Author: nikkilittle PM
Hisao and Lilly exchange old-fashioned handwritten letters after Lilly's permanent departure for Scotland. Takes place after Lilly neutral ending. Complete.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Words: 19,531 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 3 - Published: 04-24-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8057443
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Four Leaf Studios owns the copyright to Katawa Shoujo. They released the game for free. I do likewise with this fanfiction.
It's been a week since you left, and things have settled down a bit. Hanako has gone off on her trip with Naomi and the newspaper club, and I am spending some time at my parents' home. It feels strange to be back in a large city, and suddenly I discover that I don't like being in a city. The constant din of traffic and the smells revolt me. I have made the decision to return to Yamaku's campus when Hanako gets back from her trip even though the campus will be largely deserted. Hanako, of course, has no place else to go but back to her dorm room after her trip is over. I need the greenery and fresh smells of Yamaku. The city air chokes me.
The first twenty-four hours after you left were intense. After your car disappeared down the street, Hanako turned around to face me, and then froze right in front of me. She had her hands folded together right in front of her mouth and was almost chewing on her knuckles. She looked shell-shocked and for a moment I wondered if she were still breathing. I don't know where it came from, but I put an arm around her waist and with my best Humphrey Bogart imitation said, "You know, Louie, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!" It worked - sort of. Hanako gave a slight laugh. Then the tears came. Buckets and buckets of tears. I took her over to a tree and sat her down with me. I stroked her hair while she soaked my shirt. I didn't try to stop her from crying. I thought it best that she get it out. I was astonished at what beautiful hair she has. It feels like silk.
After about ten minutes of crying, Hanako seemed to fall asleep, and I just sat there under the tree until she woke up about a half hour later. There was no way I was going to leave this girl alone for the next twenty-four hours. Not knowing what else to do, I took her to the Shanghai for a dinner, of sorts. I know a teahouse isn't a proper place for a meal, but I didn't know of anyplace else that has any bit of privacy in the dining room. Diners all have the tables crammed together like the school cafeteria.
The walk into town seemed to do her some good, and when we got to the Shanghai, I got a surprise. I started to reach for the door only to realize that my right hand had Hanako's left hand in it. We had been holding hands and I didn't even realize it. I don't know if she reached for my hand or I reached for her hand. Given how shy she is, I must have done it. She giggled when I let go of her hand to open the door. You know that smile she has? I saw it when I opened the door. Hanako is pretty when she smiles. When she smiles, it's as if the scars on her face become invisible.
Neither one of us talked much while we ate. For once we drank our tea before it got cold. You know who, of course, waited on us. She knew that Lilly was gone. When she saw that I was with Hanako, she flashed me an enormous smile. Did you make a bet with Yuuko whether or not I'd take Hanako to the Shanghai? Looks like Yuuko won the bet.
We wandered about in the town after we got out of the Shanghai. I showed Hanako the antique shop where we bought her gifts. It was so well hidden that Hanako was astounded that we ever found it. She was like a little girl in a toy shop when she saw the dolls. I wished I could have bought her another one, but you know how expensive those dolls are. I didn't have the money. I'm sure that Hanako didn't expect me to buy anything for her. You should have seen her face fall when she asked the store owner the price of one of the dolls. The store owner didn't stare. He was polite and kind. There are times when I curse the existence of money. This was one of those times. An orphan with her face pressed against the window of a toy shop full of beautiful things that she can never have. That was Hanako in the antique shop. I started to wonder what will happen to Hanako after she graduates. How much of her state support stops? I have no idea.
It was starting to get dark when we left the antique shop. Hanako and I walked back in the dark. This time I took her hand. It was me who took her hand on the way back. I know you're smiling at this. You're praying for us to fall in love, aren't you? I know you, Lilly. You're a sucker for romance.
I walked Hanako to her dorm, and we found the booby-trap that Akira left on Hanako's bed in a plastic shopping bag. "Dear Hanako and Hisao: the two glasses are clean. Don't get drunk. If you do get drunk: always use protection." Akira left a whole unopened packet of Trojan condoms in the bag. Ribbed with added spermicide. Hanako nearly choked when she saw the note. I think I'm going to miss Akira nearly as much as I miss you. She was such a trip! A real she-devil. The bottle was Portuguese vinho verde. Green wine. Alcohol seven percent. Akira chose really well. I didn't know wine could have such a low alcohol percentage. Hanako and I finished the whole bottle. I started to leave, and Hanako grabbed my arm and said in a slurred voice, "Awwww! I don't want you to go! Stay with me!" I was really torn between being responsible and not appearing to take advantage of a drunk girl, and the feeling that I should not leave her alone until she left for her trip with Naomi in the morning. It took me five full minutes to decide that I needed to stay. I just couldn't bring myself to leave her alone in her dorm room. I figured that when she started her trip with Naomi, she would be okay with those other girls around.
Hanako undressed and got into her pink nightgown right in front of me. I nearly swallowed my tongue when I saw just how extensive her burn scars were. I almost started to cry. How could someone survive being burned on nearly half the body? I know what you're wondering now. Do her burn scars matter to me? No, they don't. Fortunately I managed to hold my tears. Hanako wrapped herself up in a blanket mummy-style and gave me another blanket. I was going to sleep on the floor, but Hanako insisted that it was alright to share her bed. With her wrapped up like a mummy, there was no chance of me pulling anything. I stripped to my underwear and wrapped up in the blanket. There was just enough room on the bed for us both. When I woke up I found Hanako sleeping with her head on my shoulder. I had my arm around her as if she were a teddy bear. She makes a good teddy bear. She woke up when I delicately extricated my arm. You would not believe how embarrassed she was. She was happy though. I got to see that wonderful smile of hers. She's so pretty when she smiles.
Naomi knocked on her door about a half an hour after Hanako had everything packed for her trip. You should have seen the smirk on Naomi's face when I emerged from the room with Hanako. She locked the door, said good-bye to me, and then stopped. Hanako turned around, walked back up to me, and kissed me on the cheek right there in front of Naomi. "Thank you for last night. I really needed that. I'll be back in two weeks."
So now I'm in my parents' house. I 'm going to return to Yamaku's campus when Hanako gets back from her trip. Would you believe that I'm counting the days until she gets back? When my parents take me back up to Yamaku, I'm going to introduce Hanako to them as my "best friend." My parents have heard of Hanako, but they've never seen her in person. They've only seen her in photographs that were taken at a distance. I'll be holding my breath to see their reaction.
I miss you, Lilly.
You horndog! You walking schlong! I hadn't even touched down in Scotland and you were already sleeping in the same bed with Hanako? Holding hands? You sure didn't waste any time.
I'm not angry. I'm glad you spent the night with Hanako. I didn't want her to be alone. I am, however, surprised that you're already holding hands with her. It may well have been Hanako who took your hand when you were walking towards the Shanghai. Do you remember how worried I was about Hanako's reaction to our relationship? I had a suspicion that she had a massive crush on you. If so, she held her tongue well. At the time, I think she may have been convinced that no boy would ever take a romantic interest in her, anyway. If she did have a crush, I think she qualifies for sainthood in her reaction. Do you remember? "If my friends are happy, then I'm happy" is what she said.
I had a terrible first week. Hanako wasn't the only one who shed a torrent of tears. I think I'm okay, now - at least in regards to you. I can deal with losing a boyfriend. Losing the best friend I ever had in my whole life, however, is another matter. You never seemed to realize just how much Hanako did for me. Whenever I needed to go shopping, she was there. Whenever I needed to go someplace that I'd never been before, she was there. Whenever I needed help with anything, she was there. She never put me on a schedule. Never made me wait a week for her to find the time. Whenever I needed a hug, she was there for me. Now if I want to go shopping, I have to wait for somebody to find the time - at least a week. I'm treated like a nuisance. I feel like a burden. I never felt like a burden when I lived with Akira or at Yamaku. I miss Hanako. My stomach is in knots. I hear her and smell her in my dreams. I had a panic attack yesterday and ended up in the emergency room. The doctor prescribed Paxil. One panic attack and they want to put me on an antidepressant drug that is notorious for turning thin women into blobs. I have refused. I have told my parents that I will not take drugs for a problem that is just stress. Akira has already found her own place and moved out. She gave me an open-ended invitation to move in with her. I think my days in my parents' mansion may be limited. Better a tiny bedroom in my sister's house than a palace in my parents' mansion.
Try not to worry about me. Remember that I have Akira. When our parents left Japan, Akira took care of me the way I took care of Hanako. If Akira weren't here, I'd be having a nervous breakdown. Now you know why I couldn't stay in Japan. I'm sorry, Hisao. It broke my heart to leave. It's still breaking my heart. Life is no fairy tale, even for rich people.
I'm back at Yamaku. Hanako is back, too. I introduced her to my parents when they dropped me off. I was sweating bullets at their reaction to her. They were polite to her. No awkward comments. No staring. I got an email that night in which they lectured me that, as nice as she seemed, a "girl like that" would be a "social liability" who could negatively impact my future career. Money. Everything is about money. Sometimes I hate the world.
The cafeteria is closed. Hanako and I make use of the limited facilities in the commons room of her dormitory. It was your dormitory, too. I don't know if you ever went to the commons room. There's a rice cooker, two camp stoves, a toaster oven, a microwave, and a full-sized refrigerator. The toaster oven is new. It wasn't there before the summer holiday started. We make simple meals of rice, vegetables, and a little bit of fish. Sometimes we just make a curry packet and pour it over rice. It feels nice to have company at every meal. It would be miserable eating alone. This is going to sound terrible, but Hanako makes better company at mealtime than my parents. She doesn't talk! She just sits there eating until she's finished. Every now and then she looks up at me and gives me that shy smile, but she doesn't say anything. I'm usually on pins and needles with my parents. There's always the risk of an argument over something. Does Hanako ever get mad over anything?
If you're wondering how I got my parents to bring me back to Yamaku even though school is not in session yet, it's simple. I told them that I had gotten used to Yamaku's garden-like setting and clean air. My parents noticed it. Green everywhere. No choking automobile fumes. They think that Yamaku looks like paradise compared to my old school. I wonder if they'll figure out that I'm really here to be with Hanako.
