In the end, we returned to my house without exchanging a single word since then.
Saara also entered my room without saying a word.

I turn on the lights in the dimly lit room to brighten it up.
I felt that even such light would ease her depressed heart, if only a little.

“Do you want something to drink?”
“Yeah. ……”

Her reply is also weak.
I have my own circumstances that are, well, depressing, and I think I even have a right to be angry because, if anything, Saara, I’m the one who caused the trouble. ……

But I’m sure Saara would care at a time like this.
Then …… that’s it.

I get the powder I don’t normally use from the drawer and add hot water.
Stir gently and pour two cups of hot water, being careful not to make it too hot.

“Yeah, thanks. …… Oh, here.”

Taking a sip, Saara immediately realized what was going on.
Well, of course, I would react if I drank this.

“It is plum kelp tea. It is nostalgic.”
“It was your favorite, wasn’t it?”

Little by little, little by little, I pour it down my throat.

It is said that when you are a child, your sense of taste is acute.
We were children of the Japanese food party, but as expected, we were both not good at matcha green tea and green juice.
We drank various teas, and among them, the one we both liked was ume kelp tea.
The taste became the favorite, and mother laughed at such our choice.

It seems to have settled down around the time when all the drinks were finished.

“It is nostalgic, this.”
“I know, right? I ended up bringing it all the way here with me.”
“I think I have one in my room, too.”

Laughing with a bit of reserve, Saara dropped her gaze, wrapping her hands around the remnants of heat, and began to speak.

“I’ve been noticing you a little, Sora kun.”
“Yes, I think you don’t want to stand out.”

I See …… Saara had noticed

“I knew. I told Sora kun to get a haircut, and I told him to buy clothes. I told him to buy some clothes.”
“I thought that maybe I was forcing him too much, …… but I told myself that Sora kun was kind and he would do it, …………. I took advantage of his kindness…”

Apparently, Saara understood my inner life better than I thought she would.

“I’m sorry, I–“
“Yes, stop right there.”

I turn my palms to her and stop her from speaking.
I’m not going to let her say any more.

“My inner life story, which I don’t supposedly know, Saara doesn’t have to worry about.”

“Besides, I’ve been thinking that one day I’ll have to change. I knew I had to change at some point, too.”
“……, yeah, right.”
“Yes, so don’t be concerned. I’m just saying that my ‘day’ has been hastened thanks to Saara. I’d rather say thank you.”

When I told her this, Saara finally giggled.

I meant what I just said.
I needed to put distance between myself and the past and take a new step forward.
It was just easier to stay the same.

“I guess I should talk to you too, now that I’m here.”
“……Yes. I think you used to be more aggressive.”
“I wonder if I was. …… I’m a little fuzzy on the past.”

About that, the guy in front of you is the best memory for me, or maybe I don’t have any memories other than this guy.
But …… before the eighth grade, it was certainly brighter than it is now.

“I don’t know what it was like for Saara, but I was lonely right after I started elementary school too.”
“But you know what? By the time I got to …… sixth grade, I’d almost forgotten about Saara, too.”
“…… yeah.”
“Well, middle school was great, too, everyone were all within walking distance of each other.”

One by one, I try to pull together my memories.
The faces of the guys I was close to are vague, as if I can remember them or not.
It could be said that I did not make any specific friends.

“In junior high school, there were some bad guys in our grade, too. At the time, there was a fad among the bad guys.”

There were such people in every school.
They did similar things in all schools.

“Ever heard of ‘Lying Confessions’?”

My one-liner seemed to have caught Saara’s attention.

“Well, I’m sure you noticed it when I brought up the subject — in ninth grade, the target was me.”

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