Ten days have passed since then.
In the end, Honami never came to our house.

After that one incident, every time I came home from school, I was on high alert. Every time I opened the door with my heart racing, I let out a sigh of relief as soon as I saw that familiar pair of sandals were not on the doorstep.
In the end, I couldn’t come to a conclusion on what I should do – should I tell Honami that my brother has a girlfriend, or should I just pretend to be ignorant of the fact? I just prayed that Honami would not come to our house so that I would not have to see her. ……
Whenever I confirmed that Honami was not there, I was glad to see him, but I felt a lingering sense of emptiness. Even though I knew she was gone, I would still look for her in the living room. I stomped over to the sofa and said, “What is this?” I felt a sense of dissatisfaction and a sense of hopelessness.

It’s obvious that I miss Honami. In fact, I was so eager to see Honami, but I was going home, praying that Honami was not there. The contradiction seemed to wear away at my heart.

I was lying on my bed, playing a puzzle game on my phone that I didn’t particularly like, as if it were a task.
I was supposed to get my feelings in order. I was supposed to have decided to put aside my feelings for Honami as a man and go back to being just a childhood friend. But then my brother came in with a terrible revelation, and I had no time to think about it,……, and ten days have passed. The first thing that comes to mind when I think about cleaning up my room is that I feel as if I’ve been left with a ticking time bomb.
So, my feelings for Honami are still firmly in place – they have been smoldering in the back of my mind for a long time, unable to hold on

*   *   *

“Kouki !”

I was beginning to think that it was time to get hungry
There was a knock at the door and I heard my mother’s voice.

“What is it?”

I wondered if she would say something to me again, and as I sat up, my mother opened the door with a clunk and peeked out. Her hair was pulled back in a messy bun, and she looked just like my brother, and her mild-mannered face also resembled my brother’s – and, if Honami were to ask, mine as well. She is now in her fifties, and her skinny face is covered with dark wrinkles, and her words and deeds are beginning to show the signs of old age.

“Are you still sleeping?” She looked at me on the bed, scowled like Hannya, and said, “You have school tomorrow, so get your ass in gear! Have you finished your assignment? It’s a nice day, why don’t you open a window and ventilate? It smells like men everywhere in my house, and it’s really disgusting.”

The vigor with which she wound up that way was still energetic and no longer a relief.
I followed my mother with my eyes as she zipped into the room and opened the window.
“I was up. I’ve finished my assignments.”
With a sigh, I get off the bed.
“So …… what? Did you come to open the window?”
“Aaah yeah” mom looked back as if remembering, after squinting contentedly at the pleasant breeze slipping in through the open window. “Do you have a key to the house?”
“Key to the house?”
What, suddenly?
“You see, this …… got stuck between the sofa cushions. It got stuck in your dad’s butt, and he was in a big hurry earlier. –Is it yours?”
What mother showed me was, indeed, a key. A naked key with no key ring or anything on it.
“No….I think it’s not mine though….”
I remember coming home from the convenience store last night and putting it in my wallet properly. After that, I don’t remember taking it out in the house.
I checked my wallet, which I had left on my desk. I knew that the house key was in there, along with the bicycle key.
“Mine’s is here”
“Ah, I see,” said mother curiously, tilting her head. She tilted her head and said, “It’s not Hiro’s either. Then I wonder if it’s …… Honami chan’s?”
“Honami?!” I was surprised in a big way.
She looked at me suspiciously and said
“Honami is the only other person who has a key to our house. –Hiro told me that she often comes to our house.”
“well well, You, ……, when Honami chan comes to visit you, at least invite her over for dinner! Mom comes home at eight o’clock. Honami chan, she often eats alone at home, doesn’t she? Mom can cook as much as she wants for Honami chan. I want to see her, too, I want to hear about high school too. ……”

I could hear what my mother was saying, but I couldn’t get it into my head at all. All I could do was give a raw reply.
My heart suddenly started beating wildly and violently, and my hand holding my purse was trembling slightly.
Honami’s key ……? Why, on the couch ……? Did she drop it? Last time you were here? So you’re saying that Honami didn’t have …… our key? For the past ten days, all the time–.
No way,……, I gasp.
She hasn’t shown up at our house since then because she didn’t have a key. ……?

Soon after that – I think it was about four days – GW. I thought it was strange that Honami, who came almost every weekday, didn’t come for four days, but I had heard that she was going camping with her family during ……GW (I’ve never been camping before, so I don’t really know what it’s like), and I thought she was busy preparing for that. I thought they must be busy preparing for it. I was glad that GW gave me some time to think about it. I even thought …….
But what if …… it was all wrong? What if she just couldn’t come because she didn’t have the key and she’s been …… looking for it for the last ten days?
That could be exactly what I’m imagining. Maybe she just was really busy and didn’t even realize she lost her keys.
Still, ……
What should I do, I’ve lost my key—I know that Honami isn’t the kind of person to talk about. As she was alone with teary eyes, the image of her frantically searching for the key came to mind,……I. couldn’t stay still.

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