Aishiteru

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Two characters develop a relationship, but the relationship is deeper than one remembers.

Submitted: February 13, 2017

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Submitted: February 13, 2017

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Love.

By Estevan ‘Ashad Bourgeois Jr


 

Prologue.






 

“Will he wake up, Mama? Will I see him again?” The child looks to the mother in hopes of an answer. As the mother couldn't speak to the their child, tears fill the child’s eyes.


 

“Year after year, I long to see your smile. The moment we once had, can't be experienced again. No matter any doubt that my come to my mind, I know. I'll see you again. I'll waiting for you. Will you remember me?”





 

August 10th, 2016.

 

“Yo man, since your name is Mario, do you think you’d get a discount at an anime store or something?” A random guy says. “Bro, don’t be stupid, of course I’d get a discount! I'm Mexican, and clearly Mario is Italian, and those people are Spanish! Bro, I SPEAK Spanish, I got this in the bag!” Mario replies to his friend.”

 

I chuckle to myself as I hear the two friends talking. I get off my train with all of my things and take a deep breath.

 

“I made it.” I say to myself.


 

“Man, who knew Osaka would have the best food places? You down for some ramen, bro?” Mario asks his friend.

 

I chuckle to myself. “Good thing I took the train to Tokyo.” I say to myself.

 

I look around me and a sign reads “Welcome To Osaka”




 

“Osaka?!” I scream aloud.

 

“I thought I was going to the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo?” I think to myself. “No wonder why the train ride was like six hours. I guess I was in such a rush, I looked at the first train I saw going to the hotel and didn't bother to figure out which train I really needed to take, huh?” I look around the train station to see if there were any people around me, but I was alone. I pick up my suitcase and duffle bag and start walking out of the train station. “Well, it won't hurt to look around, I did want explore all of Japan anyway. I just didn't think I’d do it this soon.” I look back at the train station I left and see the name “Sakuranomiya” “looks like that's the name of the station” I think to myself. I keep walking in hopes of finding someone who could help me find my hotel, but come across a small Manga store, and I suddenly get filled with excitement. I’m quite the fan of anime, and of course I need to check out any manga store they could possibly have here! I walk inside and take a look around. The store looked small on the outside, but inside, it was Otaku heaven. All the manga I could ever imagine to have; all the figures I could collect, It's perfect.

 

"Oh man, if mom saw my face now she would take ten pictures" I says to myself getting a good look inside the store.

"Irasshaimase! (Welcome!)" a kind voice says from behind the counter.

I wave at the woman and smile, then proceed to look around the store. I feel the excitement in me about to burst as I see one of my favorite anime on Blu-Ray.

"Oh man! I've been looking for this one forever!" I held the No Game No Life DVD in my hand with pride as I continue looking around the store. Moments pass and I count all of the manga and DVDs I’ve collected.

"I think this should be enough" I think to myself. I look up and I make eye contact with one of the other coworkers who was standing right in front of me. Her body language was screaming demure but she quickly pushed that away and started to speak to me.

"Umm.. H-hello, can I help you?" the worker asks nervously. Her face started to turn red as the words slip out of her mouth. Obviously, I could tell that english isn’t her first language, but I thought it was sweet of her to ask me in my native language, even if it was difficult for her.

"No, I’m okay, thank you.” I reply giving her a smile. She gives me a warm smile back, then walks around me. I take one last look around the store and grab a few final things and head to the register. I place all the items on the counter and hear the same soft voice.

"H-hello."  she says smiling and blushing softly. I look up after grabbing my money out of my pocket.

"Hello!" I reply. Getting a better look at the worker, I didn't realize how beautiful she was. Big brown eyes, small pink lips, pale skin, long dark wavy hair and a smile that made me blush as we made eye contact again.  

"Umm.. is.. this.. finished?" Her face gets a bright red as she's trying to help me in the best English that she can possibly speak. I give her a bigger smile and nod my head. She smiles at me and starts ringing up my manga, DVDs and figurines. She picks up the last item and recognizes the anime and she says "Sugoi!" (So cool!)  I give her a smile again assuming she said she liked the anime I picked out. I pay for the items and walked out of the store and opened up the maps application on my phone. “Why didn't I do this sooner?” I think to myself. A couple blocks later I make it back to my hotel and enter into my room, I place the bags down, then I hear a small knock on my door. I turn around and open the door. “Mr. Johnson, I hope you enjoy your stay, and thank you again for your patience with us while transferring your information over from the Tokyo location to ours here in Osaka.” The hotel worker said. “Oh, it's not problem! I should be thanking you and the other guy who came in after me, he was the one who knew so much about the hotel anyway.” I reply. “Of course, he was quite the help. Anyway, Mr. Johnson, I’ll let you go. Thank you for staying with us. Oyasuminasai” (Good Night)” the hotel worker says smiling. I wave her goodbye and she walks down the hall. I turn back around towards my bed and take a seat. “Man it's been quite the day. I know mom will want to hear all about it.” I say to myself. As I lay down on the extremely comfortable hotel bed, the thought of the girl at the small manga store wouldn't leave my head. “Maybe I’ll see her again, too?” I think to myself. I yawn and get comfortable on my bed, and soon fall asleep.  










 

Day 1

Chapter I

 

 

Today is my first official full day in Japan, and I plan on getting to know Osaka more. Ever since that small mistake of mine, I feel like I should at least see what things they may have here in Osaka. I get myself ready and head out my hotel door, I step outside and start walking up the Osaka streets once again. “I wonder where I should go first.?” I think to myself. Moments pass as I scroll through google looking for places to visit. “Hmm, Sakuranomiya Park. I guess the train station is famous huh? God, I make terrible jokes” I chuckle to myself for a little and start walking. I walk going in the direction the maps application lead me, and I notice someone carrying an umbrella. I look up at the clouds and see the sky getting darker. A raindrop hits my head, and it slowly repeats until a shower of rain is falling on me.

“I checked the forecast today and it wasn't supposed to rain!" I say to myself, looking around to find cover from the cloudburst happening. I see a nearby convenience store and run over but while jogging, I trip over my own feet. I slowly get off the ground soaking wet and feel myself getting angry. I try to hold it in but I end up losing track of the convenience store I was jogging too.

"This is becoming one crappy day!" I yell out loud. A few people look at me with confusion on their faces.

I start to feel embarrassed and I start to walk to the convenience store. "I really hope this day won't get-”

 

“Ah!”

 

I hear a suddle cry of pain as I bump into someone on the street. My sour mood disappears as I draw my attention to the stranger.

 

“I'm sorry, are you okay?" I ask. I hear a soft voice respond back.  

 

"umm.. It.. is alright." She says back regaining her balance. We make eye contact as she stands to her feet and she notices I don’t have an umbrella. She looks down at her feet pondering, then up at me again.  “Are you sure you’re okay? I ask again. Hesitantly, she walks up close to me, and covers us both with her umbrella. Her arms extend fully as she tries to cover my head fully. As she stands in front of me, our eyes meet. My eyes widen. She's beautiful. “Let me help you with that” I say to the mystery girl. I grab her hand and hold the umbrella to cover us both fully.

 "Umm.. Are you.. Okay?" she asks me scanning my body for anything that looked like an injury. The concern in her voice deafened her accent, her voice is sweet and comforting.I shook myself out of my blank stare and shake my head yes. She smiles at me and looks at my open hand and holds it. My body gets goosebumps. “What is she doing?” I think to myself. She looks ahead and starts walking.

"Why is she doing this?  Why did she grab my hand all of a sudden?" All of these thoughts run through my head. Yet, I follow her lead anyway. I grip her hand a little tighter. Her hands are small, but very soft and warm. As we continue to walk to the unknown destination, her hands warm up my cold wet hands from the rain. We arrive at a wide park with hundreds of trees, she continues to lead me as we walk under a roofed bench become protected from the cold showers of the rain. We take a seat and she continues to hold my hand as we watch the rain fall. Moments of silence passes, I dont feel awkward anymore, I feel at peace. I hold her hand tighter. She then turns towards me, brings out a handkerchief, and starts to wipe my face. I look at her with a confused face and  blush hard and grab her hand trying to stop her.  

"Why are you doing this?" I ask her.

She gives me a confused stare, as if she was wondering why I stopped her action, but still smiles at me anyway. I slowly let go of her hand and she continues to wipe my face.

"What's up with this girl?" I think to myself. She continues to clean my face from the rain and small bits of dirt that was on my face. “I never knew someone could be so welcoming and kind but what makes me so special?” she looks at me and smiles after cleaning my face. I smile at her while she puts away her handkerchief.  “Maybe I should try saying thank you in Japanese? Would that be nice?” I think to myself. I clear my throat causing her to draw her attention to me. “Arigatogozaimasu” (Thank you) I say with a face of nervousness. She giggles and smiles at me again. I feel my heart flutter as she gave me her beautiful smile, the warmth I feel as she grins from ear to ear made me feel that this day wasn’t bad at all. We sit in moments of silence once more until her phone starts to ring. She answers it and speaks to the person on the other line in Japanese. A shocked look comes across her face and she stands up, gives me a small bow as her body raises from her bow, she smiles at me again and waves me goodbye. I wave back feeling a little bittersweetly about her leaving. As she starts to walk away, I get lost in the moment of what just happened.

"Who is this girl?" I think to myself.

I feel my heart is pounding. “Will I ever see her again?”

 

Day 1

Chapter II

 

"I should go home and change, I think I'll just stay inside for the rest of the day. Maybe give mom a call and check in." I think to myself.

I start walking towards the exit of the park that my mystery girl brought me too. I see a sign with the name “Kema Sakuranomiya” “It's like she read my mind, it's funny how she ended up bringing me to the park I wanted to go to.”  I walk around the park to kill a little time before going home, until I come across a bus pass. I drop down and pick it up, "isn't this a train or bus pass? I think it's called Suika, I think that's what one youtuber mentioned in his video once.” I think to myself. I scan around the Suika trying to find a name until I come across it, but it's written in Kanji. "Well isn't that amazing! How can I be a good person and try to return this to who it belongs too? Maybe I should just bring it to the train station? I'm sure someone there can help." I think to myself. I see the exit to the park and start walking towards it, clutching the Suika in my hand making sure I don't drop it. As I walk out of the park, a thought drops in my head,

 

"is it hers?"

