A ball of light flashes by.

“Hey, Yoshida!”

Another one… and something red, too.

“Yoshida Kazuhiko, wake up!”

My eyes snap open. My arms rest under my head as I slowly lift it up. Rubbing my eyes, I look around at my surroundings… A classroom?

“Finally,” a voice sighed, “Class ended, it’s time to go. I’m thinking we can stop by the convenience store on our way home and pick up some stuff.”

A boy with messy, light brown hair continued talking as he grabbed his bag, walking toward the classroom door. I look down at myself to find that I’m wearing a school uniform. My old… my current school uniform. The corner of my lips feel strange and I glance down at the desk and see a small puddle of liquid where I was just resting. Groaning, I wipe my lip and the desk before standing up.

“Hey,” I call as I grab my bag, interrupting whatever the boy is droning on about, “What day is it today?”

“Eh,” my friend questions, “Tuesday, right? Or is it Wednesday?”

“No—the full date,” I clarify as I catch up to Fujimura.

“Hmm,” Fujimura hums as he sticks his thumb to his forehead, “May 20th… 21st? No, it’s May 21st… 2002. Why do you ask such stupid questions?”

“It wasn’t that stupid if you could barely come up with the answer.”

“Hey,” Fujimura exclaimed as he marched forward.

2002, huh. Why did I forget that? Well, I certainly had a strange dream so I guess my head’s all jumbled up from that. What was it about again? I just can’t remember. Sighing, I scratch my head in frustration. As Fujimura and I walk out of the school, I remember what he said.

“Hey,” I speak up, “You said you wanted to pick something up from the convenience store—do you really need to drag me with you to do that?”

“Aww, come on Yoshida! You can’t accompany your best friend to the store?” Fujimura bats his eyes at me, clutching his hands together, “And besides, you’ll be interested in what we’re picking up!”


“We’ll be picking up,” Fujimura pauses as he strikes a pose, “Women!”


“That’s right,” he exclaims, “There’s an exclusive Chibana Daiki-themed ice cream being sold!”

“How does that even work?”

“I’m not sure to be honest. It might be an ice cream shaped like his face? Maybe his guitar,” Fujimura ponders as he draws the outlines of the figures with his fingers, “But I’m not interested in that! What’s really important is just one thing!”

“And that is?”

“Women love Chibana Daiki! And so they’ll be dying to get their hands on a piece of Chibana Daiki himself! That’s where we come in!”

“I think I’ll actually just go home.”

“We’ll buy up almost all of the ice cream—you’ve got cash, right?”


“And then, we go to grab the very last one. But in a twist of fate, we’re not the only ones reaching for the ice cream! A cute girl is as well!”

“Are you and I both grabbing for the ice cream together?”

“And then when our hands touch, she’ll go ‘oh! I’m sorry.’ And that’s when we’ll take the ice cream, run a hand through our hair, and say, ‘it's no problem. I don’t need this ice cream, if it’s to give it up for someone like you.’ Handing her the ice cream, we’ll give her a wink and she’ll be putty in our hands! Genius idea, right?”

“That’s possibly one of the most stupid things I’ve ever heard.”

“What?” Fujimura drops to the floor before picking himself back up, “Come on, Yoshida, it’s a foolproof plan! Why do you have to be so mean.”

“Look, I’m tired,” I say as I reach into my pocket, “Take a ¥1000 note and do the plan for me in my stead.”

“So you did have cash,” Fujimura says, defeated, as he takes my money.

Before he can fully take note, I tighten my grip on it and speak with a tight smile, “But you owe me, okay?”

“Ehh,” Fujimura whines, “Fine! But only to show you how perfect this plan is! By tomorrow you’ll be on your knees begging me to teach you how to truly live life!”

With that, Fujimura takes my money and runs away to the convenience store.

“It feels like I just got robbed,” I sigh as I walk home, “Then again, I did just hand him the money directly… Psychological manipulation maybe?”

