I Quit the Going-Home Club for a Girl with a Venomous Tongue - Chapter 119
Chapter 119 – Graduation
The result of the secondary test was announced online. I passed.
After that, things started to get a little busy. The campus wasn’t far from Sendai Station, so I could live in my mother’s home if I wanted to, but she insisted that I should live by myself. She told me that it would be better for me to become independent earlier so I could be more prepared to deal with problems that come when I become a part of the workforce.
And so, we looked for a place for me to live in and decided on an apartment near the Hirose River. It took two weeks for us to finish the whole process from finding the place and finishing the necessary procedures.
“I will send you some money, but you still have to find a job for yourself, okay? This is for your own good as well. Don’t worry about me back home, just do your own thing, Dear.”
She seemed to be happier than I was as she walked through the streets. It was as if she regained the youthfulness she had lost all these years.
I, on the other hand, felt a little anxious. I didn’t know anyone and, unlike my mom, I had no confidence in my social skills. I heard that there would be no fixed classroom like in grade school through high school, so it would be harder for me to gain some friends this time.
“Can’t you just join a club or something?”
My mother asked when we were eating out.
“No, I have something I want to do, I won’t have any time for club activities.”
“My, I see. Well, back in my day…”
She began to reminisce again. I had heard this story many times before. She was born in Sendai, moved to Tokyo for work and eventually came back to Sendai. She told me that people from Sendai would eventually settle down in Sendai and that made me hopeful for Tsuru. Maybe she will be back here too one day.
I wasn’t picky about where I lived. If someone I knew was nearby, I would be content with it. Makoto, Ruka and Shirona were here in Sendai, so I was content with staying here. What I was worried about was my university life. All my friends were introduced by Sui. I didn’t know if I could make friends on my own or not.
“Do you still meet up with your high school friends, mom?”
“I used to meet up with them a lot before you were born, but I haven’t seen them for a long time now. That’s just the way it is, Dear. Once you have a child of your own, you won’t have the time to see your friends because your child comes first. In our case, we became too considerate with each other to the point that we just drifted apart.”
“But that was me, in your case, it should be different. Back in my day, we only had a home phone. So, once we left our homes, we couldn’t reach each other anymore.”
“It was hard to contact them even if you wanted to back then, huh?”
“Yeah. Even when cell phones started becoming a thing, it was still hard for us to contact each other. After all, we hadn’t seen each other for so long, we didn’t even know each other’s phone numbers. I was a bit luckier compared to my other friends, though. I was a model and appeared quite often in magazines, so my old friends noticed that and managed to contact me.”
“We live in a different era, huh?”
* * *
As the graduation day approached, everyone started to disappear from the classroom.
And with each passing day, more boys confessed their feelings to me. The kouhais approached me because they thought this would be the last time they would be able to see me. Even my classmates confessed to me one by one, for some reason. Honestly, they were creeping me out. Most of the time, I rejected them outright, but there were persistent guys who didn’t give up after a rejection. In that case, I just said to their faces that my heart was reserved for Sui.
More time passed as we got closer to graduation day. The reality of my rapidly ending school life hit me once again.
One day, they distributed our graduation album.
It was a memory of our three years together from our daily school lives, school trips, sports festivals and cultural festivals. I could see myself in random pictures with Sui by my side. I didn’t know when they were taken. I recognized some pictures from the sports and cultural festival though. It has been a while since I’ve seen Sui with his eyes open.
The last pages of the album were the portraits of the graduates. Obviously, Sui wasn’t in it. I knew this outcome was inevitable, but I couldn’t help but feel depressed about it.
* * *
Sui, we finally graduated.
We were not high school students anymore. The graduation ceremony ran like a normal graduation ceremony did. The school called out the graduates’ names one by one and we got up from our seats in response. The principal gave us a congratulatory speech and then, each of us went up on the stage to receive our diplomas.
After that, the school was filled with tears. All the girls except for me were crying. Tsuru in particular, cried the hardest among my classmates. My uniform was wet from her tears because she hugged me tightly while crying. After this, I wouldn’t be wearing this uniform anymore. It felt kinda lonely.
I took pictures of the scene. I wasn’t particularly good at it, so I only took a few. I only did it so you could see this scene, Sui. This way, it would be easier for me to tell you everything when you finally wake up.
Before I left school for good, I went to that place.
The rose garden. The old staff’s room. The place where I spent most of my time with you. Sorry, I still haven’t remembered you even to this day. But I knew everything that you have done for me from my notes.
It was the place where you tried to change me. You stayed here with me after school, doing your crazy antics while trying to cure my venomous tongue.
“And you managed to change me…”
It felt lonely here. The only sound I could hear was the sound of your ECG.
There was no school bell here and no one was talking inside this room. Like the Sleeping Beauty, you were sleeping in peace inside this pure white room.
Sometimes, I couldn’t help but wonder, what exactly were you dreaming about.
In that dream, were you making your trademark jokes? Were you trying to make someone laugh like you always did?
I hoped that was the case. After all, I didn’t want that part of you to change.
That was why… That was why… I kept repeating this sentence, so that it would reach your ears someday…
“Wake up, please… I miss you…”
Yet, no matter how many tears I shed for you, you still haven’t woken up.
I wanted to graduate with you. I wanted to cry at the graduation ceremony with you.
“Look at how skinny you’ve become. And you called yourself the strongest going-home club member…”
I wrote down my name, my new address and the phone number of the apartment where I would live on on a note. I tore it off and put it under the vase on the room’s desk.
“Call me when you wake up, okay? I’ll fatten you up with my cooking.”
I sat and put my hand on the door of the hospital room.
Oh, right, I forgot.
I went back to his side and pulled out a picture.
“This was from the graduation ceremony. My last time wearing the uniform.”
It was the picture of mom and me in front of the graduation sign. I put it under the vase along with the note.
“See you later, Sui.”
I left the room and walked down the hallway. There were some nurses that knew me, so whenever I came across them, I bowed to them. Apparently, there was a story running around in the hospital about me, the girl who was waiting for his boyfriend to wake up.
And so, this life without him became my new daily life.
I still occasionally saw his shadow on the streets. Even the other day, I almost chased after his shadow like a moron. Luckily, I came to my senses very quickly.
Since my apartment is filled with enough furniture and household goods now, starting from today, I would start my new life there.
The night before I started living alone, mom gave me a present.
“What is this? Can I open it?”
Mom nodded silently.
Inside the small box was a watch. The dial was painted black with silver edges. The glass seemed polished and the hands of the watch moved smoothly.
“It’s my old watch. It’s beautiful and it makes a pleasant sound when you hold it close to your ear. If you take good care of it, it’ll last you a lifetime.”
I looked at the clock in my hand. It was indeed beautiful. So beautiful that I couldn’t help but fall in love with it.
“Thank you for everything, mom…”
“You’re welcome. I’m glad that you grew up to be a great daughter.”
“From tomorrow onwards, I won’t be living with you anymore, mom… You should meet up with some of your old friends if you feel lonely.”
“Yes, I’ll try to do that…”
My school life was over and my university life was about to begin. The girl with a venomous tongue, the rose ridden with thorn was no more.
This year, this Hiwa Arina will turn nineteen.
I closed my eyes, thinking about my future.