Volume 9 the dissociat.., p.16

Volume 9 - The Dissociation of Suzumiya Haruhi, page 16

 

Volume 9 - The Dissociation of Suzumiya Haruhi
 


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  All of the afternoon classes had finished, and after homeroom’s completion and the signal for the class-ending ritual had been given, form teacher Okabe-sensei descended from the podium and my classmates noisily began to rise from their seats. Students who did not have cleaning today had no more business in class, so I picked up my bag, stood up, and found that my bag, which shouldn’t really have anything in it, rapidly became heavy.

  Upon turning around, I found that Haruhi had extended her hand and grabbed onto my case. Her hand is quite powerful.

  “Wait a second.”

  Haruhi, who had been sitting, continued while glaring somewhere around my ear,

  “Do you remember that we have a math quiz tomorrow?”

  “Ah… sort of.”

  Now that she mentions it, I seem to remember last week our maths instructor made an announcement, but I have a great deficiency in keeping such trifling matters in memory. “So you forgot about it after all. Figured.”

  Haruhi said haughtily with a sigh,

  “Because you’re like that, you’ve caused the SOS brigade’s members’ bell curve to drop all by yourself. Since it’s a general test, even you should be able to get some points, so at least do that much.”

  Are you my mother? More importantly, you should move from your seat. You’re interfering with people’s cleanup duties.

  “How can you be so unconcerned? You, bring your math textbook and come here.”

  Haruhi stood up with great speed and dragged me up to the teacher’s desk. The many people on cleanup duty are accustomed to this, and didn’t even look at Haruhi and me. Although the fact that their faces were growing weird smiles irritated me.

  Haruhi, who had wrested away my textbook, casually spread it open on top of the teacher’s desk and said,

  “This number 2 example problem on page 9 will definitely show up on the test so make sure to memorize it. Along with this formula. This is a model question, so knowing Yoshizaki, it’ll definitely be put in. What about the blackboard? Show me your notes.”

  In the face of her rapidly-firing demands, all I could do was helplessly obey.

  “What’s this? There’s not anything written here besides what was partway through the lecture! You were sleeping after lunch, weren’t you?”

  So what, it doesn’t matter. Weren’t you sleeping today in Classical Literature too?

  “If you judge it’s safe to sleep, that’s fine. It’s about whether or not you understand even if you don’t listen. But you don’t understand, right? Get it? You’re being especially wrecked by the maths and sciences, so you need to at least put in some effort.”

  Haruhi underlined some problems in my textbook with my pen and said,

  These are the minimum problems you must get done, so you need to memorize them. And you can’t just memorize the answer because he’ll switch around the numbers in the test. For starters, this one, this one, and…”

  In this manner, it turned out that I stood there and took Haruhi’s special lecture with the teacher’s podium between us. The people with cleaning duty who understood the situation fortunately ignored us, and we did them the same favor. This is somehow embarrassing. I’d be glad if you’d at least do this in the club room.

  “Idiot. The club room is a place for doing club activities, not a place for studying. It’s a real killjoy to be doing something interesting in a place that isn’t.”

  Looking bored, Haruhi pointed out problems that she imagined would appear on the test

  Looking bored, Haruhi pointed out problems that she imagined would appear on the test, mentioned a complicated method of solving a problem, and didn’t release the teacher’s podium and me until I’d finally gotten all of the questions she pointed out correct.

  “Well, this should do it.”

  Haruhi rolled up the pen and closed my textbook. If this were to continue for another 5 minutes, my brain would give voices of rejection related to overtime work. Our classmates, who had finished their cleaning, had all removed themselves.

  “With this, if you’re below average on tomorrow’s test there’s no cure for you. You’ll need surgery. If you can, keep all this in your memory until the midterm.”

  I really can’t give any guarantees. I can’t be concerned with things as far ahead in the future as that. I stuffed my poor textbook, which had been crammed full of writing, into my bag and looked down on Haruhi’s authoritative eyes, which appeared to be challenging me. I was thinking that I should say something, but no words came out, and I moved my neck up and down as if trying to deceive her.

  “Anyways, with this you should be able to pass tomorrow’s test easily. If you aren’t able to figure out at least half of them, I’m going to reprimand you in the capacity of the Brigade leader. If things turn out like that, won’t it be my responsibility to make you an arithmetic drill? Please put effort into this.”

  After briskly walking to her desk and picking up her case, Haruhi said,

  “Don’t lag behind, let’s hurry up and go. Mikuru and the others are going to get tired of waiting.”

  Although it’s doubtful that anything exists which can rival those three in the ability to patiently wait for someone, that was my intention to begin with. While chasing the fast-walking Haruhi’s hair, which was waving on the top of her shoulders, I began shedding some inner light on my honest side, and found that I hadn’t really driven away tomorrow’s quiz into the depths of forgetfulness. I just figured that in the break period before maths class or some other time, I could ask Kunikida for instruction.

  And today, with Haruhi having switched places with my personal Father Time, hmm, how should I put it, today has been classified as another one of those days where I don’t care what happens.

