Saturday, June 11, 2016

Golden Time Volume 4 - Don't Look Back


Since that Wednesday, ten days had passed.

Two hundred and forty hours.

Had he noticed the way time was passing, it was already the second Friday since then. As Banri headed to the staff room, his sports bag slung over his uniformed shoulder, a soundless chill ran up his back.

The school building in midwinter, past 7pm, was quietly getting dark and chilly. The other students were already gone from sight. All the lights had been turned off except for the staff-room, and walking alone in the corridor his slippered feet were illuminated by the green emergency lights.

In time with Banri's steps, the clubroom keys in his hand jingled. Of green and of yellow, it seemed that when the two plastic tags hit each other they made a noise. It was such a little sound, he had not noticed it before.

Accounting for and inspecting the equipment after club activities, being in charge of returning the clubroom keys to the staffroom after everybody had left, was what in the running club was called being the "Last Act", and the second years had come to take turns in doing it. Up to now Banri had done it many times, but it was perhaps the first time he'd done it by himself.

Perhaps, or rather, for sure. It was the first time.

Banri's feet stopped for a moment. Until now, Linda had gone with him everytime. When it was Banri's turn to be Last Act, Linda had come with him.

It had already been ten days since then. So many days had passed because he had come to ignore Linda.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, the week opening, Monday, Tuesday, a second Wednesday, with Thursday, and then today Friday--- counting them inside his head as if to make sure, once more his feet moved.

When he stepped forward, he grabbed the strap to his slipping bag, putting it back in place with a grunt. It would be like this from now on, he'd decided. ...Thinking about it over and over, as if convincing himself, was strangely upsetting.

Telling himself he would not feel anything, Banri firmly sealed his slightly chapped lips. Staying disinterested, silent, he would do as he had decided.

Alone, resolute, he lifted his eyes.

He would never, not another time, say another word to Linda. He would not be concerned with Hayashida Nana.

The staff-room door opened at his soft knock and he went inside.

To Banri, who had been walking alone in the cold dark corridor, the flourescent lighting in the room was too bright. It dazzled his eyes. And the heat was working too hard, which made the air too dry. While blinking over and over, he hung the keys up on the wall right next to where he entered.

"Excuse mee, I'm back from the running cluub. Thank you very muuch."

Dipping his head in the direction of an apathetic teacher’s voice, without skipping a beat he made his exit as if he were being drawn from behind and closed the door.

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