The Doll That Took A Detour: Chapter 5: The Handmade Chocolate Incident; Subchapter 16 min read
Hyouka Volume 4: The Doll That Took A Detour
Chapter 5: The Handmade Chocolate Incident
The idea that our views on things aren’t universal is common sense these days. In modern times, relative subjectivity is hard to accept; middle school students also struggle with it. But when pondered upon more carefully, although we may be convinced that we know ourselves “mind and body”, we can never be fully certain. This is exceedingly not the best for the stability of one’s own psychological state. Therefore the next best option, rather than following the truth, is to not pursue the truth to a greater depth than is really there; that is, to just “believe” in something. And thus, for the first time, we can shake off the shadow of relativity and thereby make it possible to live our mundane, day-to-day lives.
But about that, giving up the pursuit for truth is completely separate from accepting everything in our surroundings. Although to believe is inevitable, one can’t afford to have blind faith in everything. This, too, is common sense. To not accept it is unforgivable. In accordance with my energy saving principle, I do not draw a clear distinction regarding this, but I wouldn’t look down on those who do.
At this most crucial moment, Satoshi the lousy liar was making painful excuses and I went along with it. Kaburaya Middle School, at the entrance after school. Because of the late hour, there were only a few sparse figures of students still around. It was already dim beyond the open glass door, and the cold February wind occasionally blew through. Satoshi, looking back at me as if he’d just been saved, gave me a thumbs-up.
“Hey, you understand me right, Houtarou? That’s right, “To not accept it is unforgivable,” is an interesting thing to say. That’s because, look, take homemade cookies as an example. If she bought some commercially-made cookies then decorated them with fresh cream and said, “Here, these are homemade cookies”, that wouldn’t get a pass right? That’s why, for that reason, although I have no ill will towards her…”
At that point Satoshi became flustered, which is not something you see often. Fukube Satoshi. I’ve only been friends with him since the beginning of middle school, but our relationship is close in its own way. His short stature gives him a feeble sort of feel, and even though his features don’t convey a sense of strength or dignity, he has nerves of steel… But now those nerves are useless. His opponent is too strong.
Satoshi had been ambushed and cornered by a small girl who in passing could have been mistaken for an elementary-schooler. Her name is Ibara Mayaka. She and I have been in the same class since the first grade. This is just me saying this, but over the past nine years, aside from her size, not much else about her has changed. Despite our long acquaintance, we’ve hardly ever spoken to each other. Even now, Ibara wasn’t listening to my words. With her face cast down, her left hand propped on her hip and in her right a present wrapped in red wrapping paper, she let out a low sigh and said,
“In other words, Fuku-chan, what you mean is this: In order to be considered handmade, the chocolate must be made from cacao beans. It’s not homemade if I just melt the chocolate and pour it into a mold. So my Valentine’s chocolate can’t be called homemade, that’s what you want to say?”
Today is February 14, 2000. St. Valentine’s Day. The day chocolate sales skyrocket, but it’s just the way of the world to deliberately manipulate advertisements if there is a chance for profit. In fact, placing it in mid-February is clever. By having it at the end of the season, it becomes a mechanism by which people feel it is their last chance to confess their love. It’s hard to believe it wasn’t deliberately planned that way.
But then, this isn’t the first time that Ibara has confessed to Satoshi. And each time, Satoshi has inefficiently evaded the subject. But with today being Valentine’s Day, things don’t seem to be going well. Ibara is serious.Satoshi’s careless words had stung and, swaying with anger, she drew herself up.
Although she maintained her calm demeanor, I wonder what kind of light was in her downcast eyes. Probably the frightening eyes like that of a demon. Also, I think meddling in other people’s affairs is reckless. Even though Satoshi, the person in question, hadn’t done anything, he nevertheless answered.
“I have no intention of saying any more than that…”
“But that’s what you wanted to say right?”
“…Well, more or less.”
Ibara raised her head, her fury finally surging forth. .
“I see, so that’s what you were trying to say! I, I especially…Just for Valentine’s Day! Fine, I get it. If that’s what you want…”
With one singular motion, she ripped open the red wrapping paper in one breath. From beneath it emerged a heart-shaped chocolate wrapped in plastic. Ibara tore the plastic wrapping further, opened her small mouth and chomped down on the chocolate hardened by the chill of February. She noisily chewed on the heart’s pointed tip.
“I’ll definitely do it, got that!?”
We were taken aback by her sudden outburst. Some passing male students peered over to see what was happening, but deciding to let sleeping dogs lie, they quickly dispersed. Clutching her precious Valentine’s chocolate ruined by her own hands, Ibara glared at Satoshi. It wasn’t with sadness or anger, but rather it was with a burning grim look of fighting spirit as she shoved the chipped heart towards Satoshi.
“Remember this Fuku-chan, no, Fukube Satoshi!”
As he heard that, Satoshi involuntarily backed away. Ibara declared in a loud voice.
“Next year! February 14, 2001! I will make a masterpiece that you will be satisfied with and I will slam it into the side of your face… You better remember this!”
Beginning to cry, Ibara dashed back through the corridor. Her figure faded towards the stairs and soondisappeared. Looking back over my shoulder, Satoshi indeed had a slight look of embarrassment on his face, but shrugged it off as though what had happened was nothing unusual. I said,
“Is that alright?”
“I wonder if I was a little too mean.”
“It looked like she was crying.”
“Mayaka? She’s fine…”
Satoshi said, removing his shoes from his locker. I shrugged and did the same, deciding to forget about Ibara. I think Satoshi’s caustic words may have had the opposite effect on her heartbreak, but well, it doesn’t concern me.
Since Ibara intends on giving Satoshi handmade chocolate next year, I wonder what he plans to do about it. There aren’t many days left until the high school entrance exams. Although they both have Kamiyama High as their school of choice, if one of them inadvertently gets left behind, then surely that person’s interest would eventually fade. As for me, I will be preoccupied with preparing for the exam ahead of time; I don’t have the luxury to care about something like that. The blowing February wind was cold. I trembled with a sudden shiver.