 

I turn around and run in the same direction she was walking, I pass the roofed bench that we stood under, remembering her soft hands touching my face as she wiped the rain and bits of dirt off my face. I blush and try to shake off the butterflies I'm getting. I speed up in hopes of being able to catch her. I run past a few more trees and I spot someone, I run faster to see if I can ask if they possibly knew where my mystery girl went.

"Uhh.. Excuse me?  I say.

I get the strangers attention and he turns around and greets me with a smile.

"Yo, man. How are you doing?" He says with his smile growing bigger on his face. His accent accent is thick but his english is very good. I chuckle a bit and his eyes light up. "Are you okay? What can Yuko, do for you?" I smile at Yuko again and ask him, "can you read this to me?" I show him the Suika. "This is someones name! This says Hajime Aoyama!" He says with another big smile. "Hajime" I say her name to myself, reminding myself how her warm smile got rid of the anger I was experiencing.

 

"Oh, my friend I apologize!" Yuko says "Let me properly introduce myself! My name is Yuko Koda! Hajimemashte” (pleased to meet you).  Yuko says with a smile.

"I'm Evan Johnson. Pleased to meet you too, bro!" Yukos face brightens up as he hears me call him bro. "Isn't that the phrase you use for someone when you are friends?!" Yuko asks in an excited tone. I chuckle, "yeah, that is man!" Yuko takes a long look at Hajime's suika. "Oh!! I know this girl! She is friends with my sister! And I saw her walking a little while ago!" My eyes widen in excitement, "Yuko, where did she go!?" I ask eagerly. "Ah.. Evan, I'm sorry but I don't remember" Yuko says in a disappointed tone. "It's okay, Yuko. I'll find he-" "WAIT!" Yuko says interrupting me. "Let me help you find her! Like they say in the movies, two head are better than the one am I right?" Yuko says eagerly. I smile at Yuko and nod my head. "Yeah, you're right. Where do we start?" Yukos eyes widen in excitement and he grabs my hand

 

"Follow me!” Yuko said.

 

Yuko clenches my wrist as he starts to run faster, I'm having such a hard time keeping up with him, I almost trip and fall. As I catch myself mid fall, I look up and see a street filled with people.

 

"Huh?! How'd we get here that fast?! Yuko! Where are we?!" I ask in confusion.

 

"Trust me, Evan I can bring you to her!" Yuko keeps running faster and I'm having a hard time keeping up with him still.

Yuko starts to slow down and eventually comes to a stop. I fall to my knees behind him. "Ah.. damn it.. that hurt" I say to myself. Yuko turns around and looks at me with a sad expression. "Evan, I'm sorry. I'm really sorry." . "Hey, hey it's fine. Relax Yuko. What's wrong?" I ask. Yuko picks up his head and looks at me. I could tell he was feeling embarrassed or ashamed. I look at him waiting for his answer

 

"What's up man?" I ask Yuko again.

 

"I got us lost!!" Yuko says in embarrassment.

I take a step back in shock, "lost?! Yuko how could we be lost?! I thought you knew where to go!" I say in frustration. We have an awkward moment of silence until we both look at each other. "Look Yuko, I'm sorry man. I just really wanna find this girl. If this thing really does belong to her, I can maybe see her again. Just to say thank you again for what she did for me." I say looking Yuko in the eyes. "I understand, my friend. We will find her!" Yuko says. I chuckle as I watch Yukos energy raise again. "Alright then, Yuko. We are lost, what should we do to get out of here? Retrace our steps?" Yuko takes a look around the part of Osaka they are in, and takes a look back at me. This time looking even more disappointed.

 

"Don't tell me.. YOU DON'T KNOW HOW WE GOT HERE EITHER?!" I say yelling.

 

Yuko scratches the back of his head and chuckles in embarrassment. "Ahhh!!!" I scream in frustration. I take a deep breath and try to relax. "It's getting late, we should ask around and see if we can find the park." I say to Yuko. "Good idea!" Yuko says. Yuko and I walk around trying to find the right direction to get to the park. Hours pass as we ask around without any results. Yuko and I find a bus station and we take a seat. I put my hands in my face in frustration. Yuko looks at me and puts hand on my shoulder and asks "Are you okay?" I take a deep breath and lift up my head. "Yeah man, I'm okay. Thanks" I look around and see if I recognize a familiar landmark, but nothing. "You know Yuko, you were very helpful, and bonding with you trying to find Hajime was great, but sadly, we didn't find her. We both should just head home I’ll drop of the Suika at the train station in the morning" I say in a disappointed tone. I take Hajime'a Suika out of my pocket and look at it one last time. Yuko looks at the ground and starts thinking, then asks me

 

"What's your favorite Shonen anime?"

 

I give Yuko a confused look, "I don’t think Asta from Black Clover can help me now, Yuko" I reply.  "Well, that may be true but in Shonen animes, the main character never gives up and when he thinks about giving up, his friend always tells him to remember to stay on his path and never give up. That's what I'm here to tell you, to never give up!" Yuko says to me with his hand on my shoulder. "This isn't an anime though man. I don’t know if things will work out." I reply. "Yes they will! Like Asta says in Black Clover, 'I'm not done yet!' and  We aren't done. We will find her, I promise!" through Yukos magical speech, of a sudden I feel filled with energy.  

 

“You’re right! What's the point in giving up? We always gotta fight through everything! No matter how hard it is." I say aloud.

 

Yuko looks at me with inspired eyes. "Alright, Yuko, lets go!" I say standing up being filled with energy. "YOOOOOOOOSH!!!" (Alright!!) "let's do this!" Yuko says in excitement. As we walk away from the bus station and ambitiously continue to look up and down the streets to find Hajime. Yuko crosses the street and see a familiar face ahead.. "Evan!" Yuko screams "I think I found her!" I look at Yuko in excitement and before I even think of answering Yuko, I am running across to meet with her. “Hajime!” I yell.

 

As I call her name, I see her pause. Hesitantly, she turns around and looks at me. The exhaustion in her eyes is contagious. I can tell she's been on her feet for a long time. I give her a small smile, and hand her the lost suika. She looks at the suika then back at me and smiles.  Her smile is gorgeous, her eyes sparkle brighter than the stars ever could as her smile grows.

 

A small moment passes by

 

"You're gorgeous" I say aloud.

 

After realizing what I said I cover my mouth with my hands and blush hard. I feel my whole body turning red. She looks at me with her big brown eyes and tilts her head slightly in confusion but her smile grows bigger. Gazing into her smile, for a moment, I feel the world stop until I hear a voice.

 

"EVAN!! We found her!!"

 

I look over to Yuko bouncing in joy and laugh a little. Hajime, continues to look at me and as I watch Yuko run over to us. Yuko points to me and smiles. I think he's introducing me as his friend, he pats my back and says "Say something!" I nervously smile and say "Hey, I'm Evan.” I’m so nervous when I introduce myself I hear my voice crack. Yuko starts laughing and pokes fun at my voice, and I see Hajime smiling and blushing even more then she starts to laugh a little. Her laugh, even her laugh is gorgeous. I can't help but smile when I hear her laugh. She looks at me and says "Hello, Evan. I'm Hajime". Hajime says to me smiling. Yuko looks at her and asks her something in Japanese, she looks at him and blushes. Her eyes don’t even look in my direction. I start to feel a little nervous as a small moment of silence passes.

 

Yuko laughs a little and says "She's a little shy, but she wants to meet up with you again tomorrow! It's going to be a fun date!” Yuko says smiling.

"HUH?! Wait, what?! Date? Her? Me? Together?" I ask in shock. Yuko nods his head and smiles at me.

"Uh. If, it is okay.. with you."  Hajime says to me. I blush, and grab Yukos arm. "I really want to go on this date with Hajime. For some reason, something about her just draws me to her, I want to figure out what that is and why it's happening so quickly, but there is one small problem. " I say to Yuko. "Oh no, my friend don't worry. I won't be with you!" Yuko says with a big smile. "No Yuko, It's not that, it's just that I don't know Japanese and she barely knows English. How will this work?” I ask Yuko. “Well Hajime does-” I interrupt Yuko and ask “Can you come with us tomorrow? Just to help me feel less stressed?" I ask Yuko holding his arm.

Yuko looks at Hajime then back at me and says "Okay! I’ll see what I can do to help”  Around midnight we all headed back to our homes. When I got to my hotel, I plopped on my bed in pure exhaustion. "Man, what a day" I say to myself. I think back to earlier in the day when Hajime's calming smile some how made my little hissy fit disappear in an instant. I pinch myself to see if I was dreaming everything that happened today "ouch!" I say in pain. Looks like I wasn't. I close my eyes and head to sleep, besides I had a big day tomorrow. I get comfortable and head straight to sleep.


 

Day 2

 

Chapter III

 

I look at my phone and check the time. "10am already?! I forgot to call mom! She's going to be pissed at me"  I get on Skype and call my mom.

"Please don't be mad, please don't be mad" I say to myself. My mom picks up. "Hel-" I get cut off before I get to finish my hello "WELL LOOK WHO DECIDED TO TELL ME THEY ARE ALIVE!" My mom says in anger. "Hello to you too, Mom. and why are you worrying? it's Japan. Nothing bad ever happens here." I reply try to ease my mother's yelling. "SO?! I don't know anybody there, you could have been kidnapped or something!!" My mom says. "Ma, I appreciate your concern but, again, it's Japan. I'm going to be okay. Besides, I have some news." I say with a little smile. "News, huh? What did you meet Naruto from Dragon Ball Z or something or did you finally meet that “waifu” of yours?" My mom replies. I smack my forehead in nerdy frustration. "Mom I told you this a million times, Naruto and Dragon Ball Z are two different animes!"

