Author: Kenji Inoue (Author of Baka to Test to Shokanju)
“If I have to convey the feeling of ‘like’ to another person in a short time, what do you think I should do?”
It’s a certain summer night.
While I’m about to head home during the summer vacation, I opened the window and chattered with the childhood friend living next door, only for him to suddenly pop that statement. Eh? What’s she saying now?”
“Wh-why’re you saying that out of a sudden?”
“It’s not really that sudden. I thought of that before.”
With a serious look, he stare far away.
This sudden topic causes me to fully understand the sensation of the heart racing.
This guy started studying at a certain college in Ōita beginning the prior Spring, and though the distance between us was suddenly extended, we’re always living next to each other, and we were always together since young. There were basically no secrets to be shared between us, as far as I know of, and because of this, I know that this guy doesn’t have any luck with women. If I have to mention any females around me, that will be me. Since young, he practically has zero encounters with the opposite gender. Now he’s actually thinking about confessing. Wait, does he plan to confess to…me?
“? What now? Why are you flailing about out of a sudden?”
“N-no-no-no. It’s nothing.”
No no no, I got to calm down here. Calm down, take a deep breath. Right now, I don’t know how it’s like here, but I can’t let him find out that my head’s all hot here.
Taking a deep breath, I calm down, and turn towards him to hear what he has to say first. I’ll collect some information before deciding.
“Wh-why this out of a sudden…?”
“Well, it’s not much. You see, college summer vacations are usually very long, right? It’s a rare chance to get back to relax, and I’m wondering whether I should try it out for once.”
If it’s someone he’s going to confess to once he gets back home in summer vacation, can it be…?
Suppressing my racing heart, I pretend to remain calm, saying,
“Since you like her, you don’t have to confess in such a short time. You can tell her everything you want to say.”
“Really? That’s what I thought, but it won’t work.”
“??? Why? There’s a limit to that?”
“Yeah, probably about a minute or so.”
“A minute or so…”
Now that’s something new. He wants to confess to someone, but there’s a time limit; that’s something I never heard of. I gave him a little advice, and yet he said there’s a time limit. If he’s saying that, that means—”
“If you’re saying that, I guess this means that you don’t have a lot of time to talk, huh?”
“Hm…? Yeah, I guess.”
If this guy’s saying this, that means—he’s not intending to confess to me.
“Wh-what now? Why are you looking so gloomy? If you got something to say it, be clearer.”
I felt a strong sense of something wilting away immediately in my heart.
Since it’s something to be done after he gets back home, and there’s a time limit, the one he’s planning to confess to isn’t me, and definitely not all those he met at Ōita college.
In that case, who can that person be. Thinking about it, I suddenly had a person in mind.
Until last year, I’ve been taking the public bus to school with this guy. Down the path, we would pass by a nearby girls high school before heading to our high school. The time from when we got on the bus, until the bus stop in front of that girls high school, now that’s about…
“One or two minutes, huh…?”
“Yeah, one or two minutes.”
I see. So that’s how it is.
Speaking of which, back then, on the way to school, I think there’s a cute girl giving passionate looks to this guy. She looks younger than him, and since she never confessed to this guy until he graduated, I didn’t really mind…”
“Are you going to say it out…?”
“Yeah, I did…”
Eh…is that so…I was feeling a little hopeful. Really, I’m an utter fool…
“I’m asking you how to convey this in a short time.”
“Ah, y-yes. Wait, let me think of it first.”
I force a smile to prevent him from realizing my thoughts. That person isn’t me, and it doesn’t matter at all. It’s especially because this guy has been my playmate since childhood that I should do my best to come up with a plan for him.
“If you only have a minute or so…why don’t you just confess to her directly instead of looking for those reasons?”
“Hm, leave aside things like why you like her or something like that. Just tell her how much you like her as best as you can.”
“How much I like…?”
“You really like her, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I really, really do?”
After hearing his words, my heart begin to ache…he actually told me so honestly that he likes me. Now I’m so envious of her.
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“You just need to tell her those words directly. Surely that won’t take much more than a few minutes.”
“Is that so. So that’s how it is…”
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“Got it. Thanks for your suggestion.”
“Don’t mind. It’s nothing.”
I’m already at my limit trying to talk with him normally.
And I turn my back on my childhood friend, waving my hand to indicate ‘the end of our conversation’, and closed the window backhanded.
Before I did so, I whispered softly and vaguely muttered, “Do your best in your confession.”
That night, I cried for a while.
The next night.
I lied that I was feeling unwell, and did not go to the shop to help. That childhood friend of me still called out to me like he did the night prior.
