The harsh winter wind slapped my cheek as I closed the front door. I shivered and wrapped my fluffy coat closer to me.
I swear, parents and their laziness sometimes...Who sends their child out into the freezing cold because they forgot to buy some meat for tonight’s hot pot? They could’ve at least given me a better reason like their back hurt or something, anything, other than “I just don’t really feel like going to the market a second time”. Other than that, what kind of idiot forgets to buy meat for hot pot? It’s like one of the main ingredients!
Putting all that aside, I am currently sent into the cruel reality known as winter, alone, on my way to buy meat. Joy.
I don’t know if it was my redness of my scarf or maybe it was the rare sight of a ladybug whizzing past by that reminded me but I suddenly thought about Rin.
Matsuoka Rin, the weird boy who kept poking me on his first day of school. Thanks to him, we both got in trouble but it was worth it, I suppose. He left at the end of our sixth grade year for Australia with barely a goodbye. Heck, I didn’t even know he was transferring until the day he left!
He had run all the way to my house on that day. While still catching his breath, he excitedly told me that he won the relay in his swim club and that he was going to Australia to train. With a short goodbye and a hug, he left to catch his flight. I didn’t get the chance to say anything back.
I have to say, I would do anything to be able to see him once again, even for a minute. We weren’t the best of friends or anything but we did talk often and in those short two months that I’ve known him, we’ve created a cute little bond between us, I guess you could say. It was probably the best two months of my entire school year.
Ah. Speak of the Devil. There he was, walking right in front of me in the empty street. At first, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me but looking closer it was actually him, Rin was back. Though, his signature smile was not. Something was off. He looked…defeated. My eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
The tip of his nose was a slight red, most likely from the cold but given the current circumstances, it was truly hard to tell.
“Rin?” His head snapped up at the mention of his name and a spark of recognition flashed in his eyes.
“(Name).” This wasn’t right. He doesn’t sound like his usual cheerful self at all!
“Why are you back, Rin?”
“Visiting.” It was clearly obvious that something was up now. The old Rin would’ve immediately launched into a dramatic story of his journey here or his life in Australia and such.
“Is everything alright?” He frowned and his hand clutched the edge of his coat.
“Ah.” I allowed myself to inch a bit closer to him.
“Liar. Come on, tell me what’s wrong. I promise I won’t tell anyone else. You can even be your crybaby self and weep into my shoulders if you have to!” He looked at me with a slight glare before recalling his swim match with Haruka just a while before.
I listened quietly as he explained what happened at the swim club and I watched his facial expressions twist into one of bitterness and hurt.
“…and that was what happened.” He finished.
“Rin…” I whispered and embraced him. His hair still smelled of chlorine and my nose brushed his cheek. It was cold. How long has he been standing out here?
When I finally let go of him, the redness from his nose had spread all the way across his face.
“What’d you do that for!?”
“I don’t know…you just looked like you needed a hug!”
“N-no, I don’t!” he spluttered. “Hugs are for babies anyways!”
“And Rin’s like a giant baby that smells like pool!” I declared, hugging him once more.
“Wh-whatever…don’t you have somewhere you need to go?”
“Oh right! The meat! I almost forgot…” he looked puzzled for a second, but rolled his eyes and held my small hand in his.
“What are you waiting for? Let’s get going then.”
“Okay!” I smiled and allowed him to pull me along. “How’s life like in Australia?” He turned to me with a glint of excitement on his face.
“Lemme tell you all about it…”
Together, we walked to the supermarket as Rin jumped into an absurd story about kangaroos and koalas.