＃ ＃ ＃
Today is October 26th.
It is also the athletic meet day that is held once a year. The weather is sunny. It seems like a typhoon is approaching our area again, but it will be fine for today. Last year, I joined the events leisurely as a participant, but this year, I have an important role as the student council president.
Well, even if I say it’s important, I’ll just shout one or two words. Seeing that the student council needs to prepare everything, there’s no way I can just stay leisurely without helping them. Most of the things I do are something like manual labour, though. As I thought, even the student council president needs to be on action. But then, the one who is in charge of the whole athletic meet is not me, but the members of the student council.
That’s why, I went to the school on a slightly earlier train than the one I usually took. I could finally read on the train for the first time after a long time.
Maharun♪：Senpai! Why didn’t you come to the station??
Maharun♪：Did you get a fever?
Maharun♪：Are you even still alive?
When I was still walking to school, I got LINE messages from Kouhai-chan. Speaking of which, I haven’t informed Kouhai-chan about this, huh.
Iguchi Keita ：I have to prepare for the athletic meet
Iguchi Keita ：So I went a little bit earlier
Maharun♪：Please tell me those kinds of things properly!
I don’t think I have any obligation to inform her, though. At least, with our current relationship.
I ignored Kouhai-chan’s message about that, and passed through the school gate (back gate).
＃ ＃ ＃
I helped on setting up for the events preparation (for example, setting up the main tent. I think this kind of tent could be classified as 「tarp」, couldn’t it?), and finally, it is time to start the athletic meet. The athletic meet is held in October, the month where the sun which is neither too strong nor too weak warms all of the students.
Currently, I’m sitting in a tent in the back of the stage. I have to do the student council president greeting after this. I wonder when was the last time I did something decent for this position like this one. Oh well.
First, all of the students line up on the field, and the principal come out to give his greetings.
As usual, his speech is really long. To summarize it, he was basically saying that「This is the athletic meet. Enjoy it at its best. Don’t get hurt. Then, have fun. This grandpa will watch over you from my room.」or something like that. Uhn.
There are even some students who are nodding off even when they are standing. Uhn. I’ll start the athletic meet soon, so wait for another thirty seconds.
「Continuing, the opening speech from the student council president. Keita Iguchi, the student council president, please.」
I stand up from the chair, and climb on the platform.
The second and third years already know what is going to come, and they look at me with eyes full of expectations. Some of the third years lining up in the back side even start to walk ahead toward the cheering cheats of their class already.
I move my gaze to the first years. Many people are yawning, looking as if they are thoroughly bored. For some reason, I spot Kouhai-chan in the front row of those people, and our eyes meet.
I turn on the microphone, remove it from the stand, grip it in my hand, and put it in front of my mouth.
And then, I take a big breath, and scream a complete one sentence with a volume that even resembles a howl.
「Tomorrow is a holiday!!」
Just as they were waiting for that word, the second and third years start to become excited.
After I bow lightly, the first years finally understood the situation, and then cheer loudly.
「Thank you, Student Council President Iguchi. Well then, we announce that the 2017 athletic meet officially starts now.」
It’s not like I was doing as I please just now. All of the previous student council presidents seemed like they also only said that one sentence. Maybe it is some sort of tradition. I don’t know when it started, but it is certainly very ‘rocky’.
Tomorrow will feel like a break after a lot of hard work, so most students want the athletic meet farce to just end already (except for the borrowing race competition) and enjoy the holiday. That is the meaning of their cheers that comes from their soul just now.
And then with this, I finished my job for this morning. Let’s quickly go back to my class…
The event starts with a 100m run, continuing with relay, tug of war, ball-toss game, and this or that, and the competition grows rough as time passes. So far as it goes, each class will belong to the red or white team that will decide who is the ultimate winner, but honestly, it is just for the appearances. No one really cares about that.
Before I realized it, noon comes, and the afternoon events are going steady one by one. Little by little, the time until the borrowing competition starts is also approaching.
