My friendship with Izumi and Kei was changing. I often visited them in their classroom during recess. Whenever I visited, Izumi was surrounded by other girls, and it felt awkward to intrude into the circle. When I did, they fell silent and looked at Izumi, who responded briefly and coldly. Kei had also made other friends, and she was visibly annoyed with me, and occasionally even threw sharp words at me. We spent our time apart except for the theatre club.
I don’t remember the title of the play that year, but remember Izumi played the leading role with her boy. I was her math teacher and had no lines. It didn’t receive as much applause as the previous shows.
I was unable to figure out why our friendship had dissolved and how we could rekindle it like in the past. Izumi was popular because she was naturally a good listener and made others feel good about themselves. She was also incredibly witty, creative, and fun. I was stubborn, judgemental, competitive, quiet, and not fun. Even Kei’s kindness felt exhausted on me. People I grew up with didn’t want to spend time with me, even shunned me. I spent some time alone, speaking to no one during recess, feeling lonely. I was sad that I became the person I was.