"Bungaku Shoujo"

 
 
 

"Bungaku Shoujo" Volume 1 Epilogue


Bungaku Shoujo: Volume1 Epilogue
Epilogue – A New Story
◇ ◇ ◇
You can‟t die! – He said to me.
I will help you think as well; I will help carry your burden with you! I can do at least that!
So please don‟t kill yourself in a rush!
You can‟t die! – She said to me.
She said it would be a shame if I had only read „Ningen Shikkaku‟ before I die.
Dasai wrote many wonderful stories; you can‟t die until you read them all.
These two people tightly held my hand, and desperately tried to convince me.
I cried.
I tearfully laughed.
What‟s to be sad for, what‟s to laugh for, what‟s to be sorrow for, what‟s to be happy for- I
still don‟t understand them, but my tears wouldn‟t stopp coming out. I think at that
moment, my expression must have resembled a monkey in the zoo, or like a new born baby,
both look appallingly silly!
I let go of my moist hand, and the mug Shi-chan gave me slipped off from my fingertips.
For me, the mug was to remind me of the crime I committed against Shi-chan; thus I
always placed it in my sight.
But when I let it go from my hand and it smashed into the ground, I suddenly felt relief.
My heart became lighter, and I felt I had been set free.
Maybe that‟s the result of my indifference.
It‟s possible that I am still unable to survive as a monster that doesn‟t have a heart!
Perhaps I should have died that day.
But instead I reached out my own hand and held the hands of those two people.
They were both red in their face. They lectured me as they tried to pull me up.
During that time, the teachers and the firemen also got to the top of the roof and helped me
back to the other side of the guard rail.
Why did you do that? After I was saved, the teachers and my parents asked me in detail.
What‟s going on? Were you bullied?
It‟s nothing. I just thought that it would be fun to climb over the guard rail, and I
accidentally slipped.
So terrifying, I thought I was going to die!
I answered while looking terrified. Then I got stiffly scolded for playing around.
The rumours about me almost immediately spread throughout my school. Thanks to that I
became infamous overnight.
Some people gossiped about me behind my back; some people mocked me right in my face;
some looked at me sympathetically.
Of course, there are people who treated me kindly.
Some people are indifferent and their attitudes toward me remain unchanged.
“Did you really attempt suicide? Was something bothering you?”
Others asked me out of concern.
Everyone had a different reaction.
The existence of kind-hearted people means that there will be horrible people as well.
Above all there are some that are indifferent to everything.
No matter whether it‟s school or society, this rule will probably hold.
In these circumstances, I would act airheaded like an impressionable girl, and answer with
a laugh- “yeah, it failed. I am a bit embarrassed.”
It is hard for a man to change.
From now on I will still wear a clown mask and live by lying to the world.
But I don‟t feel ashamed about it anymore.
I broke up with Hiro-kun.
„It‟s not because you are in everyone‟s spotlight that I am breaking up with you…‟ He said
and moved his eyes away.
I too think that we should put some distance between us.
I said that with a much chillier voice than I usually use. Surprised by that, Hiro-kun looked
at me as if I was a stranger, and answered in a low voice „I understand.‟
I know that the Basketball Club manager Hanamura-san secretly liked Hiro-kun.
Because of this, in the past she talked lowly of me; I think Hanamura-san will try and
comfort him!
These days, the act of writing these events into the report is not as awful as it once was.
Up to now, when I tried to write about my shallow and hideous real me, I often had to stop
and move my eyes away from the notebook.
Those black words looked like some filthy hex, and they made me very afraid.
But now, the more I write, the more I feel that I am expelling the pus that had been rotting
in my heart. As I put more stuff into this, I become more cleansed, and my heart becomes
calmer and calmer. I now feel as if I can see my faraway future.
I am still a bit regretful that I didn‟t die that day.
But at the same time, to the senpai of the Literature Club, I am also grateful that yes, I am
still alive.
It‟s true.
In the future, if someone can see through my clown mask, I plan on puffing up my chest,
and answering with laughter- „Yes, you are totally correct. You have sharp eyes!‟
If I by chance I meet another someone like Shi-Chan, I won‟t lie to her again.
◇ ◇ ◇
Another week has passed since we saved Takeda-san on the roof top.
It was a day in June. The misty spring rain had wetted the green plants, and classes had ended.
Takeda-san brought her finished report and came to the Literature Club room.
“Come in. I have been waiting for it.”
Tooko-senpai had gone to the library, so I was receiving the report in her place.
“Wah, this is a thick pile. You put in a lot of effort.”
“Ehehe, I wrote a lot. You know, Konoha-senpai, in the storage basement you told me that
writing won’t change anything, right?”
Takeda-san looked at me happily.
“That’s what I thought as well. But ever since I wrote this report, I feel that writing is helpful. It
definitely has an effect!”
“Yeah, probably.”
The stories that Miu wrote- they all made me feel very warm and refreshed.
When she bound her completed drafts into a booklet, Miu also had a happy look on her face.
Those days were not all lies.
So, just as Takeda-san said, perhaps writing does have the power to heal and to redeem.
“Oh yeah, Konoha-senpai mentioned about used to be a girl?”
“Ehhh, th-that’s-“
“On the roof you said you used to be a mysterious bishoujo. Don’t tell me you have gender
identity disorder or is a transgender? Or were you a drag queen?”
“Uwaaaaaaah, that, that, that was-“
“Tooko-senpai also said that she ate the library’s books. I am very curious, what’s that?” 
“Th-Th-Th-Th-That was just the result of her being nervous and babbling without consideration.
I am begging you! Please forget them!”
My face became deep red, and I started to panic. Takeda looked at me, and then her face changed
