Of course, it was a normal day if my shoes were filled with dirt.
Can I say I hated it?
No, it was more like I just got used to it at this point, better see it as a sign of love…yeah, my shoes were filled with love.
Aaah, keep it up Hachiman…just, deep breaths, think of Komachi and you can go through your day.
Arriving at class I found my desk in its usual state, full of written marks, each one with its own and special grammatical error, stating how creepy and disgusting I am, a few Frikigayas over here, some Hikifrogys there, oh, and how could I ignore the classics, Hikigerm.
I want to puke.
I'm just an elementary school boy, why do my schoolmates hate me so much?
Count to ten Hachiman…if you ignore it, it doesn't matter, you're just going to clean it after class.
I just take my sit, and as customary, a few disgusted and mocking glares were thrown at me.
Perfect. Just my day.
I block it, I numb myself to all of this, closing my eyes. It's another day in my life, nothing more, go through with it and that's all I got to do. It doesn't take long until the teacher arrives, Takeuchi-sensei, or as I like to call him, asshole-sensei. The number of times I went to him to complain about the bullying and he just blatantly ignored my pleads was sickening.
Why did that idiot become a teacher if he's incapable of doing his job?!
I bet he just blame the childrens, telling himself that he can't do nothing because of kids like me.
Like if I'm the problem.
"Listen up! We have a new friend joining us today!" At those words I rise my head, looking at the new arrival, a little girl with a bob cut longer on her sides, pinkish brown hair "Introduce yourself" Asshole-sensei tells her, but she doesn't seem to be listening.
"Ah" like remembering something Sensei lightly taps her shoulder "Introduce yourself" he says again when she looks at him.
Then the most bizarre thing happened.
She took a notebook that had written a name in it. 'Nishimiya Shouko' it said.
My classmates started whispering between them.
'I will use this notebook to communicate with all of you. I hope we can all be friends.'
'Please use this notebook when you speak to me'
My eyes widened looking at the next word.
Now, it's not that it's something that surprising, but…it's the first time in my life that I meet…look at? A deaf person. You know, being a child and all, I thought it was something I would only know of them from the movies and stuff!
Class started as normal, I expected that during lunch my classmates would swarm Nishimiya-san with question, as per usual…can't blame them actually, unlike me, she doesn't have mean eyes.
At least that's what I thought, until certain incident happened.
Asshole sensei asked to read a part of a book, of course, we being kids, weren't able to read particularly well, so…a good teacher would normally show patience while informing the student in which part they made a mistake.
But of course, we are not talking about a good teacher here.
"Speak up! How can you convey the author's feelings with such a tiny voice!"
"Egh! Yes sir!"
"The next part is for seat fifteen…who's in seat fifteen?"
If I'm not mistaken is...
"Nishimiya-san. Here, and here"
Snobby blonde shows the new girl which parts to read.
Oi! Asshole sensei! Are you an idiot?!
"…nok, wan du see… ebe… nda mom ne…"
Of course this would happen! You should have checked how good she's at reading out loud before throwing her at the fire!
That was supposed to be your responsibility sensei!
A few odd looks and giggles were designated to the girl, and Sensei just proceeded not even assuming his mistake "Okay, let's move on. Hikigaya!"
I stand up trying to shrug off the uncomfortable atmosphere while reading my part.
Geez, how useless can you be sensei.
Lunch arrived before I notice it, but as I suspected, thanks to the incident of Nishimiya-san way of reading not a lot of people decided to talk to her.
That, and she's deaf…we kids are just too lazy to write a whole conversation, yet this girl tried, and I mean tried really hard, to talk to people, and by that, I mean that she would go to any group to with her notebook and pencil at hand.
I could only sigh while eating my lunch, which it's from a convenience store…I really should start cooking lunch when mom can't do it.
I could pity her…except I hate when others pity me, I don't know how to describe it, it just feels like they're making fun of me, and I got enough of that during school.
I was munching my way through my food when I saw paper and a pencil from the corner of my eyes.
'Could you tell me what the teacher said during class?"
Girl, don't do this.
I just looked at her, she really doesn't know how being connected to me would affect her.
I can survive the bullying, but this girl…I don't want to see another person in my situation.
I grabbed my pencil and quickly wrote 'I can lend you my notes after class, let me eat now'.
She looked disappointed for a while after reading but left all the same.
Aaah…I really don't want to be an asshole, but they are going to start picking on you if they see you with me, I can't stand the guilt if that happens.
Lunch finishes and classes just go on as normal, though…I could tell the atmosphere wasn't the normal one, especially every time Nishimiya-san would raise her hand and ask Sensei to look her way when talking.