I really don’t want to talk to him…
I don’t want to let him find out that I skipped work because I was shocked about what happened yesterday, and I don’t want to know the results of the confession.
…Since he’s so honest with his feelings for that person, I think he probably won’t fail.
“Hey, what’s with you? Still not feeling well?”
That guy’s concerned voice reached me.
I don’t want to talk, and I don’t want to hear that he has a girlfriend.
But…I do have my own intentions. I couldn’t confess to him in time, and I don’t have a battle to speak of, and I’m still trying to escape from reality. This really is too awkward.
It’s because I don’t want to end up like this,
“Got it. I’ll be opening the window now. Wait for me.”
I opened the window, pretending that nothing happened, and showed a lethargic look, saying.
“What now? You’re still so energetic even after skipping classes.”
“That’s still better than you.”
That’s all the pride I had left. I pretend to remain nonchalant.
“What happened after that?”
“Yeah, about yesterday.”
To be honest, I really don’t want to hear.
“—That didn’t work at all.”
I wonder what kind of stupid look I’m showing at this point.
It’s no wonder I’m so shocked however. The results are so unexpected.
“No, wait, why? Did you say that you like it?”
“Yeah, I did. In a hot-blooded manner too. I even yelled saying ‘I LIKE IT!’.”
“Then why didn’t it work?”
“I got refused for saying I like it too much.”
Wait, it’s too weird! Something’s definitely wrong! Anyone will confess because he likes someone! I don’t understand this at all!
“It’s weird, right? I expressed my interest because I like it, yet I didn’t get hired.”
“Hm? Isn’t that weird? That passion’s the most important, and if you’re not hired because of that—hired?”
Eh, wait? Was there some strange word mixed inside there?
“Yeah, they told me straight to the face that they couldn’t hire me during the interview. I was really shocked by that.”
“Interview…wait, what’s going on?”
“An interview for a part-time work. I mentioned the reason why I want the job, even spending several minutes talking about it so passionately, but it didn’t work.”
So that’s the time limit? Was I the only one thinking it was a confession!? Was I the only one mistaken and shocked by it!?”
“You’re completely mistaken, you idiot!!”
“Wah!? Wh-what’s with that out of a sudden?”
It’s late at night, but I just yelled without a second thought,
“You know how much effort I put in just to come up with ideas for you!? Even if we’re childhood playmates, there’s a limit to how useless you can be, right!?”
“Wa-wait a second! I don’t know what you are angry about! If it’s about what I did, I’m sorry!”
My shoulders are shaking, and I’m huffing and puffing.
But, never mind.
“…Well, I’m the worst of the lot for being mistaken…”
“What’s with you? You’re fuming and quiet yesterday, and now this? You’re weird.”
“None of your business.”
My body immediately turns limp…I’m really an idiot for being jealous for no reason.
He doesn’t notice me leaning on the window with my body limp, and curls his lips, grumbling,
“Speaking of which, this really is beyond my expectations. There shouldn’t be a better choice.”
He looks really unconvinced, vengeful even.
“What kind of interview were you going for?”
“A swimming pool lifeguard.”
“Yeah, I did passionately state my intent during the interview.”
This childhood friend emphasized his words as he complained.
“I told them so zealously how much I like girls in swimsuits.”
“…No wonder you weren’t chosen when you said that.”
“What did you say?”
I finally felt relieved…
But honestly, what do I like about this guy anyway…?
“So basically, that’s how this short story goes. What do you think?”
“Well…the pacing’s too flat, the plot felt forced, and the story isn’t very interesting itself. We’ll leave this short story aside.”
“No way. Now that you say it, does this mean that the draft won’t be used.”
“Anyway, what kind of a ‘3 minutes boy meets girl’ story is this? There’s no 3 minutes, and no meeting between boys and girls.
“Hm, that’s fair. In fact, the story’s like this.”
“This girl’s living in Mie city.”
“So this story happens in Mie (3), Ōita prefecture, and Mie forms half of the word Minute, so that can be interpreted as 3 minute. Now, if you dare say this is the reason, I’m going to smash your head in.”
“That’s not it! Isn’t it too early to pass judgment on me!? At least listen to the reason for ‘boy meets girl’!”
“Got it. I’ll hear you out.”
“Actually, the girl’s family runs a butchery.”
“So, you basically thought of Boy Meets Girl as Boy Meats Girl?”
“That’s about it.”
“Newcomer, get me a metal bat from the storeroom.”
“W-wait! What’s wrong with that!? Please explain!”
“Eh? I can explain, but it’s a waste of my efforts when you’re going to lose your memory anyway, no?”