  In following Haruhi, who exited first into the hallway, I took ten-odd large strides.

  The stride of Haruhi, who was walking at a seemingly wind-cutting speed, was as pointlessly authoritative as always, exactly like Shamisen would if he’d heard the sound of a canned cat food lid being opened, and in order to synchronize with that pace, which should belong to someone half her height, I had to command my leg muscles to move at full capacity. Thanks to all this, we were before the club room in a flash, and Haruhi opened the door without knocking, finally coming to a stop once she set a foot in the room.

  “Ah, Suzumiya, Kyon.”

  Asahina, who ran up to us with a pitter-patter, was not in her maid outfit but a normal sailor uniform for some reason.

  The girl from the future wore a troubled face, and with a fleeting and anxious voice said,

  “I’ve been waiting for you. I was just about to go out to call you. Ah, them, it wasn’t me that was waiting, it was them.”

  So that Haruhi wouldn’t have to move, I raised my neck and inspected the room from above the shoulder of her sailor uniform.

  “Geh!”

  Without thinking, I blurted this with a strange voice.

  Nagato was reading a book in the corner of the room, Koizumi was sitting on a table chair, the smile coming out on his face being curtailed for everyday life, and then there was one thing happening which was unpredictable.

  Asahina turned back towards the inside of the club room,

  “Everyone, thanks for waiting. We don’t have enough teacups and so I couldn’t prepare tea, um, I did try preparing them one by one about 30 minutes ago… I didn’t really know what to do…”

  I understand your distressed expression.

  The clubroom is totally overloaded.

  There wasn’t even a need to check the color of their indoor shoes. I’m sure that one year ago, we all floated about with that same atmosphere. How should I put it, they’re “fresh,” although that expression may be a little too plain.

  The new first-year guys and girls crowded the inside of the Literature Club clubroom.

  My estimate would be about 10 people.

  They all directed their gaze at Haruhi and me, and for some reason made strange smiles.

 
“… Could it be that you’re brigade applicants?”

  And what preceded the replies of Asahina and Koizumi was,

  “Yes!”

  The chorus voice of the ten guys and girls.

  Hearing their youthful chorus, which was nurtured by a desire of unknown foundation, my mouth, unharmonized with anyone, came out with its catchphrase.

  “Oh boy…”

  * * *

  ß-5

  Monday. Morning.

  Because that “stuff” happened yesterday, my inner feelings were complicated though that didn’t mean that I let my face slip into a complicated expression. The problem was Haruhi, who was proud of her own skills of intuition that are sharp like a utility knife. After distorting my ill-intentioned thoughts, she could probably turn them 360 degrees and arrive at the right answer.

  At best, I need to keep wearing this mask that I’ve conjured up.

  For better or for worse, Haruhi, who had arrived at school before I did, sighed and attached herself to her desk while looking somehow fatigued.

  It’s not possible that she’s been tired out by the weekday obligation of commuting to school, it’s probably something more like a lack of sleep due to watching late-night movies.

  Well, this is certainly convenient. I would wholeheartedly like to take a moment of tranquility from the energy-drained Brigade leader, and so I arrived at my desk as quietly as possible and quietly placed my case nearby the desk.

  As I listened to what seemed to be the sound of Haruhi’s hair and clothing rustling as she slightly raised her head at my back, I continued staring at the blackboard which was not dirtied by chalk.

  The bell rang, and I continued staring patiently until Okabe-sensei came to harmonize the classroom.

  If it’s sleep shortage we’re talking about, actually I was experiencing the same thing. Yesterday, thanks to being forcefully transplanted into an unrealistic place, my head-clearing had been hard to get.

  It’s also caused partially by my worrying that the phone might start ringing in the middle of the night.

  It’s probably because of that.

  In the middle of second period’s class, Classical Literature, I’d already begun to drift away on my boat. This need to sleep, which is nigh inescapable, is thought to be promoted by the spring sun whose light illuminates the classroom. At my back, Haruhi had long ago started breathing in a sleeping pattern, and there’s no way it’d be a problem if the Sleep-Study Clinicians rose just one more man in number…

  ……It’s no good. It’s seriously as if from something like Sleep Hell, the strongest of the demons has barged in……

  I fell into the hand of the demon of short-term sleep, and I had a dream that was among the worst of possibilities.

  A vicarious experience of an event which actually happened…

  …… Memories of a day in my third year…… in middle school……

  In the boundless tedium of everyday life which I was powerless to fix in those ten-odd years, there were times when I’d be surprised at finding myself thinking about something disturbing.

  For example, such things as “won’t a missile which the military misfired come and hit us, won’t a falling man-made satellite which is still burning make a direct hit somewhere in Japan, won’t a gigantic meteor fall and plunge the world into unprecedented chaos,” not because I desired a catastrophe which would allow me to feel despair in my daily existence, but just because I happened to think about them.

  And when I’d talk to my classmate friend Sasaki about this,

  “Kyon, that’s a syndrome of modern entertainment. You’ve been reading manga or novels too much.”

  She would explain this to me with her usual courteous smile floating on her face.

