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Commemorative Short Story: Perception of Kotone

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Author: Hidsuki Shihou Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 1238 characters
Translator: PunishedLyly English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 585 words
Editor(s): Fire

It was a school holiday, so I’m currently working at the cafe as usual. Ever since the start of my work, I realized that the owner has a lot of work. I’m impressed that he can run the front all by himself. After all, there are so many orders that Ms. Saori can’t leave the kitchen. At present, though, the rush hour has passed and there are only a few customers.

“Thanks for your hard work. I’ve brought a customer.”
“Excuse the intrusion.”

In came Kaori, who’s back from her club activities, and, for some reason, Aiba. She probably bumped into Kaori and was roped into coming here. It’s not rare for students to drop by the cafe. However, this might be the first time that a classmate of mine came.

“I’ll guide you to your table.”

Still, even though she’s an acquaintance, that doesn’t mean I can be any less professional. She’s a customer all the same. I led them to an empty table and served them cold service water. For some reason, Kaori is sitting with her. Unlike the grinning Kaori, Aiba quietly stares at me.

“Is there anything wrong?”
“No, but how do I put it… You just seem so different from when you’re at the academy.”
“I’m just taking my work seriously.”
“And you should realize that it’s far different from your usual rich daughter image.”

Hearing Kaori’s comment, I had no idea how to respond. It’s easy for me to act inexperienced. However, I can’t risk making mistakes and troubling the owner. In that case, it’s much better to work without hiding my capabilities from the get go.

“I’d rather not cause people trouble.”
“You’re like an adult.”

Hearing Aiba’s words, my smile cramped up. Kaori looked away as if to hold back her laughter. The fact that the owner mistook me for a university student still haunts my mind. Even Kaori told me that I don’t look my age. I get conscious about my age too, you know?

“Do I really look that old?”
“That’s not it! I just found you to be a capable and mature lady!”
“You do look like a college student every now and then, though.”

Aiba’s response isn’t really helping. Moreover, Kaori hit me with a finishing blow, so I feel really bummed out. It’s probably my fault that Kotori doesn’t look her age. My physical age and mental age aren’t in sync. It’s not really something I can fix, so I just have to give up on this.

“Well, enough of that. What will your order be?”
“You recover quickly as usual.”
“There isn’t any point being bothered about it, after all.”

I take note of their orders and leave their table. I overheard their conversation as I left, but I hope I was able to hide my weird expression.

“Kotone’s usually pretty indifferent but she gets bothered by weirdest stuff.”
“Everyone admires a cool lady. Doesn’t she have any self-awareness?”
“Probably not. It’s her, after all.”
“Her perception of herself is really different from ours.”

Could you not have me as your main topic? It’s making me red in the face. If the other students actually look at the present Kotone like they do instead of thinking back to the previous Kotone, my school life would be peaceful. But that probably won’t be happening anytime soon.


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