The weirdest thing about our school’s borrowing race competition is how they have a one-hour time limit. Last year, we started at around 2:30, but the time limit to reach the goal was until 3:30. So weird.
Also it’s weird how the participants can leave the school gate for the sake of the race. There are a lot of things that makes the participants have to run until the station and「borrow」it at the nearby store. Please do something about that already. But since this is an annual event for the surrounding stores as well, at least we are saved that some students that will be the judge already requested for their consent to lend their things.
Well, that’s that.
No matter what, the students are in the classroom when they are writing for the theme applications paper. The common themes are mostly things that come to their mind, which is in the classroom. With my student council president authority, I peeked at the themes that was prepared last year, yet not used.
That’s why, as a countermeasure, I brought a backpack to school filled with small things possible to carry (starting from mechanical pencil, ballpoint pen, kendama[1. けん玉, Japanese bilboquet], rubix cube, bamboo-copter, etc.). But, this doesn’t count since I need to「borrow」them.
「Idezuka, I’ll give you this backpack temporarily.」
To Idezuka who (might be) my best friend in the class,
「Strictly speaking, this is a temporary transfer.」
「If it’s a temporary transfer, isn’t it a loan?」
「Don’t mind that so much, this is a temporary transfer.」
This needs to be a transfer no matter what. I need to transfer the ownership to him, even if just temporarily. How troublesome.
「As soon as the athletic meet is over, I’ll get it back. Instead, if I ask for it, please give me back what is inside that backpack. I mean, lend it to me!」
「So what is in this bag serves as a measure for the borrowing race?」
If you already understand my intention, then it’s all good.
「Can I lend it to other people?」
「That’s your freedom. Then, I will depend on you.」
「Okkie. I don’t know what makes you this fired up, but… as I thought, is it about Yoneyama-chan?」
「Yes, yes. Fighting!」
He looks at me with a ^^ expression. Is he trying to agitate me?
＊ ＊ ＊
Morning and afternoon events passed, and the time for the event I participate in to start is approaching.
I go to the assembling place. From the first to third years, one player from every class already started gathering. Among them, I can see senpai’s figure who has「2G」tag behind his shirt. Speaking of which, we took a different morning train today, and when he was giving his student council president speech (?), we only exchanged a look for a moment.
I approach him, and called him out with a low voice that no one in our surroundings would hear.
「Wah! So you came… I won’t lose, got it?」
「That is my line, senpai.」
There is a reason why I can’t lose no matter what.
I’ll give it my best.
「The athletes of the athletic meet, please listen to this announcement for the athletes participating in borrowing race competition.」
Since there are 10 classes x 3 years = 30 students assembling, the announcer with a tag on his arm starts to talk with one megaphone in his hand.
The start is the line on the track field. There are boxes of themes after running half the track field from there, and it seems like we need to draw two themes at that boxes. After drawing the themes, we can move freely and look for the themes to borrow it, and the time limit (?) for this event is one hour. Isn’t it too long…?
「You can also freely go outside the school gate. We’ve already talked to the shops in the shopping street in front of the station, so please make the most of it, alright?」
It seems like I have participated in an even more troublesome competition more than I thought.
Well, even if it’s troublesome, it is the same for senpai as well. I am confident I can win if we compare our speaking skills. I just need to quickly borrow the item and go to the goal before senpai.
「The goal is in the main tent that you can see there. We will check the theme to verify the borrowed items live with a microphone, so please don’t lose your theme papers.」
＃ ＃ ＃
After confirming the rules, the competition finally begins.
I definitely won’t lose. Rather, I’m going to aim for the first place. For that, the themes I will pull are important to decide my fate. If both of them are inside my backpack I brought today, the victory will become much easier.
「Ready… Set… Go!」
In any case, the athletic club members won’t win simply with a run, so most of them only run to the half of the track field in the middle. I’m already tired, though.