"Son, they both have yellow hair and wear orange. For all I know they could be brothers" my mom replies. "ANYWAY MOTHER!" I say trying to get to my point. "For one, I'm in Osaka, not Tokyo and two, but that's something we can talk about later. The big news is, I met a girl yesterday.”  "WHAT?!!" My mom says in shock. I nod my head and smile a little. "Wait.. Evan, how did you get lost? This is why I should have written everything down for you, I knew this would happen!" my mom says. “Mom, this isn’t that big of a deal! And way to make me look like I can't handle anything for myself.” I say laughing. “It's okay, though. There was some dude who helped me get everything transferred from my information from Tokyo to here. Apparently, the random guy knew the director of the hotel and he showed him how it all works.” I reply.

 

“Well, at least you’re not on the street. Anyway, about this girl. You don’t even speak Japanese. You didn't even care about it when I tried showing you some when you were a child. How do you expect to talk to her?” My mother asks me.

 

I look down nervously and back up at my mom. "I know, but I met a guy" "WHAT?! Evan, are you going both ways?!" My mom says interrupting me. "MOM NO! You keep jumping to conclusions! He's a friend! His name is Yuko, he speaks English and Japanese, he's coming with me today to meet up with Hajime, the girl I met." My mom gives me a serious look. "Evan, are you sure that was a good idea?" She asks me. "Why wouldn't it be? You were just telling me I don't speak Japanese" I reply. "That's true, but coming from the mindset of a girl, especially if she asked you to meet up, meaning just the two of you. She wouldn’t want to see your friend there." My mom replies. I look at the time again, "10:30. I don't have to meet up with them until 12, I better start getting ready for them now” I think to myself. “I'll keep that advice in mind, Mom. Thanks, love you, see you later" I say to my mom. "Okay, son. Love you too, have fun and be safe!" My mom replies.

As the call ended, I get out of bed excited and start to get ready to head out. After brushing my hair and shaving my beard a little, I'm finally ready to head out. It's 11:35. "I'm sure I can make it to the park by now!" I say to myself. As I'm doing down my hotel stairs, I stop and I get the feeling I’ve forgotten about something important. "Yuko! How could I forget about him? He's the reason why this day is going to go well!" I say to myself. "I need to figure out where he's at. Maybe he will be at the park waiting for me and Hajime. if I run, I can beat her there and still have Yuko with me!" say to myself.  As I walk out of the hotel doors and prepare myself to run to the park, I run into Yuko outside of my hotel. "Oh, Evan! I just wanted to check to see if you remembered how to get to the park!" Yuko says laughing. "Yeah, because we all know I was the one that got us lost yesterday right?" I reply laughing. Yuko smiles and says "I'm glad, we were able to have a good laugh before some bad news.” “Bad news? What's wrong?” I ask Yuko. “Evan, sadly I came here to tell you that I can't stay with you and Hajime today.” I feel my heart drop as I hear Yuko tell me his news. “But, she really wanted it to be just the two of you today, she wants to show you some cool places!" Yuko says with a smile on his face. My heart starts to race, and start reflect on what mom told me. I look at Yuko and grab him by the shoulders. Yukos face gets bright red. "Yuko, I'm begging you, PLEASE, come with me. I can't be with her alone! I just can’t do this! Just this once, please?" I beg Yuko. I slowly remove my hands off of Yukos shoulders. “I'm sorry, I just need your help. Just like yesterday.” Yuko looks me in the eyes,  takes a deep breath and nods his head and smiles. "Sure, Evan. Let's go have a good time!" A big smile runs across my face and I hug Yuko. "Thank you so much!" I say in an excited tone, "Today is going to be amazing!" I say smiling at Yuko. From there, Yuko and I start our trip the Kema Sakuranomiya Park. 11:55pm. "Good, we are a little early." I think to myself. Yuko taps me on the shoulder and points ahead. Hajime was walking towards us. A striped long sleeve shirt, white shorts, her hair looks wavy today as well. As she gets closer, she becomes more gorgeous than yesterday. Her dark brown hair flowing slightly with the wind, her smile grows bigger and bigger as she walks towards me and Yuko. Her eyes looking as if they are shining, her smile could make a thousand birds sing, her presence is as if a goddess were to walk on earth. She's beautiful. With every moment she gets closer to me, my smile grows bigger. "Hey! Evan!" Yuko says waking me out of my trance. "Say something!" Yuko says with a smile. "Uh.. Hey, Hajime." I say nervously.  I feel my body turning red. She looks at me and then at Yuko; her big smile grows a little smaller as she sees Yuko next to me. I look at Hajime, then look at Yuko and say, "let's get the day started!" Hajime looks back at me and sees me walking and follows me then Yuko follows behind us. Moments pass as the three of us walk through the park  and Yuko taps Hajime on the shoulder and starts to speak to her. In Japanese, Yuko says  "Hajime, I'm so sorry, he begged me to go with him. He said he was so nervous!" Yuko explains. "I understand, Yuko,  I wanted to personally thank him for being so kind to me. He's the first American to actually listen to me and treat me with respect, unlike the other foreigners that visit." Hajime says. "I understand. I'm sorry again, Hajime. Maybe I can say something and I can leave you two alone?"

"Yuko!" I call for Yuko getting Hajime's attention as well. As the two walk towards me, I start to laugh nervously. "So.. uh, where are we? I kinda just started walking and didn't think we'd walk this far." I say laughing. Hajime can't help but blush and smile at my silliness.  "Oh! I know where we are!" Yuko says proudly. Yuko walks over to me and stands in front of me our eyes meet and the tip of nose touches mine. "Uhh.. Yuko, we're friends and all, but this is a little too much" I say slowly backing away from Yuko. Hajime giggles at the weird connection Yuko and I have. Yuko laughs at the awkward moment we both have and says "This very spot is where you and I met! I look around the park in confusion. "Uhh.. really?" I ask Yuko in confusion. "Yes!. I was standing right here looking up at the the clouds leaving the sky when the rain stopped!" Yuko says with a big smile on his face. "That's what you were doing the entire time?" I reply laughing.  “Anyway! Let's get going to wherever we were going to go! But one of you take the lead, I don’t want to get lost again." I say to Yuko and Hajime. Hajime smiles at me and Yuko takes charge grabbing my hand and dragging me deeper into the park. Hours go by with all three of us laughing and exploring Sakuranomiya Park, I start to feel a little tired but then I see a bench under a tree and take a seat. I look at Hajime and she starts to walk over to me. I blush a little and scooch over letting her sit next to me. As we sit next to each other, Hajime looks at me and smiles. “This wasn’t exactly the day I wanted, but being with you still makes this day amazing.” Hajime says in her japanese under her breath. I look over to Hajime, seeing her sit peacefully.  "You know, I'm really sorry I brought Yuko along.” Hajime looks at me as she hears me speaking. “He was telling me that he wanted it to be just me and you but I was just so nervous." I say looking at the ground. As I make my apology to Hajime, she looks at me with her big brown eyes and gives me a small smile.  "You didn’t understand a thing I was saying to you huh?" I say laughing. Hajime smiles at me. I look at her "Your smile is very.. uhh.. kawaii" after she hears me say cute to her in Japanese, she blushes and sits farther away from me and covers her face with her hands. Yuko starts laughing as he climbs down from the tree he was on. "What did I do?!" I ask Yuko. "I don’t even know! I guess you made her feel shy?" Yuko replied. As Yuko finally gets off of the tree, he walks over to me and Hajime and sits in between us. "Well, anyway, did you have fun today?" Yuko asked me. "I really did! I know things weren't supposed to go this way, but thanks for coming with me today.” Hajime looks over to us and smiles. She looks over to her iPhone and checks the time. 6:45pm. "AHH!" Hajime screams. In Japanese, Yuko asks “Whats wrong? Are you okay?” “No! I forgot that my mom asked me to help her set up all of the new books that arrived at our store today!.” Hajime replies. “I see, well I'll tell Evan and he can walk you home!” Yuko says with a big smile on his face. “What?! no! “ Hajime screams. “Come on, you did want to be alone with him right?” Yuko asks. Hajime hesitates on her answer and slowly nods her head. Yuko laughs, “Well, it's settled! Let's have him walk you home!” “Hey Evan!” Yuko switches back to english. “Is Hajime okay?” I asked concernedly.

 

“Yeah! She is doing okay, she was wondering if you could walk her home!” Yuko says with a smile on his face. I feel my body get heat up “Wait, me?” I ask pointing to myself. Yuko nods his head. I look at Hajime and notice her looking over at us, but she quickly looks away once we make eye contact.  “Alright, I can do it. I can walk her home. That shouldn't be too hard, it's just to her house. It's going to be okay.” I mutter to myself nervously. Yuko hears me muttering to myself and laughs. “Alright, well I'll be heading home now! See you soon, Evan! Hajime, Jyane!  (see you soon!)” Yuko starts his walk home. Leaving me and Hajime alone. As a small moment passes, I gather up all the courage I have inside me and look at Hajime. I nervously ask, “Shall we go?” I extend my hand out to her gesturing that she will follow my lead. Hajime looks at me and blushes a little. She slowly places her hand in mine. With Hajime's hand in mine, we  start walking forward to the exit of the park. As we exit the park,  Hajime takes the lead walking me to her house. Watching Hajime walk in front of me with our hands still locked, my eyes focus in on Hajime's long flowing hair. With every step it has a different swaying movement, I watch in awe. “Even the way your hair moves is gorgeous” I say out loud.

