Chapter 15:

How I Made a Strange Decision

Cursed Lines

When I got home, the first thing I wanted to do was bang my head against the wall and try to get Konya out of my head, but it seemed increasingly impossible. Cooking wasn't helping my mind, so I figured it was time to face the painful truth. I took a piece of paper, divided it in half, and signed one part as Konya and the other as Hamada. I found the best online survey on whether you're in love and got to work.

First question, when you see this person, your heart beats faster, true in both cases, but I figured it's not time to panic yet. Next, you often look at her/his profiles on social networks. I thought for a moment, I didn't know if Konya had any, and in the case of Hamada, I couldn't remember the last time I checked if she posted anything new. Question marks in both cases. For now, I was calm, maybe my earlier fears were unfounded, and my reactions to him are some strange coincidence and genetics.

Third thing, you can't say no to that person if they ask you for something, and that's where the problem is. Since I had no problem refusing Hamada to go out to karaoke, but I couldn't bring myself to do the same when Konya asked me to do such a ridiculous thing as holding his hand. Plus on his side. Another thing, you want to be next to this person all the time, I looked at the empty chair across from me and reluctantly put the positive sign back to his side.

I was losing confidence, another thing, when he's next to you, you feel like jumping for joy. Of course, I was glad when Hamada came to talk to us in the morning when it turned out that we were in the same class once again. But it wasn't that level of happiness compared to the presence of Konya, which seemed comfortable and kind of in place even though he was teasing me. Another plus for him.

I was afraid to look at the next question, you often dream of this person, then I said enough, crumpled the paper and threw it in the corner as if it burned me. Two months ago, I would have given Hamada's side a positive answer without thinking, but now... Is this some kind of punishment for not honouring my duties as a child of Eros?

I heard my mother coming home and I panicked and ran to get the paper to hide in my pocket. She looked at me surprised, but then the smell of food caught her attention and the original feeling of hunger took over. I've avoided awkward questions for now. But then it got even worse, I didn't think my dreams would betray me.

I went back in them until Konya asked me to take his hand, only this time I didn't pull it back, but I satisfied my curiosity. Our hands matched perfectly. He smiled at me, and there was no pain in that gesture that I wanted to take away from him.

Scenes followed as we explored the world, then moved into a flat together, the adoption of two dogs, his voice whispering, "Remember our first kiss?". I wanted to throw it all away, but in this dream, I just felt happy.

Normally I'd be grateful for an alarm clock, but now I wished it hadn't dragged me out of this happy place. I wasn't even mad at myself for wanting to go back there, I didn't even look at what kind of dogs they were! I couldn't deny that I wasn't in terrible trouble. I thought about when it even happened; when it even started, but I couldn't pinpoint a specific time.

I reached for my glasses, looked at my phone, and felt disappointed. What did I expect? Messages from him? Why, if Alice and he both told me I should hate him, why was I going the other way?

"Alice, can you talk to me alone for a moment?" I asked during one of the breaks at school.

"What is it about?" We went out into the hall and leaned against the windowsill, she was pretty curious. Since I couldn't formulate the right question for a long time, she broke the silence herself. "You need to see the compatibility of one pair today, during the lunch break, I will show you who it is."

"What do your skills say about Konya?"

"Why are you interested in this?" She immediately changed her posture, and there was a hint of aggression in her voice.

"Pure curiosity," I replied with a shrug. "When I tested it myself in our classroom, his compatibility with no one was over thirty percent."

"Does this surprise you?" she sneered. "But if you want to know, he met his significant other years ago, and I hope neither of them is aware of it."

"Why do you say that?!" I said a bit too harshly.

"This person will only suffer with him anyway. I don't understand why you're defending him, you should..."

"What should I do?" I think I started to get mad at her for the first time. "Hate him like you do, even though I don't know him at all? I 'should' do a lot of things, Alice, but I don't."

I saw her clench her fists but refrain from answering, I didn't want to argue with her either, but... I tried to defend him and I had to admit that for a split second, I hoped it was me. I laughed at myself, the day before I asked about the other half of Hamada, I was really pathetic.

It's probably all because of that stupid online test, I snapped suddenly. I thought about it too much, and that's why I dreamed about Konya. I hid my face in my hands and leaned against the wall, slowly sliding down. Maybe I should help him find his other half, then everything will go back to the way it was. But it hurt to think that...

I felt someone's eyes on me, of course, it had to be him. I wondered how long he had been standing there and whether he had heard my conversation with my sister. Still, I hoped not, though he looked worried. He was about to take a step towards me, but Hamada beat him to it, asking if something was wrong with me. I replied with a slight smile that I was fine and that we could go back to class as soon as it was English. She walked me back to the bench, repeating how she was worried about my health again, which was nice, but not as important to me as before.

It was not the end of surprises, because it turned out that we have a new teacher. A blond-haired young man entered briskly, sending a snow-white smile around. I looked at Daisuke, who was staring anxiously at Alice. All the girls in our class suddenly straightened up, adjusted their hair, and stared at him in awe. I was interested in something else, quickly used my skills to check his compatibility with Konya, and smiled with relief when it turned out to be only twenty-three percent.

"My name is Thomas Gill and from today I will be your English teacher," he spoke Japanese well, but with a strange accent. "Since we don't know each other, I would like to start handing you this text and ask you to introduce yourself and translate two or three sentences."

He waited until we all had our cards in front of us, I quickly looked through it and realized that even Daisuke would have no problem with it. However, Gill was clever, and he picked people without any key, no one could prepare for what fragment awaited him, thinking of an answer in advance. He had a little chat with Alice when it was her turn, and he picked me out pretty quickly too. I looked around, everyone was doing average or pretty well.

My gaze involuntarily went to Konya and I noticed that he was tapping his foot nervously and waiting for his turn as if he was going to be sentenced. He turned very pale and looked terrified. I was wondering where this fear came from. Was he so bad at English? But I didn't think it would make her lose all his confidence.

Gill asked him last, just before the bell rang if Konya was good at reading aloud, he was not so good at translating. He was furious, probably at the same time at his incompetence and at the fact that he would lose in our eyes. I saw how uncomfortable he was feeling and wanted to help him somehow, but I couldn't even talk to him because he was the first one to leave the class without speaking to anyone.

Alice told Daisuke to walk her home, of course, he agreed, but I knew she did it a bit to spite me, so I would go home alone. All the way I was wondering what to do, I could offer to help Konya study, but wouldn't that hurt his pride again? I considered various possibilities and analysed which ones I should try to implement. It wasn't until lunchtime that my mom snapped me out of this state.

"Kiyoshi, I'm asking you again, will you mind if I go with my friends from work for a girl's weekend?"

"Of course not," I replied. "You deserve rest."

She smiled brightly, she was really looking forward to this trip and probably mentioned about it a few months earlier that they would like to organize something like this in the spring. I was hoping she would have fun, and then it dawned on me.

In the evening I tried to write a message, I deleted every single sentence and wrote it all over again. In the end, I decided that this version would be the last one. I typed in more letters, which finally fell into place, "I can help you with your English a bit. If you want, come to my place on Saturday."