＃ ＃ ＃
「The weather has become somewhat cool, or we can even call it chilly now.」
Kouhai-chan arrived at the station this morning while wearing a cream cardigan.
Even if I looked back to when we hadn’t spoken to each other yet, this was the first time I saw her with this sort of clothing. She was wearing an overly long-sleeved one that made her hands be half hidden, making me feel somewhat itchy after looking at that.
Well, I was also wearing long-sleeved shirts, and the weather certainly had become cold.
Autumnal equinox was… last Saturday. I still wouldn’t forgive how the national holiday had become useless, why did it fall on a weekend! Anyway, the season was still on autumn. We were probably starting to hear the footsteps of the winter now.
「Remind me, when will we start wearing winter clothes?」
「I don’t know. I’m still a first-year student after all.」
Ah, indeed she was. Even though she was using polite speech with me, her way of talking always stabbed me, and I unconsciously forgot that she was still in the first year. I even called her「Kouhai-chan」too.
「You entered high school in November, right? Was it after the cultural festival?」
「Is that not stated in the school regulations?」
「There is only the regulations to wear uniforms. Summer clothes should be treated as shorts for winter clothes.」
「Senpai is remembering that kind of unimportant details again…」
「No, you know why I memorized them already, right… You see, I’m still the student council president after all.」
「Student council president comparatively isn’t doing anything, senpai. You also said it yourself.」
I couldn’t reply back because in reality, there was no work at all.
「Rather than being practical, can’t you say that I am supporting all of the students in a spiritual way?」
Kouhai-chan scowled at me, her eyes harsh.
「When senpai says something like that, you really sound like a politician.」
「Why does a politician have such a disgusting image? Aren’t they too pitiful, they are working hard for the country too. Now I really don’t want to be a politician, anything is better than that.」
「Speaking about politics, they will do elections soon.」
「It seems like there is a break up in the government.」1
「Can’t the student council also break up like the House of Representatives? Senpai, just quickly resign yourself already.」
「There is not that kind of regulation, and my resolution is to complete my term of rank.」
「Senpai, you don’t have to take it so seriously. I’m just joking.」
General election, eh.
「Well, both of us still can’t vote for the election anyway.」
「The voting is for people above eighteen years old after all. Senpai will be able to do it soon, right?」
When I got the right to vote, I wondered if I would have to worry about who to choose, compare each of the candidates, and decide who will I vote for since one person only has a single vote.
There would be a lot of adults who vote without thinking so much about that kind of thing, but I didn’t think I could be that kind of person who would「just vote without any consideration」in the future.
＊ ＊ ＊
「By the way, senpai. I don’t care about the election at all.」
I already decided today’s question.
It was a simple four-choice quiz.
「This is my『today’s question』. Senpai, what is your favourite season?」
「Eh, it’s spring.」
…This person, does he even remember my name?
Well, it’s fine. I’ll praise you for saying ‘spring’ immediately. Just in my heart, though.
I didn’t show any excitement in my face, and keep listening to senpai.
「First, summer is hot and winter is cold, of course I will eliminate them.」
But in summer and winter, weren’t there a lot of fun seasonal events…
「That’s why the only choices are spring and autumn. I’m fine with whichever, but I’m also afraid of winter flu, so in the end, I prefer spring.」
「What a good-for-nothing reason.」
「Well, that’s what my reasoning is.」
「Don’t you have any more positive reasons? For example, you can swim in the summer.」
「There’s no difference in doing all of that on different seasons…」
「Come on, how about something like『Spring is the season of encounters』?」
「I’m the person who met you in the spring, yet didn’t talk to you at all, you know.」
Senpai cast down his eyes subtly, and let out a breath.
「Ah! Are you regretting it?」
「Yeah, I’m regretting it.」
「It’s just that if I greeted you immediately at that time, our relationship would end up as a formal one, unlike what we are now.」
Senpai was laughing while saying that, and on the contrary of his words, he didn’t seem to regret it at all. Rather, he was making a face that expressed that he was enjoying our current relationship.
I felt relieved.
「Senpai is really heartless.」
「After all, it felt as if we had first met in autumn. 『Spring is the season of encounters』sounds like a lie. It’s more like『Spring is the beginning』. Classic is the justice.」
Seriously, senpai was really not being honest with himself.
＃ ＃ ＃
I enjoyed meeting and talking with this kouhai even more than I thought.
Yes, I noticed it.
「Then, I’ll ask the same thing as usual, but this is my『today’s question』. Kouhai-chan, which season do you like?」
「Senpai, do you know? My name is『Maharu 』.」
「Eh, I didn’t know that…」
「How can it be. You can’t say you don’t know since you are looking at it on the LINE every day. 」
「I’m truly sorry.」
「Good. And because of that, I like spring. It’s the same with senpai.」
I see. What an ordinary reason.
It was so ordinary that it was not interesting.
Recently, I feel that this kouhai of mine has been playing with me. Occasionally, I would need to keep my dignity as a senpai too.
Fortunately, she already prepared the hint. If she was making a trap until this far, then I would just give in when the time came.
Kouhai-chan turned her face towards me.
Our eyes met. Where should I cut my words? How long should I pause my sentence to make it effective? My meagre life experience couldn’t give me the best solution, but I tried to think of at least a better solution.
＊ ＊ ＊
Senpai suddenly called me by my first name.
If my memory serves me right, this might be the first time he did so.
This is an emergency.
What in the world will happen now?
Senpai looked somewhat embarrassed, but he was still looking straight to me.
Was he unexpectedly thinking of taking revenge for what happened yesterday?
Did he want to say「Cute」directly in this kind of situation?
The gaze of the passengers around us had become warmer while looking at us in the past few days, but senpai definitely didn’t notice it at all, right?
I noticed it because, well, my hobby is doing human observation.
Senpai cleared his throat as a pause.
Uuh, I was not prepared today. Or perhaps, I shouldn’t have appealed my name carelessly just now.
There were many occasions where someone would call our name, and our body would respond to that person somehow. For example, when someone was reading our name, I would unconsciously concentrate on them.
That’s why, I could hear senpai’s voice very clearly.
「Maharu… it is a quite cunning name if we think about it. Everyone will usually say midsummer and midwinter, but that’s not the case with mid spring and mid autumn.」2
The train’s rattling noise filled my mind.
Senpai suddenly could speak fluently just like that, and his words made me feel speechless. I felt conscious of the train’s rattling sound after a long time.
I felt quite angry hearing that, you know.
＃ ＃ ＃
Eh, what happened?
Somehow, this Kouhai-chan in front of me was very scary.
Her body, which was smaller than mine, appealed the mood that screamed, “I’m angry!”
「You know what. I don’t know about other girls, but I think that 『calling someone by their given name without honorifics』is quite important for me. Isn’t it a bit unpleasant or insincere to have it as a joke material, senpai?」
「No buts. I am Yoneyama Maharu.」
「You don’t have any complaint, right?」
She was very, very scary.
I wondered if this was the so-called situation where one wouldn’t know what other people’s landmines were.
「Then, senpai. As a punishment, please promise me something.」
「A promise? Well, if you will forgive me with that, sure.」
「Good. Senpai, you should be free anyway next Sunday, right? Let’s go play again.」
Looking at her now, her anger had completely disappeared, and she was sticking her tongue out towards me.
Or maybe, she was acting all along? But I didn’t think that the previous pressure was an act.
Anyway, there was no mistake that she deceived me again.
Ahh, my precious holiday…
The things I knew about my senpai⑬
It seems like he likes spring. It’s the same with me.