“This better be good…” Rika said as she sat beside Aya in the park near their school.
“Yes, I can assure you that it’s really juicy.” Aya smiled and took a deep breath.
“Remember I told you before, to be careful with Miki?”
“Because, I felt that she was somewhat different. You see, Miki was my friend… actually, my first best friend, when we were in grade three.” Rika looked at Aya with wide eyes. She was really surprised at the news. She now understood why Aya’s eyes look sad whenever their topic was about Miki. “I guess like you, she couldn’t remember me also.”
“I’m sorry.” Rika felt sorry; for not remembering and also, for sympathizing with Aya. She never meant to forget Aya. It’s just that, she saw her only once and her focus was on the game so, technically speaking, she would easily forget her. On the other hand Miki was her best friend but she forgot her already.
“Don’t feel sorry, it’s alright. We’re in good terms now. I guess talking with her yesterday made that possible.”
“Now I get it. That’s why she’s acting really strange ever since the two of you returned. So what happened?”
“Where do I start…” Aya paused a little and closed her eyes to try to contemplate with herself. She nodded a little and opened her eyes to look at Rika. “I guess I’ll start with Sensei.”
“Sensei? Are you talking about Nakazawa-sensei?” Rika asked and Aya nodded in return.
“She was our sempai when we were in elementary. She always treats us with ice cream and that play we did last cultural festival was just an exaggeration of the play that she directed. She made Miki the prince and me, the damsel in distress.” Rika listened intently on Aya’s story.
“I was bullied by boys from middle high that time. They always took my money away from me. And then one day, Miki came to the rescue. She was not a bully before; she’s the one who will save you if you’re being bullied. Then after that, we became friends, then best friends, then her family transferred here in Tokyo.”
“Speaking of family, Hitomi was…” Rika was about to tell Aya what Miki told her; that Hitomi was not her real sister but it seems that Aya knew it from the beginning.
“…not her real sister.” Aya smiled at Rika. “She told me that she was an only child; that she wanted to treat me as her real little sister. It only happened for 6 months. We were happy back then; we treat Nakazawa sempai as our big sister but then, good things always comes to an end. Sensei graduated, and Miki went away.”
“So, after seven years you meet her again and then she couldn’t remember a single thing about you? That’s really… heartbreaking.” Rika couldn’t find the right words to describe it. Maybe there’s no word to describe what Aya felt at that time. Rika knew that Aya’s experience was more painful than hers. She knew Maki was dead. She can’t and will never see her again. She can move on if she can accept that fact but on Aya’s case, her best friend’s still alive. Seeing Miki everyday, without remembering all their good times together, felt like Aya’s heart was being stabbed with a sharp knife. It always happen everyday.
“Yeah, something like that.” Aya sighed and proceeded on the next story. “When I was in junior high, I transferred here in Tokyo. I met Ogawa Makoto, who became my second best friend. Miki and Makoto personalities were contrasting; Miki’s a home body, Makoto’s out going. Miki’s intimidating on the outside; Makoto’s a ‘genki’ person. We ‘partied’ almost everyday and I almost forgot about Miki but then, Makoto fell in love with Hitomi.” Rika smiled. With Hitomi’s good looks, there’s no way anyone wouldn’t like her.
“I saw Miki again because of Makoto. I was about to tell Miki who I am before, but then, Miki changed a lot every since then. She became….”
“A big bratty monster who enjoys hurting other persons.” The two looked behind them and saw the three best friends. Reina smiled at them and sat beside Rika. Sayumi and Eri remained standing.
“A good description.” Aya joked.
“Thank you.” Reina relied and looked at Rika. “Since I’m an observant person, I remembered Aya. I also saw how Miki hurt Makoto before right in front of Hitomi.” Rika furrowed her eye brows.
“What did Miki do?”
“Makoto wanted to join the futsal team so that she could be close to Hitomi. Miki took that chance to hurt her. She kicked each ball harder and harder until Makoto was knocked out. Hitomi couldn’t do anything for her.” Reina related and looked at Aya.
“I couldn’t do something for Makoto. I was too shocked to see Miki doing that thing to her. Fear engulfed me that time. How could I fight with the person who always has the strength to fight for me? I just stood there, frozen like Hitomi.” Aya recalled the scene in their gym 5 months ago; the time where they first tried out for the futsal summer camp in Tokyo High.
“Did Miki know that Makoto likes Hitomi or something?” Rika couldn’t stop to ask that question. Sayumi and Eri looked at each other and nodded.
“Actually, Sayumi and I saw Miki hiding behind a wall when Hitomi and Makoto were talking with each other. Real close. I guess that’s enough motivation for her to do that.”
“So, to make the long story short; Miki did that horrible thing, Makoto was sent to Australia to study, and I’m left here to enroll in this school… And then you came two weeks after the official start of school.” Aya gave a stern look on Rika.
“Wh… why are you looking at me like that? You’re scary.”
“Reina, have you given her a hint already?” Aya asked and Reina nodded.
“I’ve already talked with her last time.”
“What? What did you say to her? You haven’t mentioned it to us yet? I thought that we’re best fri…” Reina covered Sayumi’s mouth.
“I’m just waiting for this day to tell it to both of you.” Reina let out a sigh “Hitomi’s character was somewhat the same with Maki. You may not notice it at all, but yeah, Aya and I saw their common denominator, especially when they are playing futsal.”
“Ehh? Hontou?” Eri and Sayumi said simultaneously. Rika just remained quiet, she already knew it because Reina indirectly told it to her based from her questions that fateful night.
“So, now… Can I trust the ‘old’ Miki?” Rika questioned Aya. Aya smiled at her and nodded.
“If that’s the case, I’ll go now. Miki called yesterday. She told me that Hitomi wanted to see me.”