We went to the library expecting it to be closed. It was, but we could see Yuuko inside shelving what seemed like an avalanche of new books. About one-fourth of the books appeared to be in Braille. You'd be thrilled to see all the new books if you were here. I wonder if any of the new books are about chess. Just what I need: Hanako learning new ways to beat the stuffings out of me. She doesn't cut me any slack at all at the chessboard. As she puts it, "You'll appreciate it all the more on those rare occasions that you do beat me." So far my only victory remains that first time that I played her. I have been getting some draws lately. A pity that Yamaku doesn't have a chess club like some public high schools have. They only have a shogi club. No xiangqi club, either. I'm quite sure that Hanako would be the best chessplayer in the school. Shizune must surely be the second-best. The few times that I've played chess with Shizune in the cafeteria during lunch, she mopped up the floor with me. Shizune is reckless on the chessboard. There's no other way to describe her style. She plays every single game for checkmate regardless of the position on the board. Downright bloodthirsty, she is.
One week until classes start up again. Only a few days before everybody starts trickling back. Hanako and I are catching up on homework. Sucks to have homework during a vacation. I'm not sure about how I feel about classes starting up again. I suppose I'll be glad to see everyone again, but in the back of my mind, the countdown to graduation and all that comes afterward has started in my head. Then we will all be scattered to the winds. I lost you and Akira to the winds. I don't want to lose Hanako, too.
Should I go out and buy a wedding gift? It sounds like you and Hanako are already all-but-engaged. I'm happy for both of you. I wish I could stop worrying about my chances of getting a university education here in Scotland. I still have knots in my stomach, too. Hanako still shows up in my dreams. I'm a straight girl, but sometimes I wish I had made the "offer" to her. I would have made an exception for Hanako. You're making a weird face right now, aren't you? Such a strange little triangle we had, wasn't it?
Eating with my family is a nightmare. You would not believe how greasy everything is in Scotland. A favorite dinner for my family is "mince and tatties" which is greasy minced beef and mashed potatoes. The only vegetables I've had since I got here are potatoes, onions, and carrots. My family eats meat at almost every meal even though we're on the seacoast. When I begged for some fish, they obliged me: we all went out for "fish and chips." Fish and chips in Scotland is deep-fried, heavily-breaded fillets of fish served in wax paper in a basket with a pile of greasy, oily steak fries. How can these people eat this daily onslaught of saturated fat and cholesterol and still live?
School schedules are different in Scotland. The summer holidays here occur between school years and generally last between six and seven weeks. The school year runs from August to June of the next year. I'll be starting my last year of secondary school in August at the Royal Blind School. It's a boarding school. My father laughed at my desire to become an English teacher. He told me it was time for me to start being realistic and find a husband. He thinks a university education would be wasted on me. I think the only way I'll get my father to help pay my expenses for a university degree is if I told him that I wanted to go to get my "Mrs." degree. I'm going to have to start thinking like Shizune if I want to survive with these people. I am developing a newfound appreciation for her skills at manipulation. Wish I had taken lessons from her before I left Japan.
If you're wondering who writes my letters, it's Akira. I could do short letters myself, but I think you'd find them harder to read. She comes over every Sunday for dinner, gags on the cooking, and then lets me dictate a letter. I think she enjoys doing this for me because she gets to hear what I say about her. I also have her read your letters aloud to me, so you might want to refrain from ever mentioning all those wild sex fantasies you've had about her.
I think of you every time I get in the bathtub.
P.S. Always use protection. -Akira
Classes have started again. Everything's the same as usual. Mutou was late on the first day. Fortunately. He missed most of the little drama that occurred just before class was scheduled to start. I guess that Shizune thought that I'd had enough time to mope over the girlfriend who got away and decided that it was time to make her move. She has been trying to corner me ever since I arrived here. The instant I sat down she hopped on top of my desk. No, she didn't try to recruit me for student council. She wanted to know what I was doing for lunch, this weekend, the next festival, and pretty much the rest of the school year. She was oblivious to most of the rest of the class laughing hysterically. They must have all known this was coming. Meanwhile I'm thinking, "Mutou, where the fuck are you!" I was squirming, saying no, offering excuses. Shizune would have none of this. She was relentless. Finally I blurted out, "I have a girlfriend!" Misha translated, "Yeah, in Scotland. Permanently. Isn't it time to consider what's available?" I didn't know it, but Hanako had gotten up out of her seat. Right after Shizune's question, Hanako appeared beside my desk, smoothed my pants, and sat right in my lap. She put an arm around my neck and buried her head in my shoulder. "Sorry, Shizune. All mine."
You should have seen the look on Shizune's face. No, she wasn't angry. I thought she would blow a gasket, but this enormous Cheshire Cat grin spread across her face. Shizune patted Hanako on the back and went back to her desk. I almost wonder if this whole little drama was a setup to "out" Hanako and me as a couple. You know what happened when Hanako and I met for lunch as usual in the tearoom. While Hanako was making tea, she asked the inevitable question. "Am I your girlfriend?" I thought of chess games in the tea room, fireworks at the Shanghai, exchanged glances in the library, and all the times the three of us were together. It was a strange little triangle. Each of us loved the other two. And then you left. "Am I your girlfriend?" she asked. I almost broke into tears. I hugged her and said, "Yes." We were still hanging on to each other when the bell rang. Both of us had forgotten about lunch and tea. We walked back into the classroom holding hands. No point hiding anything now. I hope this doesn't upset you. I keep expecting you to mention a new boyfriend. You'll get your chance when school starts.
I hope you get a chance for university education, but if your parents won't pay for it, you could probably earn the money yourself by modeling for a few years. If there's one thing the modeling world loves, it's tall, thin, beautiful blondes.
Tell Akira that I put some of the Trojans she left me in my wallet. Yes, I promise to always use protection. However, I am not going to put any moves on Hanako. It's strictly up to her. I'm willing to wait. I hope it's not terrible to say this, but, Lilly, thanks for all the practice. I now know what a hymen membrane is. Thanks to you I can now avoid being a total jerk with the next girl.
Here's something you'll never believe. Miki tossed Kenji a mercy date. He blew it. Couldn't keep his idiot mouth shut about the "international feminist conspiracy." I know this because Miki filled my ears full the morning after. "I thought this school didn't admit the mentally disabled!" I'm starting to think Kenji is certifiable myself. Don't feel sorry for Miki. She can have any guy in this school she wants. Well, almost any guy. I'm not available. Miki is nice: she was referring to Hanako as my "sweetheart" even when I was dating you. She did that because she caught me looking back at Hanako's seat on days she was absent. Last I heard, Miki was dating some guy on the track team.
There's a lot of gossip floating around the school about two girls who got caught making out on the roof. I won't name the two girls, but I'll bet you can name who one of them was. Poor thing. It would have been better if it were a teacher who caught them. At least a teacher would have only gossiped with other teachers. Now everybody knows. Mental note to self: never makeout on the roof.
I requested official status for Yamaku's unofficial chess club which consists of Shizune, Hanako, and me. If we could find a strong fourth player we'd have one of the best high school chess teams in the country I think. Can you imagine what kids from other high schools would think if they lost to us? Can you imagine what the boys on other chess teams would think to find two girls playing first and second board for a team? Watching Shizune checkmate some boy in thirty moves would be real fun!
While in town with some other students food shopping, I slipped over to the antique shop and found a music box which plays Beethoven's "Fur Elise." That will be Hanako's Christmas present. The shop owner asked me, "Is this for the girl with the…...really long black hair?" I told him it was and he only asked 5,000 yen for it. I know the price was much higher than that. He must have sold it to me at his cost. He must have remembered Hanako's face when she asked him the price of a doll. A small mercy in an unkind world.
I still miss you, Lilly.
So Shizune tried to corner you? Again? That girl never gives up. She'd have no trouble at all if she just learned to use a softer approach. I've touched her face in the past and I know that she's quite pretty. I also know how voluptuous she is because I've bumped into her a few times. Sometimes I wonder how you were able to resist her considerable physical charms. Too pushy for you, hmmmm? And shy wallflower Hanako rescued you? I wish I had been there to hear it all. It must have been quite a spectacle. "Sorry, Shizune. All mine." Oh, my. I've got a case of the giggles that won't quit.
Shizune was a good sport? Now that surprised me. Maybe I don't give her enough credit. Every now and then she comes across as a decent person. It's a good thing that you told Hanako that she was your girlfriend. It would have absolutely broken her heart and sent her back into seclusion if you had said "no." Judging by your letter, it is obvious that there was no trace of pity in your response. It would have broken her heart if you had said "yes" out of pity as well. Sometimes I wonder if I didn't snatch you out of Hanako's grasp at the very last moment. You aren't the first boy to pay any attention to her. Kenji, believe it or not, had a crush on her when she first arrived. You'd have to ask Kenji himself to know why he found her so appealing. Hanako rejected him. Kenji was so weird that she didn't trust him. I suspect that she thought his attention was some sort of cruel prank. I assure you it wasn't. Kenji the woman-hater once had a crush on Hanako. It's useless to ask her about him. She'll just tell you that he's a "weirdo." She doesn't like him. End of story.
No, I haven't found a boyfriend. School hasn't started yet and I have had zero opportunities. My parents keep trying to match me up with young, upwardly-mobile, business associates. My father is very determined for me to "marry well." Matching me off to the son of a wealthy family seems to be his sole goal for my life. Post-secondary education for me does not seem to be on the agenda. Yes, this is a source of endless worry for me. And I still have knots in my stomach over Hanako not being around. I am starting to realize that I was extremely dependent on her - emotionally as well as physically. I admit it: I clung to Hanako as much as she clung to me.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry at your suggestion that I become a model. I've only been here two months and I've already gained enough weight to make my dresses tight. By the time I get out of high school, I'll be way too chubby to model. Maybe I could become a plus-size model. I need to find some way to escape from eating with my family. The food they eat is just way too fattening. I fix my own lunch. I usually make noodles with sliced vegetables and thin-sliced kippered herring. The herring isn't sashimi, but my mother buys it and it's available. It's the only fish regularly in the house. Would you believe that there are some people in Scotland who eat kippered herring with a fried egg on it for breakfast? That isn't the weirdest thing these Scots eat. Look up "black pudding" and "haggis" on wikipedia. Keep a barf bag handy. I need to go shopping for clothes. I was a Japanese size 13 when I got here. Now I'm a 15. Ugh! All that grease is going to my hips.
