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The funeral of my classmate, Sakura Yamauchi, was held on a cloudy day that didn’t seem unfitting of her when she was alive.
As proof of the value of her life, many were covered in tears during the ritual, as well as last night’s wake - neither of which I attended. I stayed home the whole time.
Fortunately, the only classmate who would’ve forced me to attend had already left this world, and it wasn’t as if either our teacher or her parents had the right or the obligation to request my presence, so I was allowed to stand by my own decision.
Certainly, I, a high school student even without being acknowledged by anyone as such, was supposed to be attending school - but because she had died in the middle of a school vacation, I was able to avoid going out in the bad weather.
Since my parents who were both at work had left me an adequate lunch, I remained holed up in my own room. That these actions of mine were due to the loneliness and emptiness of losing a classmate - to say so would be inaccurate.
Unless I had been made to go out by that classmate of mien, I’d always been the type to spend my days off in my own room.
Within my room, I would most often be found reading books. More so than guidebooks and self-help books, I loved to read novels. I would read my paperbacks while rolling on top of my bed, resting either my head or my chin on a white pillow. As hardcovers were too heavy, I preferred paperbacks.
The book I was currently reading was something I had borrowed from her - the single magnum opus that had been encountered by a girl who didn’t read books. Its position on the bookshelf had not been disturbed since I borrowed it. Though I had planned to read and return it before she died, it was too late for that now.
Since nothing could be done about my tardiness, I made up my mind to return the book to her house after I was done with it. As I greeted her portrait - that would be a good time to return it.
By the time I had finished reading half the book, the evening had arrived. While using the fluorescent light that filtered through the closed curtains to see, I learned of how much time had passed from a single incoming phone call.
The phone call wasn’t anything special. It was from my mother.
Though I had ignored the first two calls, I realised that they were more than likely dinner-related, so I brought the phone up to my ear. The contents of the phone call were regarding the cooking of rice. I confirmed the instructions with her and ended the call.
Just as I put the phone down on my desk, I was struck by a sudden realisation. It had been two days since I’d last touched the appliance. I didn’t think that I had avoided it consciously. Somehow or other - though I wouldn’t deny that there may have been some sort of significance to it - I had simply forgotten to touch my phone.
My phone that had a clamshell mechanism - I flipped it open and looked at my inbox. There wasn’t a single unread message. It was only natural, completely natural. I continued by checking my sent messages. There, apart from the call function, the most recent use of my phone could be seen.
I had sent a message to her, my classmate.
A message with just one line.
I didn’t know if she had read it.
Though I was about to leave my room for the kitchen, I once again returned to and lay face down upon my bed. The words I had sent her were being mulled over in my heart.
I didn’t know if she had seen them.
“I want to eat your pancreas.”
If she had read it, how would she have received the message?
While thinking about it, I fell asleep.
In the end, the rice was cooked by my mother when she returned home.
I met her in my dreams - maybe.
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