The Purple Diary - it's a book that appears in an urban legend, something commonplace at old schools such as ours.
It was tradition for me to mostly ignore the things Yoriko said, but I couldn't ignore that phrase. Why? Because a few days earlier, I had heard those same words from another person - and in an extraordinarily bizarre manner.
That day Mr. Yamamoto, the newspaper club advisor, had summoned me and introduced me to a man.
The man introduced himself as having some connection to the trainee teacher we had been talking about. I think he was her boyfriend - or perhaps her brother? At first glance he wasn't too shabby looking - in fact, his features would classify him as handsome - but if I had to describe the air around him in a word, all I could think of would be "gloomy".
The gloomy man (I know it's impolite to call him this, but I think it's still pretty good for being a nickname given to an unfamiliar man by a high school girl) asked me several questions.
He asked me about legends and folklore of the area, and folk songs and music. It had been the subject of my article that won a prize in the prefectural newspaper. Realising that several of the folk songs in the region shared a similar melody, I had researched their origin and dissemination. Finding a similar old piano song from overseas, I finished it up with the dreamy conclusion that it had perhaps been brought from overseas long ago. It all sounds so embarrassing to me now. Youth is such a terrible thing.
After making a general note of my replies (though, to be perfectly honest, I can't even remember what I said), he said one final, additional thing: "Have you happened to hear of something called 'The Purple Diary'?"
"You mean the one from the urban legend?" I asked in reply, my voice slightly absentminded, and the gloomy man shook his head from side to side.
"I guess high school girls these days don't have any interest in stories like that..." His gloomy impression didn't change, but I remember how he sounded almost a little embarrassed.
If it was something to do with the occult, then I had the perfect source of information right beside me. Yoriko would probably go on chatting away, even without my asking.
"Do you want me to research this Purple Diary and contact you later?"
The gloomy man displayed an unexpected reaction to my words, which I prided as those of a model high school girl. His eyes suddenly seeming to fly wide open he said to me, as though afraid of something, "You mustn't look... no, you mustn't investigate it. I'm sorry. Just forget about it."
Our discussion ended there.
His reaction cooled my head a little, and I finally began to analyse this gloomy man before me. He was good at asking questions, attentive of his companion, and skillful. He was used to conducting research. He was at least able to deal calmly with young high school girls. His personality showed in his features, but his face wasn't bad. It seemed to me as though he hadn't been born with such a melancholy personality, but was incredibly tired. Maybe calling him the "gloomy man" as a nickname is impolite after all.
As I thought, I was hustled out of reception, before I could come up with a new nickname for the hot, gloomy guy. I wish I could've taken just a bit closer of a look at his face. It's not like I was going to see him again, right? Or so I thought...
Coming back down to earth, Yoriko was looking at me as though she had said something. Excellent. She could tell me all about this Purple Diary.
For once, I decided to listen to Yoriko's story.