Part 19: Encounter, Part 2Video: Tsukasa
Background Sound: Playing
Tomoe: Come on, Yui!
Kanna: Gross! I just got sprayed!
*sniffle* Sorry, sorry! I've got a real tingle in my nose today for some reason.
Tomoe: Ugh, honestly...
Masako: Tissues...tissues... Huh? Where'd I put them?
Oh, wow, did I get that much on you? Here, use one of mine. It's the least I can do.
Kanna: Great! Don't mind if I do.
Masako: What? She was talking to me! May I have one too, please?
Let's see... Here we go.
Tomoe: You guys really should keep extras with you, you know.
Masako: Heh heh...
Kanna: Well sor-ry!
Tomoe: You remember! We were talking about what it's like to be seniors now.
Oh...I know, right? Can it really be just one more year before we graduate?
Tomoe: While graduation is important, don't forget there's life afterwards to think about as well.
Tomoe: Our careers!
Masako: Nooooo, I really don't want to think about that!
Kanna: No kidding! What are we going to do with our lives? It's scary!
Masako: Any ideas, Yui? You have any plans for the future?
Actually, I've got it all figured out.
Tomoe: Well, don't leave us hanging! Out with it, girl!
Background Sound: None
Music: The Time For Girls
My name is Yui Shishido. I'm 17 and my dream is to be a teacher! I butt into the lives of others without a second thought, and I spend most of my time doing nothing important. But I believe that even someone like me can make her dream come true, with enough hard work!
Thanks to the wonders of a first-person viewpoint, there are no mugshots for teenage Yui. Thankfully, Yui hasn't aged a day since she was 17, so her adult mugshots look just fine aside from the occasional bit of pink shirt that slips in.
The cherry blossoms were in bloom and the rustling wind carried with it the soft warmth of the season. I was a high school senior now, and was devoting myself to my studies in preparation for the day my dream could become reality. And that dream was to become an English teacher. My grades were on the fence for getting into the university I wanted, though. So my best bet was to score a special recommendation from the academy.
After school one day, I was summoned to the teachers' staff room. I was freaking out that maybe I'd failed or my grades weren't good enough for the school I wanted to go to, or something terrible like that. But it turned out my fears were all for naught.
Man, was that ever a pick-me-up! I feel like I could take on the world now. I'm going to have to make sure I don't let this chance slip me by!
...So, uh, this trash can... Why exactly is it so ridiculously heavy, again?! Carrying this beast to the dumpster is going to be the death of me...
I turned around, still holding the garbage can. The voice belonged to a male student I had never spoken with before. I'd seen him around a lot, though. His name was Tsukasa Mikuni, from class 7.
Sound Effect: Spill
H-Hey! What's the big idea laughing at someone else's misfortune?!
Well, it's... *snicker* Hahaha...hahaha!
It's not funny! Shouldn't you be asking if I'm okay or something?!
Haha... My bad, my bad.
Don't worry about it. It's the least I can do after laughing like that.
No prob. That should be everything, right?
Yeah, looks like it.
Cool. Let's go, then.
I remember it well even now. This was my first time talking with Tsukasa, and he left a strong first impression on me.
I-I am the one assigned to take it. Maybe I should--
It's fine, really.
Thank you so much! You were a huge help.
Catch you round.
Hey! Hold up!
Don't worry about it. Your thanks is plenty.
Look, just wait there a second, okay?!
Video: Tsukasa ends here.
Most of the times I'd seen Tsukasa before this were in the school courtyard. He spent a lot of time there sitting alone on a bench. Even after school or during summer vacation, if I happened to pass by, I would always see him there. And after this little encounter, we'd go on to make many fond memories together. Yet somehow, the image of Tsukasa that stands out most in my mind is of him seated alone on that courtyard bench.
Uhh, sure, I guess. Anything's fine, really. Thanks.
You know, it's customary when receiving a gift to quietly accept it without any off-handed remarks.
Well, aren't we a stickler for tradition!
That courtyard bench was a sort of mystical place. The leaves rustled over your head, and if you closed your eyes and opened your ears, it felt as though you were in the middle of some forest. And then if you looked straight up, the sunlight poured in through the leaves and you almost felt like you were in another world.
This is the first time I've ever actually sat on one of these benches.
It's pretty nice, right?
It is. It's lovely.
Haha... Yeah, it really is.
...Oh, so is that why?
I sure do.
So you must really like this place, then, huh?
Yeah, I guess I do.
Well, then there we go!
We were both silent for a bit, but strangely, it didn't feel awkward or uncomfortable.
...So, aren't you going to ask?
What I'm always doing here by myself, or something.
Hmm? You're always here because you like this spot, right?
Is there some other reason, then?
So what would be the point of my asking?
Really? I don't know, I guess I just don't think of it that way. The way I see it, if you like it here, then why not come here whenever you can?
...Guess that makes you the weirdo, then.
Hey, don't make that face! Coming from me, that's a compliment.
Whaaat? Calling someone a weirdo is supposed to be a compliment?!
Hahaha. You bet it is.
I'm not sure I buy that.
And I've always loved the feeling I get when I know my words helped brighten someone's day. I must have been sporting one hell of a goofy smile at that moment.
Oh? Where's that?
...I'm not telling.
It's my special place.
Which means...it must be a totally awesome place, right?
Aww, I really want to see it! Come on!
Laughing, Tsukasa finished up his drink, then grabbed the now-empty trash can he'd carried to the dumpster for me.
You treated me to coffee, so please, allow me to take this up to the classroom for you.
