When I was younger, I didn’t realize the furor with which obligation and responsibility can strike at you. But as I grew into adulthood, I began to understand that much like mother nature, work, school, bills, and expectations have no empathy—they are a relentless storm, breaking upon you until they’ve run their course without concern or care about your limitations.
In volume 10.5 of My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, As I Expected, Hikki experiences such a tempest, in the form of a deadline to develop editorial content for a student council magazine. With the due date looming, stress and dread fill Hikki’s mind—his is the final piece for this service club project which he accepted at Iroha’s request. Writer’s block torments him, all the more as the hours tick by and he remains far from his goal. The column won’t get done, he realizes, which will destroy the efforts of his other club members, disappoint Iroha, and place her in a challenging situation, she having already submitted a budget number that will now change due to Hikki’s failure.
Then, in steps Yukino Yukinoshita, during the final hours of the final day. She refuels Hikki with a MAX Coffee, encourages him to take break, and then informs him that if needed, she’s arranged for the deadline to be extended, just a bit. As the project manager, Yukino has built into the production schedule a grace period.
Ah, the grace period—the time between “due” and “actually due” that we often take for granted at work, when making payments, even in gaming. The case against such an option is strong, as it encourages the partaker to see this length of time as a usual extension of the deadline. But to those of us for whom it’s built—the infrequent offender, the ones who occasionally forget or, as with Hikki, are simply overwhelmed during one particular instance—it is a godsend. It needs not even be described as a period—it’s just grace.
After hearing the good news, Hikki guzzles down the coffee, and looks back to Yukino:
“I’ll finish it,” I declared, and faced the computer once more.
“…All right. Then do your best,” she said quietly and briefly, but it was enough to reach my ears.
Having received this undeserved gift, Hikki is strengthened in body and mind, and completes the task without even needing the extra time he was just gifted. Somewhere within was the answer—he only needed to be given the option from Yukino to find it.
In my own stress, my own worry as a hurricane presses upon me, I’m sometimes also given the same pardon. Ultimately, as with Hikki, I may not need it. Or I may indeed take advantage of the giver’s kindness. In either case, I feel—if even for the briefest of time—relief from the pounding storm, and am thankful as well both for the gift and to the giver, they may bring me refreshment, calm, and life. Such grace changes my mood, my disposition, my thought process, and my heart—indeed, it seems, the very fiber of my being. Once resolutely headed for failure, I’m suddenly revived, and my role once again—this time in wondrous ways—fits that of Hikki to Yukino. I am changed, relieved, and blessed by that which I do not deserve, and by a giver whose encouragement is like a spark to my soul, giving me the grace I need to carry on:
I’ll finish it.
All right. Then do your best.
My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, As I Expected Vol. 10.5 is available from Yen Press.