Rina Hozuki Is Here

“Rina Hozuki, isn’t she in our class?” I asked. 

“There’s nobody of that name here,” my classmates always answered. 

Because I was born blind, I rely on people to explain things. I learned what elephants or whales looked like on the basis of how others described them. When I transferred to this school last month, I became friends with Rina. But whenever I asked the others about her, all kept saying that she didn’t exist.

I asked Rina if I could touch her.

Rina had cold hands, and her face felt small. She wore her hair short, unevenly cut. As her image became clearer in my mind, I made her out to be thin. She always smelled like incense.

“I can feel her,” I told the others. “Rina Hozuki is here. She is here, isn’t she?”

No one answered.

Soon after, everybody kept a distance from me.

“It’s my fault they weird you out, too,” Rina spoke, “even though you are the type who can make lots of friends.” 

I could smell someone just lit incense. 

“When they first started,” continued Rina, “they only put chalk dust in my lunch box. I ate and threw up a lot. I got so much thinner after that. Then, they cut my hair and didn’t do a good job. When they saw me getting close to you, they thought it would be funny to give me a funeral-like treatment.”

Around me, I could feel the hostility. 

“Ignore me from tomorrow,” Rina spoke. “You would be blinder than I thought if you didn’t. Just go along with them and treat me like a ghost, or they will do the same to you.”

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