A classmate who used to be called "Shirobuta" (white pig) has become "Snow White" and is now featured in gravure magazines after a few years of not seeing her. - Chapter 2
Chapter 2- I still remember.
“Hai, here’s a question. What would happen if you add “Bu” to Shirata? The correct answer is ~ ‘Shirobuta’(white pig)!”
“What? Are you stupid? I don’t get it.”
“Stop it, boys! We’re gonna tell the teacher.”
A few months after entering the third grade, a well-behaved boy in the class started to tease Kirika Shirata. The girls in the class condemned him for it, but he kept saying it as if he was aiming for that. I wonder if it’s what they call “flaming” or whatever it’s called nowadays. Did he do this because he wanted someone’s attention in any way?
“Shiro ~ buta ~ no ‘bu’~ wa bu ~ su no ~’bu’~”
My classmates were laughing while they sang in Doremi rhyme, I couldn’t understand them so I tilted my head and asked the girl sitting next to me.
“…Shirata is fat but not ugly, isn’t she?”
She was chubby, had a white skin, and always had a friendly smile on her face. She wasn’t pretty or cute, but she was charming and fun to talk to, and I don’t think it’s right to call her ugly… this is what I meant when I asked that simple question.
That phrase was picked up, and as a result, it became a cause of teasing.
“Aaah! Satsuki said that Shirata was cute!”
“Huh? I didn’t say that! I said she’s just fat, but not ugly.”
“Hahaha, Satsuki is terrible!”
I think it sounds stupid now, but the narrow circle of boys in my class was everything to me at that time.
The girl who was made fun of as a “white pig” in elementary school has grown into a slender, tall, beautiful girl, and is now featured as a gravure in the front cover of a popular manga magazine. That being said, it’s a magazine I read regularly, so I decided to buy three copies after work and head home. There was no ulterior motive behind it at all, It can’t be helped since someone I know was on it.
“Thank you for the hard work”
As I left the store after finishing my part-time job, I was greeted by a voice coming from the side. It was Kirika Shirata.
“…What are you doing here?”
It was around 8:00 p.m. when Shirata visited the store, and now it was 10:00 p.m.
“Why? I was waiting for you. Your shift ends at ten, right?”
Shirata, who was crouching at the back of the convenience store, stood up and answered while stretching her back.
“Did I tell you that?”
“Hmm? It’s written on the recruitment poster for part-timers there. This shift, right? The one from 5 pm to 10 pm.”
I looked at Shirata with a blank stare as she pointed at the recruitment poster on the wall with a proud smile.
“I’m asking why are you waiting? I mean, you just said ‘see you later’ earlier.”
“Un, right now is ‘later’, isn’t it? Ahaha, is that a little pushy?”
The door of the staff room opened lightly, probably overhearing the conversation between me and Shirata, and the person in charge of the part-timers looked at us with resentful eyes.
“… Ameno, don’t flirt around in this place”
“No, we’re not flirting. Thanks for the hard work.”
I don’t know what kind of rumors will spread if I keep talking in this place, so I decide to leave as soon as possible.
“…Oi, anyway, let’s go home.”
Shirata smiled and nodded her head when I urged her to hurry up in a whisper.
“Un. Of course you’ll send me home, right?”
I left the place and headed home, while I could still feel the stare of the person in charge through the staff room door. The distance between my house and Shirata’s is only one street away, so it’s almost the same place.
Shirata was pushing her bike while I was walking.
“Just ride it and go home. It’s faster.”
“What? Do you mean ride in the back?”
“…No that’s not what I meant”
“So you’re saying you’ll give me a back ride?”
“Why would I?”
Kirika Shirata giggled as we exchanged these words.
“It feels strange. It’s been a while since we last talked to each other”
“Ahー …is that so?”
Until the day we graduated from elementary school, we called her ”Shirobuta”. Since that didn’t count as a conversation, I wondered when was the last time I really talked to Shirata? I think it was somewhere around the third grade.
She seemed to be amused by my vague response and said “that’s right” with a laugh.
Then we talked about random things for a while on the way home. Things like where we went in junior high school, where we went to high school, TV and streaming channels, and even sports. It’s the sort of conversation you can have regardless of whether you know the person or not and something trivial that you can easily forget about by the next day.
It was an eleven-minute walk home from the convenience store where I worked.
It was dark outside, and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t remind me of the days when I was in the second grade of elementary school.
“I think it’s great that you’re working part-time diligently.”
I tilted my head at Shirata’s words.
“It’s not that great, is it? It may be great if you’re doing it for free, but I’m getting paid for it at minimum wage. Minimum wage.”
“Fufu, you’re emphasizing that.”
Shirata laughed with a giggle.
“So. What did you buy before you left?”
“Hmm? Just a bento and something unimportant.”
There was no way I could say that I bought three magazines with her on the cover, but I brushed aside the unexpected attack with a nonchalant look. But Shirata, with a grin on her face and a suggestive smile, attacked me further.
“Heh. Do they sell bentos in the magazine corner? Oh, or perhaps, you eat paper like a goat?”
It seemed to be a checkmate, so I surrendered.
“Oh, that too. It’s the same one that you bought earlier. Well, actually, I’m buying this every week, you know? It’s annoying if you get the wrong idea, so I just kept quiet.”
“Fuーn, I see.”
A moment of silence filled the air.
Ah, I wonder if this feeling is the same as when a scandal involving a politician or a celebrity comes to light. They would say, “There’s no truth in this story,” and then when more information was revealed in the weekly news, they would change their mind, another fact would come out and the lie would be completely exposed.
“Um, …well, you know… It was like, Wow, it’s cool that an acquaintance is featured“
Can I really say that “I know her”? I was hesitant for a moment, but Shirata smiled happily, as if she didn’t care about that.
“Haha, so you bought three copies because of that? Thanks.”
When I heard her voice, I was not sure if she was complimenting me or making fun of me, but when I saw her face, I knew at once that she was not making fun of me.
I don’t know the exact details, but I’m sure it’s a big deal to be the gravure cover girl for a magazine that’s sold at every convenience store in Japan.
How long has she been doing this? There were a lot of questions I wanted to ask her, but I thought it would be rude for me to ask since I used to call her Shirobuta. In the meantime, we arrived at the front of Shirata’s house.
“Well, then, see you later. Thank you for buying three books today.”
Shirata set up the stand of her bicycle and bowed.
“I didn’t buy them for you, Anyway, I’ll be rooting for you behind the scenes for your future success. See you later.”
Waving my hands as I turned on my heels to head home. One street away is where my house is.
“Un, see you again… Ah! Satsuki-kun!”
When I turned around, Shirata, with a determined and somewhat mysterious look on her face, continued to speak.
“I still remember what… you said to me back then”
一After telling me this, Shirata quickly disappeared behind the door.
“I know that. you don’t have to tell me”
Under the streetlights, I muttered to myself with a sigh and headed home.
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