Shamer - Chapter 3 Part 5
The next evening after I decided to go to school.
I was getting my textbooks and stuff ready to go to school tomorrow.
I had left the textbooks and stuff in the back of my closet, thinking I wouldn’t use them anyway.
My hair had been cut during the day, and it looked much better. Maybe I’ve become a little more handsome… No, not at all.
I’ve already told my parents that I’m going to school, and they were both a little surprised and worried that I was pushing myself too hard.
But when I explained to them that I wanted to go to school of my own volition, they both encouraged me to do my best.
At that time, I honestly felt that my father and mother were too good for me.
“I’m going to start now.”
After I finished getting ready for school, I walked up to the console and turned it on.
Before I go any further, I want to say that I’m not going to go back to my old, self-defeating ways after all this time.
I’ve told my parents, but there’s still someone I need to tell about my decision.
That person was the one who told me it was fun to play games with someone else, the one who helped me when I was at rock bottom.
“It’s been a while, Kinu!”
A few minutes after turning on the game console. A male voice came through the headphones.
It was Marumaru.
“Long time no see, Marumaru.”
“Because you haven’t invited me to play games at all lately. I thought you were so withdrawn that your parents finally broke your gaming console.”
“My parents wouldn’t do anything so dangerous.”
What kind of image does Marumaru have of my parents…?
Since Kiritani-sensei started visiting our house and that was when I started thinking about myself, my games with Marumaru have inevitably decreased.
So it has been a really long time since I’ve talked to him. It’s been about two weeks.
Before I met Kiritani-sensei, we used to play games together every day.
Thinking about it, it was probably not surprising to imagine that Marumaru had thought my parents had broken my game console.
“What game are we playing today?”
“That would be the usual one, of course.”
Then we both started playing the battle royale game, which was probably the game we have played the most together so far. The reason I chose this game over fighting games was that I have more free time when I’m playing this game than when I’m playing a fighting game, and it’s easier to talk to each other.
“What’s up? You want me to coach you on the game?”
“No, I don’t. …I need some coaching on something else.”
“I see. 10,000 yen per hour.”
“You’re going to charge me? And that’s expensive!”
When I told him, he laughed.
He teased me, so I got sidetracked…
“Well, let’s leave coaching out of it for now, there’s something I need to tell you, Marumaru.”
“Something you need to tell me?”
I replied, “Yes,” and continued.
“I’ve decided to go to school tomorrow.”
I told him, and after a short pause, he said.
Marumaru muttered only that.
His voice sounded a little sad.
“So, I’m going to join, umm… a club, and from now on I don’t think we’ll be able to play games together as often as we do now.”
“Right. When you’re a student and you’re involved in extracurricular activities, you would be busy.”
“…But I really enjoy playing games with Marumaru and we should definitely play games together again when we have time.”
I meant this. I really enjoy playing games with Marumaru.
That was why I didn’t want to say bye-bye just because I had to go to school.
I want to be friends with Marumaru from now on.
Marumaru unexpectedly said those words.
I asked, surprised by this sudden turn of events.
“Kinu, you’re trying to move forward from now on. Then you don’t need to worry about a clueless guy like me.”
“A guy who is clueless, I don’t know much about that…But I think that Marumaru is a good guy and I want to play more games with you.”
“What’s that? It makes me happy to hear you say that.”
Marumaru replied, but he doesn’t say he’ll play with me in the future.
“I mean, Kinu, there’s an enemy.”
I was so engrossed in the conversation that I wasn’t thinking about the game at all.
I realized it when Marumaru pointed it out to me, but it was too late.
I was beaten in no time, and as for Marumaru, he had already been beaten.
“That’s not like Marumaru.”
“That’s not like you, either.”
We both said to each other, and then there was silence for a while.
Why does Marumaru refuse to be involved with me in the future so much?
Does Marumaru dislike me?
I recalled the incident with Touya and felt very uneasy.
“I wish I could keep playing this game with you.”
“! T-Then why…”
“Because nothing good will happen to you now even if you get involved with me.”
“What are you talking about? That’s not true.”
Marumaru declared clearly without hesitation. And he continued.
“If I’m here, if something happens to Kinu, it will be a way out. You’ve moved on… You don’t need me as a safety.”
“That…may be true, but I—”
“Kinu doesn’t need me anymore.”
As if to cut me off, Marumaru said.
He sounded as if he had done all he could do, but he also sounded sad.
“I need you, I never thought that I wouldn’t need you… Don’t be sad.”
“But it’s the truth. You have to understand.”
Maybe Marrmaru was right.
But I still couldn’t accept his words, like a child who won’t listen.
“H-Hey! Wait! I still want to talk to you—”
While I was saying this, Marumaru’s voice display was turned off.
Now I can’t hear him anymore.
“You can’t break up with me like this…”
I can’t believe I’ll never be able to talk to Marumaru again…
I was just as grateful to him for being with me during my most difficult time as I was to Kiritani-sensei, maybe even more so.
Let me at least say thank you at the end.
While I was feeling regret, a message came into the in-game chat.
It was from Marumaru.
“Do your best.”
Only a few words were written.
But that was enough to convey his feelings.
My heart was burning deep in my chest. Shoot, I might cry.
But since Marumaru had sent me a message I desperately held back my tears and typed back a chat.
“Thank you so much for all you’ve done!”
I never got a reply to my message.
…But I was sure Marumaru saw it.
Surely he knew how much I appreciated him.
“I’ll do my best.”
As I looked at Marumaru’s message, I pumped myself up.
Tomorrow, when I go to class and take my seat, I will greet the person sitting next to me.
I felt that if I do this, I would be able to change from the person I used to be when I was in a state of depression and start a new person who can live life in his or her own way.
“I should practice soccer.”
I haven’t touched a ball at all since middle school.
Even if I joined a club, I wouldn’t be able to play well.
I can’t do anything about it overnight, but I still need to be able to play a little better.
Holding the soccer ball in my hand, I quickly headed for the front door.
I’m going to do some light practicing in front of the house until my parents come home.
“Marumaru, watch me. I’ll do my best.”
Once outside, I start training.
I hadn’t been this excited about kicking a soccer ball in a long time.