First Story – Let Me Listen to Your Lingering Regrets Part 8
Senpai encouraged Shion, who still looked rather dispirited, to sit on the sofa.
“We have two findings.” Senpai said in his usual carefree tone.
I can tell that it felt like a death sentence to Shion.
“Firstly, unfortunately, Yuji said he didn’t have feelings for you. But well, love isn’t something we can impose on others, so it can’t be helped. I know how you feel for him but I can’t say that Yuji feels the same. I’m sorry.”
He could have worded it better! How insensitive!
I glared at Senpai who said it with an air of indifference.
Can’t he consider Shion’s feelings and phrase it better?
“I see… Too bad…” Shion muttered and seemed stumped for words.
“Shion…” As I thought of comforting words to say, Senpai suddenly spoke again.
“Move aside. There’s one more thing I have to say.”
“But Senpai!” I was getting mad at Senpai who didn’t say any comforting words to the poor young girl crying in front of him.
“Shion is hurt right now! Finding out that the person you liked for so long didn’t reciprocate your feelings… don’t you know what that feels like, Senpai?”
I was fuming with anger but Senpai simply sent me a cold glance and continued, “The second one is–”.
Senpai nudged the box of tissue towards Shion.
“It may be a good or a bad thing for you. You see, Yuji had confessed to Miki, but because Miki knew of your feelings for him, she turned him down.” Senpai shrugged as though he was talking about something troublesome.
“Miki seemed to have feelings for Yuji as well. Since you were best friends, you should be able to tell. That they were mutually in love. But Miki was considerate of your feelings so she refused him.”
“No way.” Shion and I blurted out at the same time. Senpai remained silent. Turns out Senpai had investigated somewhere I didn’t know.
But that’s not the problem. It was clear by the way Shion’s body trembled that knowing she caused her best friend’s broken heart was too much of a shock for her.
“No way… Because of me… It’s my fault that… Miki and Yuji… Everybody else has noticed but… only I didn’t. Although it wasn’t my intention, I ended up doing such a cruel thing to them…What have I done? I wish I was dead…”
Shion placed her hands on her face and sobbed heavily.
“Don’t worry, you’re already dead.” Senpai said nonchalantly.
I sent a piercing glare towards Senpai and tried to comfort Shion in a hug.
“It’s all right, Shion. It’s not your fault. It couldn’t be helped. No one was wrong. It was just what’s meant to happen. Even if no one was wrong and everyone was kind, some things are just out of our control.”
“I told you to move aside.” Senpai said without showing any sign of irritation.
“Well then, how do you feel, Shion? Those are our findings.”
Shion kept crying without saying anything. Senpai continued. “I’m sure you have mixed feelings about it. You must feel like you have to do something about it but at the same time you feel like you’ve been betrayed by Miki, don’t you?”
I couldn’t process right away what Senpai had said so I didn’t say anything. But once the meaning behind his words dawned on me, I felt a burning rage of hatred towards him.
“Senpai! What the-!”
“Shion.” Senpai didn’t spare me any glance but looked straight at Shion as though he could see through her heart.
“There was something that bothered me when I first heard your request. A close friend since kindergarten–good-looking, smart and with impeccable personality. You’ve only said positive things about Miki but it made me wonder about the dark emotions you’re hiding in your heart.” Senpai sympathized and sighed.
“You were always together with Miki. You probably were always compared with her. For example, like you were the sun and the moon.”
Senpai scratched his head and continued. “But you didn’t mind that and wished that you continued to be best friends. And then you met Yuji. You were the closest to them so you surely would have noticed that they were in love with each other, especially because Miki was your best friend and Yuji was the guy you liked.”
Looking as though he was in pain, Senpai closed his eyes for a while.
“But despite that, you didn’t pray for your friend’s love to go well and insisted on confirming Yuji’s feelings for you instead. They were a perfect couple no matter how you look at them. But you didn’t know what to do with your feelings. You just couldn’t help it.”
Senpai paused and straightened himself.
“But you were only fooling yourself. Every time you praised Miki, you compared yourself with her. ‘Miki is amazing whereas I’m useless.’ That was what you felt. From the start, you paled in comparison to Miki. And that’s when you realized. That perhaps you were jealous of her.” Senpai said.
“That’s not it…” Shion stopped crying and muttered.
“That’s not it! You’re wrong! You’re wrong!”
Senpai continued. “To you, Miki always seemed far away, like the shining sun you could never reach no matter how near it felt. In contrast, you were the moon that only reflected the light of Miki the sun. In fact, you already knew. That no matter how much you try, Miki wasn’t a friend you could ever reach. And that feeling of jealousy turned into hatred.”
“That’s not it…”
“But I don’t know what to think from here on out.” Senpai shrugged his shoulders as though he was tired.
“Even if she turned down Yuji for your sake, that doesn’t mean that the mask of the tragic heroine who said, ‘For my best friend, I’d rather get hurt instead,’ will be removed. After all, Miki is perfect. An impeccable best friend. Even if you’re dead, you can’t ever beat Miki.”
Senpai scratched his head. “You wanted to find Miki’s weakness but failed. What you feel regretful the most wasn’t about Yuji. It was about the jealousy you felt for always being compared with Miki.”
“No!” Shion screamed hysterically.
“I really liked Yuji! I didn’t want to lose to Miki.”
There was a moment of silence. I didn’t know what to say so I just kept my mouth shut.
“…I know, your feelings for Yuji were probably real. But I just wanted you to say what you really feel so I said that. I’m sorry.” Senpai said in a tone full of kindness and compassion.
As Senpai apologized sincerely, Shion suddenly laughed as if she was possessed.
“Miki… She has everything. Everything I wanted. That’s right, since kindergarten. Everything I wanted to do, because we were best friends, she also did the same. Even though I started doing it first, she would quickly overcome me and do better. She was always in the limelight. The center of everyone’s attention in class. The kind honor student. I was nothing but her shadow.”
“Shion…” I stroked her head as I could do nothing else for her.
“I understand. You were always with Miki and Yuji. Precisely because she was your best friend that’s why you probably couldn’t help feeling jealous. If she had been a stranger, you probably would have dismissed that feeling as envy.” Senpai took a deep breath and said in his usual tone.
“But Shion, what do you want to do? You haven’t resolved your lingering regret. Will you continue to hold a grudge against your best friend Miki and keep wandering as a soul?”
A soul with unresolved lingering regret won’t be sent to heaven. Feeling frustrated, I ground my teeth as I stared at Shion’s profile.
“I–I– What should I do?” Like a desperate child clinging on to his mother, Shion asked Senpai.
“That’s something you have to decide by yourself. Although…” Senpai said while playing with the pen in his hand.
“I think Miki sees you as an irreplaceable best friend and not just a shadow.”
Shion looked up and gave a look of surprise.
When Senpai mentioned the words “irreplaceable best friend”, like the “sun” that warmly melted Shion’s heart, I felt touched.
I… also have a best friend who will never betray me and will stay by my side no matter how much other people mocked me.
I understand that feeling.
Even if you only have one person you can call a “friend”, you won’t ever feel lonely. No matter how lonely or depressed you are, having the company of friends who are always there for you is a great feeling.
Isn’t that what friends are for?
Shion pondered for a while, nodded, wiped her tears and then raised her face with renewed determination.
“I have a favor to ask.”