＃ ＃ ＃
Because I have been thinking about that, I couldn’t sleep well yesterday.
Did it even take an hour after entering my bed until I fell asleep? I was worrying endlessly.
…Of course, it’s not like it came out in my dreams. If it reached that point, I think it’s already bad. I don’t even know what to say anymore.
I couldn’t sleep well, and when I was woken up by my smartphone alarm, I wanted to hit myself.
It’s not like that person (who else but Kouhai-chan?) called me out today. I also didn’t have any appointment to go out today.
However, I am completely conscious that today is November 11, and I want to do something at exactly 11:11:11 AM. Because of that alone, I woke up at 10 AM, even if today is a holiday.
Just a perfect arrangement of 1 will make me this excited, huh. I’m really just still a child.
Yesterday, I was also acting like a child, really. I didn’t expect how hard it would be to get up in the morning.
But, it would be game over if I don’t wake up now. Not only that my quality of sleep had been lowered by waking up, I wouldn’t be able to do what I had scheduled. Both of them are really no good.
I gathered my motivation and got up. I went to the living room.
My mother made a surprised face as she stared at me, and called me out.
「Oh, how rare. Are you going out?」
「There are something, right? Please confess already.」
「No, I really don’t have anything to do today, seriously.」
Really~? My mother stared at me, but I ignored her and ate my breakfast silently.
「You will stay in the house today, right?」
「I’ll report it to Maharu-chan, then.」
I almost spurted out the coffee in my mouth after being told such a shocking thing.
「Eh, what, just now?」
「I said Maharu-chan. Isn’t it fine?」
Without a doubt, she is Kouhai-chan. Yoneyama Maharu-chan. Really, thank you very much.
It should be her doing. She made her way into my mother’s heart, and made my mother tell her about my behaviour. What are they doing, seriously.
「How about lunch? Should I just make a portion?」
Why are you talking as if she is going to come, Mother.
「A portion for me is enough.」
「Really, you don’t have to be shy, you know.」
「That’s not it. We didn’t make any promise for today.」
「So you’ll go out with her tomorrow, right? Have a safe trip.」
After saying that, my mother disappeared to the back of the house to do laundry.
Why does she even know? Is it my mother’s intuition, or that person leaks it to her?
When I look at the clock, it’s almost 11 o’clock.
Let’s get ready for the ritual.
I arranged the snacks I had bought on the desk nicely, and took a great photo with my smartphone app.
I launched my Twitter, and typed the caption.
Then I opened a site that shows the exact time on my computer.
11:11:11 is coming soon.
Since I had been preparing this much, this kind of silly thing made me feel excited.
Ten minutes left.
I gazed at Twitter blankly.
One minute left.
I stared at the clock intently.
Ten seconds left. 9… 8…
When I was going to tweet at the exact time, the sound of the intercom distracted me.
「Keita, go open the door!」
My mother’s voice also brought be back from my dazed state.
「Ah. Yes, yes.」
I don’t know if I tweeted it at 11:11:10, 11, or 12, but anyway, my “Happy Pocky & Pretz Day!” tweet was successfully sent, as I stood up from my chair.
＊ ＊ ＊
I came to senpai’s house, since I have an excuse to do so.
When I got off my bicycle, there was a notification from my smartphone. It was a message from senpai’s mother. Hmm. Senpai is going to stay home all day today. There is no problem, then.
In my bicycle’s basket, there were sweets that I bought at a convenience store on the way here.
Since he is very lazy, he should be hungry, right? Sugar supplementation is important.
Today, the convenience store clerk was desperate to sell Pocky, so I mainly bought it.
When you press the intercom, I could hear the familiar pin pon.
After waiting for a while, there is a voice from the speaker.
「Yes, who is it… eh, it’s you? I was in the middle of crucial moment, you know.」
It was senpai.
「Why did you come?」
「I’ll explain, so please let me in.」
Senpai unexpectedly opened the door for me.
＃ ＃ ＃
「『Today’s question』. What are you planning, coming to my house?」
I made the first strike. We made an appointment tomorrow, but why did she come today?
「I came to play senpai.」
「Aren’t you missing a particle?」
At least, use「with」, can’t you?
「It’s unfortunate, but there’s no particle needed.」
While looking at Kouhai-chan who is saying such a cruel thing while sticking her tongue out, she was holding a plastic bag. I could faintly see red boxes inside.
「It’s really unfortunate.」
Kouhai-chan entered my room and sat on the cushion I put out, and said this calmly.
「But then, senpai’s room is really full of books as usual, huh~ Don’t you have other things to do?」
「Isn’t that also books? There are textbooks and workbooks.」
「Eh, aren’t textbooks and books different?」
「They are both written.」
I don’t really consider textbooks to be “books”, since they have annotations, various structural modifications, and various things that screams “Let’s solve this!” no one needs.
「Well, this kind of topic is just meh for me, though.」
Kouhai-chan took out a red box from her plastic bag.
「Senpai, do you know what day it is today?」
I won’t answer you. I am already prepared when I tried to tweet about the November 11th.
