The Weight Of Ignorance
“Wake up Yuuto”
I opened my eyes to see a 12 year old girl beside me on my mattress. It was Kokone. she had apparently moved from the bed onto the mattress.
“Kokone, what are you doing here?”
I would like to clarify that nothing happened between us. She was just my friend’s sister. She was lying down in my bed in a totally platonic way. No lolicons here.
“Well, you looked very peaceful sleeping on the mattress, so I tried sleeping next to you. It was pretty soft” she said casually.
“K-K-K-Kokone, what are you doing there? You’re a girl of a decent age now, not that I don’t trust Yuuto but you need to learn to be a bit more shameful” Akira had woken up to this sight and got flustered completely.
“How does it even matter? It’s only Yuuto.” she said while shrugging her shoulders.
Kokone had suddenly given a slightly creepy grin.
“Could it be that maybe, you were jealous of me?” Upon hearing this, Akira turned very red. Did she really want to sleep on my mattress that badly? I honestly wouldn’t have minded.
“W-W-W-W-What nonsense, I’m not jealous at all. I’m just trying to teach you a valuable lesson. Also, that might have been inconvenient for Yuuto”
“Nah, It’s fine” I felt the need to clarify that I had no issues. Kokone was like the little sister I never had. Just to be clear, she was not the little sister you read in mangas or light novels. Just a platonic little sister. Over the last few weeks, Akira and Kokone had visited me almost every single day. I had even given Akira a key to my apartment which she hesitated for close to 2 minutes before snatching it from my hand.
The 2 sisters ignored me and continued their quarrel. I had other things on my mind. Mainly, My mother’s text. She was going to visit me today. I had initially received the text about 3 days back. I had sent an email to my aunt about this but she had responded by saying that she was already aware.
“Talk it out with her Yuuto, if things don’t go the way you want it, I’ll always be there for you” She said via email.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to meet my mother. I had always dreamt that one day my mother would come back and tell me she loved me but I wasn’t ready for it now that it was here. I didn’t want to meet her anymore. Her selfishness had caused me a lifetime of unhappiness and bullying. I finally decided that I would meet her.
I had told Akira about my mother a long time back, so she wasn’t particularly happy that I had decided to talk to my mother. “Do you really want this Yuuto? If it is what you want then I’ll support you but if you’re doing this out of obligation, I will stop you” was what she said. Akira truly cared about me, she was a hero in my eyes.
“Can we stay with you from the night before she arrives until she leaves?” Akira had suggested. It was usually weird for a girl to sleep in the same house as a boy but I really did need their support.
“Yes please” I had told her.
And that brings us to today.
“Yuuto, are you sure you want to go through with this?” Akira asked me
“Yeah, I had it coming sometime. I might as well face her now” Akira had taught me a lot of things. She taught me to stand up for myself, to stop looking at my past as a liability, and most importantly taught me to face my fears head on rather than running away.
“Okay then, we’ll be right here with you” She said while smiling.
The time was 10:30 and my mother said that she would be here at 10:45. I sat on my couch nervously. I was sweating and unable to think of anything other than what I could talk to my mother about. What was I going to tell her? Would I be happy to see her? Would I feel angry when I see her?
“Nevermind, Akira, I changed my mind. Let's not do this.”
“I’m okay with that only if you’re not running away because you’re scared.” those words came out just the way she intended it to. She wanted me to realize what I wanted to do. Indecisiveness wasn’t a quality that would help me later in life.
“Don’t worry Yuuto, Kokone and I are right here with you”
“And if things go wrong, I’ll make my special miso soup” she said with a lot of pride while pointing to the sky.
I don’t know how I would get by without her by my side.
In the midst of this conversation, Someone had rung the bell. This was it. I walked towards the door ready to meet my mother. What was she going to say? Is she going to be happy about seeing me? Was she going to be disappointed? It didn’t matter, I had people that cared about me now. I got by for 16 years without her and I can continue it until I die.
I opened the door that would lead to a new fate…..or so I thought.
“Kokone, what are you doing here?”
“Well, I thought it might be funny to go ring the bell when you were expecting somebody” she said while grinning
I gave her a quick karate chop on the head.
“Ouch” she shrieked as she kept her hands on her head and walked inside. I walked inside to see Kokone laughing and Akira trying to discipline her. This sight had taken all the worry away from me. I felt calm. There was nothing that could get me nervous….or so I thought.
“Kokone is inside right?” I asked Akira. She gave me a nod of affirmation. Now there was no doubt. It had to be my mother on the other side of the door. All the emotions that I thought I had conquered were all coming back to me.
I opened the door to see a woman in her mid 30s. She had black hair and wore a blue skirt with a white T-shirt on top that was covered by her brown coat. She had long brown hair and the same green eyes I see every day in the mirror. She really was my mom. She was carrying a bag that looked like it was from the convenience store.
