At dinner, we all sat around two tables, one for us kids and one for the the Sisters and Fathers managing the orphanage and the church. It was all fine, with the others ignoring me and leaving me to eat in silence, until it was supper time. While everyone started eating it, Kazumo actually got up and walked behind me, simply to spill the soup on my head.
“GYAHAHAHAHAH! What’s wrong, monster? I thought you were thirsty, and so I wanted to give you some of my miso soup~”
“Kazu-chan! Hurry up and apologize!”
One of the Sisters got up and started yelling at him. It was not something I expected anymore. Not even they cared about me, they didn’t even stop the others from bullying me, even if it happened right in front of them.
“Okay, Sister~… Sorry, my hand slipped~”
“… I’m done eating. I’ll go take a bath and then go to sleep…”
I kept back my tears and stood up, with a feeble voice I spoke toward the Sister that spoke up for me. I wondered if it was really for me or just to keep up appearance. While I walked away I could perfectly hear their conversation, and maybe they spoke aloud on purpose.
“Sister, you shouldn’t care about that monster~”
I ran up the stairs as I couldn’t take it anymore. ”But still’? That’s all? You didn’t even retort to them calling me monster…’
Under the shower, I started sobbing as I thought about what had just happened. I bit my lower lip while desperately trying to hold back my tears, but I just couldn’t do it. Ever since I knew how good your life could be, by being born in a loving family like Hou-kun’s, the time I spent suffering here at the orphanage became more and more unbearable.
‘Yes… a monster… hic… I know… that… hic… I’m not… normal, but… hic… can’t I… too… be happy?’
Today I had to lie to Hou-kun and Ei-kun first thing in the morning. My eyes were still red from crying too much, fortunately there was no other indications I had cried so when I told them that I simply slept for only a few scarce hours, they believed me.
During third period, Mizushima was called by the teacher to the blackboard. My mind still hadn’t calmed down by yesterday evening’s events, plus Mizushima’s attitude really irked me. That is why I had a lapse in judgement.
“Good Mida-kun, you can go back to your seat now.”
‘Humph…’ I didn’t like her meek, false attitude toward the teacher. I didn’t like how she answered correctly. I didn’t like her. That’s why, I slightly extended my leg as she passed by and tripped her, causing her to fall to the ground.
“Ouch! …Hey. YOU. CYCLOPS! YOU MADE ME TRIP, DIDN’T YOU?!”
“It’s not my fault if you don’t know how to walk properly.”
I spoke calmly to her as, from the corner of my eyes, I saw the class quiet down and observe us, with no intention of interrupting us. They wanted to see a good show, just like the Sisters and the other kids at the orphanage. ‘Bastards.’
“ADMIT IT! YOU GIRLY BOY!”
I was not paying attention, I was just thinking about how loathsome everyone was, I was caught completely by surprise. Mizushima yelled at me and at the same time she punched me in the face. I was dazed for a few seconds, trying to understand what had just happened. When realization dawned on me my bottled up rage bursted forth, I stood up and threw a punch to her face; an eye for an eye.
We pushed each other and when she fell, I mounted on her and I started hitting her. Mizushima, of course, started hitting me too. I was pretty sure she was hurting me more than I was able to hurt her, but I never got a confirmation. The teacher immediately ran to us and she forcefully separated us with the help of some of our classmates.
“Y… you two! Stop fighting! Stop!”
“SHE STARTED IT!”
“YOU TRIPPED ME!”
We were held back as we tried to once again lunge at each other. After a bit we were forcefully calmed down, and I realized just how much of a mess my head had been in since yesterday. This was not me. I did not act like this. I regretted my actions a bit, but since I couldn’t rewind time I was just glad that I was able to vent.
“Phew! I want you two to pay me a visit in the teachers’ lounge after school is over, understood?”
We kept our heads bowed as we listened to our teacher preach about the correct behavior one should follow while at school, subtly telling us she didn’t actually care about our fight or what we did in general, as long as it didn’t happen during her classes and we caused her problems. Her selfishness wasn’t really a surprise.
“Okay, now you can go, Mida-kun.”
I watched Mizushima walk away as I asked why I wasn’t sent away too.
“Sensei, why couldn’t I go too?”
“Because you said a bad word; keep in mind that if I ever hear you use that kind of words again, I’ll bring this up to the principal. Also, let me tell you something: boys shouldn’t hit girls.”