After a short walk after parting ways with Fujimura, I approach my house and enter.

“I’m home,” I announce as I take off my shoes.

No response. I look down at the doorstep to find only one pair of shoes. The pair I just took off. Typical, I suppose. I make my way to the dining room and see a piece of paper on it with some cash to its side. Sitting down, I grab the paper and read its contents.

Sorry, Kazuhiko.

Your father and I will be out for the night a few days. We’ve left you with some money in case you want to buy some extra food or snacks for yourself. There are also leftovers in the fridge for you.

Love, Mom.

Without hesitation, I crumple up the paper and get up, leaving the money on the table. Silently, I make my way to my room and throw out the letter and drop my bag on my desk. Pulling out papers and a couple notebooks, I stare at the contents of the bag. Homework. I grab one of the sheets and read it over, looking for the date it's due for.

May 24th, 2002.

Fujimura said that it's only the 21st, right? I’ve still got time… I’ll just do it later. I set down the paper and head to the kitchen and grab the leftovers that were mentioned in the letter. Without heating up the food, I take it over to the dining table and start eating it.

Laughter from neighbouring children echoes from outside as a car passes by. The sounds of birds chirping from the birdfeeder outside the screen door make their way through the house. Dinner time for them, too, huh.

Finishing my meal, I put the plate into the sink and head back to my room where I flop onto my bed, pulling the covers tightly over me.

“Another… day. Gone,” I whisper to myself as my eyelids become heavy as I fall into a deep sleep.

A deep, dark sleep.


Nothing but…


I look up at the… what is it?

In the distance I see something. A person? A girl?

Staring seemingly lost in thought, back toward me, the girl’s hair—as black as the darkness surrounding—flows in a wind.


A red coat.

A beautiful red coat she wears despite the spring weather. I suppose in a dark void, there are no seasons, are there?

The girl, possibly noticing my presence, starts to turn toward me when—

A beam of light hits my eyes as I groan, turning over to cover my face from the sun's light. After a moment, I drag myself out of bed and start yet another day. Changing my clothes, eating breakfast, saying goodbye to… the house, I make my way to school.

As I enter the homeroom classroom, I find Fujimura hunched over his desk with a depressed look stretched on his face.

“I take it the plan worked out exactly how you expected,” I say as I sit down at the desk next to him.

Fujimura rolls his head in my direction and groans with tears nearly rolling down his cheeks.

“When I entered the store, I announced that I’d buy all of the ice cream they had.”

“And how’d that go?”

“The manager kicked me out for disturbing the other customers.”

“So you didn’t even get a chance to perform your master plan.”

“It would have been perfect, too. If only that grump didn’t come along and ruin it,” Fujimura sighed.

“Yeah… If only you came ready with a good plan, too,” I sigh in return.

“Yeah,” Fujimura groaned before pausing, “Wait! It was a great plan! You even said it was a master plan!”

“Oh, did I?”

Fujimura groaned and slumped down in his seat. Taking this moment, I extend my hand toward him, palm up.

“Eh?” he questions.

“My money,” I state, “Since you didn’t end up buying the ice cream, I might as well take the note back.”

“Oh, about that,” Fujimura shyly chuckles, “I may have gotten depressed and spent it all at a vending machine.”

My hand falls to my side as I slam my head into my desk.

“Alright,” I say, lifting my head back up, “We’ll say… double the money.”

“Eh?” Fujimura exclaims.

“Or,” I tilt my head back and forth in thought.

Suddenly a voice shouts from the front of the classroom, interrupting the conversation.

“Alright, quiet down everybody,” the homeroom teacher commands, “I’ve got a special announcement to make this morning.”

The teacher extends his hand to his side, gesturing toward the classroom door. Then, a girl our age with long black hair steps through the frame. With her bag in hand, she wears a red—sundress. A sundress? Not a uniform? A red… sundress.

“This, class, is our newest transfer student,” the teacher states, “Please introduce yourself.”