She probably has some ninja skill like reading lips if she asks that.
That…that's really cool.
Could she teach that?
But…she probably needs help with class, not being able to hear the explanations and stuff.
Damn…I'm guilt tripping myself now.
The bell sounds and classes end and I close my eyes.
I can finally just go home, but better wait until everyone leave, don't want to open my shoe locker receive my 'gifts' while everyone is watching, besides, I have to clean my desk too.
Not a good day at all Hachiman, but you can at least hear the 'Onii-chan I love you!' from Komachi.
I opened my eyes again and look around, checking if the coast is free, yet…I see a single girl sitting alone. Nishimiya is looking at her notebook with a…determined face? Guess you're not giving up in making friends, are you?
Haaah, I did tell her, so I may as well keep my word. I rummage through my backpack and take out my notebook, standing up I get close to her. I just hope that she doesn't think that my notebook is gross just because it's mine. Taking a deep breath, I gather my courage and tap her shoulder. She jumps a little and looks at me, guess she thought she was alone.
I open my notebook and take out my pencil writing 'Do you want to take it or you just want to check it?' and pass it to her.
She reads for a bit and I swear her eyes started to shine.
'I'm just going to check it and copy some things'
I nod at her.
'I'm going to clean my desk meanwhile'
With that I leave her to do her stuff while I go pick some towels and alcohol from my bag. Heh…it's sad that I'm already prepared for this kind of stuff.
While doing my work I catch her looking at me, or more specifically at my table…oh don't look at me like that, this is normal, I just signal her with my head for her to continue. After a few minutes of silence I'm finished, I clean my sweat with a satisfied smile, good as new…I just hope that they don't get inspired again tomorrow.
My desk is not a canvas, you know?
I raise my head to see if Nishimiya-san is finished with my notebook, but I'm surprised at seeing that she's in front on me looking worried.
Well, at least is not pity.
I extend my hand so she can give me my notebook back, and she does, but takes her own and starts writing, I wait for her to finish and shows it to me.
'Is this what they call bullying?'
I couldn't help but chuckle, anyone else would just say something like 'Are you being bullied?' 'Do you need help?' 'Should I call the teacher?'.
You sure are funny, Nishimiya-san.
I just answer her with a resigned shrug. I mean, what else can I do? My only option is to transfer to another school, but for that I would have to tell my parents about what's happening, and they're already pretty busy with work, I don't want to add to the load. As long as they can keep Komachi happy, I don't need that attention.
She looks at me with her determined gaze, and I got curious at what she was writing now.
'Do you want to be friends?' she wrote.
Nishimiya-san, you're gonna make me cry.
Even though I want to, and I really want to be friends…you're just going to suffer, you don't need more burden.
You can still be friends with everybody else.
I shook my head, even so, I could only give her a sad smile. I pick my stuff and leave the room.
Arriving at the shoe locker I see something that I didn't expect today.
Just…Just how much free time do these guys have to look for dog poop and bring it here?
A tired sigh scaped me, and just then I heard a shuffle behind me, turning around I find the girl again, shocked expression printed on her face. I look at the ceiling for a moment and close my eyes, it's the only thing I can do to not spill my tears…this is so humiliating.
Count to ten Hachiman, at least they're not hitting you…Think of Komachi, her smile, her happiness.
"Huff" I let out a breath and extent my hand yet again, it seems she understands what I mean and passes me her notebook and pencil. I simply write a fact that I know too well on it and hand it over, going to pick up some cleaning tools I leave her behind, hopping that she gets the message.
'This is why we can't be friends, if the others see you with me, they're going to do this to you too'
But as always, only silence receives me, not that it bothers me anymore, my parents work until late at night, and I prefer to arrive before Komachi so she has someone to receive her.
That's just what an older brother must do! Though, my feet's really hurt, I had to comeback barefooted because the damn poop ruined my shoes.
Really not a good day.
To keep my mind busy, I prepare some snacks for Komachi for when she arrives, then proceeded to wash the poop out of my possessions.
After a few hours, the best little sister in the world arrives.
As soon as she hears me, she comes rushing to me, hugging me like only she knows to.
Aaaah, this is what I needed, Komachi's love "How was your day?" I ask while patting her head.
This is our routine since a few years ago, since the day I found Komachi crying in the living room because she was feeling lonely, of course, I, being me, only hugged her and we slept in the couch together that night, but since then I make sure I arrive earlier than her.
I never want to see her cry again, that, I swore to myself.
"That was my day Onii-chan, how about yours?"