 

I cover my mouth with my hands again as Hajime turns around and looks at me. She starts to laugh and she continues to walk on. We walk for about 10 minutes before she starts picking up pace. “She must not want to be in trouble huh?” I think to myself. I pick up my pace to keep up with Hajime, but once I pick up my pace, she starts to run and I start to hear her giggle a little. As I start running with Hajime, she looks back at me and starts running a bit faster. She starts to laugh, it's a very loud but sweet laugh. Her laugh makes me smile and I laugh with her. “Why am I enjoying this so much?” I ask myself. After passing a few blocks, Hajime slows down and comes to a stop. She turns around and walks towards me slowly catching her breath. She puts her head on my arm. My body gets goosebumps as she rests her head on my arm. “Natsukashii” Hajime mutters to herself. She lifts up her head and looks me in the eyes, just like she did at the park the day before. “I don’t understand why she's so different, so open to me. We’ve only just met and these feelings I have for her are only getting stronger. If only I could understand what's so special about me to her.” I think to myself. A small moment passes and Hajime takes a step back from me and she points to the house behind her, I didn't even notice we made it to her house. I lift my hand to wave goodbye.

“Hajime!” Someone called for Hajime. Hajime quickly turns around. A petite middle aged woman starts walking down the steps to her house and asks “Where have you been? I've been waiting so long for you! I thought you would have been home earlier like we talked-” The older woman pauses her sentence and she notices me standing next to Hajime. She looks at me with disgust in her eyes. I didn't understand why her concerned tone towards Hajime turned into anger. “What have I told you about Americans!? They have no respect for the Japanese people! He's using you, Hajime. Come inside, now.” The middle aged woman grabs Hajime's hand and brings her to the door. Hajime turns around and gives me a small bow “Sayonara, (good-bye)  Evan.” she walks inside and closes the door. As I try to process what had just happened,I stand there, confused and a little hurt. After thinking back to what had happened I still couldn’t understand what had happened.  Thinking back to Hajime’s face when she closed the door, it seemed as if that could be the last time I see her again. “No, no. That can't be it. I’m over thinking, I can't just think something negative like that.” I say to myself. I take a step starting to walk back to my hotel and I hear a door open. “Boy!” I hear the same voice from earlier call for me. I turn around and look at the middle aged woman. “You will not see my daughter anymore. You americans take away too much from my family. My daughter will not go through any more pain.” The middle aged woman says to me. As she said those words to me in perfect english, she slams her door shut. As I stand there in silence, I feel tears come to my eyes. “I don’t understand what is going on.” I say to myself. After the bitter moment, I start my journey home. “I guess I shouldn't have had any hope for this. I mean, I barely know her. I just don’t understand why it had to end like this” I think to myself. I make it back to my hotel after a long walk back, and I couldn’t get my mind off of Hajime. A woman that showed so much interest in me, a woman who was shy, but sweet, nervous, but so happy, I wish I could have found out more about her. I guess all good things come to an end somehow, right? I sit down on my bed and try to relax the bittersweet day away.

 

 

Day 3

Chapter IV


 

As hours of the long night pass, I finally feel comfortable enough to sleep. I lay my head on my pillow and close my eyes. All I could think about is what I could only assume is Hajime's mother, said to me. “I feel like meeting Hajime was a mistake.” I say to myself. “I guess I’m better off without her.” I grab my phone and check the time. 6:45am. “I haven’t been able to sleep at all. What makes this girl so special to me anyway? If I were to write a story about this, the girl would sound so creepy!” I say to myself. As I continue to think about Hajime, the thought of her beauty, her kindness, her warmth and how open she was made me forget about the dumb thought of her being creepy. “She is just so special.” I say to myself as I finally fall asleep. As a few hours go by, I’m woken up by a Skype call from mom. I answer the video call with my blanket still over my head and sit in silence. “Evan? Are you up?” My mom asks.

 

“Hey mom.” I say in a disappointed tone.

 

“What's wrong?” My mom asks.

“It's a long story, I'm not really in the mood to talk about it, to be honest.” I reply.

 

My mom sighs.  “Well, I can call you back if you want a second to yourself?” My mom says. “Thanks, I'll call you-”  “That's what someone else’s mom would say to their child, but not me. I’m not going to let you mope around over some girl you just met a few days ago, Evan. You need to enjoy your trip. We went half on the ticket, remember? You’re enjoying this trip for me, too.” My mom says interrupting me.

 

I lift the blanket over my head and sit up on the hotel bed. I stretch my arms.  “I just wish I could ask why she did the things she did, you know? What makes a person act that kind to a random stranger?” I ask.

“Looks like people have hearts after all, huh?.” My mother says sarcastically.  

“Very funny, mom. There was just something so special about her, It just sucks that I won't be able to see her so I can try to let her know that. Her mother told me that I won't see her again.”

“You met her mother, too?” My mom asks. I nod my head yes. “She didn't seem to mad at Hajime when I walked her home, but when she looked at me, it seemed like she held some grudge against me.” I replied.

“I think i'm just going to stay inside for today, mom. After yesterdays event, I’ll just relax for today.” I say to my mom laying back down on the hotel bed. “Okay, Evan. Call me back soo-”

 

KNOCK KNOCK

 

My mom is interrupted by a knocking on the door. “EVAN! Are you okay?!” Yuko through the door.

“Who’s that?” My mom asks.

“It's Yuko. I'll call you later, Mom.” I hang up Skype and go answer the door.

 

I open the door and Yuko greets me with a hug. “Evan! I’m so sorry!”

“What for?” I ask. “Hajime called me last night and told me everything that happened. Are you okay?” Yuko asks. “Yeah, I'm doing a little better, I got to talk to my mom for a little and that helped.”

 

“Oh! That is really good! But there is a reason why I am here!” Yuko says.  “Hajime, wanted me to tell you something.” I feel my body get butterflies after hearing what Yuko said. “W-What did she want tell me?” I ask Yuko. “She said that she's going to come see you today!” Yuko says with a smile on his face. “What?! Today!? How will I see her? Didn’t Hajime tell you about what her mom said to me?” I ask. “She did, but Hajime talked to her last night” Yuko replied. “What about, will it be okay for me to see her?” I ask. “I know it's okay for you to see her, but the other details, I'm sorry, I do not know.” Yuko replies in a disappointed tone. “It's okay. So what time I Hajime going to be here?



 

“i'll be walking with her to the hotel! Yuko says with a smile on his face. Hearing this news, I feel my body lighten up. “Maybe this is a chance to tell her how i'm starting to feel, I guess I really do have feelings for this girl. I say to myself smiling. “Okay! Evan, can you be ready ready in two hours?!” Yuko asks me. “Of course I can!” I reply with excitement. A little after the discussion that Yuko and I have, he leaves out to meet with Hajime.

 

I jump around in excitement then try to find something nice for me to wear. I take a quick shower and search through my luggage. I find my nicest shirt and jeans and head out the door. “Alright, Yuko said to be ready in two hours, that was at 10:30. It's now 12:20.” I come down the stairs to the main hall of the hotel and take a seat. “Will he be bringing her inside?” I ask myself. As the time slowly passes, I become more and more anxious. I get up and walk out of the hotel and look around to see if I can spot Yuko and Hajime.

I see a woman walking towards me with her hands folded over each other.

 

“Is this Hajime?” I ask myself.  

I take a look at the woman again and she starts to smile. As she gets closer to me, her smile grows bigger and she covers her face. I walk up to Hajime and look at her with confusion. As a small moment of silence passes, I decide to ask if she's okay. “Hajime?” I call. She uncovers her face and looks up at me in the eyes says “taadaa!” with a big smile on her face. I feel my heart skip a beat, I look at Hajime in awe, something about this smile was different. It seemed like she was happier today than before. “You’re gorgeous”  I mutter to Hajime. “Oh!” Hajime says aloud. She goes into the front pocket of her bag and takes out a small note. She walks a little closer to me and hands the note over to me. I slowly reach my hand over and grab the note from her. We have another small moment of silence passes, I try to come up with any words to say but I can't come up with the words to say. This moment takes me back to when Hajime and I were standing under the roofed bench. I take a step closer to Hajime and reach for her hand. As I hold Hajime's hand in mine, I look her in the eyes and take a deep breath. “Look, I know you may not-” I'm interrupted by a tapping on my shoulder.

Yuko who was surprisingly standing behind me the entire time, was watching me and Hajime from behind me.

 

“Why are you two just standing there? We have a full day today!” Yuko says with a smile. “ “Huh?! We are actually doing something? You didn't tell me anything about that!” I say with confusion. “We wanted it to be a surprise!” Yuko says laughing.  I laugh a little. “Alright, well where are we going?” I ask. “Just follow me, Evan. it's a surprise!” Yuko replies.


 

We start our trip and end up at another park. This one had a bit more people in it than Sakuranomiya park. “Yuko, what park is this, and why is there a huge castle in front of us?”  Yuko laughs, “This is Osaka Castle Park.” Hajime walks past me and Yuko as we continue to talk about the Castle in the middle of the park and finds an open spot to set up a surprise picnic. “So do you think anyone lived in this castle?” I ask Yuko. “To be honest, I don’t even know. I didn't pay much attention in Japanese history class” Yuko says laughing. We both laugh for a little and we both notice Hajime setting up something from a distance. “Oh! It's apart of the surprise!” Yuko says excitedly.  Yuko and I walk over to Hajime and I a huge variety of amazing looking foods she prepared for us. “Hajime made all of this for you! She didn’t know what you would like so she just made a wide variety!” Yuko says with a smile. I look at Hajime surprised. As we make small eye contact, she blushes and hits Yuko for telling me the secret that he swore he wouldn’t tell. Hajime looks back at me; I give her a small smile. “Thank you, this looks amazing” I say grabbing  the first bento box I see placed on the blanket. When I open it, I see all of the foods i've wanted to try. Even though in america, you could easily make an egg, white rice, wieners and a small sandwich. Either way, I was still excited to see if the flavor was any different. I get a little bit of the egg, rice and the wiener and put it all in my mouth. As I chew the food, I don’t notice anything different at first, but then this explosion of flavor bursts in my mouth. This egg didn’t taste like an ordinary egg, it was fluffy and had this sweet flavor and soft texture that gave a nice flavor to the bland flavor of the rice and the wiener was the finishing blow, the salty savoury flavor gave balance to the ocean of flavors I had in my mouth.