"Always use protection." Everytime I hear that I can't help giggling. I think that Akira's favorite phrase. I have trouble seeing Hanako in the sack with anybody. Either sex. Be patient. Hanako is one girl I'd bet on being a virgin at her wedding - if she ever gets married. I think she's a fantastic catch, but I'm obviously biased. Kenji on a date with Miki? I never met her, but I've heard boys say she's the "hottest" girl in Yamaku. It must have been a mercy date. Or did she accept a dare? Maybe somebody bribed her? Remember that this is a guy that shy, attention-starved Hanako rejected. I wouldn't touch him with a tractor beam.
Two girls caught making out on the roof. Misha and Naomi. Am I right?
Let me know if your unofficial chess club gets official status. There may be more chessplayers in Yamaku than you think. It was Hanako who taught me how to play. There may be a few others that she taught. You never know.
Nice choice of a Christmas present for Hanako. Buy me anything yet? Just joking. Really. Just joking. Don't buy me any clothes because I don't know what size I'll be by Christmas if I don't manage to convince my mother to buy some Japanese food items. I am just dying for some sashimi. I can't take "mince and tatties" five times a week. I just can't do it. These people are filthy rich. They can afford to buy fish and produce. What's wrong with them? Akira poked me in the ass yesterday and told me that I have to get out of there while my ass will still fit through the front door. Akira's gained a kilo or two as well. I've gained four. Akira promised me that she's searching for an Asian grocery with reasonable prices. There are a few Asian items in the regular grocery stores, but they're overpriced and there is very little variety. When it comes to food, Scotland is hell on earth. Well, with my parents it is. I know there's fresh fish in the grocery stores. I can smell it. I already have your gift bought for Christmas, Hisao. I ordered it on the internet. Okay, Akira ordered it on the internet for me. It has to be shipped from the United States. I was really surprised that something like this was still manufactured in the United States. It's a beauty. You'll love it. Hanako will, too. I bought two. One for you and one for her. Drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what it is. Heh, heh, heh… Aren't I evil?
No panic attacks this time to report, but my parents are still trying to get me to take the Paxil prescription. I am still refusing. I'm also tasting my food very carefully. If I taste any drugs in my food, I'm out of here. The next time Akira's here, I'm going to ask her to take the bottle of Paxil pills and get rid of them. I can't do it myself because I don't know which bottle is which. My mother keeps her prescriptions in the same kitchen cabinet with the bottle of Paxil. I know this because I hear her opening her prescriptions in the morning and then she all but sits on me to take the Paxil. No! No! No! How many times do I have to say it to her? Akira calls Paxil a "zombie pill."
I sure am looking forward to going to the boarding school for my last year of high school. Just getting away from my family's cooking is reason enough. Getting away from people trying to shove pills on me is another reason.
I wish you were here. I really need to get laid.
I read about your parents' desire to match you up with what people call "a suitable match" and hope that you will be able to resist the pressure. I would not want to be in your place at all. Your situation reminds me of Alice in that Tim Burton movie. I could totally see you bailing on a marriage proposal from some young schlub from a rich family to go chasing rabbits. I can understand why your stomach is still "in knots" from not having Hanako around. I'm very attached to her, too.
"Too chubby to be a model"? I'm having a hard time getting an image of a chubby you in my head. Lilly, four additional kilos does not make a thin girl "chubby." Stop worrying. You said yourself that this is a food problem caused by your eating with your family who obviously make very unhealthy eating choices. You'll be going to boading school soon and will be eating in a cafeteria. You'll have a lot more control over what you eat. Once you're out of your family's house, you'll be fine. I think you'd be better off to live with Akira when you're not at the boarding school. Just my opinion. I looked up "mince and tatties" on Wikipedia. Gag. I could not eat that greasy-looking stuff once a week, let alone five times a week. Black pudding? Another look on Wikipedia. You have got to be fucking kidding me! People eat that? Haggis? Wikipedia again. Holy fuck! That's the most disgusting thing I've ever seen! You're not going to want to hear this, but Scotland is the second fattest country on Earth. Only the United States is worse. I hope your boarding school has a decent cafeteria. You could try lying to them and telling them that you're a vegetarian and have special dietary needs. Only do that if you can live without fish. Whenever you're in a tricky situation, always ask yourself, "What would Shizune do?"
The Yamaku Chess Club is now official. We still only have three members. Shizune is scouting around for more members. If there are any more chess players in this school, I am sure she will find them. I'm starting to develop an appreciation for her combination of efficiency and ruthlessness. She's a good person to have on your side.
No panic attacks. That's good. Maybe if you can go a month without having another one your parents will stop nagging you to take the Paxil. If you do have a panic attack, hide it. I think by now you'll have learned to recognize them. Lie on a bed on your back and breathe in a steady, systematic manner. I think your panic attacks may be caused by the stress of living in your parents' house. Move in with Akira, and I'll bet they disappear. Akira, you there? Do you agree with me?
Sorry I can't help you with your need to get laid. Really wish I could, ya know? Yeah, yeah, Akira. I hear ya. "Always use protection." Nag, nag, nag… Wait a minute. I actually do have an idea. Ya ever hear of a vibrator? I'll bet Akira could order you one on the internet. Order the type known as a "Jessica Rabbit Vibrator." There's also the "Strawberry Shake Vibrator" from Japan that you might want to consider. Just how does a guy know all this? One word: Shizune.
Trying to think of any news that you might want to hear, but it's all routine school. Nothing really interesting for awhile. Hanako and I have a regular date every Saturday afternoon. The last time I took her ice skating. We had to do some traveling for that one. We both had to rent the skates. I took it really easy on the ice. Hanako learned as a child and was as graceful as a swan gliding around. I think this was the happiest I've seen her since you left. It seems time does heal all wounds - and your departure was a really deep one.
Two nights ago I had my first sex dream that didn't star you. No, it wasn't about Hanako, either. I wish it had been. Shizune. I woke up sweating and gasping. Now I think I know what a panic attack feels like.
I'll be moving to my boarding school in two weeks. I can't wait to get out of my parents' house. My father had a social function with a lot of business associates present in his house and paraded me around in front of them like a prize turkey. I thought about the possibility of him arranging a marriage for me and I have decided that I will refuse if he does that. Neither I nor my mother have ever defied him, but there's a limit to everything. Twenty-five years of bowing and scraping. My mother is overdue for an explosion.
No more panic attacks so far. Just a never-ending sense of unease. If I weren't so close to going off to boarding school, I'd pack up and move into Akira's house. She's got a bedroom waiting for me. She even bought a few new dresses for me. I felt the dresses and they're Japanese size 17. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Sis.
You wrote about taking Hanako ice skating. That was a sweet thing to do, and an inspired choice for a date. That's something I always wanted to do, but ice skating on a rink with other people around me is probably not a good idea. On an ice rink, I don't think my hearing would be enough for me to keep track of where everyone else is. I also would have no way of detecting a railing in front of me. Akira took me to a pool to go swimming, and I'm sure I would have enjoyed it except for one little problem. Well, actually it wasn't a little problem. Not any more. I couldn't fit into my bikini. The bottom didn't have enough coverage and the top was a joke. Instead we had to go shopping for a new bikini for me. I am seriously beginning to hate Scotland. The mince is all going to my ass and the tatties are all going to my tatas. Akira says she's envious, but I think she's just being nice. Only two more weeks to the boarding school. Only two more weeks.
I haven't got anybody to play chess with here. That beautiful blind chess board that you saw in the tearoom was school property. Akira says she's going to get me one, but that still won't solve the problem of who to play with. I'd try playing chess on the internet if I could see. Akira says I'm not missing anything by not playing chess on the internet. She says chess on the internet has a reputation for being a nasty affair with people running chess programs alongside of their internet chess client. Cheating, in other words. Manners, or, rather, the lack of manners, are another problem. When people are losing, instead of resigning, they just disconnect on you. Doesn't really sound much like fun. Akira doesn't play chess, but she knows business associates who sometimes play "blitz chess" on the internet during their lunch breaks. Blitz chess is when you use a timer called a chess clock to aportion a time limit to make your moves. You have to make all your moves in a certain number of minutes. Five minutes and ten minutes are common for "Blitz." I'll probably get a chance to play at the boarding school.
Akira ordered two vibrators on the internet. One for her and one for me. They're both rabbit-type vibrators. "Nothing but the best!" says Akira. She refers to vibrators as "boyfriend in a box." I think I'd rather have a real boyfriend. Can't play chess with a vibrator. Can't neck with one, either.
You had a sex dream about Shizune? I'd have never expected that in a million years. I think I know why it happened, though. You're a nice guy, Hisao. Shizune has been chasing you since you arrived at Yamaku. You had a sex dream about her because you feel guilty about rejecting her. It was all your guilt talking, Hisao. Don't worry. She's not getting to you. Really. Stop worrying.
Did I tell you that you're not the only one writing to me? I get regular letters from Hanako. Her letters are a bit strange in that they tell me everything that you've told me except that you and Hanako are dating. She never mentions that. Maybe she's afraid of hurting my feelings. I think it's about time that I told her that I know that she and you are a couple. I'll tell her that not only am I not mad, I'll tell her that I fully expected it. I'm glad it's happened. I got a letter from Miki that gave me a blow-by-blow account of Shizune putting the moves on you in the classroom while waiting for Mutou. She told me about Hanako quietly getting out of her chair and gliding to the side of your desk with barely anyone noticing as everybody's eyes were fixed on Shizune sitting on top of your desk and leaning over far enough to give you a bird's-eye view of her "grand canyon." Miki says Shizune gave everybody else in the class an eyeful of cleavage, as well. Naomi nearly had a heart attack. Miki said she almost died laughing at the expression on Shizune's face when Hanako said, "Sorry, Shizune - all mine." Miki got a cell phone shot of Hanako in your lap and included a printout of it in her letter. It is now in Akira's photograph album. Akira adores the photo. She says you can see the love in Hanako's eyes. I think you've got a wife if you want one. Hope I didn't cause you a heart attack when I mentioned the word "wife." Ah, maybe I shouldn't joke about such things.
