Monogatari Series:Bakemonogatari Volume1/Hitagi Crab 001
Senjougahara Hitagi was widely known to be a sickly girl; so it is not surprising that she would be exempt from physical education classes. Even during morning assemblies, she would sit in the shade because of her anemia. Although I’ve been in the same classes as her for three years in high school, I've never seen her move so actively. She frequently visited the nurse’s office, and because of hospital checkups, she often either came to class late, left early, or was absent altogether. Many of my classmates joke that the hospital is her home.
Even though she's sick, she's far from insubstantial. As if she was as thin as a thread, she gives off the impression that she would break at the slightest touch. For that reason, perhaps, the boys in our class half-joked that she might be the heiress to some big company. It seemed almost plausible. Even I think that suits Senjougahara.
In the corner of the room, Senjougahara always read by herself. Sometimes it would be a hard cover book, but sometimes it would be one of those comics that lower your IQ. She seemed to be quite indiscriminate in her choice of books. Maybe because she reads anything with words, though there may be quality in her choice in books.
She's intelligent and at the top of the class.
She's always in the top ten on the ranking list announced after examinations, in every subject. Although it’s presumptuous to compare her to someone like me (who fails every subject except mathematics), it must be because our brains are constructed differently.
It seems like she doesn't have friends.
Not a single one.
I've never seen her talking with anyone. From my point of view, the sight of her reading a book — the very action of her reading a book — may have created a wall around her. Because of that, though I've been seated beside her for a little more than 2 years, I can confidently say that I have never talked with her. Unfortunately. With regards to her voice, I've only heard her say "I don't know" in reply to the teacher's questions in class. (Though I don't know if she really knew the answer or not, she always replied with "I don't know".) In the specialized domain of the school, it was common for people without friends to form groups with other people without friends (in other words, a colony). Actually, I was in such a group until last year. However, Senjougahara is an exception to this rule. Of course, she's not being bullied either. For better or worse, I’ve never seen her being a victim. I've always taken for granted that she would always be in that corner of the classroom, reading her books. She had created a wall around herself.
Her presence there was a given.
Her absence here was expected.
Well, it doesn't matter.
After spending three years in high school, with two hundred students per level between first years to third years, senpais, kouhais, classmates, and all the teachers making up nearly a thousand people together in the same space, I've begun to wonder how many of these people I know personally. I think anyone would find my answer depressing.
Even if a miracle happened and you shared the same class with someone for three years, I don't think that you’d feel lonely not exchanging any words with that person. It just ends up as a memory that such a person had existed. Even though I don't know what will happen to me a year after I graduate from high school, I probably won't have a reason to remember Senjougahara's face, nor be able to do so.
That's fine with me. It should be the same for Senjougahara as well. Not only for her, but it should be the same for everyone in the school. It must be wrong to even think about such a thing as depressing.
That was what I thought.
On one particular day.
To be truthful, I’d just ended a hellish excuse for a spring break, became a third year student, and saw the end of a nightmarish Golden Week. It was the 8th of May.
As previously mentioned, I had a tendency for tardiness, and was therefore rushing up the stairs of the school building. At that moment, a girl fell from the sky.
The girl was Senjougahara Hitagi.
To be truthful, she probably didn't fall from the sky. She'd probably tripped on the stairs and fell backwards. I could have dodged it, but I chose to catch her and break her fall.
It seemed like a better choice than dodging.
No, it was most probably a mistake.
Because Senjougahara, whom I caught and hence stopped her fall, was very—impossibly light. No kidding, she was mysteriously, eerily, light.
As though she wasn't even there. That's right. Senjougahara was so light, it was as if she had no weight.
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