“You should get a girlfriend,” said the oldest cousin at our family dinner.
The boring chatter of the dinner table suddenly got rowdy as my relative’s swarmed me with personal questions I'd rather not answer.
“Ryouta, you’ve got the brains from your mom! You’re always first rank, no girl can bear to reject you!” said my grandpa.
“Ryou-chan is all grown up and handsome now! Only fools would pass by this golden chance,” my aunt flattered me.
“He sucks at sports! That’s why he’s going to be a virgin forever!” scorned my second youngest cousin as he eat’s his ‘kid size bites’ chicken.
Everyone gasps in disbelief of what this kid said. Who taught him such words? But nonetheless, he is unfortunately somewhat right. I don’t have a girlfriend nor am I planning to have one anytime soon.
I look at my teen cousins laughing at me because they can’t relate being single. Am I... getting outdated?! Are kids these days supposed to have lovers before they’re in college?! Oh, why do I even care about being hip and cool?
“I’m going to be a paediatrician anyways. Romance can wait for another time.”
The whole room breaks into laughter as my uncle pats my back a bit too hard. “Alright then! Once I start a family, you’ll be the one who’ll give my little one’s checkups!” he jokes.
I don’t necesarily want to be a doctor, but my family runs a small clinic. Since I was young, my mom always expected me to continue this business after she retires. At this point, I've studied too much that all my sleepless nights would be pointless if I decided on a different career path. Helping people isn’t so bad anyways.
As the night gets colder, the family dinner table spirit starts to subside and dirty plates start to stack on top of one another. Somehow, I ended up being the only kid washing the dishes. These brats just don’t know any manners do they?
After 3 clean plates, I realized I will be staying on the kitchen sink for atleast another 15 minutes. Family dinners at the beginning of the year are always like this. An inconceivable amount of food displayed on multiple literal silver platters for everyone to devour. I do enjoy doing the dishes though, especially on a quiet night like this. A bit eerie, but it lets me digest my food for thoughts that has been floating in my memory storage.
Clean plate’s start to stack up, when suddenly I feel a box the size of my head bump onto my back. Expecting the little one’s pulling a prank on me, I turn over to see my aunt crouching with a present in her hands. “Surprise!!!” she shouts, disturbing my train of thought.
“Doing the dishes all by yourself? You’re so responsible! I wish Kimi-Chan was as diligent as you!” She rubs my head, messing up my already unbrushed hair.
“...no one's doing it so I thought I’d do it.”
She squeals like a mouse. “You’re not gonna ask what I’m holding?” she asks as she shakes the present box.
Well, that box did surprise me if anything. She doesn’t usually give me new year's presents so this was new.
“What’s that for?” I give into her wishes.
“Oh you’re so tall! Bent down a little for me will ya?!” She pulls my height down, making me bend my knees awkwardly. I'm not even that tall...
“I heard it all from your mom! 1st rank wasn’t much of a surprise, but getting the gold trophy for the national biology olympiad?! You’re getting to places way too quickly, boy!!!” She yanks the hood of my hoodie in excitement.
“Thanks auntie,” I say as if a gun was being pointed at me.
“Take off those dish gloves and open this box! I’ll take over the cleaning,” she suggests.
As any polite younger relative would do, I tell her no 50 times only to give in and do as I am told. I sit on the couch while my 14 year old cousin sits next to me, way too preoccupied with her phone to notice me. I gradually peel the plastic wrapping with my sad short nails. My fingers hurt but what was inside was worth the suffering.
Money. Kaching kaching.
And quite the massive amount.
She knows me so well.
It was unecessary for her to put it in a box this big but It doesn’t matter. I thank my aunt and hurry upstairs to keep it safe from who knows who. As I was hiding it from everyone, I started to think about all the things I could buy. Or would it be wiser to save it up for the future? For the clinic?
I finished hiding it before I could decide what to do with it, when suddenly my phone rang off.
I answered the caller to hear the voice and see the double chin of my buddy ol’ pal, Saiko. “Yo! Happy New Years, Ryouta!”
His loud energetic voice echoes through my ears.
“Hi. You’ve said that three times already. What do you want? It’s late at night...” I yawn.
Before he could answer, the previously aforementioned second youngest cousin runs over, shouting “secret girlfriend, secret girlfriend!!! Ryouta-kun is so dirty!!!!” He was so loud that Saiko could hear him.
“No, it’s not, you brat!” I put my phone in front of his face, revealing an ugly sight of a man.
“...not a secret girlfriend, but a secret boyfriend?!?!?!”
My spine shivers.
“It’s Saiko!!! You’ve met him before!!!!!” I yell. He giggles like the child he is and reaches for my phone to talk to him.
“Saiko-niki!!! Happy Birthday Year!!!”
“Wahahaha!!! Is that you Shota-kun? Happy Birthday Year! Virtual high five!”
He spreads his hands in front of the screen, signaling a high five. Shota slaps my phone to reciprocate his high five and drops it on the floor.
“Shooootaaaa....!!!!” I grunt.
“Whoops...! Bye bye Saiko-niki!!!!” he says as he runs away.
Godamn kid... I can’t get mad at him though or else I'll get in trouble... I pick up my phone to continue our conversation.
“So guess what?” Saiko asks.
“Don’t make me guess, just spill it out already!” I rush him.
Without answering, he pans his screen to reveal his gross grin with a beautiful girl eating at a restaurant. I almost dropped my phone for a second time. Not only is it crazy how Saiko could get a date, but that beautiful girl is my classmate, Komugi-san, the school's madonna!!!
“H-ho... What?!?!?!!? You–!!!!” I can hardly speak, stunned by this news.
“Shhhhh!!! She’s eating so shut up!”
This guy... seriously?
“Oi, that girl is from my school. How did you even meet her?!”
He makes a comically shocked face, “for real?!?! Bro, I got to know her from her twin sister who’s my classmate!! It’s crazy how she agreed to go on a date with me!”
That is insane. A rock for brains guy like Saiko?! With her?!?!! I can’t believe someone as amazing as Kumogi would stoop so low...
“...whatever then, I’m ending the call. Enjoy your ‘date’ I guess.” I hover my thumb over the end call button.
“Wait, I want to flex mo–”
I blow out a heavy sigh. Even Saiko is getting a girlfriend?! Now I’m kind of considering finding someone... Damn, whatever. It’s late and my full stomach makes me drowsy.
I put my phone down and charge it for tommorow. I lay on my futon, staring at the ceiling as my consciousness starts to fade away. Sweet dreams await me.