I do still miss you. There are some things we shared that I'll never forget. I think of you everytime I do myself in bed.
I figure that by the time you receive this, you'll be at boarding school. Let me know how things go. How's the food in the cafeteria? Have you found anyone to play chess with? Any boys flirt with you, yet? They'd be a lot more likely to flirt with you if they can see you. Some of the students have limited vision, don't they? Those guys will think you're Catherine Deneuve reincarnated. I always thought you were a dead ringer for her.
Being paraded around like a "prize turkey" in front of a bunch of your father's business associates does not sound good to me. It sounds like he's planning on arranging a marriage for you and is showing off the "merchandise." I would never submit to an arranged marriage, myself. I haven't cooled off over my parents referring to Hanako as a "social liability." I'm still boiling over that. What will you do if your father tells you you're going to marry some guy that you don't even know?
It's a good thing that you haven't suffered any more panic attacks. Have your parents let up on trying to force Paxil down your throat?
Akira sent me a photograph of you with the charming caption of "Lilly thinks she's fat." It's a cell phone photo that she emailed to me. I can't tell much difference. Your face has filled in a little bit. You've got cheeks, now. I think it looks good. You were always pretty. Now you look cute, as well. Hanako still has fuller cheeks than you. How a girl that skinny could have such full baby cheeks is a mystery to me. Those cheeks are part of why she looks so cute when she smiles. The only other difference I noticed was that your bust looks a little more prominent than before. You really don't look heavier at all. Now that you're away from your parents' house with all that terrible Scottish cooking, I think you'll be alright.
Shizune showed up at the chess club with a chess clock and introduced us all to the game of blitz chess. She likes a time limit of five minutes for all moves, Hanako and I prefer the slightly more relaxed pace of ten minutes for all moves. At five minutes per game, Shizune wins almost all of her games with Hanako. At ten minutes per game, Hanako beats Shizune every single time. It's almost comical to watch Shizune fume. When the game is over, though, Shizune is a good sport. She has already ceded first board position on a future chess team to Hanako. I've already told Shizune that I'm willing to play a lower board than her on a chess team.
Get your vibrator yet? How are you going to muffle the sound of using it in your dorm? Classical music maybe? Beethoven? You could tell people you're just shaving your legs. That's it - get a Lady Schick. I'll bet a vibrator and an electric razor sound a lot alike.
I did a lot of thinking about your comment in your last letter that I have a wife if I want one. I've noticed the way Hanako looks at me when I'm playing chess with Shizune at the chess club. Hanako never looks at the board. She's smiling, so I know she's not jealous. She knows that I practically had to fight Shizune off with a stick. You're right: it's the look of love. I did some thinking about how I feel about Hanako. It dawned on me that life without her would seem really bleak. None of the other girls at this school hold the same appeal for me. She has this childlike sweetness that is unique. No guile. No manipulation. No pushiness. She wears her heart out on her sleeve. She's so easy to read. I realized that it was time for me to stop being an emotional coward. I proposed to Hanako in a skating rink while I was tying her laces. Was that a good place? She accepted without a second of hesitation. And then we skated. I didn't fall down. We went to a jewelry store and I bought very simple solid silver rings for us both. They probably weren't intended as engagement rings, but Hanako liked the simplicity. You can bet other students have noticed the rings. Shizune led me over in class to Hanako's desk and put my left hand down next to Hanako's left hand. When she saw that the bands were identical, all hell broke loose. Poor Mutou wasn't able to teach a thing that day. Hanako and I have been showered with small, token gifts - as much as most students are able to afford. Some of the wealthier students bought Hanako a doll. She now has half a dozen. I got a few gifts, too, including a very nice wooden travel chess set and board. Would you believe Kenji took Hanako and me to a sporting goods store and bought Hanako a pair of ice skates? "I hate to lose a good man in the never-ending war against the evil conspiracy, but I can't think of a better woman to lose a man to. You're alright, Hanako." Hanako was speechless and gave Kenji a kiss on the forehead. He turned deep red. Yup, he's got a crush alright. I didn't think it was possible that Kenji would have a soft spot for any woman. You said he liked Hanako. You were right.
This year Yamaku is having costume dress-up for October 31st. Halloween isn't really that big in Japan, but this year the school decided to have a costume day. Hanako said she is making a costume for a video game character from 2000. She won't tell me anything more. All I know is that she started with a dark blue pinafore. Alice in Wonderland? I guess I'll have to wait until October 31st to see it.
Have you recovered from my engagement announcement? I haven't told my parents yet. Heaven help me!
I'm now at my boarding school. First thing, I was called into the school nurse's office and handed my prescription for Paxil. I was about to kick up a fuss, and then the question of "What would Shizune do?" popped into my head. Shizune would quietly take the bottle without any fuss at all, as if it were the most routine thing in the world. Then she would take it into her room. No, she wouldn't dump the entire bottle down a toilet like I stupidly would do. She'd keep the bottle in her room with the correct number of pills in it at all times. Every morning, she'd flush the prescribed number of pills down the toilet so that if the nurse ever came into the room and counted the pills, the correct number of pills would be in the bottle. So guess what I'm going to do? Heh, heh, heh, ...thank you, Shizune.
The cafeteria at the boarding school has some vegetarian selections that will likely be my salvation. Two items, rice covered with lentil stew and spaghetti with tomato-basil sauce, are available every day. My first time through I got something that sounded really good but was awful. I got baked fish with rice and steamed vegetables. The baked fish was served swimming in melted butter which soaked into the rice. The steamed vegetables were also soaked in butter. Gag! The rice with lentil stew was much better. It's not Japanese food, but it'll have to do. There's a Korean diner located down the street from the school. It's not popular with the students, but I suspect it'll become my favorite place to escape the cafeteria. Have you ever eaten in a Korean place? Korean food is known for the wide variety of pickled vegetable dishes called kimchi that are served with every meal. I hope the proprietor doesn't harbor any grudges against Japanese people. Koreans have long memories about what Japan did to Korea when it was a Japanese colony.
So Akira took a cell phone photo of me and emailed it to you? Thanks a lot, Sis. Are you actually telling me I look better with five additional kilos? Are you sure you're Japanese? I'm okay with having cheeks. That doesn't bother me. I actually rather like it. The more prominent bust you mentioned disturbed me, however. I've gone up a cup size. That I don't like. It was prominent enough, before. When I change bras, I can feel the increased size of my chest. Not good. It pops into my head that I'm turning into Dolly Parton. Oh, fuck! If I stand in the wrong spot, I'm going to have legally blind kids hanging their coats and hats on my tits.
Meanwhile my father has been parading me and my prominent bust around in front of a bunch of middle-aged bachelors whose sole virtue is that they have good-paying jobs. Money buys everything, it seems. Including a tall, busty, blond-haired wife. Guess what, Dad. Fuck you. I'm not for sale.
Akira and I got our vibrators. Jessica Rabbit vibrators from the company that invented the "rabbit-type" vibrator. Hallelujah! Who needs men? I just put "Flight of the Bumble Bee" on my CD player and buzz my bush to my heart's content. Oh, yeah… The rabbit vibrator will be the end of the human species. Don't worry about electrocution: vibrators are cordless.
I'm thrilled about your engagement to Hanako. Now I can stop feeling guilty about snatching you out of her hands at the last moment. I did, didn't I? I didn't do it on purpose. It just happened. I really felt guilty about it. Hanako is such a sweetheart that she never complained or gave any hint that she was hurt. First boy she likes and I take him away from her. I've been hoping ever since I arrived in Scotland that something would happen between you two. I feel like the universe has corrected a wrong.
The outfit that Hanako is making sounds like a cosplay for the video game American McGee's Alice. It was a cult hit video game from 2000. I've heard of it and heard people playing it. The background music is incredible. Hanako will make a really badass "Dark Alice." Hanako and the video game character share a strange coincidence: both are orphans who lost both parents in a house fire. The house fire plays a major role in the video game: there's a boss fight which takes place in a burning house. Wish I could see her in the outfit. Look up "cosplay" and "American McGee's Alice" on Wikipedia.
Akira had her first date here in Scotland. The guy works in historic masonry restoration. He's part of a small family-owned business. According to Akira, Dad did a face-plant when he found out she went out with a guy who works with his hands. Oh, the shame! The family honor is tarnished. Dad will never be able to show his face in public again. Excuse me while I go rip off a kimchi fart.
I told Misha and Shizune about your Paxil trick and they both loved it. Shizune signed that you're finally starting to use your brains. Hanako and I have started taking signing lessons after school so that we won't have to rely on Misha all the time to interpret for Shizune. It will also spare Misha having to hang around in the chess club when she has nothing to do. Misha doesn't play chess.
Hanako's "Dark Alice" costume was quite a hit at the school's Halloween festival. As Hanako anticipated, a lot of people who didn't know her mistook her scars for makeup. It was the first time I've ever seen Hanako able to walk around a bunch of strangers without anyone giving her "the stare." She was the scariest looking of all the girls at the festival and appeared to be photographed by strangers more than anyone else. Her outfit was a faded and partially discolored dark blue with a blood-spattered white apron and a large hunting knife - fake, of course - strapped to her hip. Shizune put on a blond wig and came dressed as Disney's Alice and Hanako and Shizune made a show of the two Alices engaged in a staring match. Misha came dressed as the video game character most suited to her body: Lara Croft. She made a very cute, but rather chubby-looking Lara. Me? Well, I did go with Hanako, so I dressed as the Cheshire Cat. Tim Burton-style. The Cheshire Cat was the only good thing about Tim Burton's version of Alice in Wonderland. People kept stepping on my tail.
Akira is dating a guy who works with his hands? Nothing wrong with that. Restoring the masonry on old buildings sounds interesting. I wonder how many castles he's worked on.
