Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai:Volume 1 Past
It had been a while since the last time I swam, so I couldn't shake off the fatigue after I went to swim with Sena.
Was it because of a lack of exercise... ever since the time when I transferred in it seemed that I never exercised much in P.E. Class (because nobody would pass the ball to me during football lessons).
Today was Monday and I felt like sleeping the entire day away. But if I fell asleep in class I’d be treated like a delinquent again, so I continued to keep myself awake and listen to the lesson.
But it seemed that the teachers were scared of me during the few times our eyes met...
Anyway, I managed to hang on until the end of class. I came to the clubroom, sat on the sofa, and the strong sleepy feeling struck me again.
Perhaps it was because I was sleeping at a place I wasn't used to that I did not really fall asleep, but dreamt.
Perhaps it was because of the scuffle yesterday at the swimming pool that I dreamt of something a long time ago.
Maybe it was because the first impression I gave was bad or because I was forced to keep transferring schools; even though I got a few people whom I could eat and have fun with, it didn't seem that I could make a good friend I could really trust.
Even so, I did make a friend that I thought could be considered my good friend.
Right now, I couldn't remember what that kid looked like, or even his name, but I remember that it was about 10 years ago when I first met him, when I was still living here.
On a certain evening, I was being bullied at the park beside the primary school I was studying at.
Five students of the same year as me surrounded me, beat me up and even threw stones at me. The primary schoolboys were very direct in their attacks, not thinking through and not holding back at all. They were just doing it to satisfy and enjoy themselves.
At the start, I tried my best to fight them off.
Students of the same age don’t have that much difference in strength. Thus, if we're all equal in strength, the side with more people will win. In this 1v5 situation, I couldn't possibly win, and got pummeled by them.
I was already somewhat isolated from the students in my class because of my blond hair and savage looking eyes. One day, a teacher who didn't know that I had mixed-blood scolded me in front of everyone in class, saying 'dyeing your hair at this age, are you a delinquent', and that sparked off everything.
Delinquents are bad. They could bully a bad person to their hearts content.
The children who derived this logic out of their childish reasoning didn't feel stricken with conscience at all. They called out some kamen rider or fighter anime moves as they beat me up without mercy.
I wanted to play dead to prevent them from bullying me. However, my stubborn belief of not wanting to lose to these guys made me glare back at them and get up, no matter how many times I was beaten down.
I would probably die if this continued on—I saw the news on TV where people 'couldn't take the bullying and committed suicide', 'mass bullying caused the student to die' and things like that. As a child, I was seriously thinking about dying.
But at that moment, a boy suddenly barged in.
The children who were bullying me yelled at him, telling him not to interfere.
But that boy stood right in front of them and shouted at them,
“Don't bully the weak!”
Those children were drunk on their fantasy of being envoys of justice, and that sentence basically dampened their spirits. Thus, the five children who exerted violence on me treated the boy as an 'enemy'.
They rushed towards him, and just when their fists were about to hit that boy—
I punched that boy in the face with all my strength.
Because of my unexpected action, the boy and the other five children looked stunned.
“Wha-What are you doing!? I was helping you...”
With teary eyes, I glared at the boy who stepped in to help me, and shouted,
“I-I'M NOT WEAK!”
To me, compared to the violence those bullies exhibited against me, the casual words of the boy was the attack that hurt me the most.
The boy was immediately stunned, and then laughed crudely,
“Ahaha! Very good! You bastard!”
As he shouted, he punched me in the face mercilessly.
The punches of those bullies were nothing compared to his. That punch was hard, and hurt a lot.
I countered back, and the boy continued to beat me up.
The boy and I just left those bullies aside as we started fighting.
“DO-DON'T LEAVE US ASIDE!”
One of the children who recovered immediately ran at us.
“DON'T GET IN OUR WAY!”
The boy and I reacted in perfect chemistry and kicked him. Bully A cried out as he fell.
The other children shouted as they rushed at us.
Both of us stopped our battle and started fighting against those five bullies.
2 vs 5. My side still felt rather isolated.