Now what to tell her, I don't like to lie to her, but I ended up telling her that I had a lot of friends when she started to get suspicious that I was being bullied, I mean, what can I do against her pout? But I get this feeling that she actually knows how my life really is, because after sometime, she stopped asking me about my 'friends'.
For that, I'm thankful.
But I guess today I did have something new to tell her.
"We got a new transferred student"
"Really?" her eyes sparkling with curiosity were just too much for me.
"Yeah, actually, she's deaf, so she had a bit of a hard time in class"
Oh, you're just too cute for this world Komachi, let me snuggle you for a bit.
"Hehe" she giggles at my pampering.
What would I do without you, my dear imoutou?
"It means that she can't hear nor can't talk" I said while caressing her head and playing with her ahoge for a bit.
"And how does she talk?"
No…she doesn't talk Komachi—oh your cuteness is just too much for my heart sometimes.
I proceed to tell her about the day, how Nishimiya-san wrote in her notebook, the problem she had while reading out loud, and her difficulties in class and me lending her my notes, of course, I avoided mentioning the poop.
"That sounds rough Onii-chan" she said while we were cuddling.
"I'm pretty sure it is…"
I can only fathom how hard her life is, well…at least she doesn't have poop on her shoes…so maybe that's a plus?
"Then you help her Onii-chan!"
"Promise Komachi!" then she started pouting.
No…well, is not like I don't want to. But if the class even sees that I look at her…her life will turn into hell.
"I…I—" but this is something that Komachi is asking…and I want her to be proud of her Onii-chan "I…will see what I can do" that's as far as I can go.
Though Komachi doesn't seem satisfied.
"That's all I can promise Komachi…so to compensate, how about a prepare curry today?"
Now, there are a lot of cons when it comes to an elementary school boy cooking…but the alternatives are conveni food or starving.
The next day was pretty much the same as the last one, even with Nishimiya-san trying to talk to me during lunch, with her same excuse of asking what the teacher was talking about in class and me saying that I would show her my notes after school…
Well, there's one difference, and that is…I got my outside-shoes in my bag this time! So, no poop pranks this time!
Quite smart on your part Hachiman!
That leaves me on the same situation as yesterday, eyes closed, waiting for everyone to leave the classroom. After everything gets quiet, I slowly open my eyelids, and would you know it…there she is, just like yesterday, except, it seems she's expecting something, or someone…or more specifically—me.
How do I know this? Well, the way she turns around to look at my direction makes it kind of obvious.
You're really are a piece of work, Nishimiya.
I sigh a little and take a notebook out and write 'What subjects do you need the notes from?'
She brightens up, quite dazzling there…stop, you gonna blind me like this.
'Just math and Japanese' she writes back. Without further ado I bring my notes out.
While she reads them, I proceeded to clean my desk, nothing new here, the usual insults and a little 'love'.
After a few minutes of working, I feel a tug on my sleeve, turning around Nishimiya is holding her notebook 'Do you need help?' she wrote.
I shake my head, this is my burden, I shouldn't let anyone else carry it for me.
Don't give me that dejected look.
"Aaah" I tussle my hair in frustration and she looks at me guiltily, she probably thinks she irritates me or something.
"No, it's not you fau—" I shut my mouth, right…she can't hear me.
Should I write it or—you know what? Screw it.
I give her my towel and take another one, it's only complicated when I make it so. She smiles refreshingly and I respond with a resigned smirk, shaking my head detectibly.
And my family says I'm stubborn.
We clean in silence, not making small talk or anything, not that I could, communicating with Nishimiya-san is not something easy to do, if I want to ask or say something specifically, I have to write it, which gets to the point of being tiring, I guess that's part of the problem the others are having while trying to befriend her. If she wasn't deaf, she probably wouldn't even be interacting with me, probably too busy hanging out with her friends.
Which annoys me.
No, I'm not annoyed at her or anything, it's with myself, or more importantly, with the world.
With a frustrated breath we finish cleaning my desk.
'Did you get the notes that you needed?' I write on her notebook and show it to her, she nods excitedly and I motion with my head to the door, she packs her stuff and leaves with me.
Still, this is no good, if someone sees us, she's going to be badmouthed for sure. With that thought in mind I make some distance and walk behind her, creating enough space so people don't think that she's with me. Though, she notices it and slow her pace to walk by my side…
Normally I would tell her to back off or people might think we're friends, but I can't tell her since she can't listen.
I want to ask how her 'I hope we can all be friends' project is going, but the same thing prevents me from asking. Guess if I want to know I will have to sit and write a lot, but that's not possible, if the other see us…
But I promised Komachi that I will try.
I guess what I'm doing is enough for now.