「If we connect two eleven (十一), it would form the second part of the kanji structure.」1
「And then, Spotted Garden Eel’s day.」
「Ah, I know that one. They live inside the sands, right?」
「Yup, yup. They said that if we arrange the dates into 1111, it will look somewhat similar.」
There are still a lot.
「Sprouts’ day, Noodle’s day, Itadakimasu’s day, Pork Steamed Buns’ day…」
Everything has a connection with「1111」.
「Ah, really. Senpai definitely already realized it anyway, right? I’ll tell you if you don’t want to say it then. Today is Pocky Day.」
Ah, I made a retort unconsciously. Well, fine.
「Today, November 11, is not Pocky Day.」
「Eh? But there was Pocky Day written at the convenience store.」
「That’s not right. Today is『Pocky and Pretz Day』, you know.」
Please don’t forget this kind with green package.
「Isn’t it fine anyway? What we eat is Pocky anyway.」
「But Pretz salad flavour is delicious, right? Stop that discrimination.」
「Correction.『What we are going to eat now is Pocky anyway.』」
Well, the moment she took out the red box with「Pocky」written on it, I already knew that.
After all, there are both red and green boxes in my desk drawer.
「Isn’t now too early for snacks?」
「This is the ten o’clock snack, so it should be fine. More than that, here is my『today’s question』. Senpai.」
I did think about why she was not using her questioning right to ask 「What day is it?」just now, but it seemed like she preserved it, huh.
「Senpai, er… Have you… ever played, uh, Pocky game before?」
I faintly could sense that she would ask that. Speaking of November 11, it will be about Pocky. Speaking of Pocky, it will be about Pocky Game.
From the old dynasty until now… no, that’s not true, more like from the east to the west… is also not right, but anyway, that is solid joke material in modern Japan.
It is a game where each person will bite on an end of a pocky, then eat it little by little. After that, they need to bear it until the last minute, while making sure their lips don’t touch.
Of course, I never did it before.
I don’t have that kind of partner I can do it with, and I also don’t have any same gender friends that would do such stupid thing together.
「How unexpected. I never did it as well.」
While saying so, she opened the red box.
After picking one from the aluminium package inside, she held it between her index finger and middle finger as if holding a cigarette, and brought it to her mouth.
「Then―― don’t you want to try it?」
She bites on the pocky’s side with no chocolate, bringing her face close to mine.
In front of my eyes, there is a thin stick coated with chocolate, mixed with Kouhai-chan’s breath. It makes me waver.
「…I won’t lose.」
Saying so, I bite the Pocky. The taste of chocolate spreads over my mouth.
I make an eye signal to Kouhai-chan in front of me, and both of us start to bite on the Pocky steadily.
By the way.
How do we even decide which one will win or lose?
The distance between our lips, which was about 10cm at first, becomes 7cm, and now 5cm.
Our noses are touching before our lips
Because both of us were concentrating on the Pocky, the unexpected stimulus became a slight intoxication, making us bite both of the ends of the Pocky. The remaining stick falls down, rolling on the floor.
「It fell down.」
My nose is hot. I feel like I’m about to have a nosebleed soon.
「I think we bite on it at the same time just now.」
「Then, let’s settle on this.」
「Since we will hit our nose, we have to tilt our faces as well.」
This time, I bite on the pocky.
I continue to eat mindlessly. When the taste of chocolate begins to fill my sense, I woke up from my daze. In front of me is Kouhai-chan’s face.
Eyes. Eyelashes. Nose. Cheeks. Lips. No matter where I turn my eyes at, there is only a beautiful girl with soft and supple body, cute.
That cute face is getting closer, and closer, and even closer to me.
And it stops.
Is the distance between both of our lips only around one centimeter? Five milimeter? I can’t even measure it anymore.
If either of us moves, the distance between us will become zero in an instant.
In other words, I stopped eating, and Kouhai-chan also stopped eating, right?
I look at her face.
Her ears are red, and she is glaring at me. If she could speak, she would be saying「Please release it already, senpai!」, wouldn’t she?
But even I have my own obstinacy. I won’t lose if I already said I won’t.
Since there’s no way we can turn back, I focus on maintaining this status quo.
I try not to move my body and take a breath as calm as I can, and I also watch on Kouhai-chan’s movement closely.
The Pocky rolled on the floor again.
「If Maharu-chan came, please tell me. I couldn’t serve the tea if you don’t tell me.」
My mother’s voice made me come back to my senses again.
「We don’t need tea!」
I yelled out from my room.
「Oh my, is that so?」
There is lots of chewing, with enough saliva. But more than that is the conclusion.
「It’s also a draw, huh.」
「Yeah, let’s decide the winner now.」
Kouhai-chan bites on the Pocky for the second time.
In the end, we were playing the endless Pocky game until my mother called us out for lunch.
The things I knew about my senpai (56)
He is pretty strong at Pocky game.
- Salmon in Japan is 鮭. Doesn’t the 土 similar to 十一? *not really ↩