The Approximation of Distance of Two: Prologue: Simply Running Is Too Long; Present: 0km13 min read
Prologue: Simply running is too long
1. Present: 0km
The rain didn’t fall. Although I prayed that it would.
Last year also, the prayer didn’t work. In the end, the rain praying is pretty useless. Understanding this, I’ve decided that next year, I will patiently wait for the right moment. If I don’t have to do it, don’t. If I have to do it, do it quickly. Today, Oreki Houtarou realizes that praying for the rain is something he does not need to do.
The middle of the sports ground is filled with thousands of people. A third of the Kamiyama High School students are already gone. The boys who want to get ahead have already started their way down the boys’ path. I understood that one will gain nothing with just hardwork. But there is no such thing as compassion. Therefore, from now on, I too will follow the same road as everybody else.
At the harsh howling sound from the megaphone’s switch, I realized that it was almost time to go. And thus the order descended.
“Third year students finish. Class 2-A, to front”
In order to force us into something, we are put into groups, and together with our classmates, we head to the appointed place. While one yelled, another’s face overflowed with fighting spirit. However, in the faces of many people, some reflect only hearts that can’t even feel the power of their holiness. (a/n: in this case, their fighting spirits) I guess I would have probably looked like them too.
The line was drawn with chalk. (a/n: literally means limestone but chalk’s made out of limestone) The nearby executive committee member who was standing had the pistol in his hands. I could not get a glimpse of the serious committee member that was making a hard decision. If one examined a freshman’s reserved, pronounced face, then wouldn’t he still be seen as a middle school student? I was watching a disapproved second of disaster all because of a simple stopwatch. However, at the end of the day, he still has to comply with the law. I wonder if his actions would hold any kind of meaning to us whether or not he has a strong point. At the most, this is assuming that someone has a strong point.
“This is not my doing. However, there are some who talk and act like ‘Just because this duty was given to me doesn’t mean I’m also responsible for it’,” is, I guess, about what most can do. That’s why, for this very reason, this cruel act, I had become expressionless. Slowly, the pistol was lifted up.
But, at this very moment, I guess that something in the epoch of the meteorological history is growing to be similar to a suspicious phenomenon due to not experiencing a heavy downpour, probably? However, the May sky is refreshing and clear. Even the frustrating atmosphere is refreshing. If that’s the case, then preferably, I hope that we are not given a sun-shower.
Ah, that’s right. Didn’t I just realize this some time ago? The heavens won’t respond to my prayers. If that’s the case, then I have no choice but to open up my own path.
Even up to the executive committee member’s very last moments, he did not take his eyes off of the stopwatch. His thin, slender fingers were suspended between the trigger.
When the gunpowder ruptured, from the muzzle rose white smoke.
Kamiyama High School Hoshigaya Cup. Finally, Class 2-A was ordered to start.
Kamiyama Senior High School has humanities club activities that are known to be popular. Counting the number of humanities club activities is just too troublesome. Surely it has over 50 clubs. The autumn cultural festival is held over a period of three days. Just the thought of the peace and quiet a person can get and of not doing anything extreme excites me.
On the other hand, there is a lack in sports-oriented events. Last year, the whole school had not been participating actively in sports much. Although, I heard that the Bushido club has a decent tradition about this. After the cultural festival, the athletic festival was commenced in a small way that shortly after New Year’s, they immediately had a ball game tournament. They weren’t particularly bitter about it. However, I do not even want to imagine participating in the suffering of fulfilling to be the volleyball receiver, or when one accepts to run a 200m relay race. If need be, I’ll show a smile while saying “This is a good sweat.”
Though, I won’t be able to laugh anymore if I have to run a much further distance than this.
That is, when I’m required to run about 20,000 meters. Every May, the long-distance race tournament is finally opened. The correct way to say its name is “Hoshigaya Cup.” It is said to have been named after an alumni that broke the national record for the long-distance track event. Once have I never heard anyone say that name. Although the cultural festival doesn’t have a formal name and is referred to as “Kanya Festival,” the athletic festival is probably only called “Marathon Tournament.” In my case, each time Hoshigaya Cup comes around, I get called out by my friend Fukube Satoshi, and am somehow forced to join.