“You’re Yuuto?” she said with her eyes wide open. You could see her green eyes shine.
“ Uh...Yes. You must be my mother. Please come in” I said while welcoming her into the house. She handed me the bag that had a few snacks.
After seeing her, my mind went blank. What did I want to ask her? What was I feeling right now? Happiness? Sadness? Anger? Everything seemed a little out of place to me.
“I’m sorry but could you tell me your name?” I had never known her name. I never bothered to learn it either. To me, she was just some woman who ran away instead of facing life.
“It's Kurumi Satou.” she said with a somewhat sad smile.
“These are my friends, Akira and her little sister Kokone.” I said while pointing to them.
“Thank you for taking care of my son for so long” The woman bowed while saying this. Akira and Kokone were dumbfounded by this kind of behavior but eventually bowed back. Her calling me her son didn’t sit right with me but I decided not to bring it up right now.
“So, Yuuto…How is everything going? Good I hope?” She said while looking at me.
“ “How’s everything going?” Let me ask you something Mrs. Satou, why are you here? You disappeared from my life at the age of 5, so why show up now?” I said while looking her straight in the eye.
“Yuuto, I’m sorry. I know what I had done to you was beyond selfish. I ran away and left you with your aunt and uncle. I was young and dumb, and becoming a parent was hard and overwhelming. I’m sorry” she said while tears rolled down her eyes.
“ Sorry? Do you think that’s going to change the last 11 years of hell I had to go through? I was bullied everywhere I went. People called me a “bastard” and ended up excluding me from everything. Now you show up and tell me sorry and it's all well and good? Are you kidding me?”
I didn’t stop, I let out all my anger. I knew what I was doing was wrong but I had been holding these feelings inside for the last 10 years. I always wanted to tell her about how she made my life horrible, about how she was the reason I didn’t have friends, So I told her. I made sure all my feelings had been conveyed to her. She sat on my couch and listened to it silently. She didn’t interrupt me once.
“Heh, what am I doing here? I thought coming here was the right thing to do but what you said made more sense. Maybe me not showing up in your life was a better outcome for you” she said as more tears started rolling down her eyes.
“I’m sorry but this is all I can offer. I don’t know what else to say. I thought that maybe if I saw you I could forgive you but I just couldn’t.” I said while staring at the ground.
“I see, well thank you for at least letting me visit Yuuto” She said as she stood up to bow.
I felt bad, I felt guilty but when I was young and getting bullied, she was living a life of joy. A life that was probably more important to her than her own kid. When I was crying after a kid beat me up in elementary school, she wasn’t there to help me.
“Well, I’ll be leaving now. If you ever want to talk to me ask your aunt for my address”
I bowed back to her and saw her leave the house. She walked away in tears but I tried to not let it get to me. I turned around and thought to myself “This is the right thing to do, I don’t need someone that causes me a lot of pain. I don’t need someone that abandoned me.”
I walked in and saw Akira and Kokone.
“You guys can leave too, I think I want to be alone for a while. Sorry for dragging you into this” I said to them
Suddenly, they both embraced me.
“That must have been hard for you Yuuto” Said Akira while caressing my hair
“We’re here for you Yuuto” said Kokone
It looked like a scene out of a swimming anime I had seen. I felt their warmth on me. We stayed like this for another 10 minutes. I wanted to keep things the way they were. I didn’t need that woman but something about her bugged me a lot. Well, whatever, who cares? I have an even better family than I could’ve hoped for.
A few minutes later, Akira had brought her famous miso soup, despite its stupid name, it actually did make me feel better.
“Yuuto, I want to try drinking beer.” Akira said randomly. She was always like this. She brought up random topics at random points in time.
“Why is that?”
“I don’t know, it kinda looks cool in anime, I guess.” Well, we are at that age where movies could influence you. A few years back I wanted to try drinking alcohol like a certain useless goddess from an anime.
“We’re underage you know?”
“Well yeah but we can drink once we’re 21 right?”
“So …..Um….Will….You drink with me on my 21st birthday?” She said while getting completely flustered. Why do you even ask things that get you this flustered?
“Sure” I said while smiling. Why would I not? In fact, I wanted us to have our first drink of alcohol together.
I woke up the next day ready to start the new semester of high school with Akira. I got dressed and ate my breakfast as fast as I could and right as I finished my breakfast the bell had rung. I opened the door and sure enough, it was Akira.
“Hi Yuuto, are you ready for the next semester?”
“Yep, let's go. By the way, were your parents angry about your late arrival?” Kokone and Akira had both come back to my house an hour after they left to hang out for some more time together.
“Nah, they’re completely fine with us being with you. They somehow trust you with Kokone more than me, even she's getting more attached to you than me” she said in a sulky voice.