I understood I did something bad by cursing aloud in class, so I apologized, but I couldn’t understand the meaning of the last part of her speech, so I tried to ask her, but…
“I’m sorry about that sensei, but—”
“No ‘but’s, Ame-kun. You have to do as the adults tell you to without discussion, you are too young to know what is good for you.”
“ENOUGH! You can go, but tell your ‘mother’ to meet me tomorrow at 10 a.m.”
“Yes sensei, goodbye…”
I gave up trying to communicate with her and bid the teacher farewell. I was in a sour mood and when I exited the teachers’ lounge, I couldn’t help but inwardly curse.
Mizushima was outside, near the door and leaning on the wall. I was surprised and I just had to ask her why she didn’t go home yet.
“Uh? Why are you still here?”
“I… wanted to tell you that… I’m sorry about punching you before…”
I didn’t know how to feel about all this. Today, and yesterday, had been a roller-coaster of emotions and events that threw me from the extremity of sadness to the extremity of rage, among other feelings. I recomposed myself and gave Mizushima a reply in a defeated tone after a short sigh
“… …Aah. Don’t worry about it, it was my fault in the first place..”
She gave me a strange look but didn’t say anything anymore, so to keep the conversation going, I extended a hand toward her and proposed to go home together with a small smile. ‘Maybe we’ll at least stop going for each other’s throat like this.’
“Wanna go home together?”
“DON’T THINK WE ARE FRIENDS!”
She slapped my hand away and walked off while I stood there, dumbfounded.
I silently reaffirmed my feelings toward her. ‘She really pisses me off…’
today I was called in by the teacher because of that damned cyclops! He was the one who started it! And then, you know what?! He tried to hold hands with me! Would you believe it? Just when did I give him the impression that we were friends!
I SERIOUSLY HATE THAT CYCLOPS!
‘I hate this…’
I hated having colds. I couldn’t concentrate and it hurt all over my body. Moreover, I was sleepy. I continually awoke and slept suddenly, making it difficult to remember what had happened and to make decisions. My lamenting had been disrupted by a Sister waking me up.
“…me-chan, it’s time to eat. Here, open your mouth…”
‘I don’t want to eat… I’m not hungry…’
Despite trying my best, I couldn’t find any energy in my body to repel her, and so I was forcibly made to eat enough food to make my belly explode.
“Come on, this is the last one…”
My awareness was waning and I just wanted to the Sister to go away at this point.
‘Enough… I want to…’
“There you go! Ah, and a classmate of yours bought you a copy of the homewo—”
I hated colds, now even more so. Because I had the flu, a classmate kindly brought me the school homework that had been given out. That was nice and all, until I realized what that meant. A classmate of mine, to which I had told I had parents, visited the orphanage I was living in.
“Eh~ so he’s an orphan?”
“Yeah. All those times he talked about his parents, he was lying! Hide-kun said that when he went to visit Notsuki-kun, he found out that he lived in an orphanage!”
I hoped all this whispering about me would die out soon. At least it wasn’t a school-wide topic since I had only interacted with those in my class, but…
‘I don’t want to be isolated here too…’
The bell rang, surprising me. ‘Ah… it’s already lunchtime…’ As I thought such, a hand grabbed me from the side, I turned my head toward that my right and saw that it was Ei-kun who had taken hold of my arm.
“Hey… Let’s go, Ame.”
“Here, take this.”
I heard Ei-kun speak to me, I looked up only to see him giving me half of his second anpan. I didn’t really like anpan, but I felt happy about how Ei-kun had tried his best to cheer me up. I took it from his hands after thanking him.
“… Thank you.”
“Ei-kun, sometimes, you’re such an idiot… Did you forget that Ame doesn’t like anpan? Whatever, have this instead.”
Hou-kun gave Ei-kun a light punch on the shoulder before walking in front of me to offer me a couple of onigiri. I put on a slight smile on my face as I slightly shook my head and answered him.
“No… the anpan’s okay, thanks…”
“If you say so, then you should drink this~!”
Hou-kun faked a sad face before smiling brightly while offering me a carton of strawberry-flavored milk. I kept a blank face as I thought about how they perfectly knew about my dislike for sweet food.
‘Wait… are they doing it on purpose?’