“Hello. My name is Matsubara Ayume. It’s nice to meet you. Please treat me well,” she introduced herself with a bow.

“Alright,” the teacher continued, “Matsubara isn’t in uniform as there was a misunderstanding in getting her one. So until the end of the day, she’ll be dressing a little informally, but don’t let that bother you. Matsubara, there’s an empty seat in the front row. You can sit there.”

“Okay,” Matsubara smiled as she took her seat.

Whispers can be heard from the students as the teacher began class and started talking about future lectures. Not exactly paying attention to what he’s saying, I suddenly feel something hit the right side of my head. I turn my attention to the source of the attack: Fujimura.

“Hey, that new girl’s kind of cute, right,” Fujimura asks, leaning over to me.

Resting my head on my hand, I glance toward the front of the class—as many other students are as well—toward Matsubara. I hum in thought as I try to remember something. The red dress… the red… Why is that bothering me so much?

“Hmm,” Fujimura grins, “Whacha’ thinking, Yoshida? You wouldn’t be undressing her with your eyes like the deviant you are, are you?”

“Have we met her before,” I ask, ignoring Fujimara’s remarks.

“The new girl? Nah, I’d definitely remember meeting her if I ever did!”

“Hey,” the teacher yells, “Who’s talking?”

Fujimura sheeks at the teacher's question before shifting back to his desk. At the scene, many students laughed and gave looks in our direction, including Matsubara. The moment our eyes locked, my gaze shot down to my desk. With a sudden commotion in the classroom, the teacher yells at the students to be quiet as he continues the lesson. But despite that, I couldn’t get my mind off of something.

Class continued as normal, as did the rest of the following classes until break came. Fujimura and I always ate on the top of the school, which he says is a good place to ‘scout.’ What he means by that, I honestly don’t really want to ask. As usual, we sat next to the fence as Fujimura does his people watching while eating his bento. As he takes a bite, he glances over at me and speaks.

“You didn’t bring anything again?”

“Huh,” I glance down in front of my crossed legs and to Fujimura’s where his bento box rests, “Nah, still on that diet.”

I chuckle and rub the back of my head. Fujimura gives a hard glare before shrugging his shoulders.

“Well, I won’t pry. But if you ever need food or anything, just ask,” Fujimura responds with a small thumbs up.

“Yeah, don’t worry,” I say, glancing down at the students on the ground, “Thanks.”

After about a minute of silence from both of us watching the other students enjoy their breaks, Fujimura pipes up.

“Say,” he says with his eyes closed and arms crossed, “Where the heck is Takayama. He’s always late.”

Suddenly Fujimura is smacked on the back side of the head and yips in surprise.

“I’m right here,” A tall boy with red hair says, sitting down beside us, “Always fashionably late.”

“Augh,” Fujimura groans, rubbing the back of his head, “Finally, you show up—break’s about to end!”

“It just started not five minutes ago—quit exaggerating,” Takayama says with a chuckle.

Takayama is the third piece of our little puzzle. We don’t share any classes with Takayama this year, but the three of us had hung out since early elementary school. When I transferred schools in the middle of the first grade, the first friend I had made was Fujimura, whom we soon became acquainted with Takayama in the following year. Where Fujimura is certainly the goofball of our group, Takayama is still fun, but certainly more level headed than him. And then there’s me. To tell you the truth, I’m not quite sure what the guys see in me, but there was a time back in elementary school where the two of them would butt heads often—although they still do sometimes.

But back when we were kids, this group would be split up at least once every other month. Fujimura threw Takayama’s shoe over the fence which led to a fight. Or Takayama forced his way into choosing a topic that Fujimura wanted and led to a dispute. The group would break up and each of them would fight over who got to hang out with me. Oftentimes we’d arrange it so each one got to hang out with me on lunch every other day until they would inevitably make up.