 

As I swallow the first bite I had, I sit in awe. This is a very simple lunch, but with every other bite it took, the flavors became more and more addicting. Moments later, I finish the bento and I see Yuko giving me a confused look. “Evan, you ate that so fast. Were you really hungry?” Yuko asks me. “I guess I was. I mean the flavor in this was something I haven’t had before and looks like I really enjoyed it.” I reply.Yuko starts laughing, “You ate like you haven’t had food in years!” I laugh along with Yuko.

 

Hajime watches me and Yuko laugh about my hunger and smiles. We both look over at Hajime and Yuko tells her how much I enjoyed her food. She looks at me with excitement on her face and smiles at me. This is the happiest I’ve seen her look. I smile back at her and gives me a small wave, she waves back at me and continues to eat her food with a smile on her face.. After we all finish our food, I stand up and start walking towards the castle to get a closer look at it. “This castle is huge!” I say to myself. I look back at Yuko and Hajime and I see them talking.

 

“You really do like him huh?” Yuko asks. Hajime nods her head and blushes. “My feelings have grown stronger.” Hajime says smiling. She looks up and notices me looking over at her and Yuko.  “I hope he still has feelings for me as well.” Hajime says to Yuko. Yuko stands up and starts walking towards me but pauses his steps and turns around to look at Hajime. “I think he does.” Yuko says smiling confidently. “Why don’t we go join him?” Yuko asks Hajime. Hajime nods her head and starts walking over to me. As they meet me by the side of the lake in front of the castle, Yuko pulls out his phone. “Evan! Take a picture with Hajime!” Yuko yells to me. I awkwardly stand next to Hajime and smile nervously. “No, no Evan look happier! You like Hajime don’t you?” Yuko asks. I look over at Hajime and I notice her blushing and playing with her fingers. She looks up at me, and we make eye contact. As I look into her eyes, I feel my heart flutter. All of these moments I've had with her, though they have been so short, I realized I really do have feelings for this girl and I want to explore them. I want to understand why they are so heavy. I look back over to Yuko and nervously answer his question. “Y-yeah, man. I do like her.” As Yuko hears my answer, a big smile grows on his face. “Hajime!” Yuko calls. “Stand closer to Evan, he wants you to take a picture with him.” Hajime looks at me nervously and grabs my arm. “Alright! 1, 2, 3! Smile!” Yuko says. Hajime and I take the picture. Yuko runs over to us and shows us the picture. “You both look like a good couple!” Yuko says smiling. Hajime is holding my arm and resting her head on my shoulder slightly and smiling a cute little smile. I on the other hand look a little nervous but my smile covers it up just enough. “Hajime” Yuko calls. “I'll send this to you later today, okay?” Yuko checks the time before he puts his phone away, “Oh man! It's getting a little late. I'm sorry, Evan I have to head home a little early today. I was originally going to walk Hajime home, but can you do it for me?” Yuko asks. I give Yuko a nervous look. “I don’t mind, but I don’t think Hajime's mother would be as happy to see me, even if she did let Hajime come see me today.” I say to Yuko. “Don’t worry, Evan. I know everything will be okay. Remember, We don’t give up!” Yuko says smiling. I chuckle a little. “Thank you, Yuko. you always know how to cheer me up.” Yukos smile grows bigger, “Of course! This is what friends are for!” Yuko replies.

Yuko starts to walk away and waves us goodbye. As a small moment passes, I start to build the confidence to walk Hajime home. “Hajime” I call. I reach out my hand asking for hers.

She looks at me with a little confusion, then starts to blush. She realizes that I want to hold her hand. She quickly grabs my hand and holds on to my arm. I feel butterflies running through my belly but I suck up my nervousness and we start our journey home.

 

The walk is quiet, but peaceful. I look over my shoulder and I see Hajime still holding my arm tight. “So, this is what my trip turns into, huh?” I think to myself.  I really didn’t think I’d end up meeting someone so beautiful, warm and kind. She's just so different. It makes her special.  After walking a few more blocks in silence, Hajime’s grip on my arm becomes tighter. I look down at her to see what’s wrong. Her face is starting to look so nervous.  “Is she nervous because her mother might be upset with her again?” We get closer and closer to her home and Hajime stops walking and pulls my arm getting my attention. She looks at me and takes a deep breath. “What's wrong?” I ask. Hajime relaxes her body and she starts to walk with me to her home. “I don’t want to lose her again.” I think to myself.  We get to her doorstep and she opens her door. As Hajime opens the door, Hajime's mother is already waiting at the door for us.

 

We make direct eye contact. but before she has a chance to say anything, I scream “I’M SORRY! This wasn’t her fault. I.. uh, followed her! She was with Yuko and I wanted to see her again! I'm sorry!” I give her a proper bow and stay there until I hear a response. “Lift your head, young man.” I hear her soft voice speak to me, her accent isn't that thick, she seems to practice english often. “Come in, sit. Let us talk. I see my daughter has taken quite a liking to you.” Hajime's mother says to me. She walks to her living room and before I get a chance to respond, Hajime pulls me inside. I take off my shoes and walk with her inside into their living room. I look around the living room, then I see a picture of a man holding a child. I walk up to it and get a better look at it. The man looks so happy in this photo. “Who is the man in this picture?” I ask Hajime's mother. An awkward moment of silence passes.  “I'm sorry if that questi-” “that is my late husband, Hiroki.” Hajime's mother says interrupting my question. “Oh, i'm sorry.” I say with a sincere tone. “You dont have to apologize so much, you’re a man, toughen up a little. Also, you didn't have to lie for Hajime's sake. I knew she was going out to see you. She even asked me to bring you here so we could talk.I remember doing something similar when I first met Hiro.” Hajime's mother says. I look at Hajime's mother with a surprised face. As a small moment passes I forget that I haven’t introduced myself. “Oh! I'm sorry, My name is Evan Johnson, nice to meet you” I say to Hajime's mother with a small crack in my voice. Hajime's mother laughs.. “ You dont have to be so nervous. I understand that the first impression you had of me was a little rough, but I know there is something different about you. It's just in the past, I had one bad encounter with an american doctor. He made me change my mind on the mindset of Americans.” Hajime's mother says to me with a serious look on her face. I nod my head in agreement. “I.. normally don’t make promises I feel that I can't keep, but I promise, i'll have you look at me as an american that you can appreciate. I’m not sure what happened and I'm truly sorry that it did happen but you have my word, I’ll be different !” I say giving hajime's mother a thumbs up and giving her a small nervous smile. Hajime's mother laughs and asks hajime in japanese “So, he really hasn’t changed much has he?” Hajime blushes and smiles. “Why dont you come back tomorrow? It's not like I wanna see if you keep this promise or anything, I just wanna make sure that my daughter is happy, too, baka (dummy).” Hajime's mother says.  I chuckle, and nod my head in agreement. “I'll see you both tomorrow. Thank you for inviting me Mrs-.”  “Shiro. My name is Aoyama Shiro.” As I get interrupted by Hajime's mother introduction, my eyes widen as I hear my favorite anime characters name come out of her mouth. I smile and say “I love your name!”  Hajime's mother blushes and smiles at me “You are one kind boy. Oh! Before you go, why dont you give me your email address?” I feel butterflies run through my stomach. “S-sure. I’ll write it down.” I say nervously. I write down my email address and give it to Hajime's mother. As I nervously hand her the piece of paper with my email on it, she gives me a big smile. Her smile is just like Hajime's. I feel time slow down as I gaze at her smile. “You’re gorgeous” I say aloud. I slap my hands covering my mouth after noticing what I just said. A small awkward moment of silence passes, Hajime curiously looks at her mother, then me. Hajime's mother laughs and pats me on the shoulder.  “I’ll see you tomorrow, then. Goodnight, Evan.” Hajime's mother says to me. She starts walking up her stairs, but turns around and gives me a small bow. I smile as she says goodnight and start heading out the door. After I put on my shoes and open up the door, Hajime grabs onto my arm and says “Good..Night..” Hajime's face is a bright pink. As our eyes meet, I start to blush but I smile and say “Good night” I rub her head and walk out of the door. Hajime watches and smiles as she watches me start my walk to my hotel.

 

I smiled the entire walk home. “Maybe this is the start of something great.” I say to myself.




 

Day 4

Chapter V





 

“Evan!” I hear a mysterious voice call my name. “Evan! Wake up!” “Please!” The voice slowly gets harder and harder to hear as I fall into a deep sleep.

 

“Ahh!”

 

