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I looked up at him in surprise, clamping my mouth shut.

I had never seen such a handsome face before, and I wondered why he was being so kind to me.

He looked apologetic.

"You don't feel comfortable here because everyone is looking at you. I know you don't like the idea of being touched by a man you don't know, but just bear with it for a little bit."

He walked toward the infirmary with me in his arms.

He walked slowly so that there would be less vibration, but I couldn't overcome the sick feeling and threw up on the way.

I couldn't hold it in with a handkerchief, and the vomit fell down the hallway and got on his clothes.

After I had cleared my throat and was able to talk, I turned pale at having soiled his clothes and the hallway, and apologized over and over again.

But he laughed at me and said, "You don't have to apologize.

"I'll wipe up the hallway later, so don't worry about it. Don't worry about my clothes, I have a change of clothes for club activities."

I still felt sorry for him, so I repeatedly apologized to him.

I told him that I would wipe up, but he laughed and said it was okay because he would do it myself.

When I was in elementary school, I once threw up milk from the school lunch in front of everyone. I was so red that I had to wipe it up with a cloth. I was so happy that some people helped me, but it was so embarrassing. 

"I mean, I know I shouldn't have done that with you, since you're a girl, so you must be a thousand times more embarrassed than I am."

His cheerful words really saved my life when I was in such a shock that I wanted to die.

I had never met such a kind boy, I thought.

At that moment, I fell in love with him.

When I fell in love with him, I learned that my previous love was just an extension of my friendship with a boy.

I had just called the boy in my class whom I got along with the best and who was easy to talk to my "favorite" person.

My feelings for him were completely different.

We were not in the same class, and we had only talked once, but all I could think about was him.

I looked for him all the time I was at school as if I had my antenna up, and if I saw him even for a moment, I was happy all day long.

Just hearing his voice, even if it wasn't directed at me, made me so happy that I jumped up and down.

For the first time in my life, I was in true love.

I could only watch from afar for a long time, but I was so happy to be in the same class with him in the English ability class that I was taking.

Little by little, we were able to talk, and at the school festival, we were able to perform together.

But it was not me that he chose.

He chose Tohko, who had fallen in love with him just as much as I had, and had only been staring at him from afar.

It was inevitable and natural.

I have no hobbies, no dreams, nothing I can devote myself to, and I know that there is nothing attractive about me, just passing my days in a meaningless way.

I know that, but I still couldn't help but think about it.

Why didn't he like me, even though I like him so much?

Why didn't he choose me?

I really, really like him, but why am I not the one standing next to him?

Why can't I be the one who can hold his smile all to myself?

Every day, I feel depressed thinking about all the things that I can't help but think about.

I know that I can't help it if I keep obsessing over him because he dumped me, but I just can't help myself.

"I don't like… anything anymore, I hate... him."

I repeated this without knowing what it was that I didn't like.

I was so heavy that my feet felt as if they were moving through mud, and I felt as if I couldn't make any progress no matter how much I walked.

Even while riding the subway, I felt heavy as if I was sinking into the bottom of the mud, and time seemed to move much slower than usual.

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Halfway through, my phone rang, and I plodded out and looked at it to see that it was a message from my mom.

[When in the world are you coming home? You're so good at karaoke when you don't even study.]

The thorny words pierced my heart.

I had sent her a line at lunchtime saying that I was going to karaoke with friends on the way home and would be home a little late, and I had forgotten to tell her about the follow-up exam.

That's why she thought I was out this late at night.

Although it was my fault for not contacting her, I was irritated by the sarcastic way she said it.

My mother is a very busy person, always on the go with her job as the manager of a cosmetics store and her many lessons.

She spends every spare moment doing the housework, so when the family comes home late and she can't do the dishes, she gets in a very bad mood.

I understand that she is busy, but my father's income is enough for us, and she continues to work for her own pleasure, saying, "I don't want to stop because I love my job."

And yet, it seems selfish to take that frustration out her your family.

But I don't say that because I know they would be upset if I did.

[Sorry, I'm late for a follow-up exam. I didn't go to karaoke. I'm on my way home from school]

When I responded, I immediately received a reply.

[Another supplementary exam? You didn't skip it, why don't you study properly? Why don't you learn from your brother a little?]

A loud sigh escaped me.

It's not that I didn't study. I studied, but it was not enough.

I'm terrible at math, and even when I read the textbooks, it's hard to get into my head.

Moreover, lately, I've been thinking too much, and I couldn't concentrate in class or on the tests.

I don't want to be compared to my older brother.

Ever since he was a little boy, my brother has always wanted to be a doctor, and he has been studying hard to achieve that dream.

He is now a medical student at a National University. He is famous in the neighborhood for his brilliance.

I, on the other hand, could not keep up with my peers at the school that I had managed to get into, and I was on the verge of falling out.

It is no wonder that my mother sighs loudly every time she looks at my report card.

But I couldn't help but think, 'This is who I am, so it can't be helped.'


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