First Story – Let Me Listen to Your Lingering Regrets Part 6.1
“Spring brings forth new beginnings. During the tranquility of winter, birds sing as if to welcome the new beginnings to come. It’s as if…”
“You may end there. Perfect!” The English teacher was delighted as Miki finished her Japanese translation and sat down on her chair.
“Amazing, Miki! That was a difficult one!” The classmates seated near her praised her.
“I wasn’t. I barely made it through.” Miki responded with a smile.
We stood behind the classroom. Of course, we’re invisible to the others. One of our abilities is to make ourselves invisible to the human eye.
“In the PE class earlier, she was assigned as the hitter in the volleyball club. Just like Shion said, she’s smart, pretty and athletic.”
“She’s perfect.” Senpai repeated.
“She also gets along with everyone. She’s the type who can do everything but still remains humble. The perfect school idol. Had I been five years younger…”
“Don’t you mean 20 years?”
Senpai suddenly sent me a piercing glare.
I won’t say it. I won’t say it. Right, talking about age was taboo.
As soon as the sound of the bell signifying the end of the class rang, a crowd immediately huddled around Miki.
“Miki, can I see your homework?”
“Miki, you’re good at everything you do no matter what.”
“Miki, your hair is so pretty. How do you take care of it?”
Miki, Miki, Miki… Everyone incessantly called her name. Looks like Miki’s popular in class. She responded to each and every one amicably.
“Was this circle of friends also there when Shion was still alive?” Senpai asked.
“I think so? It hasn’t been long since she died, so there’s no way they could’ve gotten so close right away.”
“I guess so…” Senpai crossed his arms and continued to watch Miki and her friends.
“Was Shion also close with everyone like this?”
I looked at Miki.
“Come to think of it, didn’t Yuji say that he only ever saw Shion talk to Miki?”
Senpai scratched his head vigorously.
“Sun and moon…”
At the back of the classroom, a flower petal on Shion’s seat fluttered in the wind.
After school, we stood in front of the school gate to wait for Miki. Some students looked at us but passed us silently.
“Say, if those two are lovers, I wonder what they’re doing at that place.”
I heard that. Our ears are sharper than humans’.
“No-” I wanted to negate her but I hang my head down and felt my cheeks reddened. It’s a shame that my sense of hearing is sharper than ordinary humans.
But lovers? How embarrassing!
As I was trying to increase the distance between Senpai and me, a group of girls approached and asked, “Are you waiting for someone?” Looking closely, they were classmates of Shion and Miki.
“Huh? Ah, yeah, we’re waiting for Miki.” Caught off guard, my voice ended up shaky.
“Miki? I think she’ll be late because she has student council”
“Who are you? Are you acquaintances of Miki?”
“No, we’re acquaintances of Shion Kisaragi. We wanted to talk to Miki because she was her best friend.” Senpai explained in a calm tone.
The girls briefly huddled together and then said, “Will you stop aggravating Miki? She’s finally recovering. If you talk about Kisaragi, she’ll be depressed again.”
“That’s right. She’s finally forgetting about Kisaragi. She’s not the usual bright Miki anymore.”
“Shion died just last month. Isn’t it too fast to forget about her so soon?”
I was confused so I asked the girls who sounded like birds chirping.
“I don’t care about Kisaragi. She’s nothing but an accessory to Miki. Miki’s already bright enough.”
“That’s right. If she wasn’t friends with Miki, no one would be friends with her. She’s too gloomy and unfriendly.”
“Hey! You’re going too far!”
Even though she was talking about the dead, she was still disrespectful! That made me mad.
“What’s with you! We were just concerned for Miki! Miki is everyone’s! We didn’t want her to be monopolized by Kisaragi.”
“Wha-” I was too angry to speak further. Senpai placed his hands on my shoulder.
“Everyone’s a fan of Miki. But because Kisaragi was there, it felt like she was taking her all to herself. Is that right?”
The girls went silent. Then, a girl who seemed like the leader spoke up.
“It’s because Miki is kind to everyone. She’s smart, cute and gentle–it’s what every girl aspire to be. Perhaps it’s different for the boys…” The girl paused then continued. “We were certainly jealous of Kisaragi but I don’t think it’s all that bad. Kisaragi was gloomy, had low grades, and when we try to talk to her, we couldn’t understand her. She’s the exact opposite of Miki. What’s worse, she was also able to hang out with Yuji just because she was friends with Miki. It was impossible not to hate her.”
“But you’re also her classmates. Shouldn’t you think more in her perspective?”
Thinking of how Shion heard and put up with such harsh words, my heart felt heavy with grief and hatred.
“It’s precisely because we’re classmates! Even when we’re around, she would only talk to Miki. Or get along with Yuji… Miki and Yuji were good people but Kisaragi was just the odd one out.”
“I see. So that was it.” Senpai nodded in understanding. “We’ll leave for today but we’ll be back again. We still need to talk to Miki who was Shion’s best friend. Will you allow that?”
Senpai emphasized on the words “best friend.”
Unable to retort back cleverly, the girls barked, “I-In any case, if you hurt Miki, we won’t forgive you!” With that, they left.