When I was little.
I used to play in the sand too.
I made mountains of sand and mud dumplings for no reason.
I made paths and poured water down them.
It might have represented a river, but I was the only one who understood it as a child.
“What perfection ……!”
The moment I saw it, I was trembling.
A Western castle had been built.
I knew this was made of sand.
But even so, it was so perfect that I couldn’t help but imagine what the real thing would look like.
It was now the realm of art.
… It was not just a game.
This work of art was a sight to behold.
Osako wiped his sweat off his forehead with his arm.
Yes, it seemed that Osako was definitely the creator of this work.
For some reason, the children around him were praising him, saying, “That’s amazing, Kentaro!”
After Osako had been praised so much, the parents of the children came over and thanked him.
Apparently, Osako was taking care of the children while their parents were away.
Ah, I’ve been found.
I was so absorbed in the work of art that Osako had created that I forgot to leave.
Your sandcastle is amazing.”
It was nothing short of awkward to talk to Osako, but I couldn’t ignore the work of sand art.
“…Are you making fun of me”
Why would I I just complimented him, didn’t I
“I’m not making fun of you.
I really think it’s amazing.
But I guess it was useless to say that.
I don’t think Osako would want anything to do with me.
As I turned my back to leave, I was approached by Osako.
“I… it’s not like I was tricking a little girl!”
“No, what are you worried about”
Are you talking about those kids I just saw Come to think of it, there were only girls.
And they all looked old enough to not even be in elementary school.
“I even saw their mothers picking them up.
You were playing with them, weren’t you”
“Well, sort of.
… Rather, everyone was trying to cheer me up when I was depressed…”
I couldn’t hear the second half because his voice was too low.
I didn’t bother to ask back, so I let it pass.
“Isn’t it great If there is a kind brother in the neighborhood, children and parents will surely feel relieved.”
Osako was looking into the distance.
I think I know the emotion in his eyes.
“Sano-kun, you don’t blame me”
“If anyone has the right to blame Osako, it would be Chinatsu-chan, not me.”
If Chinatsu-chan had been angry, I might have seriously crushed Osako.
“Chinatsu doesn’t blame me either.
…… She was always angry with me, but she doesn’t get angry at times like this.
I did something that I deserved to be angry about.”
I heard that he was scolded severely by his parents.
They went out of their way to apologize to me as well.
I was sure they gave him a rational sermon.
As if to prove it, I didn’t feel any hostility from Osako now.
“If you regret it so much, why did you do it”
“…… Sano-kun, you wouldn’t understand.
I’m ashamed of my existence, and yet I want to do something about it.”
I take back what I said before.
He stared at me a little.
“You mean to tell me that you tried to somehow force Chinatsu-chan to become your girlfriend”
When I glared back at him, Osako became silent.
I couldn’t handle my feelings and I couldn’t believe what I was doing.
I know it was a bad thing to do.
Even though I knew, I couldn’t handle my feelings.
“I want to be able to make everyone proud of me.
It’s painful to be made fun of by someone else.
I don’t want to be made fun of, I don’t want to be looked down upon … What’s wrong with thinking that!”
It was a heartbreaking cry.
Osako squeezed out tears.
“I thought I was dating the popular Ayano.
I acted like everyone else thought so, too.
But that was just a misunderstanding… What a joke… I can’t accept that…! ”
That was why he was in a hurry and wanted to have a replacement lover.
For Osako, Chinatsu was probably convenient as a replacement partner.
This was a selfish statement.
It was easy to imagine that saying such a thing in front of someone would arouse bad feelings.
Even Osako must have known that.
But sometimes it seemed to me that the people around me were acting more selfishly than I was.
So I think it’s unfair, and if that’s the case, I feel like I should be selfish too.
–Some people become scum like that.
Have you ever thought about changing yourself”
But I was in no position to call Osako a bum.
Because I used to be a short, gloomy, excuse-making b*****d.
That means I was a bum, too.
“….I’ve wanted to change more times than I can count.”
Osako cried for a while, but then said just that, as if trying to squeeze it out of him.
After all, wanting to change needs a trigger.
Just as I decided that I wanted to become a man worthy of Chinatsu-chan.
Then the next important thing was direction.
It’s about making a clear goal of how you want to change.
If you don’t know that, it will be difficult to make the effort itself.
It is because you cannot continue to make efforts when you cannot see the future.
I don’t really like Osako.
On the contrary, I’ve even seen him as an enemy.
I have been jealous of the fact that Chinatsu-chan was unconditionally kind to him just because he was her childhood friend.
“Hey, Osako, wanna come over to my house now”
Still, I couldn’t let it go because I superimposed my past self on him.
That’s all there was to it.