to an expression as if she understood. A smile appeared on her face.
It’s possible this is a real expression of Takeda-san that she never showed others before.
“Ok, I understand. Everyone has something embarrassing that they don’t want others to know. I
will keep these secrets inside my heart.”
“Thank you.”
I was relieved. My secret aside, it would be bad if other people find out about Tooko-senpai’s
secret. Those TV reporters and unidentified monster experts will want to have more than a word
with her.
“Konoha-senpai, could I keep the love letters you wrote for me?”
“Eh? You still have them?”
Takeda-san laughed innocently just as she had always done.
“Yes. I keep all the letters in my favourite cookie box, and hold on to them preciously.”
Wah, I feel a bit embarrassed. But since Takeda-san did agree to keep those secrets to herself, I
have no choice but to agree.
“But you must promise me that you will never show them to other people.”
“Eheh, I will treat them as my treasure.”
She asked me to say hello to Tooko-senpai for her; after she said she would come back here to
see us again, she left.
I sat down on a chair and started to read Takeda-san’s report.
The gentle showering noise of the rain overlapped with the sound of pages turning.
The comfortable sound, like a lullaby in a mother’s womb, resonated tenderly.
The rain had stopped without me realizing it. The sunset had painted the club room with a golden
gleam. 
How long has passed?
I had my head down from reading the report. Suddenly I felt a dull itchiness on the back of my
neck as if something resembling the tail of a cat brushed against it. I subconsciously grabbed it
with my hand.
(?)
The thing that was brushing against is not a cat tail; it’s one of the braids of Tooko-senpai.
I looked to my side. I don’t know when but Tooko-senpai had come back from the library. She
apparently moved a chair behind my seat, sat down on it, leaned her upper body forward, and
read the report with me over my shoulder.
(Wah!)
Tooko-senpai probably had her full attention on the report. Her right index finger was touching
her lips. She looked at the book with a lost in thought expression. Even when I grabbed her
braids she didn’t even notice.
Not only that, Tooko-senpai leaned forward too much. Her cheeks were on the verge of touching
mine. Her fallen eyebrows were flickered with golden lights. Our distance was so close that if I
leaned backward just a bit I could kiss her.
“To,To,To,To-To-To-To-Tooko-senpai-“
“Flip to, the next page, Konoha-kun.”
What the.
Tooko's eyes were fixated on the report as she lightly said to my ear.
“That, but, this-“
“Hurry…”
She was completely absorbed by it. Now that she was in this trance state, anything I say would
be ignored.
The ears of the bungaku shoujo cannot hear any words anymore.
“Ye-yes.”
I gave up as well; I resumed reading the report. 
As I savor the violet sweet scent of Tooko-senpai, as I feel her bodily warmth, as I let her soft
braids brush against my neck, together in this room, dyed by the sunset, we read Takeda-san’s
report together.
When the faint golden sunset turned into crimson red, we finally finished reading.
Tooko-senpai lightly sighed.
Then she realized that my face was red and my body was frozen stiff, she quickly backed away
from me.
“Ya, kya! Sorry!”
By reflex she jerked backward. Her chair, hit by the sudden force, flipped backward. Now that
she lost her support, she fell backward as well- she ended up on the ground facing the ceiling.
“Acha-“
“Haun, my b-butt hit the ground…”
With her skirt flipped backward to her thigh, Tooko-senpai’s eyes were filled with tears.
“Are you all right?”
“My butt hurts…”
She straightened out her skirt and changed to a sitting position.
When her eyes met with mine, she started blushing furiously. But it wasn’t long before she
changed to a gentle expression and smiled at me.
“But…Chia-chan seems fine now. This is great.”
I smiled as well.
“Yeah.”
I pulled on Tooko-senpai’s hand and helped her up.
I respectfully handed her the report.
“Then, here it is for you to enjoy, milady.” 
Tooko-senpai, illuminated by the setting sun, gracefully walked to her chair. She sat down, more
courteously than she usually does, and ceremoniously accepted the report.
“Bon appétit.”
With a smile she looked at the report, and then started reading the first page.
Whenever she finished a page, she would tear that page out, and chew on it from its corners.
“…Bitter,”
With a slight frown, she muttered. Nonetheless she still, bite by bite, chewed on the pages and
swallowed them.
“very bitter…”
This report was probably far from the fluff and sweet snack that she was expecting.
Her fair skin, uniform, and her braids, they were all shaded with a lonesome sunset color.
Even if the sun set below the horizon, when the night passed, the sun would rise again. On the
roof, Tooko-senpai said this to Takeda-san.
No matter how painful or sorrowful the experience was, a drastically different tomorrow will
come.
Just like this, as we welcome the arrival of each new day; maybe we can gradually change.
Even those wounds that we thought may never heal; maybe they will eventually be cured.
On that day, Miu flew down from the roof. Wouldn’t it be great if she could be somewhere
laughing as well.
Even if we can never meet again, as long as she, under this sunset sky, can smile somewhere…
That’s probably only my wishful thinking.
I laid open the binded genkoo yoshi and started writing.
Tooko-senpai, who continued to eat the report, asked me-
“What are you writing?”
“It’s a secret.”
“Hey, Konoha-kun…try writing a novel someday. Konoha-kun’s novel, you must let me read it.” 
Tooko-senpai suddenly said that. My heart skipped a beat.
I raised my head, and saw Tooko-senpai’s warm smile.
She doesn’t know about my humiliating past, right?
So that was probably one of her offhand comments.
Tooko-senpai shifted her attention back to her meal.
I too continued on writing on the draft paper.
Would there be the day, when I would hold a pen again for a novel? What would I write aboutRight
now I do not know.
But for today, I will write a sweet story for Tooko-Senpai.
This will be her dessert after she finishes that bitter story.