Chapter 6: Resignation and falsehood.

Three hellish months.
A dragged-out, yet short period of my life has finally come to an end.
All that remained was to handle the cinders of the fire.

A meeting was held with the parents of the involved parties.
This time, however, Yamamoto and her mother weren’t mere witnesses any longer; they had become perpetrators.

The first step was to confirm the facts with us students, but Yamamoto had changed.
Before she was THE definition of a feeble-minded crybaby, now she clings like metal.
Inorganic, unmoving.
A puppet who only answers “Okay” to the teacher’s questions.

It only got harder from there.
My father, usually a man of few words, hollered at the homeroom teacher and Toudou’s mother.
She apologized vehemently to my father, whose face crumpled in anger at this whole situation, and looked so ashamed even I almost forgot she was the mother of the culprit.

In the end, it helped that I agreed and the other party paid compensation for damages and we settled out of court.
My dad asked me again and again if I was satisfied with this outcome, and I told him I was.
I didn’t feel the need to press this issue further… I was just so sick of it.

Let them tell the truth in front of my classmates? No, don’t need it.

After that, Yamamoto came to my house with her parents to apologize, and after that, I’d never seen her at school again.
She didn’t transfer out yet, though.

Oh, and speaking of Toudou…

“I’m transferring schools.
Sorry for everything I’ve done.”

That girl said she felt sorry, but I could never forgive her.
While I felt pity due to how bad she looked, I didn’t utter a single word.
Whether I denied or accepted her apology, I felt it would give her some sense of closure.

She’s the only one I don’t want to have a conclusion. I thought so while looking the other way.

“See you later!”

With that, she left the school almost as if she was planning to see me again, and soon after, the environment around me flipped.

“I’m sorry Yuu! Why didn’t I believe you…”

“Sorry, Takasaki, I couldn’t go against it since everyone else was bashing you…”

“Yuu! I’m sorry! If you don’t mind, I’d love to be friends with you again! Let’s go to school together sometime like old times?”

They all said so…

But how dare they? For three months, they spat whatever came to their minds against me.
Some wouldn’t even look my way, others would curse me and everything I stood for.
There were even a few who put their hands on my belongings!

I won’t stand for this!

“It’s past now.
I’ve got a lot on my mind, and things won’t go back to normal anytime soon, but I’ll keep in touch.”

Before I knew it, I found myself unconsciously repeating those words.

At first, I tried to ignore those people, but what was the point of letting my feelings get the better of me? I’m not interested, nor do I want anything to do with them anymore.
However, regardless of how I felt, I inadvertently made a choice.
Due to my defensive instincts and fears, I ended up forging paper-thin relationships with them once more.
All according to my subconscious.

By the time I entered ninth grade, no one had a shred of guilt in their eyes while they talked to me, as if the problem had been solved completely and properly.
In contrast to my past, I don’t hang out with anyone anymore.
I just spend more time alone.

Certainly, we weren’t as close as we used to be, but it’s as if they had formed a “friendship” with this new me… And there, as before, everyone else smiled without hesitation.

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