You asked me if I was sure that I was Japanese. Just because I said you looked better a little heavier? Yes, I'm sure I'm Japanese. I just don't much fancy the skinny stick look. The girls at Yamaku are the skinniest bunch of girls overall I've ever seen anywhere. You should have seen the girls at my public high school. Misha is the only girl student in Yamaku who looks faintly chubby. At my public high school, Misha would have been perfectly average-sized and would not have stood out. Actually she would have stood out at my high school. She would have been the prettiest girl there. Ditto for Shizune, Miki, Emi, and a host of other girls at Yamaku. Yes, you too, Lilly. At my public high school, you would have been the prettiest girl there - by far. You were the prettiest girl at Yamaku. I'm not sure if you knew that. I'm surprised that Yamaku tolerates girls having long hair and wearing small amounts of makeup. At my public high school, Hanako's long hair would have been shorn off by a teacher for sure. Teachers in the public schools can be shockingly arbitrary and cruel. I don't miss my public high school at all anymore.
You mentioned that you believe you snatched me out of Hanako's hands at the last moment. I thought about that, and I think you may be right. I was afraid to seem too interested in Hanako for fear that she would think I was playing a cruel prank on her. I know that there were several boys at her junior high school who pretended to be interested in her only to turn on her the instant she reciprocated any interest. I don't blame Hanako for being skittish around me. I've heard from several sources - all girls - just how badly Hanako was treated in junior high school. The information probably all came from you. I dread to think what a nightmare elementary school was for Hanako after the accident. I was trying to get Hanako to be comfortable around me when you just dropped out of the sky into my lap. I wasn't expecting it at all. You caught me off balance, off guard, and wanting to be nice. I just always assumed that you already had a boyfriend. I knew that Hanako was available. I sometimes wonder if I'm the only boy in Yamaku who can see beauty in Hanako's face even with all the scarring. I actually do think that she is beautiful. I hardly see the scars anymore. Her hair is stunning beyond belief. It feels like silk. Her eyes are these large, dark pools that reflect everything. She has a cute, pert, little nose that was not touched by the fire. Her lips are full, plump, and naturally rose-pink. She doesn't need lipstick. Am I nuts? And that baby face with such full rosy cheeks. If the fire had left her face untouched, Hanako would have been the prettiest girl at Yamaku. She's still a beauty even with all those scars. You touched her face once. I know you did because Hanako told me. You know what I'm talking about. I'll bet you thought she was beautiful, too.
Shizune has some advice for you on what to do with a date arranged by your father. First, have a Braille copy of "The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan with the English language title prominently displayed lying around where your date is sure to see it. Have a Braille copy of "The Idiot's Guide to Cooking" also lying around where Mr. Arranged Date is also sure to see it. Practice a horse laugh. Have one dress so tight it shows off any bulges you've got. Wear it on your date. If you split the dress after eating, that's a big plus. Talk endlessly about previous boyfriends and dates. Complain about what assholes they all were. Look off into space to make it clear that you're not listening when he's talking. Look bored. Yawn a lot. Big, gaping, cavernous yawns right in his face. Open your mouth as wide as possible so that it looks like a mine shaft. Insist on using public transportation to a restaurant that you picked out. Tell him that you don't get into cars with dates because you insist on being able to find your way home. If all else fails, there's the nuclear option: pick your nose.
Hanako made a mysterious trip to the hospital this last Saturday morning. She had an excuse from the school nurse. Shizune and Misha went with her. She didn't tell me what it was about, but when we met at the park for our weekend date, she didn't want me to touch her right arm or the back of her right hand. The back of her right hand looked a bit odd. It's hard to describe. Hanako doesn't want to tell me about what the hospital is doing to her just yet. She said she's been through this sort of thing before and doesn't want to get her hopes up. She said I can go with her on her next trip. She has to travel to the hospital every third Saturday morning from now until the end of the school year.
Misha got pissed off at Shizune signing faster than she could translate at a chess club meeting and found a unique way to shut Shizune up. She gave Shizune a big, wet, sloppy kiss right on the lips. Shizune didn't sign anything for the rest of the chess club meeting. I don't think I've ever seen Misha look so happy.
Very considerate of you and Hanako to take sign language lessons to accommodate Shizune. I would have taken sign language lessons myself for Shizune except for that obvious one little problem. Sometimes I wonder if the reason why we can't seem to get along is really the near total impossiblity for us to communicate directly with each other. Before Misha came along we were unable to say anything to each other. Misha was a godsend. Would you believe that I miss that loud, annoying laugh of hers? Never forget that Misha is a separate person from Shizune. If you ever manage to get Misha alone, you will quickly find her much more amiable than Shizune. She really is a sweet girl. You, of course, already know why she doesn't have a boyfriend. Did you ever realize that after learning to sign, you and Hanako can have nearly private conversations in the middle of a crowd?
Everyone seems to assume that I already have a boyfriend. I'll probably die a never-married old maid whom everyone assumes has had more husbands than Liz Taylor.
No pressures of arranged dates since I arrived at school. What a relief to get away from my family. Akira drops by occasionally on a Sunday. She takes me out to eat in Edinburgh. Akira was shocked at how many homeless people there are in Scotland's capital. Akira says that they're everywhere. Being blind can, at times I suppose, be a blessing of sorts. I don't see all the homeless people lying around like litter. How can any country that claims to be developed and civilized just leave people out in the streets like feral cats? Japan is bad, too, you know. Have you ever seen all the homeless people in Tokyo's subways?
Akira is still dating the guy that does masonry restoration. I asked her if she was dating him because she liked him, or was she dating him just to piss off Dad? Akira said both. She's visited him a few times at his worksites just to see what he does. It gives Akira an excuse to wander around on castle estates. When Akira talks about what he does, I detect a note of envy in her voice. Perhaps she thinks it would be wonderful to work outdoors instead of being stuck in an office all the time. When the weather is good, being outdoors sounds wonderful. When it's cold and wet, though, I'll take the comfort of the office. You already know that I'm not really the outdoor type. I do miss the smells of Yamaku's outdoor campus. The Royal Blind School's campus is in the city and lacks that "green leaves and flowers" smell. You are in Paradise right now. Enjoy it as much as you can while it lasts.
So Misha finally kissed Shizune? She's been wanting to do that for a long time. Bravo!
Has Shizune ever invited you to her house? I have some very important advice for you. Don't go! Shizune's father is absolutely insane. My father is a complete jackass. Shizune's father is 100 times worse. He is such an ass that at first you will think it's all a prank. Gradually you realize that his nonstop insults are not a prank. Most people, at that moment, find an excuse to go to their rooms, pack their suitcase, and escape via the window to the public park near Shizune's house. If you do ignore my advice and accept an invitation to Shizune's house, pack light. Pack very light. If you do ever meet Shizune's father, it will explain a lot about Shizune's behavior. It's not all her fault. Try to remember that. Shizune's father thinks that Shizune is mute only because she's a lazy slacker who won't make the effort. He never seems to have realized that Shizune is unable to hear anything. What an amazing asshole! Nothing she does is good enough for him.
Would you believe that Scotland's schools are so bad that there are people with non-disabled kids who want to get their children into the Royal Blind School? I think it's to get their kids away from the bullying which is such an epidemic in British schools in general. The Royal Blind School isn't as idyllic as Yamaku, but it's okay.
I wish I could have seen Hanako in her "Dark Alice" costume and Shizune in her Disney Alice outfit. Being unable to look at photographs is one of the worst things about being blind. I know that Disney's Alice is supposed to be an elementary school-age girl. Maybe around nine? So what did Shizune do with that "rack" on her chest? Oh, yes. I know about Shizune's "rack." It's famous. Did she tie it down?
Tie me boobs down, sport.
Tie me boobs down.
Tie me boobs down, sport.
Tie me boobs down.
Shizune should have gone as Bayonetta.
Akira put "new treatments for old burn scars" into Google to find out what Hanako might be doing at the hospital and came up with something called a "Lumenis Laser." According to news articles we found, this treatment actually works. It won't restore a burn victim's skin to normal, but it will make a dramatic improvement. It also restores some elasticity to the skin. The treatment is not just cosmetic. It was originally used for severe acne scarring. There might be hope for Hanako yet. Is Hanako being treated for free? Thank God she's not American! If the scarring on Hanako's face can be lessened, I foresee some unexpected psychological issues. Hanako will have it proven to her in dramatic fashion that people treated her differently because of the scars. Hanako may explode in anger if some boy at Yamaku who has been shunning her - just about all of them - doesn't recognize her and flirts with her. Don't let Hanako cut the bangs that cover half her face. It's important that Hanako continue to remain recognizable. No new clothes. No change in hairstyles. Yes, I know I sound like Hanako's mother, right now, but I know her better than anyone. Trust me on this. Hanako being treated better by people because she looks more normal will be a psychological problem for her. That said, I'm hoping against hope that whatever the hospital is doing to Hanako works. I pray for the day that she won't feel the need to cover half her face. You may end up with some adjusting to do, as well. Don't stare whatever you do. Don't make a fuss over how much better she looks. You'll make her feel even worse about how she looked before. Simply treat her the same as you have been treating her. And kiss her. Often. You clueless putz.
I suppose I should thank you - or may Akira? - for calling me a "clueless putz." I thought about it a lot. I've always been hesitant with being too affectionate towards Hanako for fear of going too far. We were engaged, but not married. I didn't trust my hormones. She has changed her clothing in front of me, and I got all light-headed and excited just at the sight of her in bra and panties. It seems my "other head" was not the least put off at the sight of scars covering nearly half her body. Hanako has the silhouette of a model, or at least what models were back in the age when they actually had a shape. Hanako is thin, but it's a healthy-looking sort of thin. She has curves where they're supposed to be. She has just a tiny bit of jiggle in the chest and backside. My hormones go fuck-all wild when they see part of her jiggle the least little bit. I was afraid that I would not be able to restrain myself. So I tried to be reserved in my dealings with her. It turns out that, as usual, you are right. I was too restrained. I did not show enough affection. I've been trying to be more affectionate since I saw your last letter, and Hanako has let it slip that for awhile, she had thought that I had lost interest in her. She said she was actually considering giving me my engagement ring back. Lilly, it was you who convinced me to propose to Hanako, and now it was you who saved our engagement. All the way from Scotland, you're like the fairy godmother in Cinderella who has a knack for showing up when most needed.
