Chapter 21: Narumi Kouta Destroys


Translated by Dawn

 

Chapter 21: Narumi Kouta Destroys

“I see, so Kazemiya-san was here today.”

Akihiro-san said with a hearty regret at the dinner table where the whole family was gathered, which was rare (the rarity was mainly my fault).

“That’s right.
Do you remember last month when Kouta suddenly ran out of the house on a Friday? Kazemeiya came all the way to apologize to us, saying that he had come for her own sake.
She even gave me a cake and cream puffs from Griand.”

“She even brought a piece of cake.
She’s a very good girl, huh?”

“She may look flashy, but she’s a very solid girl.
She studies hard, and she got top marks on her mid-term exam the other day.”

You could see the air change at the dinner table.
It was mainly noticeable around my mom’s side of the table.
Test rankings were a taboo subject in this house, especially for my mom.

“W-well, It doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter what the rank on the test is.”

“That’s not good.
The ranking is important.”

“That’s right, but…you don’t have to worry Kouta.
You don’t have to worry about rankings, grades…things like that.”

“—Ah, I’m sick of this.”

I could feel the air freeze at my words.
Still, I continued without caring.

“This house, this family.
I’m sick of it.
I feel nauseous.
It’s sickening.”

“K-Kouta……?”

“There’s no way anyone would feel comfortable with all that.
At least not for me.
That’s just for your own satisfaction.”

“……..”

“I did it on purpose.
Stopping by the store on the way home from work and killing time until the very last minute is definitely on purpose.
Of course, it’s natural.
I’m sure no one wants to go home to a house like this.
If I could, I wouldn’t want to go home like this for the rest of my life.”

“Please stop! What are you talking about!?”

Tsujikawa stood up with a raised voice.


Mom looked pale and trembling, and Akihiro-san was leaning in close to her, and from Tsujikawa’s point of view, my face must have looked like the devil’s.

“…Kouta-kun.
Is that what you really want?”

“Yes, it is.
It is my true intention, Akihiro-san, without any lie, deception, or reservation.”

“Please shut up! Dad and mom don’t need to hear this!”

“Kotomi.”

“Narumi-senpai! What you’re saying is not right! You feel nauseous and sick…you don’t normally say such things to your family! Normal families are all close and happy…and we are supposed to be that normal happy family! But why are you trying to destroy it!?”

“Kotomi, stop it!”

Tsujikawa closed his mouth to Akihiro-san, who unusually raised his voice, still wanting to say something.

“Thanks for the food.
It was delicious.”

I finished my dinner and put away the dishes.

The quietness of the room was filled with the sound of footsteps and dishes scraping against each other.
The sound of water spitting out of the faucet.

Not a single word was uttered, only a heavy, silent pause.

“…where do you intend to go?”

“Natsuki’s house.
I’m going to stay there for a while…….Ah.
I might as well just move out of the house.
Thanks to my part-time job, I’ve accumulated a lot of money.”

“You’ve destroyed our family, and you’re just going to run away?”

“Aah, run away, huh…In the first place, what does a “normal family” means to you……?”

“……..!”

Tsujikawa almost opened her mouth to answer my question, but no words came out of it.

Tsujikawa tried to say something, but her mouth just moved aimlessly and silently.

“Is it to be uncomfortably cautious? Is it to be frightened and to choose a topic of conversation? To be patient and endure without being able to say what you want to say? …..I’ve had enough of that.
If that’s what a ‘normal family’ is, then I don’t need one anymore.”

“Why…why are you doing this now…?!”

“That’s right.
It’s too late.
…But, you know.
It’s only because I’ve done it now that I’m able to take a step forward.
It’s because I ran away that I got the push I needed.”


Suddenly, I thought of her glowing golden backside.

If I had not met her, I would have “only” continued to run away.

“I ask you again, Tsujikawa, what is a “normal family” for you?”
“………..being together.
There is dad, mom, me, and you.
No one is missing, everyone is together and happy!”

“I see.
That’s a great ‘family.’”

Am I still in that? Am I still family too?

…She’s serious.

“Then let’s have a match.”

“Match…?”

“You and me, we’ll compete in the upcoming final exam.
The one with the higher rank wins.
Simple and easy.”

