The bell rings at the end of lecture, waking me up from my sleep.
The projector is already turned off, and the students around me are getting ready to leave. I open my notes and am impressed by the pictographs I drew.
That’s bad. I fell asleep, and I don’t know anyone who’s willing to lend me their notes.
I can’t believe I fell asleep in a situation like this.
I blame the professor’s monotonic voice and prepare to leave, when someone grabs my arm.
I prepare myself to counterattack.
「I’ve been waiting!」
It’s an annoying voice, but one I’m used to hearing. I relax myself.
I know who it is without looking.
「Don’t scare me like that…. What are you doing here…?」
Mizuhara has dark circles under his eyes. He looks a little upset.
「I’ve been waiting for you! You were sleeping in class. What a waste of school fees.」
「………How long have you been watching…? Also, weren’t you supposed to be back tonight?」
I ask him why he came back earlier than planned.
「Their snacks were awful!」
So he says.
It wasn’t a trip he was expecting.
He had jet lag from his 13 hour flight, and he took a walk from his hotel to buy some sweets, but the store he went to wasn’t good.
After gathering more information, he went on a longer trip to counter his disappointment. After a few hours he finally reached his destination, but the pastries served there were insanely sweet. All of his excitement was gone.
The awards ceremony was boring, and at the party at night he was shocked by the guys he met laughing for no apparent reason. The only dessert he could enjoy was a few blocks of sugar.
The next day, he tried to regain his hope once again, and went to town looking for sweets and looking for souvenirs for the Underground Sweets.
He thought that Americans’ sense of taste was too different and hence didn’t trust their reviews, instead relying on his own instincts.
He was wrong.
He assumed that his failure lay in choosing a snack that appealed to adults, so he picked a cake called “Forest Siesta” because it sounded gentle, and bought it to go.
When he opened it up at the hotel, he saw a cake that looked like it was made by a mountain witch. The taste lived up to its appearance.
Because of that, he had a nightmare and didn’t get much sleep.
Unable to take any more, he took the first flight out of America.
His bad luck didn’t end there. He ended up getting sandwiched by his neighbors on the flight.
The person in front of him made it worse by reclining his seat all the way back. He couldn’t sleep at all, and came back to Japan just like that.
I feel sorry for Mizuhara, but his story makes me want to laugh.
「I get it. You weren’t satisfied with American sweets…… but did you just come here straight from the airport?」
I point at his huge suitcase.
「If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have made it for today’s lecture.」
「You could’ve sent me a message.」
I state the obvious.
He always sends his requests by message.
「So, what are your plans today?」
「I’m free. ………I’ll make you something, so why don’t you get some sleep? At least get rid of those panda eyes.」
I’m surprised he can think about what snacks I should make despite his 13 hour flight, jet lag, lack of sleep, and the overall fatigue of the trip. He should be at his limits.
I take him to his place, offering to carry his luggage besides his suitcase. I notice a box that’s specifically for souvenirs.
「Huh? You have some tasty looking snacks.」
What kind of American pastries is that? I’m curious.
「Don’t touch it. You’ll die of disgust.」
He takes it from me.
「Then why did you buy it…」
We’re heading to the elevator. The rumbling of Mizuhara’s suitcase is really attracting attention.
An elderly professor calls out to him. I think he’s a macroeconomics professor.
Mizuhara tries to hide his frown by adjusting his glasses, and keeps his head slightly lowered.
「I didn’t know you had returned already. How was the awards ceremony? There were many outstanding professors, so you must have spent your time well.」
「It was certainly meaningful.」
It’s so monotonous that anyone could tell he’s lying.
I can tell that Mizuhara attends this professor’s lectures. Mizuhara offers him the pastries.
…He’s going to die of disgust.
The professor submitted Mizuhara’s essay without consulting him, so Mizuhara was already angry. On top of that, he almost forced Mizuhara to attend the awards ceremony.
Those pastries are probably for revenge.
The professor invites Mizuhara to chat in the research lab, but Mizuhara turns him down.
「I shall report to you another day.」
Mizuhara ends the conversation abruptly, then takes his suitcase with his right hand, and tug my arm with his left. We’re headed to the elevator again.
「Hey, watch it.」
I tell him to be careful not to catch his leg on the suitcase and trip.
「It’s light, so it’s fine.」
I try holding it, and it really is lighter than it looks.
He’s swinging it too much though.
I ask him what’s in it, and he replies that it’s nothing.
Two thirds of the suitcase was supposed to be filled with sweets from America, but since he barely bought anything, it’s mostly empty.
He had some slight expectations, but since they were completely dashed, I change the topic.
「What about souvenirs for Microwave and the others?」
「I bought parfait flavored toothpaste.」
3 sets of travel sized parfait flavored toothpaste.
「It’s really sweet and refreshing.」
I always pick mint for toothpaste, but the rainbow colored pack catches my eye.
The character on the packaging also looks weird. He looks like he’s too muscular because he drinks protein all day.
But Microwave and the others are fond of sweet things, so I think it may be a good choice. Mizuhara says that he has some for me too.
Well, I guess I can try a different flavor once in a while. He hands me an American sized toothpaste.