NARRATOR: "The last day before summer vacations is waning slowly. Science is the final exam of the trimester and then we are free. The collective yearning for liberty is almost palpable in the classroom, even though the weather seems a tad cloudy. It might rain today, who knows. I've already finished the test because it was pretty easy, so I'm doodling lazily on the flip side of the paper, waiting for Mutou to call time. It also prevents Misha from trying to covertly look at my answers over my shoulder. She might fool the inattentive teacher, but I can tell that she is trying to look. I guess it's her best bet at passing the test. Doesn't make me feel any mercy though, so I just ignore her and look around me. It's quiet. The only sounds in the classroom are the quiet shuffling of papers and Mutou's constant coughing. It makes my awareness of the surroundings slowly drift to the backstage of consciousness, giving room to other things."
NARRATOR: "Vacation, huh? Some people will stay at the school even over the holidays, some will go back to their families. I probably should make the trip back home and report to my parents that I'm alive and well. Not much to do at the school anyway, I suppose. Next trimester will be stressful. Everyone will have to seriously start thinking about what to do after graduation. Including me..."
NARRATOR: "A look at my doodles convinces me to stop trying to salvage them. It's a mess of lifeless lines, a waste of paper if it wasn't the flip side of my exam. Maybe it's because I didn't really set out to draw anything in particular. I just wanted to kill some time, so the drawing became exactly like I am. Without a direction to go to. It'd be easier if I had some special talent, like Rin. She has it easy. It makes me kind of jealous. It pisses me off that she herself can't seem to be happy about it."
MUTOU: "Aaaand... time!"
NARRATOR: "Mutou's call for the end of the exam draws groans of displeasure from half the class. I don't blame them, the exam was kinda tricky. Mutou expects a lot from our class, even though he's not strict at all. I guess he'd like all of us to become scientists."
MUTOU: "Put down your pencils and turn in your papers please."
NARRATOR: "The biggest groan comes from the desk to my side. Misha's despair is almost tangible. The dark aura of lost hope emanating from her seat makes me simultaneously frightened of and sympathetic to her."
MUTOU: "Now then, there should be homeroom before you are free, but I only have a few announcements to make so this should be over quickly..."
NARRATOR: "His announcements are never important, so I listen to him only with one ear. Misha seems to be too down in the dumps to even pretend attentiveness. She slumps her head against the desktop, looking stricken."
HISAO: "Cheer up, Misha. It's vacation! Don't worry about the test."
MISHA: "Thanks, Hicchan."
NARRATOR: "Her frown becomes a small smile, and a sparkle of excitement lights in her eyes."
MISHA: "What're you going to do over your summer vacation, Hicchan? I'm going to Shicchan's place, they have this awesome and super cool mansion! I'm so excited~! I'm sure it'll be the bestest summer vacation ever~!"
NARRATOR: "She seems to have forgotten all about her misery in a few seconds and bounces up and down on her seat as if to pump up her excitement."
HISAO: "I don't really have any plans, I guess..."
MISHA: "Is that so~? Maybe you should—"
NARRATOR: "A finger tapping her shoulder steals Misha's attention away from me. Shizune points to Mutou, who is expectantly looking back at the two of them."
MISHA: "Oops! Sorry, Shicchan, I didn't notice teacher finished already, ehehe~."
NARRATOR: "She clears her throat and takes a deep breath..."
NARRATOR: "I stand up with everyone. Since I came here, I've always wondered about something. What do the wheelchair-bound students think about this daily tradition, being unable to do it “properly?” Is it a faux pas to keep to this tradition in a place that bypasses many others for convenience? Even though I never asked anyone, during these short weeks here I've come to the conclusion that they definitely are not insulted. They understand. That's what I like about this school. Nobody is too uptight about anything, everyone is so... considerate and understanding of each other. I wish the whole world could be like this."