Tsujikawa’s eyes widened in surprise.
…… But my mom was the one who was surprised the most.

“We’re in different grades, and there will be differences in the difficulty of the test, but……well, cut me some slack there.
I don’t think there’s much chance we’ll ever be able to compete on completely equal terms.”

“Are you insane?”

Tsujikawa’s question was a fair one.
If I were a third party, I would have thought the same way.

After all, Tsujikawa was the freshman representative at the entrance ceremony.
In other words, she ranked first in the entrance examination.
And on the mid-term exam, she maintained the top position in her grade.

In contrast, my mid-term test score was 58th.
Not bad, but far from the top.

“Right.
I don’t know… but I’m serious about the match itself.”

“….Fine.
I’ll accept that match.”

“Okay.
If I win, I can do whatever I want from now on.
Whether I go home or not, I’m free to do so.
What about you?”

“If I win, you will come home, and we will continue to be a family.
No matter how much you don’t like it.”

“I understand.
I’ll take that as a condition.
In exchange, I will not come home until I get the test results.”

“…I understand.
I will accept that condition as well.”


“That’s great.”

I went upstairs and left the house with the bags I had packed beforehand.

“Kouta……”

“Sorry, Mom.”

It was not that I did not feel guilty when I saw my mom trembling with a pale face.
But it would be okay.
Because Akihiro-san was by her side.
Her new husband would be there to support her.

I stopped at a small park along the way and sat down on a bench to catch my breath.

I pulled my phone out of my pocket and called someone.

“……Hello?”

The person who answered the phone was Akihiro-san.

“How is Mom?”

“She’s still shaking.
It will take a while for her to calm down.”

“…I’m sorry.
Sorry for bothering you.”

“……no.
We’re the ones who caused you trouble.”

Akihiro-san’s voice was somewhat regretful.

“We’ve caused you pain because we’re miserable parents.
I’m really sorry.”

……“We”? I see Akihiro-san is already carrying my mom on his back.

My mom.
The woman who became his wife.

Then, I’m relieved.
I could move on to the next action with peace of mind.

“And…I’m not supposed to say this but.
I’m happy.”

“Huh?”

“I was really happy that you relied on me.”

The voice on the other end of the phone exuded a certain color of joy.


“…I’m glad to hear you say that, too.”

“Haha.
Well, I was surprised at first.
When you said beforehand that you were going to destroy the family once…”

“I thought it was necessary in order for us to truly become a “family”.
We had to destroy it once and then rebuild it.
That was the only way I could think of.”

“…..If that’s true, that was my role.
I’m sorry.
I keep putting you on the back foot with all this extra stuff.”

“No, it’s not.
This is my role.
Because it’s also my fault that that house was uncomfortable……and our family was on the verge of breaking down.”

I didn’t live up to my asshole father’s expectations.
I was a failure as a son.

Because of that, my mom used to get in trouble with him.
Then they divorced.

Then she started to pay attention to me.
I felt uncomfortable.

“…And it’s true that I feel relief to be able to say what I want to say.”

Not long ago, I would never have said it.
I would never have had the courage to destroy my family.

It was……Kazemiya made me have that courage.

“As I had already told you, I won’t be going home for a while, I’ll be staying at Natsuki’s house to be taken care of…….I appreciate you asking me on such short notice after work and for bowing your head with me.”

“It is a blessing for me to have a head to bow for you.”

After making this plan with Kazemiya, I immediately called Akihiro-san and explained everything I was going to do.

And he went with me to NATSUKI’s house as soon as he got home from work and asked him to bow down with me.

And both NATSUKI and NATSUKI’s parents readily agreed to this absurd request.
Even though we were childhood friends, I asked for something pretty crazy…….I really am blessed with the people around me.

“Please take care of mom—”

I shook off the haze in my chest.
I forcefully pull out the thorns that were sticking in my heart, and I speak the words with certainty.

“—-dad.”

Then I hung up the call.
A small smile escaped my face as I pictured my dad’s face frozen on the other end of the phone.

I operated my phone and dialed my trusty childhood friend.

“Hello, Natsuki? …Oh.
I’ve smashed it up as planned.
I’m going to your place now.
…Huh? You will pick me up? I don’t mind…Ah, okay, okay.
…geez.
Do whatever you want.”

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