What? Are you sure?
Thanks! I'm in class-
Class 4, if I'm not mistaken. You're the famous Shishido, after all.
Huh? How did you...?
You're that girl who already looks like she could be a teacher. I don't think there's a student in any of our twelve classes who doesn't know your name.
Music: All Together
Doesn't that get a little old?
You drink at least two a day, though, right?
Hey... How'd you know that?
Seen it with my own eyes. There's a perfect view of the vending machine from here, after all.
Uh, yeah. I mean, it's right there!
...Oh, wow, no kidding!
Well, then I guess we're even, since I always see you sitting on this bench.
What, you're back on that again?
Sure am. I guess I just find it interesting that we both took notice of each other's quirkly habits.
Music: Fun Times
Ugh, don't mention summer.
Hmm? Why, you don't like it?
Not with summer school right around the corner. That'd be enough to make anyone run for the hills.
Haha, I guess so. But we're seniors now. It comes with the territory, you know? The time for fun and games is over.
I don't know, you seem like you're still having a lot of fun to me...
Well, I'm a bit of a special case. I'm just happy because I feel like my dream might actually come true.
I guess it makes me feel like a big sister or something. And since I'm an only child...you know...
Oh, okay. Well, good luck with that, then.
Wow, that was about as dismissive a comment as you can get!
Hey, not like I can do anything about it, you know?
And in a high school crowd, most people don't take you very seriously when you say you're trying to become a teacher. Tsukasa just wan't like most people, I guess.
After the school day ended, the senior floor was always a lot more quiet than its underclassman counterparts. Everyone was off studying hard at the library or with tutors. So one day, thinking no one else was around, I sat down in a lonely corner of the hallway. Initially, I had grabbed my shoes and left the classroom, intending to head home. But along the way, I just started crying. I was overwhelmed. My sobs echoed from one end of the hallway to the other.
Music: Memories (A)
That day, I had finally received a special recommendation to my top choice university. I was so excited, I just wanted to tell someone. So I told my friend Tomoe...but her usually supportive demeanor took on a somewhat harsher edge.
So I smiled and told her I didn't care. That's what I said, anyway.
But how couldn't I care? Tomoe's dismissive words struck me like a dagger to my chest.
I wonder if everyone else...feels the same about me... *sob*
I kept wiping the tears from my eyes, only for new ones to take their place immediately. Why didn't I think of this sooner? So many people were still facing uncertain futures with no real goals in mind. And I was completely oblivious to it. I was the one with a dream, running around like the cock of the walk and blabbing about my successes and aspirations. I wouldn't blame them if they hated me. Could someone that insensitive to the feelings of so many other people...really become a teacher? Did I ever even have what it takes to begin with?
I quickly turned toward the voice that had called out to me and found Tsukasa standing there. We'd never said a word before when passing each other in the hall, but he spoke to me that day with no reservations, as if we were old chums.
Your face is a mess. Do you have a handkerchief?
Then wipe your face.
Did something happen?
No. Everything's fine.
You're crying an awful lot for someone who's got no problems.
No, it's just...there was a little misunderstanding between a friend and I. But we patched it up right away, so it's all right, really. These are...you know, something like tears of happiness, I guess.
I'm not sure if I did it out of respect for Tsukasa or just because I wanted to change the subject, but I cut myself off mid-sentence. I was doing it again! What was I thinking?! Now even Tsukasa was going to hate me for being a braggart. Hell, I hated myself. I was the worst. Just the worst!
Music: Memories (B)
...He was happy for me? A bit taken aback, I nodded firmly.
You did it, then! Congrats!
Heh. Yeah... Thanks.
So what's with the waterworks?
So isn't it a little early to be crying tears of joy?
Heh. Yeah, maybe so. I was just...really happy that you congratulated me.
Oh, come on, now.
For crying like this. Without even knowing why.
If you don't know why you're doing it, then how about you hurry up and dry those eyes?
Sure. I think I'm fine now, anyway.
Then, as if suddenly remembering something, his eyes lit up.
Oh, hey! Wait here a sec.
He was holding something.
Music: The Everyday
In his outstretched hand rested a short, stubby little pencil. Not the sort of thing you'd expect someone to go out of their way to lend you. It was pocked here and there with small scratches, but it still seemed to be in relatively decent shape considering how obviously well-worn it was.
Use it on your test and you'll pass for sure.
Yep. They told me I'd never pass the entrance exam for Kisaragi Academy but, well...here I am! And I owe it all to this pencil.
So this is the same pencil you were using back when you took your high school application tests?!
Sure is. It really jerked out a miracle.
...Um, I assume you mean worked out a miracle, right? Not that that's a thing either...
But listen. I'm only lending it to you until you've finished your test. You'll have to give it back afterward so I can use it for my entrance exams.
And whatever you do, don't fail the exam!
I took the pencil and nodded, smiling. This time, Tsukasa returned my smile.
You're a really unique person, you know that? It's hard to believe how much you let other people's problems get to you. You'll make an amazing teacher.
Tsukasa had somehow sussed out from our conversation that I was crying because I'd upset Tomoe. And he was turning that fact around to offer me encouragement!
Good luck. Don't let it get to you!
I'd heard you shouldn't wish someone luck in times of stress, as it just adds more pressure. That's why people tell actors to "break a leg" instead. But I didn't care. Taboo or no, I cherished his kind words.
Glad to hear it!
But it didn't seem like he noticed, and there wasn't really any indication that he felt the same way anyway.