Part 69: Episode 62: Silent Strains of Budding Romance
And so I sat studying in the library, while one by one the other students filed out to go home. When I look up, Im alone.
A particular birdie decided to take a seat next to me. How forward!
My, how unusual! I think this is the first time youve sat down next to me, Nageki.
Youre nothing but surprises today!
Ill leave you alone if youre busy.
Nooo! Talk away.
I was shocked when you first came and talked to me, Miss Lourde.
Youre the only one who didnt ignore me.
Thats thats terrible!
Nageki, thats awful! Which class are you in? Ill talk to your teacher--
Im not done talking yet.
Sorry, go on
You think Im being bullied, right? I thought that, too.
Youre not ?
Better than this? Then what is he ?
Im not sure yet, though. When you talk to me, I remember things, sometimes. But its still not good enough.
I dont understand. What do you mean ?
Miss Lourde, I think I I think Im--
Right as Nageki was about to finish, the door opened, and I turned my attention to the new bird.
The music stops.
Lourde? Youre here late!
Its good to study, but working too hard on your own for too long can backfire on you. Lock the door and head home soon, okay?
On my own ?
Sir, what are you talking about? Im not al
He was here just a moment ago! Whered he go ?
Did he leap out the window and go home ninja-style?
Well, either way, Mr. Nanakis saying I need to clear out. Im sure Nageki will find his own way out, if he hasnt already.
Well, it seems all my studying paid off in the end, since I was top of my class on the final! I even beat Sakuya somehow, so Im feeling great!
And so winter break came, with little to do.
Since I was a Shin Buddhist, I willingly took the Christmas Eve shift for library duty.
Oh, no! Its snowing!
It was clear when I left!
Crossing the wilderness to get to my house in a blizzard Id be risking my life.
A book under his arm, the same as always.
I do wonder about last time But, if he wants to talk, then hell talk to me.
For now, I wont bring it up.
I was about to go home, but
Mmhmm. I guess Ill have to wait until it stops.
He makes a noise of agreement, and sits down next to me with his book.
Hes been a little distant lately, but maybe hes warming up to me in his own way ?
What are you reading?
Oh! Its Christmas Eve today, isnt it?
Please keep quiet in the library.
I completely forgot! I guess this makes it a white Christmas.
More like a whiteout Christmas, if you ask me!
Looks like youre almost finished?
Yup. I just got to the part where Tiny Tim dies and Scrooge sees his own grave.
That sounds like a depressing story.
You havent read it? Even though you work here?
Im Buddhist, so Christmas stuff has never been
Time travel? I thought it was a classic, but it sounds kind of science fiction-y
I can see that. Its not really the focus of the book, though.
Id like to see the future It would be nice being able to avoid getting into trouble.
I wouldnt like it.
And so we enjoyed the present point in time along which we flowed.
This is a nice way to spend Christmas, I think.
The music stops.
Soon after came the New Years festival. I decided to keep up my studies in the coming year, so I got a charm for fulfillment in school and prayed for the best.
Afterwards, I caught Mr. Nanaki by the fortune stand. He apparently ended up with a bad fortune this year, but I think I pulled a pretty good one.
Soon after, winter break came to a close, and my final semester as a sophomore began. There was no formal testing to worry about, so this was going to be a relaxed semester.
Time flew by and before I knew it, it was already time for Legumentines.
Nageki has been a strange little bird ever since I met him, but once he started to open up, I saw that he was really just an awkward kid looking for a friend. Weve made some great progress in that respect, and I think itd do him some good to know how much I care about him, so I think Ill make Nageki my Legumentines date. He seemed like the kind of bird to snack while reading, so I bought him some country millet, knowing that its a very relaxing seed.
The pervading chill has earned the library the dubious honor of being one of the schools least popular places in winter.
The few students here are huddled around the heater. So, Nageki should be
There you are, Nageki!
Sitting in a frigid corner far from the meager effects of the heater, as expected.
--quiet in the library.
Oh, can you somehow forgive my dreadful sin?
Brrr, its cold in here Are you okay, Nageki?
I am fine.
Dont mind me, Miss Lourde. Feel free to go sit by the heater if youre cold.
Nope, Im fine! My house doesnt have a heater at all.
Anyway, I have something to give you. Its Legumentines, you know.
Here! Foxtail millet!
Yup! Youre supposed to give beans to the most important bird in your life today.
Do you want them?
He looks happier than usual. Or is it my imagination ?
I often ate these, when I was younger This brings back memories.
Thank you, Miss Lourde.
Youre welcome, Nageki!
Its so nice to see him happy! Hopefully things will be like this for a long time.