“That day,” he paused, “the reason I hugged you was because I love you.”
Suzume felt her breath hitch as their eyes met.
Why is he saying this now? she bowed her head and unconsciously clenched her hand. What is he thinking?
“Y-you’re lying.” Suzume hoped the tremble in her voice went unnoticed. “Why are you lying to me now?”
“Sensei, you made it very clear that what we were doing was wrong,” she paused and lifted her head to bravely meet sensei's gaze, “that you didn’t love me.”
Shishio didn’t speak, so Suzume continued, “Why are you telling me this now?”
She honestly had no idea if she wanted to hear him out. If she knew his reason, would things change? Would they finally have a chance?
“I’ll tell you the truth.”
Suzume felt hope flutter in her chest as his words reached her ears. The dark haired girl bubbled with anticipation. Would she finally receive the words she’d been so desperate to hear?
But suddenly the sun peeked out from the clouds and shone so brightly. Its warm golden rays caught her eye, shifting her gaze from sensei and directing it towards the sky. Pale blonde hair and vivid ruby eyes suddenly flashed in her mind.
“It’s fine.” She found herself abruptly interrupting Shishio’s speech. Suzume gathered her things and smiled at him. “Because right now, I don’t believe your words.”
“Sensei really said that?!”
Suzume knew that she should probably deal with this on her own. She had already worried her friends enough. But common sense dictated that she go to Yuyuka for advice, lest she be buried in her worries again.
“I still don’t completely know what sensei is thinking, so I’m glad that we’re over.” Suzume nonchalantly stated as she washed her hands. “You think that too right?”
Suzume’s eyes widened as she looked at Yuyuka. Her best friend’s abrupt dismissal confused her. She was sure that Yuyuka would agree.
“Are you saying that to me or to yourself?” the short-haired girl gave Suzume a knowing look. “I get that you’re confused but, it’s as if you’re only trying to convince yourself.”
Realization dawned on her. Of course Yuyuka would see through her act, who was she trying to fool?
“I don’t understand why sensei said those things with that timing,” Yuyuka paused, “but perhaps only sensei understands.”
“Besides!” the feisty girl suddenly slapped Suzume’s arm, jolting the black-haired girl out of her thoughts. “Your boyfriend is Mamura-kun, so don’t worry about unnecessary things!”
Suzume trudged through the hallway. School had ended for the day and students flooded the hallways - some eager to go home while others stayed for club activities.
Her talk with Yuyuka certainly helped organize her thoughts.
Of course she was shaken by sensei’s abrupt confession. After all, she had been pining after him all this time. He was her daytime shooting star. It would take time before she could completely let go of him.
But, as she spotted the golden haired boy she was searching for, it crossed her mind that surely someday - probably sooner than later - she’d recover.
If Suzume were to use metaphors, then sensei was just like the sea. Vast and beautiful, but go too far and you’ll drown.
That was exactly what had happened to her. She threw caution to the wind and waded into the shallows, going further and further until she found herself sinking and unable to resurface.
But light broke through the dark waters and she felt herself be rescued. Strength surged through her as sweet, sweet air filled her lungs; as warm, warm sun bathed her skin.
Yes, sensei was the sea.
“Let’s go home together.”
And while she struggled to stay afloat, Mamura was the beacon that led her safe to shore.
I can’t let something like that confuse me.
She knew this was a big step for her.
Suzume felt as if she was straying from an achingly familiar path and embarking on an unknown road - one that did not have endless ebony depths as its destination, but rather one that led towards the warm golden rays of the sun.
It intimidated her. Doubts continued to plague her thoughts.
She still had not gotten over her recent debacle with sensei. He rejected her and made it clear that he had no intention of being with her. It was wrong, he said. It wasn't appropriate. They weren't appropriate. Then out of nowhere he claims that he loves her after heartlessly pushing her away.
It almost made her waver. She was almost tempted to plunge into the deep, inviting waters once more.
But still, Suzume had already made up her mind.
“Hey.” Mamura’s voice suddenly broke her thoughts. “Something happened, right?”
Suzume’s eyes widened at being caught red-handed, but she still made an effort to deny his claim. “Th-that’s not tru-“
Mamura interrupted her with a flick on the forehead. “When it comes to you, I know straight away.” He paused, looking at her intently as his cheeks were dusted with light pink. “You can’t hide anything from me, stupid.”
She glanced at the blond boy beside her and she suddenly had the urge to cry. It was unfair how he could read her so easily.
“Mamura,” she paused, “is it okay if I come closer to you?”
Naturally, Mamura was taken aback by her sudden request and tried to resist but Suzume paid him no heed.
She stepped towards him and rested her forehead against his shoulder. Suzume was sure that her face was as red as Mamura’s, but she didn’t have the guts to confirm.
He smelled like soap as always.
It was constant. Just like him.
It was calming. Just like him.
Suzume felt all the tension leave her body. As if she just returned home after a long, tiring day.
He made her feel as if she was basking in the sun after battling a harsh, cold winter.
Mamura Daiki warmed her soul, and Suzume silently hoped that she could ignite his as well.
From now on, I’ll do my best to face you properly.
I’ll run towards you with all my might.
Just be patient with me.
“Don’t let go of me, okay?”
The words left her lips in a soft promise and it was as if the world was lifted off her shoulders.
Suzume bravely lifted her head and met Mamura’s wide-eyed gaze. She wanted to laugh at his adorable expression; if only her heart was not about to burst from her chest.
“All right!” she exclaimed, “Let’s go home!”
"I once believed love would be burning red.
But it’s golden."
- Daylight (Taylor Swift)