I scream and wake myself up from my very weird dream. I sit in shock for a moment thinking back to the nightmare I had. “Who was that talking to me?” I ask myself. I get out of bed and check the time 1:55am. “Wow, talk about a good night’s sleep right?” I say to myself sarcastically. I lay back down and try to get some sleep but I can't shake off that dream I had. “Why did that dream feel so real?” I think to myself. I try my hardest to brush off the anxiety I was feeling and go back to sleep. Hours pass by and I can't seem to fall asleep. I turn to my left side and try to get comfortable, until I hear a knock on the door. I stare at the door in confusion. “Who would be knocking at my door at this time of night?” I ask myself. I hear the knock again. I get out of bed and answer the door. “Evan! You’re awake! I'm so happy.” Yuko says with a smile on his face. “Yeah, I had a nightmare and I couldn't get back to sleep. What's up?” I ask. “A nightmare? Are you alright?” Yuko asks concernedly. “Yeah, I just kept hearing a voice telling me to wake up, but I couldn’t.” “Kowai.. (Scary) I’m glad you’re okay now, Evan.” I nod my head in agreement.  “Oh, I came by because I wanted to know how the rest of the night went with Hajime. I realized I didn’t have your phone number or email so I thought I’d just make a quick visit.” Yuko replies. I chuckle a little. “You’re a great friend Yuko, your timing is a little random but you always are around when a person needs you.” Yukos smile grows after hearing what I told him. “Well, the night went well, I’ll be hanging out with Hajime again tomorrow.” I say blushing a little. “Really? I’m sure Hajime will have lots to talk about with you then!” Yuko said. “Really? Like what?” I ask. Yukos happy expression turns into a nervous one. “Oh. Uhm. I’m not sure. I’m sorry.” I chuckle again. “Look, buddy it's okay. It's late and we both really can't think straight anyway. You should get some sleep. Wanna crash here?” I ask pointing inside my room. “Really?! Are you sure? I can get a room easy.” Yuko asks in excitement. “Yeah, it's late. Plus my door is already open. Come on in!” I say grabbing Yukos arm. I pull Yuko into my room and I lay on my bed. Yuko lays next to me and gets comfortable. “Uhh.. Yuko?” I say confused. I hear Yuko starting to snore. I chuckle to myself, get comfortable and fall asleep. As the night quickly passes, I wake up alone on my bed. “I guess Yuko left this morning?” I say to myself. I get out of bed and stretch my arms out. Buzz Buzz. I hear my phone vibrate on my pillow. I sit back down on my bed and see that I have an email from Hajime. A huge smile runs across my face as I open up the email. “Hello, Evan! It's Shiro, Hajime's mother. I'm sure you haven’t forgotten about me. You called me gorgeous yesterday, remember? Anyway, I will not accompany you and Hajime today, but she did have a fun idea for the both of you! There is an Aquarium called the Tempozan Aquarium close to where you're staying. Hajime will meet you by the Sakuranomiya station by 12:30. Hopefully, I’ll see you again!” After reading the email Hajime's mother sent me, I start to get a little nervous. “It’ll be just me and Hajime alone.” I say to myself. “Alright, Evan. I can't just keep getting nervous all the time. This is what I want. To spend time with Hajime. Just us alone.” After giving myself a pep talk, I rush to the bathroom and get ready.

 

12:15 pm.

 

I hurry myself up just a little and head out the hotel and start walking to the train station. After speed walking down to the station to make sure I wasn’t late, I see Hajime sitting at the station. “Hajime!” I call. She starts looking around as she hears me call her name. As she meets me halfway, I gaze at her in awe. She took her time getting her hair ready, each strain of her hair had it's own perfect curl, she had a little mascara on making her beautiful brown eyes look brighter than I’ve seen them before, the dress that she's  wearing is long but it fit her small body perfectly, the curves and the flow of the dress makes her look like a goddess. She looks up at me and blushing and smiling. “Konichiwa” Hajime says to me in a soft voice. My mind is blank. I can't think of anything to say. As I continue to stare at Hajime, she begins to look concerned. She touches my arm “Evan?” She calls. I finally snap out of my trance and say the first thing that comes to mind. “You’re gorgeous” A small moment passes and Hajime smiles and starts to laugh nervously. As a small, awkward but humorous moment passes. Hajime takes a seat and grabs her tablet out of her purse and shows me a picture of the aquarium and smiles. I look at her, nod my head and smile. “I'm excited to be going with you.” I say. Hajime looks at me and smiles. As the train arrives, I let Hajime step in first and I follow behind her. The train ride is quick, I didn't even notice how fast we arrived. As I look outside to see where the stop would be, Hajime grabs my arm and points to the ferris wheel, as the train moves closer to the stop, I see the aquarium next to it. I look back at Hajime and give her a smile,

“It looks amazing”  I say.

 

Hajime sees our stop and starts walking and I follow, with my arm still in hers off the train. “Ahh!”  I hear the excitement in Hajime's voice as she screams with joy. She rushes me inside and we start looking around. Seeing all fish swim around built up excitement inside me, I started to feel like a kid again. I haven't ever been in an aquarium before! I'm in awe. We went around looking at all the whales, octopi, sea turtles and the information they had about the sea creatures near the tanks. “ Look, Hajime!” I point to the sea turtle that reminds me of the turtle in the anime and manga Dragon Ball. Hajime looks at the turtle and says “Umigame” “Huh?” I respond. “Oo Me Ga Meh” Hajime repeats while pointing at the turtle. “Oh! Oo Mi Ga Me?” I repeat back to her. Hajime looks at me and giggles a little, and shakes her head no. “Oo Me Ga Meh” she replies. After taking a second to figure out how to pronounce what Hajime was saying to me, I finally got it down. “Oo Me Ga Meh?”  “Ahh! Sugoi! (good!)” Hajime says patting my arm. I give her a smile and she smiles back at me. We turn back around and look at the sea turtle again. We let a few moments pass and we watch the sea turtle slowly swim back home. After a fun day, Hajime and i walk to the exit of the aquarium. It's a little dark by the time we get out of the Aquarium but I see a bright pair of lights. I look to my right and I see the ferris wheel still open. I look at Hajime then back at the ferris wheel.  “I think she wanted to ride the ferris wheel. I can't let my fear of heights ruin this.” I take a deep breath and tug Hajime. She looks at me with curious eyes and I point at the ferris wheel. As she takes a second to process what I could be telling her, her eyes become filled with excitement. She grabs my hand and starts  to run over to the ferris wheel. We arrive at the ferris wheel and we both get the seat. I hold on to the bar for dear life as we start to move off of the ground. I close my eyes in fear hoping that this ride will be over soon, until I feel Hajime grab my hand. I slowly open my eyes and I see Hajime looking around. She is amazed on how high we are and what the town of Osaka looks like from above. Hajime looks at me smiling but it quickly goes away once she sees how nervous I look. She holds onto my hand tighter and smiles at me. This smile. Something was different about this one, it feels like I’ve seen it before. My body loosens up and I start to feel comfortable. I hold Hajime's hand tighter. “I feel like I’ve known you for so long. Is that why my feelings are so strong?” I say to myself. I fell deeper in love with Hajime than before. The ferris wheel goes back around to the ground and we get off and start walking back to the train station. With my hand still in hers, we get on the train and have a silent ride home. Even though we can't speak to each other and though we try, having these moments with you beside me, makes me feel like we already understand each other. As moments pass by, Hajime rests her head on my shoulder the for the rest of the ride home. The train reaches our stop and we get off. I make the decision to walk Hajime home. As we arrive to Hajime's door, and she invites me inside. “Tadaima!” (I'm home) Hajime says aloud. She listens for a response but didn't hear anything. She walks me to her living room and takes a look around her house. “I'm assuming she's looking for her mom. She did tell me that she wasn’t going to be home, I guess she is still busy.” I say to myself. Hajime comes back to the living room after a small search. She grabs my hand and brings me upstairs. We walk inside her room and she sits on her bed. I panic a little because this is the first time I’ve ever been in a girls room besides my own mothers room. As a small moment of silence passes, Hajime looks at me and smiles. “Do you remember anything?” Hajime says looking at me in the eyes, her cheeks turn red. I look at her in confusion. I can't understand what she's saying but something is telling me to let her keep speaking. I look back at her and blush a small bit. “What could she be saying?” I ask myself. Hajime opens her mouth to speak but she shakes her head. I get confused, and I walk over to her and touch her shoulder. “Are you okay?” I ask. Hajime lifts her head and looks me in the eyes and nods her head yes. I sit down next to her on Hajime's bed and I move closer to her and grab her hand. “I know you won't really understand this, but I just feel like I have to say this.” I say to Hajime. Hajime looks at me with attentive eyes. “I really don’t know how to say any of this, but all I know is that I like you, a lot. You don’t say anything but you’re so sweet, you can't really ask me how i'm feeling, but you’re so caring. You’re so gorgeous I can't even tell you enough to match the level of your beauty. I want to get to know you more. You’re so special, Hajime.” I said to Hajime. Hajime looks at me with confusion but still smiles.

 

Our eyes meet and Hajime starts to blush. I move a little closer to her face, putting my hand on her cheek. Her skin is soft and warm. My heart is racing a million miles per hour, but yet, I can’t help what i'm doing. I want to express how much Hajime means to me. She doesn't understand all the words I say so I'll show her.  I slowly lean in,

KNOCK KNOCK

Hajime's mother knocks on the door. Hajime and I quickly pull away from each other as Hajime's mother walks in. “Oh, Evan! I'm glad I got to see you! I thought I wouldn't see you today.” Hajime's mother says with a smile. “Yeah! I'm glad I got to see you, too.” I reply nervously. Hajime's mother looks at me then Hajime then smiles. “Well, Evan since we didn't have that much time together, why don’t you stop by again in the morning? We can spend the whole day together.” Hajime's mother says smiling. “That’d be awesome! I'll be here right after I wake up.”  I say smiling. After Hajime's mother and I finish talking, Hajime walks me out of her home. I look her in the eyes and she starts to blush. I smile, gently place my hand on her cheek and kiss her forehead. “Good night, Hajime.” I say smiling. She gives me a smile and closes the door. I start my walk back to my hotel.







 

Day 5

Chapter VI

 

“Evan! Wake up, Evan!” A voice calls.

 

“Evan, it's time to wake up, we can't sleep in on weekends like this!”

 

“See I told you not to stay up all night! They will be here any minute now. Get up and brush your teeth.”

 

I get out of bed and walk to the restroom, brush my teeth and wash my face. My mom has been telling me about this family. I wonder what's so special about them?


 

Her voice is soft when she speaks. Her english isn’t the best, but I thought it was cute that she tired.

 

“I.. really.. like... you..”




 

BEEP BEEP BEEP

 

The alarm on my phone goes off, quickly waking me up. “Another really weird dream. This one felt a little too real though.” I say to myself. I check the time, 8am. “I should start to get ready now.” I say to myself. I get out of bed and take a quick shower then start my walk to Hajime's house. As I arrive to Hajime's house, I see Hajime is already out of her door waiting for me. As I get closer to the door, Hajime sees me and runs over to me. “Ohayo!” Hajime says with a big smile. I look at her with a little confusion but try my hardest to repeat what she just said to me. “Ohayo.” I say nervously. Hajime's smile grows bigger, she grabs my arm and brings me inside.