We arrive at the shoe lockers, and I dread what I'm about to find. At least my shoes are safe in my bag, but if they dirtied it, I will have to clean it.
Why you ask? Well, it's because of Asshole-sensei, every time my shoe locker was messed up and I reported it, you know what he would say? 'don't lie to me'.
I swear as soon as this year ends and I get to leave for middle school, I'm going to report everything bad that you've done, to hell if they don't believe me, at least there's going to be a precedent.
Upon arriving looking at my shoe locker I see something new.
Is it a confession letter?
'Go kill yourself' it said.
Right, who would confess to me.
That's sad Hachiman, really sad.
But I feel like someone is watching me, I look over my shoulder and there I see Nishimiya-san peering at the paper in my hands, so I quickly crumble it.
No need to make a big deal out of it, just another day in my life.
She starts making some weird movements with her hand, I guess she wants to say something, but she's being really emotional right now, I raise my hands while motioning them up and down, trying to tell her to calm down. She takes deep breath and takes her notebook out.
'Are you okay?' she asks.
I could only smile at her.
You're too considerate, Nishimiya-san…the letter is pretty tame compared to what they usually do, at least I don't have to clean anything today. I shrug at her with a resigned look 'Don't worry about it' I try to convey.
It seems she gets it; I extend my hand and she gives me her notebook and pencil.
'Is someone going to pick you up?' she nods after reading it 'would you like for me to wait with you?' immediately after leering to what I wrote she enthusiastically nods.
You're going to break your neck if you keep doing that, you know?
We both go to the entrance of the school and sit on the sidewalk, her notebook still in my hands, I write 'So, how is it going with the whole making friends thingy?' I hand her the notebook again to and she reads it, at that moment, I perceived a disappointed air around her, but immediately disappears after just a second.
I see…having a hard time, right?
'Everyone is being nice to me' she smiles, a forced smile…I know, because that's the smile my parents give me every time I want or need to talk to them.
'It's okay if you're having a hard time, it's only your second day' I try to comfort her.
She doesn't have to hold back, specially with me, after all, I know how hard really is when you want to but it's just hard to make friends.
She looks at her notebook with that smile, trying to not let her real feelings sip out.
'You're really strong' I write…it is what I think, I gave up a long while ago on the "making friends" act. For me, that doesn't work, I will just get rejected and mocked, at best, ignored. But she isn't giving up, even though she knows the difficulties everyone is having communicating with her.
Her lower lips starts trembling—please don't cry, Komachi will hate me if she hears that I made you cry.
'I'm a bother to everyone' she writes. Geez Nishimiya-san, I wanted to compliment you, don't go depressed on me 'It was the same at my other school, everyone was nice at first, but they started to get annoyed' she writes while letting only a few tears descend through her cheeks while keeping that forced smile.
I can't exactly counter her point, it's human nature to get frustrated from having to act different or give special attention to someone they don't actually care. They pretend to like you, be polite, but in reality, they are just conforming to the society's moral standards. They don't want to be perceived as the bad guy of the movie, so they act on the minimum decorum, it's the same with the bullying I receive; because of my eyes, they antagonize me, so in their eyes they're giving me the "Just punishment" I deserve. But they're just a bunch of cowards at the end of the day, that's why they don't show their face—
I come back to reality when feel something soft touching my hand…
Wait, why is my hand patting Nishimiya-san's head? Oh, I guess I went along with my Onii-chan's instincts and reacted in the same way I would always do when I see Komachi cry.
Now, the unusual thing is, Nishimiya-san is holding my hand over her head, not wanting me to stop…I let out a breath and continue the patting, she smiles at me with a smile…but this time, I can see it's not forced at all.
An honest to god smile.
Just how hard did you have it, that this is what makes you smile.
We stay like that for a few minutes, until the sound of a car arriving takes me out of the patting zone. I look at the descending window, and I see a woman with the same hair color and similar facial features as Nishimiya's, guess that's her mom, and also her ride.
I retrieve my hand, much to her disappointment it seems if her dejected face has a say on it, and write something quick before signaling to her the car that just parked, she looks over where my finger is pointing and immediately stands up, I give her her notebook back and wave my hand after standing up myself.
She smiles at me after reading it.
I keep my eyes on her until she gets in the car, making sure she's safe.
When the car is out of my sight, I look at the sky recalling the words that I wrote for her, they were my honest thoughts, actually.
'You're a good person, Nishimiya. It doesn't matter what the others may think, you're not a bother'
Wow, this was fun, a lot different than what I'm used to writing, specially since sometimes I depend to much on dialogs to keep the story moving forward.