  That was a word I’d never heard before.

  As a matter of course, I asked her.

  What on Earth is that?

  “It’s understandable that you wouldn’t have heard it before. About the word I just used,”

  After that short preface, she continued,

  “Reality is not constructed in the same manner as movies or dramas, novels or manga. That’s a disappointment to you, isn’t it? The protagonists in the entertainment world, one day, suddenly, will find themselves faced with an unrealistic phenomenon, sense trouble, and will find themselves placed in a situation which could hardly be called pleasant. In the majority of cases, those stories’ protagonists will, using intellect, bravery, a hidden power, or through developing an unspecified talent, overturn their broken-down circumstances. However, those are stories which can undoubtedly only occur in the fictional world. And it’s because they are fiction that they are consequently realized in the entertainment world. If we were to posit that a world like in movies, dramas, novels, and manga was made to be ubiquitously visible in everyday life, then those forms of entertainment would not longer be entertainment, they would be documentaries.”

  It was a theory I seemed to understand and not understand at the same time, so I truthfully told her so.

  Sasaki produced a chortling laugh from the inside of her throat.

  “To put it in other terms, something like reality is supported by hard laws, see. No matter how long you wait, aliens will not come to attack Earth, and an ancient evil god will not be reborn from the seas.”

  How would you know something like that?

  Are you trying to say that there are things which absolutely cannot happen in this world?

  Even if it’s a small, the probability that a giant meteor could hit Earth shouldn’t be zero.

  “Did you say ‘probability?’ Listen, Kyon. If we’re talking about probability, it’s definitely true that nothing becomes impossible. For example,”

  Sasaki said while pointing at the classroom wall,

  “If you charged at that wall with all your effort, the probability of you passing through and appearing in the adjacent room is not zero. But see, you’d probably say that there’s no way you could pass through a wall. However, that’s untrue. In the quantum world, in spite of the presence of an electron insulator which should absolutely prevent the passage of electrons, it happens often that at some point the electrons pass through the very object and appear in another location. It’s called the tunneling effect. If we consider things using that as a basis, if the chemical elements that compose your body were to be broken down, since there would be nothing but particles which are the same as electrons left, it’s not impossible that you could pass straight through the wall without making a hole in the same manner. But the probability is about such that if you were to charge the wall once every second, even if you did this for 15 billion years, it would never happen. That is to say, wouldn’t be fine if we called it ‘impossible?’”

  What the hell are we talking about just now?

  When listening to Sasaki’s speeches, it usually happened that my own thoughts would gradually become obscure, I would get the feeling that I had been deceived, and the conversation would end.

  A gentle smile would open on Sasaki’s noble features, and she looked at me from across.

  “And moreover, Kyon. If you were to be thrown into a dimension in which the world of those unrealistic stories existed, the question of whether you would be able to act as conveniently as the protagonists who appear in fiction do can only be called exceedingly dubious. If you ask why they can so freely wield intellect, bravery, hidden power, and special abilities to topple adversity, that would be because it was written that way. So, where is the author of your story?”

  I don’t remember making any kind of response.

  The above is a conversation between Sasaki and I which occurred on a day in June two years ago, in our classroom when we were in the third year of middle school. My first meeting with Sasaki was when she became my classmate in the beginning of Spring, but as we strangely got along well in conversation, our relationship came to be one in which we simply talked about whatever pleased us.

  Sasaki was, as far as I know, the only studen
t who had completely read the Ellery Queen series.

  By the way, I haven’t read them myself.

  For every type of topic Sasaki would know an amusing outline to give.

  Fate had it that Sasaki was even in the same courses as I was in the cram school I was forcibly made to go to, and if I were to say that our intimacy was on a level that, say, at lunch break we’d eat school lunch together, you’d probably get the big picture. I’m essentially the type of human that likes reading things like manga magazines alone during meals, but if it is with this person, I can use my utensils in comfort.

  However, we didn’t have a single point of contact outside of school or cram school. If I was asked if I considered her a close friend, I think my answer would probably be “no.”

  Sasaki puts her elbow on my desk such that she is leaned over. Her two black eyes that sparkle nicely with twinkle, among her other well-arranged features, stood out especially. If she were to get rid of her roundabout and questionable terms, she would certainly be attractive, I think.

  As a test, I tried saying something exactly as I had thought of it.

  “That’s an interesting thing to say!”

  She made a face as if she had just swallowed down a roar of laughter.

  “I’ve never understood the reasoning behind making the question of whether one is attractive or unattractive an issue in this life. I think that I want to be rational and logical, no matter the time, place, or situation. In accepting reality as it is, emotional and sentimental thought processes can be nothing but obstructive noise. I can’t think of emotion as anything other than a crude shelter which impedes human evolution’s progress towards autonomy. Especially feelings of love, it’s like a kind of mental illness!”

  Is that so?

  “A long time ago, there was a person who said so. It was a very thought provoking statement, so I still remember it. You probably want to say crazy things like, ‘well if love didn’t exist, marriage couldn’t happen and kids couldn’t be made!’”

 
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