To tell you the truth, I’ve never really gotten into a fight with either of them. Maybe that’s why they hang out with me? I’m reliable at not being an asshole? Although, I still am sometimes. I really just don’t get it, but at this point, I don’t really question it. The three of us have been through so much together that I’ve just accepted that we’re family. Quite the annoying family it seems.

The three of us have a reputation for doing… not the most noble of things, I’ll put it. We often got in trouble, skipped classes, and looking back, even bullied the odd person. Although we didn’t mean it at the moment, I guess we were pretty rotten kids, weren’t we? Nowadays we’ve—for the most part—straightened up our act, but we still find ourselves in the principal’s office every now and then. Despite this being, what many would consider a dysfunctional family, I enjoy it. But I wonder… How long will it last?

“So, Yoshida, Fujimura,” Takayama begins, “How’ve you guys been? Anything game changing lately?”

“Yes,” Fujimura blurts out.

“Oh, don’t get him started,” I shake my head.

“Eh? On what,” Takayama asks.

“The absolute cutest girl just transferred to our school,” Fujimura says with hearts in his eyes.

“Oh, do tell! What’s she look like?”

“She’s got nice long black hair that nearly reaches her butt. For some reason she doesn’t have a school uniform so she wore a nice red sundress,” Fujimura falls on his back with his hands placed above his heart, “I think I’m in love.”

“Oh yeah? Hey, Yoshida, is he telling the truth or is Fujimura just being Fujimura like usual,” Takayama chuckles.

A picture of a woman with flowing hair in a void flashes in my mind. The red coat. The red dress. Is it…?

“Hey, Yoshida,” Takayama calls out to me, waving his hands in front of my face, “You good?”

“Earth to Yoshida,” Fujimura exclaims before throwing something at my face.

At the sudden impact, I jump out of my trance and dart my head around before seeing a piece of chicken lie in front of my crossed legs.

“Huh,” I question as I look back and forth between the two, “Oh, yeah. She was pretty cute, yeah.”

“You good, man,” Takayama asks.

“Yeah, I’m fine. It’s just… something’s been bugging me.”

“You have seemed off the past couple days,” Fujimura comments, “You haven't found a sudden addiction for drugs, have you?”

“What? No, you idiot.”


“No! Just—Ugh,” I place a hand on my forehead, collecting my thoughts, “I’ve just been having these strange dreams. I honestly don’t know why but they’ve been bugging me.”

“What were they about,” Takayama inquired.

“Well,” I say as I collect my thoughts, “The first one is a bit of a blur, to be honest. I remember something about flashing lights… Like sirens? An old man… And a ball of light.”

The two give me confused looks at the explanation of the dream.

“Look, I really can’t remember it that well, but it felt off.”

“Ah, well you just have dreams like that, right? You always say that they ‘feel different’,” Takayama says, “But dreams are just dreams.”

“But what if they’re, like, visions of the future,” Fujimura adds, “Or maybe it's the devil trying to take control of you!”

“Stop trying to scare him,” Takayama says, giving Fujimura a smack on the back of the head.

“Oww, stop hitting me,” Fujimura whines as he rubs his head, “But besides, I’m not joking. Yoshida, you’ve had those dreams where you’re in a void before, right? Those dreams are super creepy!”

“Actually,” I said, “I had a dream like that last night.”

“Ohh,” Fujimura says, leaning forward.

“But instead of the usual creepiness of those dreams, it was relatively normal… Except for one thing,” I say with a finger raised, “Matsubara was in it.”

“Who’s Matsubara,” Takayama asks.

“The new transfer student,” Fujimura says offhandedly, “But wait, Yoshida! You saw her? What do you mean?”

“I mean, she was there in my dream. There’s not really any other way to put it. Except, instead of wearing a red sundress, she was wearing a red coat.”

“Ohh, look at you having visions of the future,” Fujimura grins, “Although nothing was really gained from a vision like that… Yoshida, have better prophetic dreams, dammit!”

I give a sigh as Takayama shakes his head.

“Well, look,” Takayama says, “That was just a coincidence. And if not—neat. There’s nothing to get wrapped up over.”