However, just the fact that the boy was fighting alongside me caused an unbelievable strength to rise up in me.
For some reason, even though I struggled to stand up, my tired and battered body felt extremely light.
And once the battle was over, we won.
The five bullies cried as they ran away.
But to me, I didn't care what happened to them.
The boy seemed to feel that way as well.
After those five ran away, we started fighting again.
And this battle ended up being a stalemate.
We were tired as we sprawled out on the ground.
We were covered in dirt, scratches and bruises. We looked completely pathetic.
Though my body hurt, for some reason, I smiled at the boy.
“You're rather strong.”
The boy's frivolous face gave an innocent smile as he said to me, “You're not too bad yourself.”
We really did something that would only happen in those hot-blooded shounen manga. Ever since that day, we would meet up with each other in the park and play together.
As we were studying in different primary schools back then we could only meet after school. But to me, that boy was undeniably my closest ally in this world.
I don't know when it was when he said this to me,
“Taka, my mom mentioned that it doesn't matter even if you can't get 100 friends once you graduate to your next class, you must find a real friend that you can treasure with the feelings of 100 people. Once you get this true friend that you can view as more important than anyone else, your future will be bright.”
Having a true friend I can treasure with 100 people's worth of feelings as compared to having 100 friends... that's a great line, I feel.
So I said, “Then, I'll use the feelings of a hundred people to treasure OO. Even if there's 100 people... no. No matter if it’s a million or trillion people, even if the entire world views you as an enemy, I'll still be your friend.”
As I said that, he started blushing.
“D-Don't say such embarrassing things!”
“Wha-what? Didn't you say that first?”
I felt embarrassed about it too as my face went red.
And then, we started laughing.
We were undoubtedly true friends.
That's what I thought then...
As I opened my eyes, I saw the stinging sunset shining in through the window.
Yozora was sitting on the sofa opposite, reading the light novel with that unhappy look like usual.
There was no other person in the clubroom other than Yozora and me.
It doesn't matter even if you can't get 100 friends once you graduate to next year, but you must find a real friend that you can treasure with the feelings of 100 people... is that so?
My mind was still fuzzy and I unknowingly muttered what that buddy of mine said in the dream.
At that moment—
Pak! The book Yozora was holding onto suddenly dropped from her hands.
“Ko-Kodaka, so you remembered...”
Yozora stared at me with a surprised look, and her trembling voice seemed to be mumbling something.
This was the first time I had ever seen Yozora so agitated since the day when I first spoke to her, the day when I witnessed her talking to her air friend.
I look surprised and asked, and Yozora frantically picked up the book that dropped onto the floor.
“No-Nothing... I was startled that you suddenly spoke.”
Yozora stammered and finished before immersing herself in the world of her book again.
For some reason, I saw that her face was really red. The reason couldn't be just because of the sunset glow, right?
“Sorry for startling you... where's Sena and Yukimura?”
“They went back already. There wasn't anything special to do today.”
Yozora answered with a somewhat unhappy expression.
I looked at the clock, and found that it was already past 6.
It seemed that I had slept for a long time.
“I'm going back too.”
I took my bag and stood up, and felt that my neck hurt somewhat.
Walking out of the clubroom, I vividly recalled the dream I just had.
The buddy I separated from 10 years ago...
How was he getting on?
Was he still living in that street?
What did he look like now?
What was his name?
He called me 'Taka' as a nickname, and I seemed to keep calling him by his nickname, not his real name.
--Then, I'll use the feelings of a hundred people to treasure OO. Even if there's 100 people...no. No matter if it’s a million or trillion people, even if the entire world views you as an enemy, I'll still be your friend.
--Then, I'll use the feelings of a hundred people to treasure OO.
What did I call him back then?
“...Ah, forget about it.”
That was a long time ago anyway.
He definitely wouldn't remember what happened 10 years ago, right?
The me back then would never believe that I would be thinking about him now.
Regardless of important memories or the sadness of separation, there will be a time when everything changes. Can I really get a friend I'll appreciate for the rest of my life?
A tinge of loneliness struck me. I walked out of the church and went home.
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