Reflections

By Edward Simons

Based on characters and situations created by Takahashi Rumiko Ranma 1/2 and characters copyright Shogakukan, Kitty Animation Circle, and Takahashi Rumiko. This story writtten 1998 by Edward Simons.

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Dr. Tofu is the kindest man I know and I think I loved him from the first moment I saw him. I know I was just a child, but I'd been forced to grow up quickly. After mother died, well, father didn't deal with it very well. His mood swings tended to scare my sisters so I had to be the adult. Always calm, always controlled. And I learned how to defuse the situation if things got too tense. Sometimes they thought I was silly, but the humor stopped anger or fear in its tracks.

Akane had hurt herself trying to break a cinderblock with her bare hands. Father was bawling more than Akane. His going on about how his baby girl had hurt herself was bad enough, but then he started wailing over how she would never be able to carry on the dojo by herself.

So I took my sister to the new doctor myself. I didn't expect him to be such a handsome man. And he was kind and gentle, soothing Akane's physical and emotional hurts. And then he complimented me.

He told me I was very mature and said how well I was doing taking care of my sisters. I was so happy I almost cried. Someone had finally noticed and appreciated me. *He* had noticed me.

Akane's war against the cinderblocks continued and soon I had another excuse to see Dr. Tofu. This time he said I was beautiful and how I was so ladylike and had such beautiful hair and I almost skipped the whole way home.

Soon I was bringing him cookies and other things that I had baked and he always thanked me for them. It felt so good to be thanked instead of being taken for granted. It's also about then Dr. Tofu started to act a little silly around me. He was so funny and he was the only person that could make me laugh.

No one else made me laugh and no one else noticed how often that the smile I wore was only a mask.

Before I finished high school I decided I wanted to be a doctor, too. I started to borrow medical books from him and read them. Besides, it gave me another excuse to see him. And then I found out we couldn't afford for me to go to medical school. I wonder why I never shared that with Tofu. I kept borrowing books and bringing him treats, but I felt trapped in the roles I had created for myself and I couldn't find my way out.

And as time went on Tofu began to act more and more silly. And it became less and less amusing as I finally realized what a fool I was. He only thought of me as child that needed to be amused. That's all I was to him, just a silly child.

I tried to convince myself otherwise, but I got tired of trying. I got tired of visiting him. I realized I was alone and was going to stay that way. I don't want to distress my family and I've gotten so good at hiding these feelings from them. Sometimes in the night I cry, but I'll never let anyone know.

Tofu, I still love you.

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She was always beautiful. Everyone sees that and no one does. Her soul is her greatest beauty. She's kind and gentle and loving and strong. She was more of a woman than any woman ten years older. Women my age.

I know it seems stupid for some one as old as I am to fall in love with a teenager, but I did. I'm sure she never thought that way about me, but she always treated me so nicely. I'm a passable cook but all the things she baked for me were delicious.

We shared common interests, too. She had a keen mind and was so eager to learn about medicine. I tried to pretend to myself that she wanted to be more than a friend.

Maybe she might have, we might have had a chance at something, but whenever I thought of expressing my feelings, my brain just froze up and I started acting, well, strange. I don't mean the normal way that a guy starts stumbling over his words when talking to a girl he finds attractive. I was making a complete fool of myself.

It amused her, but afterwards I just hid in shame and embarrassment. I cursed myself. I was a trained martial artist and I couldn't keep my focus. I was an educated and intelligent man, but every time I saw her I became a babbling fool.

No woman wants a babbling fool. She visited me less and less often and I couldn't blame her. Who wants to come near an idiot?

I tried, I practiced, I rehearsed my lines so I had them memorized. And I forgot them all when I caught sight of her. I'm surprised I remembered how to breathe. It's no wonder she never comes by the clinic anymore.

She probably has lots of boys her age lining up to ask her out. Why would she want to be with me? Someone that can't even string together a coherent sentence when he sees her. Someone who feels more helpless fighting his curse than Ranma or any of the others.

All I want to say is 'Kasumi I love you'. Is that so hard?