I realized that the best solution is to remove the reason for my fear of going too far. I asked Hanako to get a certified copy of her family register and I asked my parents to get a certified copy of my family register. Hanako didn't know where to begin, but the Nurse once again proved just how useful he could be. He was able to get the certified family register for Hanako. I got my certified family registry from my parents in the mail a few days ago. You can bet that they were very curious as to why I wanted it. I'll bet Akira knows if you don't. Your parents both certainly know. I downloaded a marriage application from the city website and took it to Hanako's dorm room for us to fill out. You should have seen her face when she realized what the form was. She knocked me out of the chair onto the floor. Lots of kisses. Lots of tears. I told her let's wait until after we're married to break her dorm bed.
We went down to the city office immediately after classes on a Saturday to file the application. I was worried that they might not be open, but they were. Hanako and I both received a certificate of registration for the marriage which we took to the Nurse. There we got Hanako fixed up with an IUD since we didn't want to take any chances of Hanako's education being interrupted. The Nurse thought we were wise to insist on using two methods of birth control simultaneously. He gave me a paper sack with a whole gross of condoms and winked as he said, "See you next week, I've got plenty more." It was sad to see Hanako listed in her family register at the city office as the only remaining living member of her immediate family. I wondered why one of her aunts or uncles didn't adopt her. "No one wanted to assume responsibility for the medical bills of a severely burned child. My insurance didn't cover 100% of the cost." I nearly choked when I heard that. Money? You mean to tell me that Hanako was dumped in an orphanage because of financial concerns? An eight-year-old child was abandoned for financial reasons? I am sick.
Hanako and I have moved into one of Yamaku's five dormitories for married students. It seems that we are currently the only married couple attending Yamaku. The dormitories for married students are in the same building as the Nurse's office. You should see the married student dorms. They're palaces compared to the regular dorms. Almost three times as much space. Built-in bookcase. Large closet. Two desks, a table, and four chairs. Double bed. Attached bathroom. No more having to go down the hall to take a leak or a shower. The walls are wood paneling. The entire dorm has an antiquated look. Thick, heavy lined curtains that no one could ever see through. Hanako and I were given one of the two dorm rooms at the corner of the building so that there are two windows. We can open both windows and have a bit of breeze in the room. There are screens on the windows to keep bugs out. We are in paradise. There are a total of five dorms for married students. No additional cost for the married student dorm. The rent is precisely double the rent for a single dorm. Since Hanako and I have both moved out of our single dorms, our school bills remain the same. The orphanage pays Hanako's school bills. I wonder if they'll try to make me responsible for her school bills now that we're legally married. We're keeping quiet about this.
Graduation is only about three and a half months away. My parents are going to have a heart attack: I never told them about my engagement. "Hi, folks! Meet my wife!" Thunk!
After what you've read above, you might think that the rest of this letter will have no interest. Don't toss it aside yet. The entire chess club went to a karaoke bar one weekend. That's Hanako, Shizune, Misha, and me. Well, Misha isn't really a member of the chess club, but she shows up. We weren't wearing school uniforms. Hanako wore that dark blue vest and pants outfit with the cap that she wore when we played pool. Misha wore a tight, body-hugging dress that Hanako and I call her Marilyn Monroe dress. The dress makes Misha look chubby, but it really shows off the curves she's got. They are spectacular. Misha was constantly getting hit on by older men. Shizune was dressed like an office worker. I was wearing the kind of shirt and pants that you expect college boys to wear. We all looked old enough to drink, and nobody questioned it when Shizune was the first of us bold enough to order alcohol. Shizune bought booze for all of us. Needless to say, all of us got just a wee bit tipsy. Misha wobbled up to the mike, took the mike off the stand, and proceeded to serenade Shizune with the Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There." Here's most of the lyrics:
Well, she was just 17,
You know what I mean,
And the way she looked was way beyond compare.
So how could I dance with another (ooh)
When I saw her standin' there.
Well she looked at me, and I, I could see
That before too long I'd fall in love with her.
She wouldn't dance with another (whooh)
When I saw her standin' there.
Well, my heart went "boom,"
When I crossed that room,
And I held her hand in mine...
Well, we danced through the night,
And we held each other tight,
And before too long I fell in love with her.
Now, I'll never dance with another (whooh)
When I saw her standing there
I thought Shizune was going to die of embarrassment. Misha obviously knew the lyrics by heart and never glanced once at the computer display for the words. Had she planned this in advance? Misha has an incredible singing voice: loud, booming, and sultry. Reminds me of Ann Wilson of Heart. Ever heard of her? After the serenade, Misha tried to get Shizune up to dance with her, but Shizune signed furiously and refused to get up. I whispered into Hanako's ear and she assented. I danced with Misha. She seemed to need someone to dance with. After I got through with Misha, of course, I danced with Hanako. Misha and Shizune just sat there and stared at each other drinking one Long Island Iced Tea after another until Misha nearly toppled from her chair. I never thought that Shizune would be able to drink Misha under the table when you consider the weight difference between the two. When Misha nearly toppled over, Shizune pointed to the door and we all understood. It was time to leave. Hanako and I took Misha to her dorm. Poor Misha. What torture it must be to be so close to one's heart's desire and yet always be at arm's length. I wonder if I'm Shizune's heart's desire? I hope I don't do to her what she does to Misha.
Hanako finally lost her temper. We were in a big western chain bookstore in the city on a Friday night, and it appeared that there might be just one employee in the entire store. It was about eight o'clock when the crowds on the sidewalk start to thin. The customers, except for Hanako and me, all appeared to be waiting in line in front of the cash register. It looked like there were about fifteen people or couples waiting in line. The line was moving really slowly. Hanako and I decided against buying anything because we didn't want to wait in the long line. We both did what we always do in a store just before we start the walk back to Yamaku. We went to the bathrooms. "Obtain key from cashier." The bathrooms were locked. Deadbolts. No using the student ID card trick. Hanako looked at the line at the cash register and whispered, "I'll end up shooting it down my leg before I get to the cash register." We decided against walking up to the cashier and asking for the key without waiting in the line. We figured this might cause a problem with some of the people waiting in line. Hanako looked at me with this evil grin on her face. "What would Shizune do?" she whispered to me. Then she took off her jacket and threw it up over the closed circuit TV camera watching the restrooms. She covered the camera on her first shot. She pulled over a garbage can into the alcove in front of the bathrooms. I peeked behind the door labeled "Employees Only" and there was no one. All clear. Hanako removed her shoes and slid her panties down which she handed to me. "I'm your wife, remember?" I held the panties and tried not to grimace. Hanako squatted over the garbage can - it was empty - and nailed it with perfect aim. I handed Hanako back her panties which she slid back up. She put her shoes back on and then it was my turn. It's so nice to be equipped for point and shoot. Hanako started to pull her jacket back down, and then stopped. She looked at the garbage can for a moment. She looked around for other closed-circuit TV cameras. There were two near the cash registers and one near the unmanned coffee shop. We knew that they were too far away to record us over near the restrooms. Hanako threw the contents of the garbage can on the "Employees Only" door. We watched the pee run down the door and form a wet spot on the cheap carpet. "Let's get the hell out of here!" whispered Hanako as she snatched down her jacket and we walked swiftly past the cash register and out the door. I sure am glad I married this girl.
So you and Hanako are married now? Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that you two would get married while still in high school. I'm certainly glad it happened, though. Now I can quit worrying about whether or not it would happen. I thought that the best case scenario was you two getting married after graduating from college. I thought for sure that you two would drift apart after high school graduation as everyone seems to. I also thought that you two drifting apart would be a catastrophe for Hanako. I have good reason to think that. Being separated from Hanako has been a catastrophe for me. I still have dreams about her. Did you know that Hanako sometimes slept in my bed with her head on my shoulder? I still miss that.
Have you told your parents yet that you're married? Any plans for a formal ceremony? Are are you keeping things as quiet as possible for now? You know that you two being married won't stay secret for long at Yamaku.
Your story of Hanako losing her temper in a bookstore and peeing in a garbage can had Akira and me both doubled over in laughter. Very uncharacteristic of Hanako to do such a thing. I guess she had to go really badly. I'm not sure what I would have done if I had been in the same situation. If it had been Akira, I know for sure what she would have done: Akira would have cut line and demanded the keys immediately. "Give me the keys now if you don't want a wet spot on your carpet!" Akira would have ignored all the people waiting in line and would have felt no guilt for not waiting. Any business that keeps their bathrooms locked deserves to go out of business.
Misha serenading Shizune in a karaoke bar sounded hilarious. Pity that Shizune didn't have enough of a sense of humor to go along with it and dance with Misha afterwards. Did you or Hanako let Shizune know what Misha was singing? Was there a computer screen up for the patrons to see the lyrics as well as the singer? I'm hoping that you or Hanako will beg Shizune to have a little mercy on Misha. Shizune doesn't have to have lesbian sex with Misha to give her a precious memory. Just a hug and a kiss on the forehead would go a long way. I did the same with Hanako. I'm not a lesbian. I even slept in the same bed with Hanako. Ask Shizune if she can't bend just a little for the best friend she's ever had or probably will have in her entire life.
I'm home for Christmas. Akira wasted no time sticking me on a scales. I was dreading it. I gained two kilos. Could have been worse. If I had been living at home with my parents, I'd be needing those Japanese size 17 dresses that Akira bought me already. Gaaaaaaahhhh! I'm going to end up as big as my mother. Would you have still fallen in love with me if I had been a chubby thing at Yamaku?
My father wasted no time in arranging a date for me. I got rid of the middle-aged salaryman by insisting on choosing the restaurant and telling him that I'd meet him there. I told him that I insist on traveling there myself via public transportation so that I can find my own way home if I have to. He had a snit fit over my lack of trust and said there would be no date if I was not willing to travel in his car. "Suit yourself!" I said as I walked away. Dad was pissed. Too bad. Me and my rack are not for sale.
Akira has gotten engaged. She says it's for love, but I think she just wants to piss off Dad. It's the guy who works in masonry restoration. Akira says she wore a bikini in front of him and he still wanted her. She was impressed that he saw her flat-as-an-ironing-board chest and wasn't turned off. Akira says she'd trade bodies with me in an instant. I think she's lying.