“I know, it’s just… I don’t know, something just feels off.”

I look down at the floor in front of me in a trance as we all sit in silence for a moment. Takayama looks at me in deep thought before grabbing the piece of chicken in front of me and tossing it back into Fujimura’s bento box. He yells and jumps up in anger, spilling his entire box all over the ground. With tears in his eyes, Fujimura grabs Takayama by the collar and shakes him. Meanwhile, Takayama simply laughs as he gives a glance in my direction. Seeing their debacle, I can’t help but give a smirk as I shake my head.

The bell rings, announcing the end of lunch and the start of the final two classes. The three of us make our way off the roof as we finish the rest of the school day. I walk home with Fujimura, splitting off part way through where our paths diverge. Arriving home, I announce to no one my presence before making way to my room to skip out on the homework, yet again. I eat, do the dishes, and go to sleep. Only to wake up once more to repeat the same day all over again. Or so I thought.

Matsubara, now wearing a school uniform, stands in front of Fujimura and I, who were on our way to the roof to have lunch. Fujimura, with his jaw nearly to the floor, looks at Matsubara in shock.

“Y-You, what,” he exclaims.

“I want to go out with you,” Matsubara clearly states.

“But, it's so sudden, a-and we’re not even in private,” he stutters, looking back at me.

“That doesn’t matter to me,” Matsubara shakes her head, “I feel a connection to you. Like… we’re meant to be. So please! Please go out with me.”

Matsubara then gives a deep bow as Fujimura wildly shakes his hands in front of him in panic.

“Hey! You don’t have to do that—no need to bow for me,” Fujimura yells as he gives a shaky chuckle.

Raising her head up, Matsubara speaks in a soft voice.

“Well then… Will you?”

With his eyes now turned into hearts, Fujimura quickly nods his head in response to her question.

She shrieks in joy and grabs Fujimura’s hand.

“Come on, boyfriend, we’re going to have a lot of fun together!”

With that, Matsubara runs away as Fujimura is dragged behind in a trance, leaving me standing in the middle of the hallway, alone. I… I think my mind has broken. Fujimura got a girlfriend. And it’s Matsubara. And it’s only her second day here.

But why couldn’t it have been me?

Ah… that’s a dumb question. I guess I’ll just head up to the roof where Takayama will be waiting for me there… On second thought, I’ll probably be waiting for him.

I continue up the stairs to the roof where I pick a spot next to the fence and stare off at the students below. Club members painting a banner, friends sitting around a bench, some students huddled near a tree watching over people—much like I am, I suppose—and Fujimura and Matsubara acting like a couple, holding hands. I sigh as I turn around and sit down. I close my eyes, thinking about how to break the insane news that just happened to Takayama. As I sit there, I hear the door fly open. Ah, there’s Takayama—

I open my eyes and see Fujimura barreling towards me with tears streaming down his eyes. I have to jump out of the way to dodge his attack as he crashes into the fence, head first. I stumble to my feet and stare daggers at him.

“What is wrong with you,” I exclaim before thinking about it, “Wait. Why aren’t you with Matsubara?”

“We broke up,” a voice speaks from behind me.

I spin around to find Matsubara standing between us and the door staring daggers at Fujimura—much like how I was just a moment ago. Fujimura lies on the ground sobbing, face smushed into the fence with his but raised in the air.

“So, uh,” I chuckle nervously, “What happened between you two?”

“You’re friends with that guy,” Matsubara tilts her head with a finger towards Fujimura.

“Uh, more like I’m kind of stuck with him, I suppose?”

Fujimura’s sobs grow even louder.

Matsubara sighs as she puts her hands on her hips before looking over at me.

“What about you?”


“You. Want to go out with me?”




Shutting down.

As I stand on the roof with smoke rising out of my ears and eyes white, Matsubara squints her eyes and leans forward, giving me a look. She snaps her fingers in my face and I come back to.