“Good Morning, Evan!” Hajime's mother says. “Good Morning.” I reply with a small smile. “Come, breakfast is ready, Hajime made it just for you. We dont want it to get cold.” Hajime's mother says to me walking into the dining room. Hajime let's go of my arm and follows her into the dining room. I follow both of them and take a seat. Hajime brings the dishes to the table and takes a seat. I see Hajime and her mother put their hands together “Itadakimasu” (I'll eat now!) Hajime looks at me and grabs my hands and puts them together. “Ee ta da ki mas” Hajime slowly says to me. “Ee ta da ki mas” I repeat back to Hajime. Her mother looks at the both of us as Hajime is teaching me japanese and smiles. After learning how to properly give thanks for my meal, Hajime hands me a bowl of rice and puts a little bit of fried ham on it. I look at the simple but sweet meal that this gorgeous woman made for me and start to eat.As expected, the flavors were a wild roller coaster in my mouth.I look over to Hajime and say “This is so good!” I say with a smile. Hajime smiles back at me and gives me a small confused look. “Evan, you can say Oie She” Hajime's mother says to me. I nod my head and look back at Hajime and say “Oishii (delicious)” Hajime smiles gives me a big smile and her face becomes a bright pink and giggles in excitement. “Thank you, for teaching me that” I say looking back at Hajime's mother. As moments pass we finish our, and drink the tea Hajime's mother provided for us.

 

“Mrs. Aoyama, can I ask you something random?” I ask Hajime's mother. “Of course.” Hajime's mother replied. “I don’t mean any disrespect when I ask this but, but how did you learn english?” I ask politely. Hajime's mother laughs a little “Well, Hajime's father was a businessman who spent most of his time working in the states. So, while staying in the states, I had to do my part and learn. Funny enough, Hajime was born in the states as well. She was born in Swedish Hospital in Seattle, Washington.” Hajime's mother said to me. “Really?” I reply shocked. “I was born there, too!” “Oh really? Well after Hajime was born, we came back to Osaka, but a few years later, Hajime's father was offered a year job in Seattle, so we stayed there for a few months.” Hajime's mother said. “That's really awesome! Looks like Hajime and I have more in common than I thought! Maybe I could have met her sooner, too.” I said with a smile. “I'm sure Hajime would have loved to meet you earlier. ” Hajime's mother replied with a smile.  I looked over to Hajime, she looked so beautiful watching her mother and I have a nice bonding conversation. I turn back to Hajime's mother  “So, you know english pretty well, is there a reason that you decided to not teach Hajime any english before you came to the states?” I ask out of curiosity. “Well, that itself is a long story, and we were only in the states for 4 months, so we didn't see a need to really teach her to speak english at a strong level, but she did learn some english thanks to a friend of hers.” Hajime's mother replied. “Oh really? That's awesome! I guess she must have retained some of that over the years.” I reply smiling. Hajime's mother smiles back at me and continues to drink her tea.

 

“Oh! Thank you so much for letting me join you both for breakfast. This was really nice and I really enjoyed myself.” I say to the Hajime and her mother. Hajime gives me a big smile and grabs my hand caressing it softly as if it were the first time she held my hand. “You’re very welcome, Evan, I'm glad you enjoyed it.” Hajime's mother says with a smile.

“Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to water the plants.” Hajime's mother says. She walks out of the dining room leaving me and Hajime alone. Hajime slowly moves closer to me and rests her head on my shoulder. I look down at her and reflect from the very first time I saw Hajime. Running after her with Yuko in the park to give her the lost suika, spending time with her with Yuko because of how nervous I was. Suddenly, a blurry memory hits me, the feeling is as if I was just waking up. I'm holding someone's hand, I just can't tell who. The almost lifelike memory fades away quickly. “Who..”

 

I'm interrupted by Hajime laying her head on my lap and starting to nap. I tense up as I see her laying down on my lap, but after a second, I relax. I gaze at her natural beauty. The way her her hair rests lightly on her face, and the rest gently finding it's place on my leg, each breath she takes, her body relaxes more and more, she's becoming comfortable with me. I take one last look at her as she enjoys her small nap.

 

“I feel like i’ve spent years with you, being with you makes me feel like I’ve known you for years. Because of this bond I feel between us, a love I have growing for you, I'm willing to stay here, just to have more moments like this.”

I whisper to Hajime. I gently run my hands through her hair slowly admiring the small moment Hajime and I have together. “You are gorgeous.” I say to Hajime. I start to play with Hajime's hair a little, twisting her soft dark brown hair around my fingers. I look down at Hajime and I see that's she has grabbed my hand, she slowly locks her hand in mine and relaxes her body. Holding her hand i'm reminded of the same warm touch she gave me when I had my small temper tantrum. I relax my body and watch her rest on my lap and hold my hand.




 

After I get up and brush my teeth, I walk out to the living room with to meeting with my mother.

My mom opens up the door and they walk in. One man, one woman and a teenaged girl. Her hair was down, but it flowed beautifully, her white and gray dress flowed with every nervous sway her body made, her eyes shined a bright brown. She is gorgeous. She took a deep breath as she nervously spoke. “Hello, My name is Ha-”


 

“Hajime!” I scream out loud.

Hajime jumps as I scream her name and has a face of confusion. “No, I’m sorry! I didn't mean to scare you. Are you okay?” I ask in a concerned tone. I look at my hands and I see that they are shaking. Hajime notices and wraps her arms around me, holding me. I start to feel my body relax and I calm down. I grab Hajime's arms and gently pull her off me. Once our eyes meet, I give Hajime a smile, she smiles back and we walk out of the dining room. I check the time 8:30pm. “I should get going now. That dream really freaked me out.” I say to myself.  I walk to the door and put on my shoes. Hajime runs after me and grabs my arm. She looks at me as if she doesn't want me to go.

 

I rub Hajime's head. “I'm okay.” Hajime holds my arm a little tighter. “I'll come back tomorrow, I promise.” I stick out my pinky for a pinky swear. Hajime's eyes light up, she wraps her small pinky finger around mine and we lock. Our pinky fingers stay locked as our eyes meet. “Oyasuminasai, (good night) Evan.” Hajime says smiling. Our pinky fingers slowly unlock and I start to walk out of the door. Hajime waves me goodbye and I wave back and start my walk back to my hotel.



 

Day 6

Chapter VII


 

Hajime and I walk through my local park. “Do you think you'll miss Seattle, Hajime?” I ask. Hajime looks and me and nods her head yes. I take a deep breath, “Will you.. miss.. me?” I ask. Hajime takes a moment to process what I said, blushes and nods and slowly nods her head yes. “I will miss you, Evan.” Hajime says. I look at her and smile. “Your english is getting so much better.” I say to Hajime smiling. “It is all because of you, Evan. You are so patient and kind with me.” Hajime replies smiling. We keep walking around the park enjoying each other's presence. I look over to Hajime and she's looking down at her feet, I slowly reach my hand over and gently hold hers. Her hands are soft and warm. As I hold Hajime's hand, she looks at me and starts to blush.

 

“Evan?” Hajime says.

 

“Yes?” I reply. “Will you remember me?” Hajime asks. I stop walking and my hand slips from Hajime’s. She looks at me with concerned eyes. “Did I say something wrong?” Hajime asks. “No, you didn't. I want to make a promise to you. No matter what happens to me, no matter how long it takes for me to see you again, I will never forget about you. I pinky promise.” I stick out my pinky to Hajime. Hajime smiles at me and wraps her pinky around mine. As we look each other in the eyes with our pinky fingers locked, Hajime starts to blush. “Evan, do you like anyone?” Hajime asks nervously. I pat Hajime's head, “Yes, I l-”



 

BEEP BEEP BEEP

 

The alarm on my phone wakes me up. I slowly open my eyes and sit up in bed. These dreams are feeling like memories now. I walk to the bathroom and wash my face.

 

“I should call mom and tell her what's going on.” I think to myself. I pick up my phone and call my mom on Skype. After a few rings, she picks up. “Hey, son.” My mom says in a tired voice. “Hey, did I wake you up?” I ask. “No, I was just taking a little nap, it's okay. What's up?” my mom asks. “Well, I've been having these weird dreams lately. Ones with voices and one with Hajime, too. Is there something I don’t know? They feel so real.” I say to my mom. My mom takes a small breath and sits upright on her bed. “Yes, there is actually.” My mom replies.

 

“When I was in highschool, I had a penpal from Japan. Her name was Shiro. We talked for years and years. She became one of my best friends. I was taking Japanese classes at the time and she helped me with a lot of my studies, and I did the same with her english. Years later, we finally decide to meet.Her husband had a business trip here in seattle, so we thought the timing was perfect. She brought her husband Hiro and her daughter Hajime. When you first laid eyes on her, the first thing you said was ‘You’re gorgeous’. You both blushed so hard. After that, you and Hajime became great friends for the few months that they were here. You both were inseparable. You took Hajime everywhere with you. You’d hold her hand while running around with her, you both were just so cute, until the accident.”

 

“Accident? Mom, what do you mean?” I ask anxiously.

 

“Hiro wanted to take you out one day. He had a full day planned for you, but there was a big accident. Hiro risked his life to save you. There was a three way collision and you hit your head hard on the driver mirror, but if it wasn’t for Hiro swerving the car to his side so the crash would happen on his side, you would have passed away instead.”

 

My eyes widen in shock.

 

“You were in the hospital for days. You had a mild concussion causing all memory from that time to fade away. As for Hiro, he passed away on impact. When Shiro heard the news, she was horrified. She took Hajime and flew home the next day.”

 

I take a moment to take in what my mother told me.

 

My mom chuckles to lighten the mood a little. “One thing Shiro told me that you said to Hajime was, ‘When you go back home, I promise in a few years when I save the money,  I'll come see you again. I pinky swear’ Shiro told me that Hajime had the biggest smile on her face when you told her that”

 

“Mom?”

 

“Yes, Evan?” my mom replies.