Are you exercising like the Nurse ordered you to? I remember he even once set you up with a possible running partner. Emi the track star, wasn't it? I remember Emi. Everybody talked about how cute she is. Hanako would have hated that. Wouldn't you, Hanako? Hanako, I wish you could realize that you're cute, yourself. If you weren't, would Kenji have had that big crush on you? He's not completely blind. I remember I almost felt sorry for him when you rejected him. Then he started ranting about the international feminist conspiracy and all my pity disappeared. Hisao, if you started swimming at the pool, you might be able to get Hanako to swim laps with you. It's mostly girls who use the pool, and a lot of them have already seen Hanako in the showers. I don't think any of the girls would stare.
You didn't mention Hanako's laser treatments in your last letter. Are they going well? Are they going to do her face eventually? All for now: I have Christmas presents to wrap. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. My family is Catholic. Did you know that?
Shizune has notified Hanako of the trust fund that Akira set up for her to pay for her college education. She notified Hanako just before she left to go home for Winter Break. Hanako - and I - were both speechless at this. We were both worrying about what Hanako would do after she graduated from Yamaku. I'm sure you know that her support from the orphanage ends after high school graduation. After that, she is officially on her own. The odds of a high school graduate finding a job that pays a living wage is about equal to the chances of winning a lottery. It just doesn't happen. Hanako has never spoken about what she planned to do after graduation. I'm afraid to ask her. I was prepared to ask my parents if Hanako could live with them until I graduated from college if there was no other option. I'm not sure how they would respond. I can imagine them telling me that it was irresponsible of me to get married before I was financially self-supporting. If I had waited until I had graduated and found a job to propose to Hanako, you know very well what the three likely situations were: she'd be another homeless young adult living in the Tokyo subway, she'd be married to the first guy who asked, or she'd be dead by suicide. Of the three options, given Hanako's personality, I think we both know which of the three possibilities would be the most likely. Hanako and I are both profoundly grateful. Akira's gift may have saved Hanako's life.
My parents don't know of my marriage to Hanako. They don't even know that we were engaged. Now that Hanako's future is ensured by Akira's gift, my parents won't have to know. Hanako and I can plan for a formal ceremony after we both graduate from a university. By that time I hope my parents will be more accepting of her. I'm even wondering if they would recognize her after laser treatments on her face. Would they recognize Hanako as the girl they said would be a social liability and career impediment? Even more puzzling: should I tell them who Hanako is if they fail to recognize her? All these what-ifs are making my head spin.
Both Hanako and I have applied to the same university as a married couple. Hanako wants to enroll in the nursing program. I want to enroll in the chemistry program with a specialization in water treatment plant laboratory technician. Mutou would probably like this. Might make him feel that he actually accomplished something. Keep your fingers crossed for both of us. This university is actually more of a technical school than a university, so perhaps they won't be as picky as a traditional university. Neither Hanako nor I has any interest in becoming a corporate drone. No offense, Akira, but we'd both rather die than do what you do. Then again, it's your high-wage corporate job that is making possible our escape from the corporate world. I hope some day you can escape, too, Akira. If anybody deserves an escape from corporate hell, it's you.
Hanako has had her third laser treatment, and all is going well. Her right arm and hand, which received the first treatment, are now a uniform pale red where the scars were. The mottled appearance of the scar tissue is completely gone. The skin is now fairly smooth and has even regained some elasticity. The tight and shiny look of some places is gone. Hanako says she doesn't have any irritation from tightness of the skin on her right arm and back of her right hand any more. The difference is astounding. The laser-treated skin now looks like a faint port-wine stain. To me it's a miracle. You've seen the news articles, so you know how the process works. Hanako wants to wait to see how all the other areas of her body react to the laser treatments before she agrees to have her face done. She has also expressed some fear at having the lasers so close to her right eye.
Hanako has been swimming laps at the pool with me for awhile. At first, she was quite reluctant to wear a bikini, but that fear seems to have worn off with more than a few of the girls at the pool expressing some envy of her slim but moderately curvaceous figure. We see Miki at the pool every now and then. You ought to see Miki in a bikini. Eyepopping. Sometimes Hanako waves her hands in my face when Miki's around. "Yoo-hoo! Hey! Remember me?" I know just how to handle it. Every time she does it I kiss her on the lips no matter how many people are looking. I'm getting good at this kissing thing.
Lilly, if you had been chubby when I met you, I still would have loved you. Heck, I probably would have been turned on even more. What you regard as chubby is precisely what Misha is. I think Misha is the prettiest girl in Yamaku now that you're gone. I wouldn't have minded at all. No, I'm not a "chubby-chaser." Look at who I married. I guess I'm just a sucker for baby-faced girls.
Before I forget, Hanako and I would both like to thank you for the two Drueke number 64 chessboards. Those are the most spectacular chessboards we have ever seen. I've never even seen an antique chessboard that beautiful. Neither one of us has chess pieces that fit the squares, so we just take the boards and our chess clocks to the chess club and someone else provides the pieces. We'll buy some Lardy of France pieces in the future to fit the boards.
Your family is Catholic? I didn't know that. My family is Catholic, too. Your family might have liked me after all.
Akira had a very good reason for setting up a trust fund for Hanako. When our parents ordered her to sell the summer house and her car, they didn't tell her what to do with the money. Akira didn't need the money and sure as hell didn't want to merge it into any family checking accounts. She believes that the current economic system of the entire world is an abomination. A sin against God. She truly believes that part that a camel can sooner go through the eye of a needle than a rich person could ever hope to enter Heaven. So she gave the money away. She couldn't think of anyone she knew personally more deserving than Hanako. She was worried that Hanako would jump off a bridge after graduation if she found herself without a place to live. Akira saw the money as a hot potato that she had to get rid of. You've met her. You know how she acts. Akira has the soul of Robin Hood. You ought to hear her rage against what Prime Minister Cameron is doing to Great Britain. The more I think about it, the more I agree with Akira's view of the world.
Akira was delighted when she heard that Hanako wanted to be a nurse. I wouldn't be surprised if she were that rare individual who is willing to work in a burn unit. Patients in those burn units could see with their own eyes proof that life does not end after being burned. Most nurses do everything possible to avoid assignments to burn wards. It is reputed to be incredibly depressing. I've never seen a burn ward, of course. You know why. Akira has and described it to me. She had to know what Hanako had gone through. She was profoundly shaken by the experience.
I'm impressed at your choice of working toward certification as a water lab technician. That is truly a rare career choice in Japan. You won't get rich, but you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that the work you do is of benefit to large numbers of people. Corporate drones often make their living knowingly and deliberately doing harm to people. They must hate mirrors.
Have you received any news on your and Hanako's joint university application? What do your parents think of your pursuit of a chemistry degree?
Thank you for your Christmas presents. The Braille books were a very thoughtful choice. I didn't have any copies of the books you bought me. I especially appreciated the copy of "The Divine Comedy" by Dante.
How are the students at Yamaku reacting to you and Hanako being married? I think you'll be lucky if your secret lasts 48 hours. Once Misha finds out, the whole school will know within three hours. How is married life suiting you? Does Hanako like to sleep with her head buried within your shoulder? Sooner or later she will call you "Lilly" in her sleep. You do realize that you've taken my place with her? Hanako doesn't know it, but she once called me "Mom" in her sleep. It only happened once, but I'll never forget it. That was when I realized that I loved Hanako as if she were my own child.
Hanako wearing a bikini at the pool? She's gotten a lot bolder since I left. The Hanako I knew would never have worn a bikini. I don't think she ever would have considered going swimming. It might be amusing if she ever catches a boy staring at her: "I was staring at your boobs, I swear!"
I'm glad - and relieved - to hear that Hanako's laser treatments are going well. I look forward to the day when Hanako cuts the bangs covering half her face.
Hanako and I were both accepted by the same university. Hanako is enrolled in the nursing program. I'm enrolled in the chemistry program. We'll be sharing a dorm room designed for married students. Shizune released payment from the trust fund for Hanako's first semester. My parents paid for my first semester. I was briefly worried over how the "room and board" item would appear on the bill. There was no mention that the "room" part was half of a married student dorm. My parents still don't know. They don't need to know. Eventually Hanako and I will have to deal with this when my parents inevitably come to visit. We haven't decided what to do yet.
All the students in Yamaku already know that Hanako and I are married. They also know that there has been no formal ceremony as yet. Nobody blames us for not having a formal ceremony yet. The most common comment has been, "My parents would kill me if I got married in high school!" It was Kenji who blabbed. I told him that I was moving to another dorm because it was pretty much impossible not to tell him. I showed him the new dorm room, and he figured out that it was a married student dorm. Ah, well. I'm not mad at him. He's crazy. He can't help that he's crazy.
Misha came to see our new dorm and noticed the full-length mirror on a wall. She stood in front of it and then turned around. She grimaced and then announced that she was giving up parfaits. "Good grief! Look how fat my ass is!" she said to Hanako. Hanako just smiled, but I didn't have the good sense to keep my idiot trap shut. No, I just had to be Mr. Sensitive. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!
"I like your fat ass. You're the most voluptuous-looking girl in Yamaku." You should have seen Misha's mouth drop open. Oops!
"Well, you're not supposed to agree with me!" she wailed. Hanako rescued me.
"Hisao is a pervert," said Hanako. "He goes crazy every time he sees part of me jiggle the least little bit. Just ignore him." Thanks, Hanako. Tell the whole world about my "jiggle fetish."
Hanako has already called me "Lilly" in her sleep. It has only happened once, so far. I suspect it will be a regular occurrence. I didn't wake her up. I'm not offended. I'm astounded at how child-like she looks when she's asleep. Sometimes she clutches at the covers like she's hanging on to a teddy bear. Every time I see her in that pink nightgown, I fall in love again.
Hanako's next laser treatment is for her face. Everything has gone well so far. In all the other areas, she has recovered enough elasticity in the skin that she could do things like play tennis or even run track without discomfort from tight skin. It really seems like a miracle. Her scars are now all smooth and have faded to a uniform faint red. Only her face remains to be treated. Hanako is nervous about the prospect of having the laser so close to her right eye. She'll be wearing a shield over her eyes when the doctors use the laser on her face. The Friday night before the treatment on her face, Shizune and Misha are taking Hanako and me to that jazz bar that you might remember for a little alcohol. It's a mystery to me why we're legally supposed to be 20 to drink. Enforcement sure seems lax, though. Shizune can pass for 25 easily. Something about that stern face of hers.