Since it’s a “marathon tournament,” I consider it as a full marathon. But the minute that I think that the distance is short, in spite of the truth, I will wish for it to rain. Furthermore, if I also hear this from Satoshi, at that moment I tell you, justice will be served on him. “But it’s strange, isn’t it? As long as he’s hold the record, the Hoshigaya Cup has never been cancelled.”
Surely, there exists a divine protection for Hoshigaya participants, right?
I’m sure that that guy isn’t satisfied with just that. (TL/N: Talking about the Hoshigaya guy, I guess, in this case)
I had a white short-sleeved shirt, and shorts in color between red and purple. It seems to be called deep red. A girl put on spats that were of the same color. On her chest, it has the school badge embroidered onto it while on her tag, her class is written on it with her name under, written in small letters. (TL/N: It’s those cloth bib thingies you see in anime called zekken.) When I found myself entering this school year, the thread for my tag with ‘2-A Oreki’ written on it is already getting loose.The sewer did a bad job that I am troubled by it now.
In the calendar, the end of May is called the rainy season though it has yet to rain numerous times. Since they held it on a Friday and after the meeting, I’ll be able to rest on the weekends, I guess I have little concern about this. At the start of the morning at 9AM, I’m still unpleasantly cold. At the end of this day, I’m pretty sure I’ll be sweating.
The sports ground has separate exit and entrance gates. Everyone in 2-A will proceed to run from there. Goodbye Kamiyama High School. See you again after 20 kilometers.
The course for Hoshigaya is broad that it was called ‘going around the back of the school.’ However, the back of the school reaches up to the mountainous district where it snows all year long on the top. As far as it has been there, it has continued to snow at the Kamikakiuchi mountains. That being the case, if I were to finish this long-distance race, instead, I should just walk along the ridge.
I understand that part of the course.
A short distance from the front of the school runs a river. We have to run to there by entering the first intersection of the hill road. In a little while, the gentle slope goes on but gradually, the slope becomes harder to go up from that it becomes agonizing to go up to the top of the hill.
After climbing up, I have to go down without stopping. This downhill slope is also quite steep that I think this is longer than the uphill one that I’m worried that I might go off the deep end and hurt my knee.
After going down, a small part of the fields open reveals itself and spreads out. A private house standing all alone can be seen. This time it’s not that steep anymore because the slope continues on without hardly any slopes.
However, the zigzags, that are gradually becoming like hairpin curves that twist and turn many times, are throwing me out of my pace.
Beyond that is Kamiyama Town’s northeast section, which is called Jinde, turns out to be a plot of land. Chitanda’s house is near there. As I go down the hill, there’s a narrow river parallel to it.
Exiting the valleys as it is, I return to the city. Since cars are going back and forth in the middle of the road, I can’t possibly run through so I said I might as well go through a small alley. If you pass through the front of the Arekusu Shrine, indeed, from the shadow of the pure white building of the Rengou Hospital, Kamiyama High School can be seen.
Anyway, I was running last year also. From beginning to end, I’ve known it entirely. However, understanding this is not shortening the distance of the course. If that’s the case, knowing that the end is near, then I should forget about the process of how to end this. If that’s so, I am looking forward to it. Though that is an unreasonable yet the most suitable method, I should still choose. Specifically, since finishing up the 20km is something I have to do, I suggest that either a bus or a bike be used. However, unfortunately, this logical way of thinking is very unlikely to be popular.
Anyways, running here along the street suddenly became a hard problem. Nearly the whole course consisted of a few of the traffic localities but this road along the river corresponds to the part of the road to go bypass the city. I pass by a decent car. Furthermore, the sidewalk and the roadway are separated by one long white line. The curbs, however, don’t have any. If one were to start without the rest of the class, then it’s the same as earnestly not causing a delay here.