I put my hand in the box, and… here are my themes.
The first one is,「unsharpened pencil」.
Bingo! I have this item inside the pencil case in the backpack I brought today. I’m right that there will be this kind of rare stationery at this event. After all, everyone is using mechanical pencils recently. In the worst case, I might have to go in a round trip to the stationery store in front of the station if I didn’t prepare for it. What a relief.
How about the second one?
「Closest opposite gender.」
The closest opposite gender, eh.
What does close even mean, though.
Is it okay for me to interpret this as the opposite gender I talk with the most?
Naturally, my eyes turn to her, sneaking a glance.
＊ ＊ ＊
I run steadily, and draw my themes. Since I’m not the last one to arrive, it should be okay.
Now then, what are my themes?
The first one is,「Paperback book with a non-paper book cover」. The restriction sure is trivial.
Now that I think of it, it seems like senpai has this item. I wonder where did senpai put his bag? But then, I will definitely got exposed if I take it from other people secretly…
Let’s see the second one for now.
Alright. I saw it.
I wonder what I should do with this one.
Anyway, it seems like it will be good if I just catch senpai for now. Even though he is also a participant, it should be alright, yes?
Where is that person? Looking around, I meet senpai’s eyes for the first time in this few hours.
＃ ＃ ＃
Did she find out that I have been looking at her for a while? Or so I thought, but it seems like that’s not the case.
「Senpai, do you bring a paperback book with you today?」
「Today is the 25th, after all. Since it was just after MF’s release, of course I have it with me today.」
「It is in a hard cover, right? The deep blue one.」
After answering that much, Kouhai-chan showed me the paper she had in her hand.
「Please lend it to me!」
「No way. Isn’t that helping you to be closer to the goal?」
When answering reflexively, I suddenly noticed.
Either way, I won’t reach my goal without taking her with me. If so, I better get over it for now, so that I can move around freely.
「I’ll make a correction. I got it. Instead, I want to borrow you.」
「My theme is Kouhai-chan.」
She is making a face, as expected, my words have an unclear meaning.
「I need to look for an opposite gender kouhai.」
She considers it for a moment.
「Sure, but senpai can borrow me after I reach my goal, alright?」
「Then I won’t lend you my hardcover book. I don’t think there are a lot of people who love bringing around hardcover books, you know?」
Both of us are holding onto each other’s theme. What’s with this prisoner’s dilemma? It feels like we got one kind of task that will come out in game logic.
「Well, I got it. Let me take the paperback book for the time being. It is in my bag. We can have this talk after that. It is better to have a higher rank in this game anyway.」
「You’re right, senpai.」
With that, we rushed to 2G class together.
＊ ＊ ＊
Senpai calls the name of someone I know. If I don’t remember wrong, he is a senpai from the art department.
「Bingo. Er, lend me the unsharpened pencil from the pencil case, and also the hardcover paperback book in the inner side of the bag.」
「Seriously? You get both of them right? Aren’t you going to be the winner then?」
Around me, there are other participants asking all of the people in the class if they have ◯◯. If I have to pinpoint it, I think I am in a quite an advantageous situation.
「Here it is, fighting.」
Senpai receives the items, and now, I cleared my first theme. It’s still not in my hand, though.
By the way, it seems like senpai also cleared his theme, huh. It should be a pencil, and a kouhai.
If we go to the goal as it is, senpai will be the only winner since I still don’t have my item. To reach the goal, I also need to borrow senpai.
I should aim for him at the same time.
Since we already return to the middle of the field, I have to talk to him.
「I understand. I’ll follow senpai to the goal, so please lend me the hardcover paperback.」
「Nn? I’m fine with it, but… are you okay with that?」
I’m just saying that I’m「okay」with that. It doesn’t mean that I have given up.
As soon as I receive the paperback book, senpai gripped my wrist tightly.
I also undauntedly grip on senpai’s wrist. I can feel his quick pulse, most likely because we have been running since a while ago.