“Uh, yeah! Sure,” I managed to spill out.


Matsubara grabs my hand and runs down the stairs with me stumbling behind as Fujimura’s sobs turn to loud cries. We dash through the halls and onto the courtyard as I try to keep up. With my pants nearly falling down, I shake my hand away from hers and exclaim.


I steady myself, fix my pants, and catch my breath.

“What’s this all about?”

“I heard you and… your friend were interested in me and I thought I’d ask you out. What’s the problem?”

“Huh,” I question.

“Yeah,” Matsubara shrugs her shoulders, “You guys seem like fun, so what?”

“So what,” I repeat, “Okay… What’s either of our names?”

Matsubara closes her eyes in thought before glancing to the side.

“I’m Yoshida, and my friend that you just broke the heart of is Fujimura.”

Matsubara looks at me in thought before giving a sigh.

“Fine, whatever,” she mutters under her breath, “He’s an idiot and you’re boring.”

“What was that?”

“Nothing! It’s just… Let’s break up, okay?”

Matsubara gives me a wink before running away, leaving me in the middle of the courtyard, alone. Not fully processing what just happened, I glance up toward the roof to find Takayama staring down at me with Fujimura—still crying—at his feet. I shake my head and proactively make my way to the next class.

The last two classes pass by with me in a daze because of what just happened. The final bell soon rang and Fujimura and I began our walk home for the day.

“Tch,” Fujimura clicks his tongue as he kicks a rock, “Screw that Matsubara.”

“Yeah,” I sigh, “But what made her hate you so much?”

“I don’t even know,” Fujimura exclaimed, throwing his hands in the air, “She asked me what date ideas I had, I answered, and she got angry.”

“And those ideas were?”

“Go to the park, hit on some women, go back to my place and—

“I’m going to stop you right there,” I announce, putting my hand up.

“That’s exactly what she said,” Fujimura muttered.

“I can’t tell if you’re stupid for my sake or honestly just don’t know how to speak to women.”

“Well, obviously I was just joking!”

“She didn’t seem to think so.”

“Yeah, well she’s a—” Fujimara grunts as he kicks another rock.

“But hey,” he continues, “What about you? You two broke up, too, right?”

“Yeah,” I look down, “I just asked her what was going on and she got very defensive.”

“Hmm,” Fujimura hums in thought with a thumb to his head, “She’s definitely hiding something.”

“Eh, maybe?”

“And I’m going to figure out what it is!”


“Of course,” Fujimara announces, “I have to figure out what her deal is, if it’s the last thing I do!”

I shake my head.

“I feel like it's best just to leave things be. Let things just be a weird day and move on,” I say, shrugging my shoulders.

The two of us come to the cross walk that we always stop at—the cross walk we part ways at.

“Although,” I continue, “It would have been nice for things to be legit, you know? For someone to actually care for me in that way.”

I laugh, rubbing the back of my head.

“But I wasn’t thinking properly. It’s her second day here, why would she ask someone like me out, anyway?”

Fujimura looks at me with a blank stare as I sigh.

“Anyway,” I turned the corner, “I’ll see you tomorrow!”

As I walk away, I give a quick wave without looking back. As I continue down my path home I hear a call from behind me.

“Hey,” Fujimura yells.

I turn around in surprise and tilt my head.

“Let’s go to the convenience store.”

“No,” I shake my head, “I don’t want to see another one of your failed attempts at picking up women.”

“Nah, that’s not what this is about! I’m done with women… For now, anyway,” Fujimura looks down for a moment, “But this is about you and me! The day is still young, let’s have a little bit more fun.”

I stare, thinking for a moment.

“We can’t do anything too crazy,” I responded, “If a teacher finds us we’re screwed.”

“Ah, since when do you care about that,” Fujimura laughs.

I sigh.

“I guess you’re right,” I smile, “Alright, fine. Where do you want to go?”

