Chapter 4: A broken routine.
Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
Taniguchi called Suzuka, so I went home alone and did nothing all day but sit drowning in gloom, lights off.
His business was obvious to anyone with a grain of sensibility.
Even my classmates said so… It was, surely, a confession.
He’s the ace pitcher of the baseball team, number four there, and a great guy by anyone’s standard.
Not only that, but his body was well-trained and sculpted during club activities.
His popularity is expected given his unpretentious and handsome face, so many girls surely would want to have a shot with him.
Despite all that, he still hasn’t received a single confession from anyone.
That’s because he’s often busy with club activities, one of the many reasons he’s popular.
His devotion to his club was an attraction to the hard-core.
Frankly, I felt I couldn’t win at anything.
And then there’s Suzuka.
She’s also quite popular with everyone, and she’s even been confessed to by many guys before.
Every time that’s happened, I could barely contain my anxiety, but she’s never reciprocated or shot for anyone.
When I asked her about it, she gave me a vague reply as if she didn’t quite get the topic herself, to which I sighed back.
“Hmm, I guess it’s all about feelings?”
I wanted to know what kind of person she liked, but her answers didn’t help.
Such is Suzuka.
She’ll probably refuse and come back this time again.
I’m sure she will… I wanted to believe so, but as soon as I told myself that, an image popped into my mind.
Suzuka had an unusual expression as soon as he called her out.
Her cheeks flushed ever-so-slightly then, a small detail that didn’t help the buzzing inside my heart.
Looking through my window to the neighbor’s house, I notice her room is still unlit.
It’s been quite some time since then but seems like she hasn’t returned yet, which only added to the stirring inside me.
With my churning stomach and lack of appetite, I told my parents I wasn’t hungry, so I just went to my room.
I waited and waited for a call, a message from her.
How long has it been? I ask myself.
Suddenly, I felt a vibration in my pocket so I scrambled to grab my phone.
When I checked the screen, I saw it was a call from Suzuka, whom I’d been waiting for all this time.
I hesitated for a moment, but still picked up the call.
Are you okay?”
“Okay, um, about being called after school… It’s about that.”
“It was kind of a confession.”
So, what did you do?”
“Mhm, that’s the thing.”
Then she fell silent for year-long seconds.
My heart fought against my chest, pummeling against it painfully as my gut told me something was off.
“I’ve decided to date Taniguchi-kun.”
“You know that sporting event we had a while back? We talked then, and we had quite the conversation!”
But I get along much better with you, Suzuka…
“I thought he was pretty cool from then on.”
So it’s the face after all…
“With Christmas coming up, I felt something telling me it’s time I finally get myself a boyfriend.”
But until now, you’ve always refused me for some reason…
“Hey, Hinata? Are you listening?”
Congratulations! Well, I’m surprised because you’ve always refused any confessions until today.”
“Well, I’m a grown-up now, aren’t I? Hinata-kun, you should find a girl for you soon.
Do you want me to help you?”
“Haha, what’s up with me needing your help? I don’t think you can, Suzuka.”
Oh, that’s right, so, starting tomorrow, I’m going to the train station in the morning.”
“…Maybe to pick up your boyfriend?”
“Ding ding ding! As expected of you, Hinata.
He said he really wanted to go to school with me.”
“Oh, it’s hard to be a popular girl, ay?”
“Yeah~ So, sorry, but we won’t be able to go to school together anymore.”
“Don’t worry about that.
I’m not so think-skulled as to butt into a newlywed couple.”
“Hey, newlyweds?! Hinata! Don’t make fun of me!”
“Aha, sorry, sorry.
If you want to pick him up early in the morning, wouldn’t it be too early?”
“Ah, that’s right! I have to go to bed early so I don’t oversleep!”
“Good luck with your new everyday life.
Well then, I’ll catch you at school tomorrow.”
“Yeah! Oh, by the way, thanks Hinata!”
“…Huh? What’s with you all of a sudden?”
“Nah, I just felt like saying something, don’t worry about it, okay? Well then, see ya!”
Haha, what’s with that?
As soon as I hang up the phone, the emotions I pushed back into my bowels started to flow out of my eyes as tears.
I couldn’t wait for that call to end, and I almost couldn’t keep up with my bright voice.
It was too painful to listen to her happy and excited lovestruck noises.
Starting tomorrow, I won’t be able to walk with her to school.
It was a moment only for the two of us, but not anymore.
The person standing next to her now isn’t me, but another man.
I cried so much I thought my tears would never dry off my face, and in the end, within countless hours of pain, I couldn’t sleep through the night.
The next day, I left home at the usual time and walked straight to her front door out of habit.
Then, I remembered she doesn’t need me from today, so I walked alone to school.
It was a quiet and boring journey.
The path there, so shining when she was with me, felt gray and faded today.
Finally arriving at school, I head to the classroom alone as well.
When I stepped inside, people responded.
Since she wasn’t with me, their words were only curt “good mornings,” and they stopped as if they had lost any interest in me.
And that’s how it is when it’s only me.
I sat down and stared out the window in a daze.
I just couldn’t see anything around me.
“You’re all alone today.”
Suddenly, a voice called out to me from the seat in front.
I dragged my gaze forward only to see Kuraki giving me a sideways glance, only to hurriedly look back out the window again.
“…From now on, I guess,” I answered, still looking outside.
On the school path I could see through the glass, I saw Suzuka and Taniguchi walking merrily together, surrounded by many people.
As soon as she stepped inside the classroom, a load of people came to her and asked questions.
Then, without any particular reason to hide it, she publicly announced her decision to start dating Taniguchi after his confession.
The entire class started to buzz, and the noise continued for a while with their congratulations and questions.
After a few classes and days had passed, when people stopped with the onslaught of questions, Suzuka started to leave early every day for recess.
Apparently, she’s visiting him in the next class.
At lunch, she once said, “sorry, I’m gonna eat in the next class every day from now on,” and left without even hearing my reply.
“Hinata-kun, aren’t you lonely?” I smiled back at my classmates’ seldom words with a “well…”, but to be honest, I don’t even think I pulled off a decent smile.
School ended, and Suzuka started to get ready to go home as usual.
Then, she said, “Hinata, I’m gonna watch the baseball team practice every day from now on, so don’t worry about my return.”
Do you wanna go out for something sweet?
Normally, we’d talk about such things, but it seems that’ll never happen again.
“Okay! Wish me luck!” She exclaimed to me.
“Got it! See you later.”
I see her off with a smile and left the school all alone.
Students talked all around me, happy they were finally free from today’s studies.
As I walked down the path she and I always used to take, all by myself, I suddenly understood.
I went to school with her, spent my recess with her, and went home with her.
In my routine until now, or rather, in my every day, she was more important than anything else.
And that routine, our daily life, isn’t coming back.
It’s all broken.
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