The classroom was quiet, except for the soft tap-tap of raindrops against the windowpane. I sat at my desk, staring at the blank pages of my journal. My name is Aoi, and I'm just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life—or at least, that's what I tell myself.
I sighed, the pen in my hand feeling heavy as I finally put it on the paper. "Dear Journal," I began, my writing shaky. "Today was... just another day."
I glanced around the room, taking in the familiar faces of my friends. Emi was hunched over her notebook, sketching away as usual. I envied how she could lose herself in her art, creating beauty from nothing.
Then there was Kaoru, a whirlwind of energy and laughter. She leaned over to whisper something to the girl next to her, her vibrant red hair a stark contrast to the gray day outside. Kaoru had this way of making even the dullest days feel exciting.
But my thoughts always seemed to circle back to Hiroki—Kaoru's older brother and the person who had once been a source of light in our lives. His image was etched in my mind, from his tousled sandy-brown hair to his warm hazel eyes. I cherished a secret affection for him that I'd kept hidden since childhood, known only to me and the pages of my journal.
With a sigh, I closed my journal and let my mind wander to a memory. It was a memory of us by the riverbank, our feet splashing in the water as we laughed. The sun had painted everything in golden hues, and for that moment, everything felt perfect.
But perfection is fragile. I remembered that rainy evening when everything changed. Hiroki and I had gone to the riverbank despite the rain, finding joy in each other's company. And then, in an instant, it all went wrong.