My classmates in 2-A will have to fall in a long, narrow line to be able to fit inside the inner white line. A person with a fast pace and one with a slow pace, who are both running 20km, should at least run here on out at the same pace. If not for the road, I would continue on it instead. Last year, we were allowed to move even a little to side. This year though, the rows appear to be a bit stricter. The other day in the city, a third year student got run over by a car. Because of this, the city tightened its safety measures. Thanks to that, the front and rear are blocked. On top of that, it basically made running around a horrible thing.
Wasn’t there one kilometer before this? The jogging pace was quite comfortable for me. It’s a long way up ahead. Well… If that’s the case, then I think it’s just right to warm-up.
Shortly after finishing this one kilo, the course curved a long way to the right. Straying from the direction of the city, I continue on the road as I approach the back of the school. From here on out, I just have to climb up a hill.
The line was crumbling. The pace that I was running that always receives frustration from others, seems to be piling up the rest of the class behind me. But the athletic ones went without stopping and stood out of the rest of the class. I wonder if the group of female students had all promised to run together. If not, then some of them would have finished by now.
And thus, my pace slows down.
Steadily slowing down.
I am seemingly walking but just in case, I am pretending to run.
A bad Hoshigaya player is careless and would rest instead of run. While running the whole 20km, I was thinking that this was something I have to do. And that, I have no choice about the remaining 19km.
There’s still as much as 100 meters of hill roads to go through. I was called out from behind.
“Oh, oh, Houtarou!”
I didn’t particularly turn around. The owner of that voice, without permission, catches up to me.
And then that guy, Fukube Satoshi, who was riding a bike, dismounted from it.
From a distance, I don’t know whether or not I can consider him to be a man of gentle manners. The other day, as I was looking through our junior high graduation album, I was surprised at how different his face looked back then. Of course, the facial features changed but not that noticeably. But over the past year, it looks like his facial expression tightened. I didn’t notice even from after seeing him for two to three days.
This school year, Satoshi became the Executive Committee Vice Chairman. This Hoshigaya Cup was run by the Executive Committee so it’s okay even if the committee members weren’t running. He was wearing a yellow helmet, and was pushing a mountain bike, which seems to also be a hobby of his. Looking at him with a sideway glance, I said.
“Is it okay? To be lazy like that?”
“It’s okay. I had to make sure that the start progresses smoothly. I’m also a committee member and I have to go back to the goal anyways.”
“You worked hard.”
I knew that even without having to run, I still sympathize with the Executive Committee members. At various points of the course are Executive Committee members who each have the role of supervising. This guy, after this, with his mountain bike, will leap about here and there, trying to catch any information on unexpected circumstances he does not have any info of. Satoshi shrugged his shoulders.
“Well… I don’t hate cycling because I don’t bother to. I’m not responsible if a mobile phone is used, right? This.”
“Now that you mention it…”
“I can’t assume that every student has a mobile phone. But for example, an injured person needs to leave I would use my mobile phone to call for help. But just to make sure, I need to assess the actual circumstances in the scene. Entirely.”
The seemingly rigid organization of the Executive Committee displayed to me just now made me sigh. Suddenly, he gave me a serious look.
“So, can I rely on you even a little bit?”
While moving my legs slowly, I cautiously replied.
“I still don’t know anything.”
He said hesitantly. Anticipating what my next words would be, I instead said.
“Of course. I don’t trust her.”
“No, that’s not the Houtarou that I remember. He would have said something like ‘I don’t think she knows anything because I don’t know myself.’”
A bitter smile came out. Surely, Ibara would have said something about that. Actually, I would have also been hit. Yesterday, I didn’t do anything.
As far as I’m concerned, I should think of asking her about it. Mayaka seems surprisingly worried about something.
“If that’s the case, then I’m not myself.”
“Is that so?”
And then Satoshi took a deep breath.
As for me, I have one person in mind. There was something about yesterday that I recall.