“Be that as it may, you’ll always be her number 1 person in the world”
She blushed a little but moved to a poker face pretty fast and then we started going to school since we were getting late.
We reached school on time. Luckily our seating arrangements had let us sit very close to each other. My bullying in high school had pretty much become nonexistent at this point.
“Hi, I’ll be sitting next to you from today, please take care of me” said the girl sitting next to me with the most angelic smile I had seen.
“Same to you, Akira” I said to her while returning the smile.
After a few classes, it was time for recess. I looked beside me but Akira had already left her seat. Maybe she had gone to meet up with some other friends? Akira never really spoke about any of her other friends except for a girl named Takasaki Yuuna but even the talks about her were relatively short. Akira hadn’t been too close to her. All this had led me to assume that she didn’t have many friends but I could be wrong. Since we see each other all the time it makes sense for her to want to spend time with others.
I walked out of the class to see a gang of 2 boys and 2 girls surrounding a girl. Ah, I don’t want to get involved in this right now. Were my thoughts so I looked the other way and walked. I seemed like they were taking her shoes and throwing them somewhere. I’m sorry whoever you are but I just got out of bullying myself, I really don’t want to go down that rabbit hole again. I went back into my seat and kept my head down and averted my gaze from what was happening outside.
After a few minutes, Akira had come back to her seat.
“Where were you?” I asked her
“Oh…Uh…Just to meet some friends who had called me” Her words and the ways she was saying it were both indicating 2 different things.
“I…see” I said. I didn’t want to pry too much.
The next class of Japanese history. As I was taking notes, the cap of my pen had fallen down. That was when I noticed, Akira was the girl that got bullied. She was missing a shoe. My throat started to suffocate. I didn’t have words to say. I wanted to say that I would do something about it but I couldn’t. I wanted to say I would protect her but I couldn’t. I was scared and too afraid. I had been through bullying for the past 11 years of my life, and that was a past I wanted to leave behind. Maybe I could help Akira through ways that didn’t involve me getting involved with the bullies.
A few more months had passed and there was water poured on Akira, her notes had gone missing, and there were things written on her desk. I asked her about it every time but she would always hide it with some excuse or another. Eventually one day she opened up to it to me a little bit. We were sitting on the couch at my home. Akira had come alone this time without Kokone.
“Yuuto, how did you deal with bullies?”
“I tried not to let them get to me, if they wanted something from me I gave it to them” I knew that was not what she wanted to hear. I knew she wanted me to help her but I wasn’t able to. My heart wanted to help her but my body didn’t move the same way.
“Is anything troubling you Akira?” I asked nervously. I had to confirm things with her before jumping to conclusions
“Well, I have a friend that gets bullied but Mr. Kinoshita and his friends” So Kazuhara Kinoshita was bullying her.
“Why are they bullying her”
“Well, it just seems like they’re having fun bullying her. They make fun of her hair, her shoes, and every aspect of her. Maybe they want to make themselves look better but she’s hurting every day” she said to me while nearly tearing up.
I felt needles piercing my heart when I heard this because I knew full well who she was talking about. I knew it from the first day that she was getting bullied. Why god? Why does a girl that has is nothing but a good person have to get bullied? She’s my only friend but I know I’m powerless here So please god, I beg you, make it stop. I knew I was powerless, I knew I couldn’t beat him or anyone from his friends' group. If I went to him to try and fix things, it would only end in Akira and me getting bullied but I didn’t want to completely ignore what was happening to Akira.
“Tell her that she can do it, people like this tend to lose interest very fast. Tell her not to give up hope.” I said to her
“Umn” she looked at me with a smile on her face.
A few days later, Kokone had come to visit.
“What can I do for you Kokone?” I asked her.
“Sister looks down these days, I was wondering if you knew anything about it” This was the one question I wished she didn’t ask. I couldn’t lie to her, I couldn’t bring myself to tell her the truth either. Everything had felt like a blur to me. I slowly started losing consciousness.
“AH” I had fainted
“Yuuto? Are you fine? You just suddenly fainted” Worried Kokone had been waiting until I had regained consciousness.
“Kokone, I’ll protect Akira, no matter what. I’ll do whatever it takes” It had taken me long enough but I had decided to stand up for her. She was my friend. I don’t know why it took me this long but now I knew what I had to do. I was going to help her even if it meant I would start getting bullied again. I couldn’t always hide from my problems.
“That's what I wanted to hear from you Yuuto” Kokone said to me
She proceeded to bow and leave.
I was ready to go to school tomorrow and give those bullies a piece of my mind. It was also the last day of the 2nd year of school, so if things go too bad I could still leave the school and join another one.
It was the morning of the last day of the second year of High school that I received the news of Akira’s death.
Save her? I said I would protect her no matter what, and yet I couldn’t move a finger even though I knew exactly what was happening, I’m nothing more than a pathetic fool who would never amount to anything.