“Pft… ah… ahah… ahahahahahahahah! You bastards! You know that I don’t like sweet things! Get back here, I’ll kick your asses!”
“Oh~ come and try~”
“I won’t let you.”
We spent some time playing by running after each other before going back to our spots to pack our bentos. While doing so, I noticed that both Hou-kun and Ei-kun had stopped and were staring at me. I looked quizzically at them and Hou-kun answered me with a beaming smile whereas Ei-kun gave me a gentle smile along with a small nod and a short reply.
“Ame… finally, you smiled again!”
I closed my eyes, fearing they’d see the sadness within them, and gave them an even better smile.
‘Yeah… I… ‘smiled’ again…’
It had been a week since Mizushima started following me during the breaks; exasperated, I had decided to talk some sense into her during recess.
“Mida, stop following me!”
“Shut up! I’m not following you, I’m looking for a chance to hit you!”
I was baffled by her violent behavior. Thinking about how she could have grown up like this distracted me from reacting ‘properly,’ and I evaded a punch from Mizushima coming from my left. I almost cursed out loud, but venting my anger by yelling at her was a good substitute.
“What?! Are you mad!? Why do you even want to hit me! I haven’t done anything to you since that time!”
She tried to punch me again, but Ei-kun stood up and swiftly went behind her; he quickly took her wrists into his hands and used his strength to force them behind her back. I saw Mizushima wince as Ei-kun talked to her, probably because he consciously gripped her wrists with more strength than needed.
“You’ve been really annoying lately, I put up with it ’cause you didn’t do anything but what you did right now was too much. Stay away from Ame from now on, you crazy girl.”
He pushed her away causing her to almost fall. She massaged her wrists as she turned around to glare at me, she acted arrogantly one last time before going toward our classroom, leaving me alone.
It was a total failure! I tried to attack him from his left side, but he dodged! How? I thought he couldn’t see from his left eye! Tsk… Just you wait! I’ll have my revenge on him for calling me by my first name without permission!
One day, while I walked from the courtyard to the school gate, I saw a group of boys older than me standing in front of a girl, who I soon recognized as Mizushima, from my class. I frowned and walked up to them.
‘What’s happening there?’
“Hey, are you Mizushima Mida?”
“Yes… and what would you senpais’ names be?”
There was a lot of tension in the air, and even if I couldn’t see Mizushima’s expression clearly, from her tone alone I could picture her making her usual proud and arrogant face. This was all happening in a decently covered zone of the school, so unless someone among them started screaming and yelling, no one would pay attention to this secluded part of the school.
“That isn’t important. We heard that you mistreated a kouhai of ours, so we’re here to demand compensation from you.”
“Humph, I imagine you are referring to that scum who was molesting a stray dog yesterday? If so, then I don’t see any reason to offer ‘compensation’ to you guys.”
Apparently, the matter was somewhat serious. I decided to wait until the situation escalated, save Mizushima and ultimately, subtly suggest she stops following me.
“What ‘molesting’? Our friend just took pity on the poor thing, he simply wanted to cheer it up by playing together with it a little bit.”
Her sarcasm toward those ‘grown-up’ kids only served to increase the danger she was in. I heard footsteps, so I stole a peek at the situation and saw that Mizushima was trying to walk away from them, but just at that time, one of the guys held her right arm and forcibly pulled her to him, she struggled but she didn’t scream.
“Wait, where do you think you’re going?”
“Humph, we’ll let you go after you have ‘compensated’ us, girl.”
I saw the boys encircling Mizushima walk closer and closer, so I acted.
“THAT’S RIGHT, THEY’RE HERE TEACHER! THEY ARE BULLYING A STUDENT!”
“Damn it! RUN!”
Once I was certain they were gone, I came out from around the corner and went to Mizushima. I noticed she was trembling, so I asked her if she felt fine.
I saw how she struggled to put up a front. ‘Amateur.’
“They’re gone, there’s nothing scary no—”
“Who’s scared!? IDIOT!”
So I tried to console her, but before I could finish speaking, Mizushima interrupted me and then she ran off.
“…At least say ‘thank you,’ before running away.”
that.. that idiot! Just.. just because I was a little scared, it didn’t mean I couldn’t handle them! Who asked him to save me! He… he didn’t save me! He just interfered with my fight! Yeah! That idiot should just die! Idiot! Idiot! Idiot!