 

“Is there a reason why you didn't tell me about this earlier?” I ask. A brief moment passes by. “I didn't want to relive that moment of almost losing you.” My mom replies. I nod my head in understandment. “Well, now I sort of understand why these feelings I have for Hajime are so strong.” I mutter to myself. “Well, thanks mom. You should go back to bed. Thanks for letting me know everything.”

“You’re welcome, son. As hard as it was for me to tell you this again, I couldn't just hold that in forever.” my mom replies. I smile at my mom, she waves me goodbye and hangs up skype.

 

I lay back down on my bed and reflect on the dream. “I'm going to tell Hajime how I feel about her.” I say to myself boldly. After two seconds of my high confidence, I doubt myself. “If she barely knew english back then and if I was the one teaching her just a few words, what makes me think she will understand me now?” I ask myself. I sit in my room feeling down, until I get an idea. “Yuko! He can help me!” I say aloud. “I should thank him for helping me so much. He really has been a great help to me.”

I put some clothes on and head out of the hotel door. As I step outside, I stop walking. “Where would Yuko be?” I ask myself. I think for a few seconds and start walking. I arrive at Kemasakuranomiya Park and in the exact same spot where I met Yuko, I see him standing there looking up at the trees.

 

“You must really love it here, huh, Yuko?” I say aloud to Yuko. He hears my voice and turns around with a big smile on his face. “Evan! Long time no see! How have you been? How is Hajime as well?” Yuko asks with excitement. “We both are good. Turns out we have a deeper connection than I thought. I want to let her know that I remember all of it, then tell her how I feel about her.” I reply. “That is awesome! Hajime will be so happy to hear all of that. She's been waiting for you for a long time.” I look at Yuko in confusion. “Really? What do you mean?” I ask. “Well, Hajime has always loved you. Ever since you two became close friends when she was in America. When she came back, she refused to date anyone.” Yuko replied. “Really? How do you know all of this?” I ask Yuko. “Well, a little after Hajime moved back to Osaka, her mother and my father became close, they didn't have anywhere to stay because of her husband's death. So my father let them stay in a room at our hotel for a little while. Eventually, my father introduced me to Hajime. Our parents encouraged us to date, but Hajime refused. So did I. I wasn't really into having a relationship.”
Yuko replied. “Wait, you own a Hotel? You almost dated Hajime?!” I ask in confusion. “Yes, My father is Mashi Koba, the general manager and director of the Imperial Hotel, that's how I was able to help you get your room as well.” Yuko replied smiling. “That was you?” I ask. “Yes, but that really isn’t important. What's important is you telling Hajime how you feel about her.” Yuko replies.

I nod my head in agreement. “Can I help you with that, Evan?” Yuko asks. “I've already asked you for so much, I don’t want to keep using you as a messenger.” I reply. Yuko grabs my shoulder. “Evan, I won't be a messenger, this time I will teach you what you need to say.” Yuko replies in a serious tone. “I appreciate it but it's okay. I feel like our friendship is one sided and I don’t want it to be like that.” I reply. Yuko shakes my arm “Do you not get it?” Yuko asks. “Get what?” Yuko takes a deep breath and calms down.

A small moment of silence passes. “Do you want to understand why I stand in this spot everyday?” Yuko asks me. I nod my head yes.

 

“I stand here because this is the spot where I made up my mind to commit suicide.” My eyes widen as I hear those strong words come out of Yukos mouth. “Life was always so hard for me. Without having a mother in my life, I never knew what it was like  to have someone to really give me affection, or encourage me when I was feeling low. I didn't have anyone to talk too.  My father was always busy, so I was always alone. Then when he was around, I was always being scolded by him, he’d ask me why aren’t I following his footsteps into business and how I should be a better son.  I thought what would keep me going is by trying to be someone different. Someone cooler, I guess. So I started to learn english and soon, I fell in love with the language! So I made up my mind to fluently learn the american language and eventually live in america, but people laughed at my interests, called me all sorts of names, telling me I’d be better off living a normal life in Japan, but I wanted more for myself. I thought that was my life goal until my own father told me that I was a waste of time because I wouldn't succeed. After that, I felt as if I really didn't have a purpose. I even questioned my goals in America. I didn't know who I was, I couldn't find myself. Until that day. On that day I met you. You came to me asking me for help, someone who felt so worthless, I never knew anyone would even want to be around me.  I never knew how kind a person could be. Even if you were doing this for selfish purposes, You helped me realize that giving up wouldn’t change anything. When we went hours looking for Hajime, and you wanted to give up, I felt as if I could motivate you. Then when you kept saying I won't give up, that inspired me. I felt as if i could be just like you. So this spot, not only is it the spot where our friendship and our bond started, but it is my spot where I come and reflect on what could have happened. I wouldn’t have met you or even seen Hajime again. Thank you, Evan. You really did change me.” Yuko said to me. I pause and look at Yuko. I feel tears coming to my eyes as I hear my friend confess his testimony to me. “Yuko” I say with a choked up voice, “I'm so glad you’re here, my friend. Thank you for being here.” I say to Yuko with both of my hands holding his shoulders. I wipe away the tears I had in my eyes and I give Yuko a big smile. “Look, man. I do want you to help me and I promise I won't think that i'm using you anymore. So, will you help me?” I ask Yuko. Yuko smiles and nods his head yes. “I'll be teaching you something, so meet me here tomorrow at noon okay?” I nod my head in agreement. Anyway, I gotta head home, I'm writing a story about how and Japanese woman goes to America and meets an American man and how their love has a deeper connection than she knows. Sounds interesting, right?”

 

“Something about this seems oddly familiar” I think to myself, but I nod my head yes anyway. “Let me be the first to read it!” I shout to Yuko as he walks away. He gives me a thumbs up from a distance and continues walking. I watch Yuko walk off and I start my walk back to my hotel.




 

Day 7

Chapter VIII


 

Earlier.

 

I never forgot about Evan. I couldn't ever forget about him. The day that we met, I felt myself get attached to him. When Evan and I first met, the first thing he told me was that I was beautiful. I didn't understand english at the time, my mother had to translate what he said to me, but what I did understand was the way he looked at me. The way he looked at me, with such awe and so much attention, he made me feel beautiful. Evan is also very kind. The first few days in Seattle were rough, I didn't know my way around and I ended up getting lost, I was afraid and scared but Evan was there when I didn't expect him to be there. He wiped my tears with a handkerchief and he walked me to his home. He held my hand the entire time we walked to his house. His hands were big and rough, but when he held my hand, his hand felt soft. We sat in his room until my mother came to pick me up. He got up and stuck out his pinky, saying he promises to see me again. That day, I knew I was falling in love with Evan. We saw each other everyday after that. He started teaching me english. They were simple words, like “hello” “how are you?”. After a little while, we were able to have small conversations. He’d always say how special I was. He told me he loved how kind I was to him, and that he liked seeing me everyday. Evan could always make me smile, when we would go outside to play, he would always grab my hand and run around with me at the park. We had a roofed bench that we would sit under to watch the sunset when we we were going to leaving the park, he stopped me and told me that he had a secret to tell me. He told me that he liked me. I never felt happier that the feelings I had for him weren’t just one sided. I love him and I want to tell him that, but I couldn’t I felt so nervous. That next day, the accident happened with my Evan and my father. I held Evans hand the entire night, telling him to wake up, I didn't want him to leave me like my father did.  After the day my father died, my mother flew us back to Osaka. I was sad for a long time, but what kept me happy was the thought of seeing Evan again. Even if he doesn't remember me, I want to remind him who I am. “Today is the day I tell him how I feel. Will you help me?” Hajime asks Yuko. Yuko smiles and nods his head. Hajime smiles back and starts her journey to Kemasakuranomiya park.








 

Later.




 

“Alright, let's try this again. The word is pronounced Eye, like our human eye, She as in the girl, Te, like the beginning sound of saying the word temper and Ru, like saying Rudolph. Say it one more time.” Yuko says to me. We practice at Yukos house for a little over an hour. “I think I got it!” I say in excitement. “Really? Awesome! You have worked hard, Evan!” Yuko replies. I smile at Yuko “Thank you for taking the time to teach me this man. I really couldn't have done this without you.” I say to Yuko. Yuko smiles and shakes his head. “This is what friends are for!” Yuko replied.

 

“So, what made you want to confess your feelings to Hajime?” Yuko asks. I take one last gulp of the water Yuko served me and take a breath. “Well, it all started with these weird dreams I had. Ones with someone telling me to wake up, then I started to see Hajime in my dreams, too.”

“Really?” Yuko asks.

“Yeah. After that, I had another dream, but this one felt more like a memory than a dream. Hajime and I were walking at a small park, then I told her that I liked her. And each day that I’ve seen her now, my feelings for her have gotten stronger and stronger. She's so kind, warm, caring and she's patient with me. It's everything that I remember her from when we were kids. She hasn’t changed at all.” Yuko smiles at me and pats my shoulder. “Well, I think that it's time that you tell her.” Yuko says to me. “Yeah, I will.” I reply. “Well, when I say that, I mean today.” Yuko says smiling. I take a second to process what Yuko has told me. “Wait.. TODAY?!” I yell. “I still need more time! I don’t feel ready just yet!” I say nervously. Yuko chuckles a little. “Don’t let this moment slide by you. Hajime has been waiting for you for years. Don’t let her wait any longer.” Yuko replies. “How long has she been waiting for me?” I ask. “Ever since she came back to 9 years ago. Osaka. She made a promise to herself that she would see you again.” My eyes widen as I hear what Yuko told me. “This is the time, Evan. Go to her.” I stand up, put on my shoes and walk out of the door.



 

“I remember everything now.”

 

“I will never forget anything”

 

“Her touch”

 

“His smile”

 

“Her warmth”

 

“His kindness”

 

“Her love”

 

“His love”

 

I see Hajime  standing under the same roofed bench we were under not too long ago. As I walk in, our eyes meet.






















 

“I remember you.”

 

 






















 

“Aishiteru” (I love you)

















 


© Copyright 2017 Estevan'Ashad Bourgeois Jr. All rights reserved.

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