It’s Not Just Me Who Has Changed
At a bookstore, I ran into Kirari by chance.
It had been a long time since she had called out to me, and I involuntarily recalled the past, but now we were no longer even friends.
“See you tomorrow.”
Nothing to talk about even if the two of us stayed together.
So I got in line at the cash register to buy the picture book.
“Eh…? Isn’t it too soon to say goodbye? You’re my friend, don’t tell me you’re feeling lonely~.”
She clasped my shoulders in a friendly manner.
…… I was surprised. Apparently, I’m still in the ‘friend’ category in Kirari’s mind.
We hadn’t exchanged a single conversation since the entrance ceremony, but she didn’t seem to care too much.
“It’s obvious, isn’t it? Because we’ve known each other since middle school~”
But Kirari smiles without malice.
She really seems to think of me as a friend.
(Really, I doubt she thinks anything of me.)
Maybe Kirari can’t predict my emotions.
As someone who has always lived on her own, I always thought she was the type of person who didn’t have much empathy for others, but …… I guess it went as far as this …….
I guess I am nothing more than a friend to Kirari.
I was just a convenient person to talk to when we were in junior high school.
“Well, yeah. We’ve known each other since middle school.”
However, I had no feelings for Kirari to get angry at her now either.
I didn’t even feel bad enough to be stubborn and refuse, so I decided to make light conversation and brush it off.
“Yes, that’s right♪… I have fond memories…. We talked a lot in junior high school, didn’t we? I was reading a lot of romance novels and stuff. When I think about it now, I was a little embarrassed.”
“…… I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of. Don’t you read anymore?”
“Of course I don’t. I’m a gal now, so there’s no way I’m a novelist, is there? I mean, I don’t even read books at all~?”
“Then why are you in a bookstore?”
At the same time as I asked that question, Kirari’s smile suddenly disappeared.
“I wonder why …….”
Probably something happened. Well, I’m not interested enough to ask, so let’s pay the bill first.
Just as it was my turn, I bought the picture book.
And when I left the bookstore, Kirari followed behind me.
“… Ah, it’s “Beauty and the Beast” ……. Oh, I see, I remember Ko-kun starring in the play. So that’s why you’re studying? Hmm, that’s great, isn’t it?”
“It’s normal. You aren’t buying anything, Kirari? I’m going home.”
A little persistent.
I want her to let me go, but she continues to follow me.
“Hmmm…… sorry, I lied. Actually, I was going to buy one. Today, Ryu-kun was so preoccupied with Mary that he didn’t give me much time to do anything. …… I was so upset that I was remembering the old days too. I was thinking of reading a novel for the first time in a long time, but then I changed my mind because Ko-kun was there.”
……I didn’t ask her about it.
But since she explained it to me, I understood most of what was going on.
As per Mary’s plot, Kirari seems to be steadily being forced out of her position. I’m sure that she has become lonely because she is no longer in Ryuzaki’s favor.
So now she is trying to cling to the past.
Like when she was in junior high school, she is trying to tell herself that she is fine on her own.
But Kirari is no longer the Kirari of that time.
She is no longer okay being alone.
That’s why she is trying to rely on me this time.
She is trying to fill the loneliness that Ryuzaki can’t fill with me.
Seeing her like that made me sad.
When we were in middle school, she was so cool to be so firm on her own.
“Well, …… novels, you loved them so much ……, but you don’t read them anymore. Kirari has …… changed a lot.”
It’s not just her hobbies and tastes that have changed, though.
I didn’t have any special feelings for her that I wanted to tell her about, so I dared to blur it out.
Then Kirari laughed again.
It was as if we were in middle school, using …… me to chat.
“Nyahaha. Well, I’m aware that I’ve changed, but if you …… say that, Ko-kun is pretty changed too, no?”
I tilt my head back at those words.
I wonder if Kirari knows me well enough to talk about my changes.
That made me wonder.
What kind of person was I from Kirari’s point of view?