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Chapter Eighteen: I Don’t Understand:

I turned one of Hitomi’s tapes in my hand. The more I listen and read about her, the more I realize that I didn’t really know her. I keep replaying that day by the creek. She really wanted to tell me something. Hitomi wouldn’t have called me out there if she hadn’t. Then again, she didn’t tell me anything that day. I don’t think she would’ve told the truth either. Still, I can’t get that day out of my head for some reason.

I flopped back on my bed. I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. I thought I was going to take the entrance exam for Todai by the end of summer. Akemi and her friends turned that upside down for me. I can’t focus anymore. I frowned as I rolled over on my stomach. It just feels pointless now. Still, I feel like I have to do something. That’s not the only problem I have either.

I shut my eyes in frustration. Why do I keep thinking about Sakura-hime? It’s not like I have a crush on her or anything. She’s too weird. I’m not even looking for a girlfriend right now. I froze at that thought. What did I want right now? I thought I knew, but it went away the second I arrived in Hiroshima. Nothing makes sense anymore.

I opened my eyes and sighed. What’s the point of asking myself these questions? I never seem to get anywhere doing this. Yet, this is all I can do for now. I turned the tape in my hand again. I don’t even know why I’m listening to the tapes or reading the diary anymore. It just got dumped on me by her mother. Why did she come to me? Hitomi and I weren’t that close anymore. I mean, she probably didn’t have many good friends, but still…

Don’t get me wrong, Akemi’s friends are interesting people. I just don’t fit in with them. They like to party and sleep around. I just study and be nerdy as they call it. I didn’t even know that I could fight until that night. Seeing Dan’s ugly face in my head again made me grit my teeth. That bastard! Thinking about him makes me want to punch him again. He’s part of the reason Hitomi messed up her life.

That thought grinded to a halt. He’s not the only one. There are others that drove her to death. I’m sure that I am one of them too. After all, we did drift apart after junior high. I didn’t call and check on her at least once. Yet, I’m not the only one either. I reached under my bed for her diary. I keep reading this and getting nowhere, but I don’t have anything else to do with it.

“Gah! What the hell do you all want from me?!” I shouted. A knock on the door followed my question.

“What is it?” I asked.

“It’s only me,” I heard Miki say. My frustration gave way to confusion.

“Yes?” I asked.

“I’m working on a new art project,” she said. “I’m going to need your help.” I tilted my eyes as I tried to form words to speak.

“Uh… why?” I asked.

“You’re new,” she said. Somehow, that answer sounds much worse.

“Can’t you help me?” Miki asked.

“Now?” I asked.

“Yes!” she shouted. I don’t really think I have a choice at this point. I slid off of the bed, shrugging.

“Alright,” I said at last. I pulled open the door to see Miki standing on the other side, grinning at me.

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