NARRATOR: "I turn the page slowly, listening to the rustling sound the paper makes when my fingers grasp it. I'm restless. It's the summer vacation. No class, no homework, no art club meetings. Just free time to spend however I want. It doesn't feel like anything. I tried to cheer up Misha, but I'm not feeling too cheery myself. To be honest, the free time is intimidating. It reminds me of the hospital and the long, meaningless days that had to be filled somehow. The only difference is that there I was bound to the ward, guarded by the Cerberus-like nurses. Reading was a good solution back then, but the thought of spending my summer vacation reading books feels... nerdy. That has nothing to do with the fact that I'm reading even now... I'm just killing time and trying to fight my anxiety. Besides, my mind is on other matters, stretching in too many directions to make sense of any of them."
NARRATOR: "Thus, the book I've been on since Tuesday is progressing s... l... o... w... l... y.... It feels like this book is taking me longer to read than it took the author to write. I try to put it down for a while, then read some again, start all over from the beginning, read each page twice. Nothing works, I have zero concentration. Taking it with me just in case, I head out to get some fresh air and inspiration as to what to do. I make my way to the quad, passing by students heading for the gates. The hastiest ones are leaving for their homes already, judging from the luggage some are dragging with them. I guess that no matter how hospitable Yamaku is, home is still home. Still, I heard some people will be staying here over the vacation. The quad is big enough for its center to be shadowless no matter how high or low the sun is. I stop in the middle and bask in the warmth. The brightness makes me squint my eyes when I look towards the main building. It looks all but abandoned already. Yuuko wasn't at work today, so the next time I can get books from the school library is after vacation. There is a public library somewhere, I'm sure, but I'm feeling too lethargic to find out where it is."
NARRATOR: "The hall is equally dead so I have to content myself with returning to the dorms, ending my leisurely walk sooner than I expected. Then again, I wasn't quite sure what I was expecting in the first place. On a moment's impulse I enter the girls' dorm to see if Rin or Emi are there. Neither is, so I go back to my own room to dwell on my lethargy. I should talk things through with Rin. She really bothers me. Defying the conceptual equivalent of gravity, she balances on the thin line zigzagging between insanity, incomprehensibility and instability. Rin affects me too. She challenges me in ways that I didn't know... or more accurately, didn't hope existed. I've started to wonder whether these feelings are really love, or I was just fooling myself. Surely, it would be insanity to consider that? For the rest of the day, Rin, the hospital, Yamaku and vacation swirl through my head. I can't concentrate even on concentrating. Thoughts seem to come and go haphazardly, fragmented into too-small pieces of cognition. I pick up the book and manage to read a hundred pages, but I'm sure by tomorrow I'll have no recollection of what happened in the story. I try to clean up my room, but even that proves to be too bothersome, too time-consuming and requiring too much attention to detail. It's usually like this. When you have “nothing to do,” you do nothing even if you could."
NARRATOR: "As expected, Mom calls me and I end up promising to see if I can get a train ticket for tomorrow, or failing that, the day after. Maybe I'll go downtown tomorrow anyway. I could do some shopping or something. It's not that I need anything, but maybe there are summer sales, and I could pick up... something. ...Why am I trying to force myself? Before, I was content with having nothing to do, save for kicking the ball every now and then at the field. Now it seems that I can't settle down at all. Is it because I have changed, or because my world has changed? By eleven, the darkness bids me to sleep. The medication bottles are innocuously arranged on my night table, not at all beckoning, rather pointedly reminding me of the reality instead. It's evening so I have to open three bottles, extract one large oval-shaped one, two small round ones and one large flat that has to be cut into half, close the bottles and chug down the medications with a chaser of fresh tap water."
NARRATOR: "The water tastes metallic on my tongue. I swallow it along with the pills anyway and head to the bathroom. The mindless job of brushing my teeth is fit for trying to sort my thoughts. One emerges from the mass, clearly rising above the others. I want to see Rin. I can't let my outburst of anger be the last thing between us before the vacation. I have to see her, tomorrow. Sleep overcomes my confused mind with more ease than it should."
Next Scene: Blue Period