Autumn was approaching, but I wasn’t enjoying the theatre club as much as the previous year.
Izumi had started “dating” a boy whom I loathed. He would take pleasure in uttering obscene words and guffaw at people’s reactions. He particularly enjoyed embarrassing me. He called me at home and asked me to date him, and when I pointed out he was already seeing someone, he laughed and said, “just kidding!” I could picture other kids surrounding him on the phone and delighted at my humiliation. It hurt me terribly that other kids resented me so much that they wanted to see me mortified. I wished I had been less polite and replied to him with a curse.
On another occasion, when his seat was behind mine, and when we stood up to greet the teacher, he stood unnervingly close to me. I remember the heat of his breath, touching the back of my neck, and it froze me. I could almost hear the smirk of the boys in the back row.