I never attended the party.

There was a time when I wanted to go to Kisaki’s place and say, [She’s the worst kind of woman who doesn’t feel guilty about cheating on her boyfriend.]

But that was just a thought.

I gave up the idea for two reasons.

The first was that I could not see a way to succeed.

The festival is held once a year, and it is the night after the festival. I didn’t want to do anything that would ruin it. It would be a great feeling when I did it, but it would be a hassle to deal with afterwards.

I don’t have any evidence that Kisaki is cheating on her boyfriend. I have only been shown a photograph. I can’t say for sure even if it is almost certainly true.

The other reason was that I realized that it was useless to do such a small thing.

After sleeping in an empty classroom, my mind was much clearer. My body and mind must have been exhausted, and my impulsive thoughts seemed to have been suppressed.

“We’re such bad kids to leave the festival in the middle of the day like this, aren’t we?”

We walked on our usual way home. I hear music coming from the direction of the high school. The festival was not over yet.

It seemed that no one who would leave the festival would be out at this time of night.

“We’re very bad kids.”
“But it’s enough that we can be together like this. Because I’m on your side.”

I reacted with surprise. SHe only said she was on my side.

“Masatoshi, what’s wrong? Is there something strange?”
“I don’t really understand the logic behind it, but I had a strange feeling. Rika’s words seemed to have hit a deep place…..”
“Sometimes you’re strange. Ehehe. Either way, it’s not a bad thing. After all, it’s just the two of us now.”
“I don’t think that’s a very good reason.”
“It’s okay. Let’s walk anyway, shall we?”

The reason for the discomfort was not something I was able to explore in depth. Rika, who was standing next to me, squeezed my hand.

“You’re aggressive.”
“We’ve been doing this a lot, haven’t we?”
“That was a long time ago.”
“We used to be able to do this, so there’s no need to be shy about it now. How about this?”

It was just a simple connection, but now our fingers are intertwined.

It was a lover’s knot.

“Oh, come on, you’re being too aggressive. What if someone sees us?”
“It doesn’t make it any less attractive, and there’s no one around here who would see it.”
“But that doesn’t mean……”
“It’s fine, I’m just your female friend, besides, I’m your childhood friend, right?”

I was indeed unconvinced. The reason I’m denying it like this was because my heart couldn’t stop pounding.

“Hey, enough Rika…..”

Before I could say that, Rika gently patted me on the head.

Pon, Pon, Pon. Three times.

My vision shook. It was as if I had been hit hard on the head. The unnecessary thoughts were interrupted.

“What’s wrong?”
“No, there’s nothing wrong with a lover’s knot. Rika is on my side, right?”
“That’s right. Masatoshi did nothing wrong.”

Rika’s words sink in quickly. It’s not that I felt zero discomfort. The words [Rika is on my side] were uttered from a place that would not have been my intention.

It could have been a misunderstanding. But even if it was sincere, I felt that it was a borrowed phrase.

“I’m such a terrible woman.”
“What’s wrong with you, all of a sudden? It’s not like Rika.”
“Unlike me? It might be so for Masatoshi. But I’m also a human being. There are many sides to me that I don’t show. I’m selfish, I’m black-hearted.”
“Everyone is selfish. If you live only with an altruistic heart, you must be a god or something close to it.”

Even Rika lamented her selfish side. If that’s the case, then I should be the one.

The reason Kisaki Saki dumped me was not only because of her.

The words and actions after the rejection were also a mass of other-blame thinking. I’m still holding on to my feelings of regret, and I’m also taking advantage of Rinka.

Yeah, it’s ridiculous to see people turning away from the reality of the [present] and clinging to the [past.] Laugh it off.

Everyone is selfish, and I may be the most selfish person in the world today. When I reflect on myself, I’m swallowed up in a whirlpool of inescapable regret.

“Even if Masatoshi has an ugly inner side, don’t be too discouraged.”
“What do you mean ‘me’?”
“I am different. My heart is dyed jet black because of the many sins I’ve committed and carried. I can’t act like it’s pure white laundry now.”
“Yes, you can. If only you decide to do it yourself.”
“Masatoshi is kind. As long as you have that kindness, ironically, it cannot become pure.”

It was a meaningful statement. What is the sin? My kindness can’t make Rika pure?

“You look like you don’t know.That’s right, you don’t need to know. If you did–“
“You’d wake up from the dream. From a dream more beautiful than the real thing.”
“Rika is very poetic today.”
“Conflict makes a poet.”

While we were talking, the music of the after-party went off. The program was over.

“Perhaps only Kisaki Saki had the best time of her life.”
“Masatoshi, do you know when is the moment when a person feels despair?”

Rika’s tone was cold. She was looking in the direction of the day after tomorrow. I knew she was in a world of her own.

“When you hit rock bottom?”
“Close. The correct answer is when you are in the process of being dropped from the top to the bottom. Once you have fallen to the bottom, the memory of the summit fades. The hard part becomes the norm. The hardest part is when you see the tower on the sand crumbling from the palm of your hand.”

Perhaps this is part of Rika’s philosophy.

Her words had weight. They seemed to have a real feeling.

“Do you understand, Masatoshi? Kisaki Saki is about to show her ugly side.”
“Rika, you talk so happily.”
“Don’t you want to see it?”
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t”.
“You’re being honest with yourself. It’s a good thing. Masatoshi, you’ll be waiting for that day, won’t you?”

It was something that relieved the tense atmosphere.

Will I really be able to see that woman fall to the ground?

I don’t know, but at least Rika’s words were persuasive.

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