We're only about three weeks away from graduation and there's an atmosphere of panic at Yamaku among the seniors. We are now all keenly aware that our sojourn in paradise is about to come to an end. There are exams to panic about. There are university applications to panic about. For those whose parents can't afford a university education for them, there is the realization that they are about to get thrown to the wolves of a merciless job market in which the chances of a high school graduate finding a job that pays enough to scrape by is about equal to the odds of winning a lottery. I have suddenly realized that, for those of us lucky enough to have affluent families, going to university is actually a way of extending childhood for another few years.
There has already been a stress-related suicide at Yamaku in the senior class. The fat kid in the back row of my class jumped off a bridge. He was always sleeping in class. It was like he had already given up on life. He was an orphan, like Hanako, and was about to age out of the system. The only thing I knew about him was that he walked with a limp.
All for now. Going to the Shanghai with Hanako.
You and Hanako both being accepted at the same university is really good news! Have either of you started to get on the other's nerves? Hanako is so quiet, timid, and inoffensive that I have a hard time imagining that she could annoy anyone. You, on the other hand, Mr. Clueless, give me great concern. I know you mean well, but when you and I were together, I cut you an ocean of slack! Girls are to you what math is to me: a complete mystery. In some ways, you remind me of Hanako. You're actually quite timid yourself: always worrying about what other people will think. I think you two are the most perfect match I know of. I think I know when Hanako fell in love with you: after only about a month of eating lunch with us in that tiny room. Over tea and games of chess, love blossomed. Only my blindness prevented me from seeing it. If I had had the least little bit of sight, I would have known to leave you for her.
You told Misha you liked her fat ass? Oh, my. Never agree with a girl when she says her ass is fat or getting fat. NEVER! Don't say anything at all. No matter what you say after a girl mentions the F-word, it will be wrong. If it's your wife or girlfriend, just kiss her. Grab her and kiss her. Put your hand on her ass while you're kissing her and make it clear you're enjoying yourself. If she's not your girlfriend or wife, ah, hell, you're screwed. I actually know that most guys like for a girl to have a little meat on the backside. That's why I'm not worrying that my backside has caught up with my chest. Most girls, however, think that a bit of jiggle in the backfield makes them disgusting. Poor things don't know that most guys are perverts with a jiggle fetish.
The drinking age in Scotland is 18 in bars and 16 in restaurants for wine, beer, and cider. That's right. Two sixteen-year-olds on a date in Scotland can order wine with their meal in a restaurant. No adult necessary. I get wine with a meal every time I go out with Akira. She says I'm turning into a lush. I only drink wine with restaurant meals. It's too fattening to drink with every meal like the French do. I'd like to avoid looking like my mother for as long as possible. Akira says our mother is built like Oprah Winfrey. I hate my genes.
In the West, I don't think four years in a university are viewed as an extension of childhood. There is such pressure to perform here in order to get a decent job that I think very few actually enjoy their studies. It seems to be perceived more as a grim obstacle course with a decent job being the prize at the end of the road. Fewer and fewer people are landing the prize anymore in Great Britain. It's amazing how many waiters, waitresses, and bartenders in this country have university degrees. Akira says it's even more amazing that this country hasn't had a violent revolution. What people vote for and what people get are two different things. I'm inclined not to bother with elections, but Akira wants to drag me to the polls to vote for the "Official Monster Raving Loony Party." Would you believe that's an actual political organization in Great Britain? Look up "Screaming Lord Sutch" in Wikipedia.
I think you should buy Hanako a teddy bear. Tell her it's for when you're not around. Does Hanako know how to ride a bicycle? I don't think she does. It would be very romantic if you taught her. Be sure to teach her on grass, not pavement. Skinned knees are not romantic.
Once Hanako has had the laser treatments on her face, don't let her cut the bangs that cover half her face. People won't recognize her without them. You don't want any boys failing to recognize her and trying to flirt with her after shunning her for years. I don't really know how Hanako would react to that situation. I don't think Hanako herself really knows, unless it actually happened. I sure hope it doesn't. Hanako has to stay recognizable as long as she is at Yamaku.
It's about ten days until the Easter holiday for me. I still haven't decided whether to go home, or just hang out with Akira for the two weeks. I don't really want to go home because all I see are fights with my father down the road. He still seems to determined to arrange a husband for me. I am so tired of being treated like property. I should be looking forward to two weeks off from school, but I'm dreading it.
Just your friendly eavesdropping transcriptionist here. Lilly will be staying with me for her two weeks of Easter vacation. I've been sneaking clothes out of her room into my modest little house now for months. Lilly is right that Dad is determined to arrange a husband for her. There's a lot of friction between our mother and father on this issue. Mom wants Lilly to have a chance at a university degree if she wants it, and the right to pick her own husband. Dad wants Lilly married and out of the house soon after graduation. He's being an ass. The cost of a university degree for Lilly would be pocket change for Dad. He's filthy rich. Why does he begrudge Lilly so? Our family is about to blow apart. Mom is whispering about divorce.
Sorry if the above news wasn't pleasant to hear. I thought you deserved to hear it. Lilly doesn't know the above yet. I'm trying to find a way to tell her. Best she hear it from me.
Did I mention that I'm going to marry my "works with his hands" boyfriend? Yeah, I think it's because I love him, but part of me also enjoys pissing off my father to no end.
Always Use Protection,
I've already moved into my dorm at the university. It's a married student dorm similar to the one Hanako and I had at Yamaku. It's not as pretty, though. We are on a corner of the building again with two screened windows. That's nice. We've only got a few days before classes start. The break in-between graduating from Yamaku and starting university classes was definitely too short. We've been spending our time just walking around and learning our way around.
Would you believe that there's a Turkish restaurant within walking distance of our dorm? It's nothing fancy in terms of décor, but the seafood on the menu is spectacular. Lots of grilled fish and rice dishes. It's not expensive, either. Can't believe that. I really liked the Turkish iced tea. There's a Korean diner near the campus, too. Ramshackle place with low tables and pillows on a beat-up, polished hardwood floor. You have to take your shoes off and place them on a shoe rack near the entrance. This place is fairly cheap, too. Hanako likes all the little bowls of pickled vegetables. She made the mistake of ordering lemon soju and was surprised that it contained alcohol. I guess she was expecting lemonade. It was strong stuff. One glass and she was wobbling a little. I got "lucky" when we got back to the dorm. Kimchi and soju are a bad combination for romance. Hanako's breath stank to the high heavens. I made her drink some Coke before we settled in for some passionate necking.
Hanako had the final laser treatment on her face. Same miraculous effect as everywhere else on her body. The charity support arranged by the nurse has now ended. He made certain she had a full round of first treatments finished before graduation. It will still be a few weeks before I see the full effect of the laser treatment. Hanako, however, has already cut the bangs covering half her face. A sighted person probably wouldn't recognize her. Hanako is now responsible for her own health insurance payments. Shizune released payment from the trust fund for payment of a full year enrollment. This makes me realize that Japan's National Health Insurance program which relies on individual enrollments and payments rather than being tax-supported is a far-from-ideal system. How would Hanako make the payments without that trust fund Akira arranged? If she couldn't pay, would she be denied essential care if she became ill? What about the unemployed who have no income? What about those poor luckless souls that I've seen living in subway stations?
I only know what a few of the other students at Yamaku are going to be doing after graduation. Shizune was accepted for computer science at Tsukuba University, a university for deaf students. All classes are taught in sign language. Misha is going to a teachers' college to become a sign language teacher. No surprise there. Miki is taking a place behind the counter of her family's small hardware store. Emi is going to a teachers' college for social studies. She wants to teach history and geography. Yuuko will be returning next year as librarian. She's getting better. Really. She is.
Akira, about that brief addition of yours to the end of the last letter. First, congratulations on your impending marriage to a guy who has one of the most interesting jobs I've heard of. Second, the rest of that additon was more than a little disturbing. It's okay with me if you delay responding until things have reached some conclusion. I'm both looking forward to, and dreading, Lilly's next letter. I can sense that bad things are happening, but I'm going to hope for the best.
Love to you both,
Just letting you know that this letter is from Akira. I'm married. Yup, I'm a Mrs. Can't believe it. I wonder how long it will be before I get my Mrs. ass. My poor, new husband has just realized that I don't know how to cook. Sucker! Should have known better than to marry a ditzy, blond lawyer. Well, actually, I'm not a lawyer in Scotland. My Japanese lawyer's license isn't good in Scotland. There are some hoops I'll have to jump through to get a license here. I've already moved into my husband's home. I'm going to keep my house so that Mom and Lilly have a place to live.
Mom and Dad are divorced. Mom's lawyer - they're called "barristers" in Great Britain - only had to get Dad on the stand and it was all over. Mom sued for divorce on grounds of "unreasonable behavior" and it was a straightforward case for her. These Scots were aghast that Dad was planning to force his blind daughter to marry a man of his choosing without any say on her part. It was blatantly obvious that he regarded her as a trophy with which to reward a corporate drone for loyal service. You can't get away with treating a woman as property in Great Britain. Mom got half of everything. Dad will have to sell his mansion. Poor baby. Mom has moved into my house.
Lilly got a Friday off from school to attend the court session and heard Dad on the stand. She is shell-shocked at his obvious low regard for her. I always knew that Dad had little regard for her or me, but poor Lilly never realized it until she heard Dad speak under questioning. Do you remember that look that Hanako had on her face when Lilly and I got in the taxi and headed for the airport to leave Japan forever? Lilly has that look on her face. It's been there all weekend. It doesn't show any signs of leaving soon.
I have thought for quite awhile that separating Lilly and Hanako was a sin against God. Those two girls were as close as twin sisters. Judging from the blank look on Lilly's face, I think that you have probably gotten your last letter from her. I promise that I will still write to you an occasional letter if Lilly never does, but I know that letters from me don't have quite the same meaning for you. If I had known in Japan what I know now, I never would have left Japan.
This story is based on the characters from the visual novel "Katawa Shoujo." Four Leaf Studios owns the copyrights.