Fujimura pumps his fist before turning around and crossing the street. I jog to catch up with him as we make our way to the store. On our way to the store, we talked about the newest monster movies and a new comedy with nurses that—Fujimura puts it—are ‘the right kind of crazy for any man to fall in love with’. However, if you saw the film, you’d probably disagree.

We eventually made our way to the convenience store where a few other groups of students were also shopping at. Fujimura starts scanning the shelves looking for what he wants to buy before giving me a glance.

“Hey, we’re here to buy stuff, not loiter,” Fujimura states.

“Right,” I nod, “I didn’t want to say anything but I just don’t have any cash on me. So no need to hold back for my sake.”

“Aw, come on. It’s on me!”

“No, no. It’s all right,” I reassured as I waved my hand.

Fujimura frowned before continuing to find his selection of food. By the time he was satisfied with his choices, he was carrying multiple bags of chips, a couple drinks, and sandwiches. He dropped all of the food on the counter and slapped two 1000 yen bills next to it all. The cashier scanned the items, bagged them, and took the money. Fujimura, carrying the bags, marches out of the store with a satisfied look on his face.

“Hey, where are we going,” I asked Fujimura, who didn't wait for me.

“You’ll see,” he sings.

The two of us walk for nearly half an hour, talking about our usual nonsense before we reach our destination. At this point, the sun isn’t too far from touching the horizon.

The place we ended up at was a paved path looking down at a river. Fujimura placed his hands on his hips for a moment, taking in the scenery. He seemed to have made up his mind about something before running down the small hill to a second path below.

“W-Wait up,” I yell, following him.

Fujimura laughs and runs down the second path and makes his way under a highway overpass where he slows to a stop. With a few rocks resting beside one of the pillars, he takes a seat down on them. Setting down the bag of food, Fujimura pats a rock next to him, inviting me to sit down too. I give a smirk and follow his command. Our feet nearly touching the river, Fujimura leans forward and starts grabbing food from his bag.

“This takes me back,” I comment.

“Yeah,” Fujimura grunts before pulling out a bag of chips, a drink, and a sandwich, “Here.”

He gestures the food toward me.


“They're yours,” he says with a smile.

“No, I can’t. You can eat all of that yourself, can’t you?”

“Ah, I could probably eat servings for two,” Fujimura answers, tilting his head, “But I think I’d rather split it with my best bud.”

I give a chuckle and shake my head before taking the food.

“There we go,” he exclaims while taking out the remaining food from the bag.

"Thanks," I say as I crack the bottle open, “So what’s all this for?”

“Hm,” Fujimura questions, opening his sandwich.

“The food; coming out here. Is it a special occasion?”

“Nah,” Fujimura replies, looking down at his sandwich with a smile, “Does there need to be a reason to hang out?”

“I suppose not.”

“But yeah,” he adds, “This does take me back. Remember when we wanted to run away from home and made a fort down here?”

“Yeah,” I laugh, “We didn’t make it an entire day.”

“Nah,” Fujimura grinned, “I’m pretty sure we made it at least two days.”

“No, I’m telling you—we tried to build the fort and it kept crashing down on us. We were too cold and ran home—I swear no later than eight.”

The both of us laughed as we continued to exchange stories from the past. We ate the food, we laughed, we fought, we talked, and most of all, we took our minds off of anything else going on. Even if this moment—this evening—wont last, to be able to be an idiot just for a little bit without teachers, peers, or… parents to tell you you’re being irresponsible—it feels nice.

As the sun had set, that was my cue to take my leave. Fujimura and I both walked as far as we could together before having to split off. With the moon now fully out, I reach the front gate to my house and enter.

“I’m home,” I whisper.

Making my way to my bedroom, I put my bag down on my desk before pausing. I pick it back up to take a second glance at the paper on the desk. My homework. I sit down at the desk, tossing my bag to the side, and grab the homework to check the due date for it.

May 24th, 2002.


“Dammit,” I cry as I slam my head on the desk.

I guess I’ll have an even longer night ahead of me than I thought.