Chapter 7: Passage.

“I’m off.”

In the spring of 2010, I decided I’d enroll in Ryoshu High out of all the other options I had.
I took my first step out of the house, leaving to participate in the entrance ceremony.
As I trudged along the path, I couldn’t help but remember why I chose to attend this school.

After being falsely accused of a disgusting crime, I spent my days without doing anything.
Thereon, I began recovering from my listlessness.
Thoughts of how I’d spend my time filled my head since I was out of the club I was previously in.
I had resigned after that girl’s libel against me, which, paired with the fact I had no one to hang out with, meant I had too much free time on my hands.

So what to do now?

In the past, games would’ve been the biggest candidate, but no longer.
I don’t even know the exact reason why, but playing games isn’t as fun as it was before.
After forcing myself several times to get into that hobby once more, it finally dawned on me… I lost interest in gaming.

Tracking back, I thought about what I could do with all this useless time.
High school entrance exams were just around the corner, so if I stay at the same level I currently am, I’ll probably enroll in a school with a lot of my current classmates.
I don’t want that.

Well, I could enroll in one far away from them, but that’s a no-no since it would mean I’m conceding.
I would be making a compromise for them.
And besides, I don’t want to be more of a financial burden to my father.

When these thoughts were floating in my head, something clicked.
There was a school relatively close by, only three train stops away from my station.
Moreover, despite being a private school, its tuition was practically inexpensive.
The cherry on top is that only one or two people from my middle school enroll there every year.
That’s a match!

But why did this seemingly perfect choice not bubble up in my mind in the first place? Well, it was the exceedingly high academic ability necessary to get in.
It was definitely the best one in this suburb.
Therefore, a while ago I decided I would never be able to join such a top-level school, even though I was the best in class.
It was just too big a jump.

Be that as it may, my situation is completely different from what it was then.
Since I have an ungodly amount of time at the tip of my nails, I will seriously aim for that topline high school.

So, with that decision, I psyched myself up.
The best day to start is today, so I buckled up, grabbed a pen and paper, and began studying.
Despite my ambition, sitting down to learn was grueling at first.
However, pushing through it day in and day out, it became a habit.
With time, I even started to enjoy such an activity.

Reminiscent of my efforts, I finally approached the Nishihato station, from where I’d go to school.

“I’ll make 100 friends!” Is a common thought for hyped-up freshmen, but I don’t have such an objective.
It is true I enrolled here because I wanted to part ways with my old acquaintances, but that doesn’t mean I want a “fresh start” or a lot of friends.

All I need is my family.
I trust them, and they trust me, too… In contrast, my “friends” never did.
While I don’t believe they were inherently evil, there is no faith to be found in the cinders of those relationships, nor in new ones.
The same can be said for romance and all it entails.

I have a firm belief—a tenet if you will.
Trust is something that can only be built with family members, nowhere else.

Regardless, despite all the gloomy thoughts, it was refreshing to take a train at this time in the morning.
In middle school, I used to just walk there remiss of time.
The only moments in which I’d take a train were when me and my “friends” would hang out in the city for a while.

What I mean by refreshing is that at this time of day, despite being commute and school hours, it wasn’t as packed as far as urban trains could get.
Well, the seats were filled, and the places near the doors were taken, but that was pretty much it.

As I moved from the entrance to the front of an occupied seat, holding the strap and standing while trying to look outside with an empty head, I was brought back as soon as a businessman with crutches, who got on the train from the same station as me, came a little later and stood two spaces to the right of me.
One of his hands held the pair of crutches, while the other gripped the strap.
Moreover, he had one of his legs hovering in the air, so he seemed extremely unstable.

I looked around, but no one offered a seat for the man in need.
That reminded me of an opinion I had often seen on the Internet, “Why should I give up my seat?”, which is dry, to say the least.
However, a female student got up to give that man her seat.
Instead, a businessman, thinking it was for him, tried to sit down.
What he got, however, was one of the iciest glares I’ve ever seen.
From my position, it even looked like she was glaring at me. That’s how strong her glare was.

That businessman took the hint and went back to standing up.
The girl then walked off without saying a word, moving a bit further from where I was.

After a moment of processing, the crutch-ridden man sat down and bowed thanks to the girl who wasn’t even there anymore.

I took note that she wore a uniform from my new school, though.

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