「Now, let’s go to the goal? Senpai?」
＃ ＃ ＃
While holding onto each other’s wrist, both of us are also holding a pencil and a paperback book in our other hands, and cut the goal tape.
There is no clear rule for when two players reach the goal at the same time.
If it’s about when two players reach the goal almost at the same time, there is a rule. The victor is the one who has their body part touching the goal tape first. If this rule applies to this, then Kouhai-chan who stretched her hand and touched the goal tape first wins.
However, the problem is complicated this time. Kouhai-chan is my「theme」and I borrowed her, so she can be considered as a part of me. The reverse if also true, and I am a part of Kouhai-chan as well. It sounds strange, but I am talking about this seriously.
The decision of the ranking is put on hold for the time being, and they begin to check on our borrowed items for now.
Our first theme, the pencil and paperback don’t have any problems.
The second one is the problematic one. My lie is exposed.
「Iguchi-san from 2G class’ second theme is… this! Jan! The『closest opposite gender』!」
Ah, they said it out loud.
「Iguchi-san, this is?」
「Even though she is my kouhai, both of us are using the same train, and we often go out together so I borrowed her.」
If I said more than this, I will damage myself.
Kouhai-chan is also glaring at me with eyes that scream that she didn’t hear about that before.
「I see, I see…! I want to listen thoroughly about Iguchi-san’s feelings if the time permits, but let’s save that for another opportunity.」
I’m saved. It seems like I will get interviewed by the people in my class, but Idezuka will surely find out about this, eh. I might get small damage because of that.
「Now then, Yoneyama-san from 1A class’ second theme is…Jan! Oh! This is! The『person you’re interested in』! Yoneyama-san’s theme is about the『person you’re interested in』!」
Wait, what is she doing? Why did it become me?
Why did it become like this?
「Yoneyama-san, this is?」
「This is… as what it says, you know? I’m interested. Just that.」
Kouhai-chan unexpectedly answers the broadcasting staff’s question indifferently, making the staff discouraged. I’m saved once again.
「Hou, hou. I’m interested in both of your relationship, but it seems like the third participant is going to reach the goal soon, so we better decide on it as fast as possible. The method is, for once and all…」
One and all?
Rock-paper-scissors, eh. I have a bad memory doing it with Kouhai-chan, though.
I remember being ahead on my own, thinking that I had won, and end up being stabbed with my own weapon.
Both of us face each other in front of the broadcaster.
I don’t feel like saying anything to Kouhai-chan. I lower my right shoulder slightly, and crouch my body. And then――
「Rock, paper, scissors!」
I took out ‘rock’. And koubai-chan took out ‘paper’.
It is my loss.
＊ ＊ ＊
With the result of the rock-paper-scissors, they decided that I am the winner of the borrowing race competition.
Since I also won from senpai, I got the right to request senpai without any problem.
「I was wondering about this, senpai. Here is my『today’s question』.」
As the sky outside starts to become dark, I ask my question when we are on the train home.
By the way, this is the first time for me to go back from school together with senpai.
「Why didn’t you ask for the『question』when we were doing the rock-paper-scissors?」
He closes the paperback book with deep blue cover I borrowed today, and glances outside the window.
「I wonder why…」
And then, he returns his gaze towards me.
「Maybe sometimes, I just want to try on my luck.」
「What’s with that?」
「I already won before anyway. I just thought it should be okay to risk that ½ chance.」
Senpai laughed a little, and said so.
「Then this is my『today’s question』. Kouhai-chan too, why didn’t you ask me? About which hand I will take out.」
「I’m also the same. I feel like it won’t be a fair match if I ask.」
I grinned, and added this:
「Also, I thought that senpai didn’t look like you will ask me anything, so I just went with it.」
「What’s with that.」
Senpai stretched his body, answering half-heartedly.
The things I knew about my senpai㊵
It seems like I am the「closest opposite gender」for senpai.