A simple story - their story (05)

(DATE: beginning of YEAR 2002 - the rumor – part three)

No one was talking when they turned a left corner into an awaiting lift. Yossi waited, and then stepped forward to press on button ‘4’, watching as the steel doors closed before the lift started descending. She now knew why the meeting was held at the highest floor—for its privacy. The importance of it heightened. She watched their reflection in the polished steel walls, aware that Rika, whose eyes were looking at the ground, was avoiding her, and she began to wonder why they hadn’t talked, or rather, why they had stopped talking.

She reached out again, pressing on the ‘open’ button when the lift came to a gentle halt, its doors opening. She waited, allowing Rika to step out before her, her mind still wondering when they would start talking again.

Her prayers were answered, almost…

ano,” Rika said as she turned back.

Yossi looked up in earnestness, feeling all her initial dreads banished. Her happiness was short-lived; it wasn’t to make up.

“Why don’t you head back first? I’m hungry, will get a bite from the canteen.”

Yossi could barely manage a nod when Rika walked past her, her eyes avoiding contact. When she heard the steel doors close, she felt her heart sink; her feelings inexplicable yet strangely unbearable. Her thoughts were drawn back to the conversation they were having after they had left the meeting room…

“I wonder why Sakimoto-san said there might be someone you like?”
“That’s not important, I wanna know what you think?”
“Hadn’t you already said ‘no’?”
“Ya, but…”

“I just find it funny.”
“That he hadn’t asked me the same question.”
“What if he did?”
“I would have said ‘NO’ too.”

Perhaps Rika’s answer was the reason she was feeling hurt, though she had no idea why she had said ‘no’ in her answer. Was she afraid? Was Rika’s similar answer retaliation? But why had she feared? She knew why. It was the truth she feared. The truth that she would lack the courage to face things even if they turned out the way she wanted, but, now that things definitely weren’t the way she thought they might be, it seemed to hurt her like never before.

She opened the door to the gakuya, finding the usual noise and chatters suddenly intolerable. When someone groped her from behind, she snapped.


Her fists were clenched, pressing hard against the walls, the small enclosure not helping much; her battle raged on. She closed her eyes, feeling her internal struggles; her knees locked in a sitting position her only relief. Then she heard it. Sounds. Soft at first, getting louder as if emotions, long controlled, were finally released. She rolled her eyes. Why do women like to cry in the toilet?

When the sobbing persisted she found herself getting increasingly agitated, mainly from the fact that she now knew she wasn’t very alone while engaging in something she considered private. She was saved when she heard a plop sound against the water. She flushed and recomposed herself, ready to meet the weeping girl outside, someone who she thought had come to hide after a dressing-down by her boss. But what she hadn’t expected was to see this someone she was so familiar with. “Rika-chan!”
she cried out.

Rika looked up, equally surprised, but quickly turned away so that Yasuda won’t see her wiping her tears.

Yasuda saw it though. She walked forward, tapping on her junior’s shoulders. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” Rika said, shaking her head, keeping her back turned.

“Come on, nobody cries for nothing.” Yasuda peered over Rika’s shoulder and saw the eyes red with tears. Rika dipped her head lower.

“Now...” Yasuda pondered before continuing. “Could it be you and Yossi had quarreled?”

There was shock in Rika’s eyes. “No,” she said feebly.

“No?” Yasuda narrowed her eyes. “Sure?” she asked again. “I just saw Yossi behaving weirdly.”

“She did?” Rika asked, knowing her tone had betrayed her feelings.

Yasuda now knew roughly what had happened. She placed a comforting arm around Rika’s shoulders and said: “Yeah~ she shouted at Tsuji when the kid tried to grope her from behind.” Then from the reflection in the mirror, she saw Rika turning pale. It was understandable—everyone in the group knows how Yossi dotes on Kago and Tsuji and how she always tolerates their pranks. “Aha~ so I’m right?” She gripped on the shoulders. “You two had a fight?”

Rika bit into her lips as she shook her head, an action that vexed Yasuda.

“Oh come on~” Yasuda threw her hands in the air, suddenly aware that she hadn’t washed them. She walked to the nearest basin, not feeling an iota of apology for having already touched Rika, and washed her hands.

With Yasuda’s back now turned Rika quickly wiped away her remaining tears and tried to recompose herself. Her efforts futile, she remained as unsettled as she now knew Yossi, too, was behaving weirdly, and that had made things worse; it had made her even more unsure of the situation.

The tap was turned off. “Now shoot! What happened between you two?” Yasuda said as she tore a paper towel from the dispenser.

“Nothing, really.”

“Yeah, yeah. Try telling that to Yaguchan.” She threw the damp paper into the wastebin and stood looking at Rika.

Rika wavered. She knew she was trapped, and Yasuda would not let the matter rest until she learned the ‘truth’. But to tell the truth was the last thing on her mind. So, she went on and on, telling a lie, with a storyline conjured impromptu. Though it only lasted a few minutes it turned out to be a convincing lie, until Yasuda could hear no more of it.

omae baka darou,” Yasuda chided. “If you’re going to let stuffs like these affect you, you’re never going to survive in this business.”


Yasuda raised her hand to cut Rika off. “Think on the bright side. As least you get the camera on you.”

Rika looked back, without the faintest idea what Yasuda was driving at.

“Look at Kaorin. That man jeers her all the time but it’s all thanks to him that people now know Kaorin is the one who sings ‘waratte’ in Summer Night Town, right?”

Rika remained expressionless.

“Now.” Yasuda held on to Rika’s shoulder to turn her around and then she looked into Rika’s eyes. “Say you’ll never let these things upset you again.”

Rika hesitated, wondering what would happened if her senior knew the real reason behind her unhappiness. She gave in when she felt the nudging on her shoulders.

“I’ll never let these things bother me again.”

“Good.” Yasuda nodded. “One more time.”

Rika cringed inwardly. She took in a deep breath. “I’ll never get upset again.”

“Very good.” Yasuda patted hard on Rika’s shoulders. “So, can we go out now?”

Rika nodded. “Thank you,” she said, but when she saw Yasuda have broken out into a genuine smile her heart was suddenly torn with guilt…

No comments: