Sunday, 7 May 2017
When Ai Met Yu; Part 3 - Tokyo Resolution
Airnori Uchida is a freeter trying to begin his working life in Tokyo - he is also gay, and struggles with understanding where reality and fantasy must separate. By chance, he meets up with an old friend from university in Yoyogi Park. A country boy from Kansai, Airnori and Yusuke Ishinori become firm friends, and Yusuke even saves Airnori from his gym teacher’s perverted attentions.
The two agree that Airnori will go on a three-week visit to Yusuke's home in Kansai. Meeting Yusuke's family, Airnori learns that Yusuke is also gay, and unlike Airnori has complete confidence in his identity. The two revealed their feelings for each other, and one night the two make love. Though nervous, Airnori is guided by Yusuke, and learns the true feeling of love.
Being in bed with a man is an exhilarating experience, especially when it’s someone you’ve had a crush on since university. Airnori was in front of me, one leg wrapped round my buttocks and all but devouring my neck with kisses. I was giving him my all and caressing him with my lips and hands in every place I could sensibly reach in my position.
“God, this is great.” I heard him mutter.
“Yeah. It’s great. Is it what you expected?”
“You kidding? Of course not. Oh Yu.”
Yeah, I think you get the picture. A few weeks before, I’d met up with a guy I hadn’t seen since university, Airnori Uchida. Me? I’m Yusuke Ishinori. He was the same guy I said I’d stay in touch with when my father’s cancer came out of the blue. I’d managed to find him again, and he’d agreed to stay with me in Kansai. My sister revealed that I was gay, just like him. That night, I decided to make the first move, to help him. He was obviously a bag of nerves. I didn’t want to force him to do anything, but I also wanted... Well, we didn’t need to force anything. I did need to help him. He had the weirdest notions about needing to adopt a seme-uke dynamic when we need not do anything of the kind.
It was the fourth day after he’d learnt about me and I’d decided to help him out, and we’d decided to have another go together. The first time had been more than successful after a rough start, and I noticed later that it had broken Airnori out of his shell a little. He’d chucked away that weird manga of his at long last. I didn’t know why he’d bought it, only that he didn’t need it any more. The next day he was laughing, decided to go for a long run, and then we spent time with my sisters again. He played with my youngest, and I had a chance to talk with Hana.
She nodded. “I knew. I didn’t know what to tell him exactly when you first told me about him. But when I saw him, I knew he was alright. I hope things work out.”
“So to I. You know,” I scratched my head. “I never thought it would turn out like this for me. He’s weird and brash and so shy, but I really like him.”
“He’s your other. Your opposite. He’s the part of you that you’ve been missing. Talking of missing, aren’t you supposed to be meeting your Sensei today?”
“Crap! Apologise to Ai for me.”
“Ai? Oh, Airnori. Sure.”
My Sensei was indeed waiting for me as I rushed down the street towards her house, and she had reserved one of her cooler expressions for me. She knew full well about my sexuality, and she didn’t give a damn. She only cared about fostering my artistic talents. She was the one who discovered me after university, and even as she now helped me complete a sketch I had been working on, she didn’t say a word about why I had been late. It wasn’t until the very end, when I had completed my work and she was giving me tea that she spoke.
“I heard your friend Airnori came to visit.”
“Was he the reason you were late?”
“Partly that, Sensei.”
A long silence developed. My Sensei chose her words very carefully when they meant anything, and they always did.
“I wish you happiness. But do not let it impact your studies in anything but a positive way. Art may depict sadness, but it only thrives when the artist is happy. Paint when you are sad, and the work is less than pitiful.”
“I understand, Sensei. I won’t be unhappy. You’ve ensured that.”
“I didn’t teach you the skills of art for you to turn them into a crutch if your heart is broken. Such folly worse than painting with a saddened heart.”
“I understand, Sensei.”
“Do you? I must question that for your own good. Can you, from the depths of your heart, say that you love this man?”
“I can, Sensei.”
“Then tell him full to his face. Tell him that you wish to spend the rest of your life with him, whatever the future may hold. And if he refuses, that is his decision, not yours, so do not carry the guilt. If he cannot see you as anything but a physical shell, he is not worthy of you.”
“Thank you, Sensei.”
“Now, once tea is finished, I will give you the rest of the day off. But do not think I will go easy on you every day.”
“I will not. Thank you, Sensei.”
This was quite the occasion. It wasn’t every day that my Sensei let me go with only half a day’s tutelage done, let alone on a day when I’d been late. I had to come back tomorrow an hour early to make up for it, but I still didn’t regret her decision or mine. I was able to get home and tell Airnori all about her. He looked concerned that she was a bit of a hard ass, but I assuaged his fears. She’s strict when she needs to be for my own good, but she isn’t heartless. I said that the rest of the day was ours, and asked whether we could go up to the hill again. I was surprised that he agreed, and when we were at the top of the hill, we found a bench and sat down.
“No tanuki today.” he said, smiling.
“No. Say, Ai, I want to tell you something.”
“It’s actually why I asked for this walk.”
“So what’s on your mind?”
I had to brace myself slightly. “My Sensei said something to me today. She asked me ‘Can you, from the depths of your heart, say that you love this man?’. I said I could, and then she said I should tell this man to his face that I love him, and that ‘if he refuses, that is his decision, not yours, so do not carry the guilt’. And said that if he didn’t see me for more than my body, it was his fault.”
I glanced at Airnori, who responded in an irritated way. “Your teacher really is a hard ass. You sure she isn’t a yokai waiting to eat you?”
“I admit she gives that impression sometimes, but she only has my best interests at heart. Though she’d never admit it fully to my face.”
“So do you?”
“Love this man?”
“Then tell him.”
I looked directly at him. “Airnori Uchida, I love you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, come what may. What’s your answer?”
Airnori remained quiet for some little time, then suddenly he embraced and kissed me. I was startled, but I didn’t resist. He then leaned next to my ear.
“I love you too, Yusuke Ishinori. Don’t you ever forget it. I don’t care if it’s forever or just for this trip, I’m gonna enjoy it. You’re the guy I like. Dammit, Yu, I’m getting hard just thinking about it.”
“I’m not sure whether sounding like that manga of yours is a good thing or not.”
“Hmm? Oh, sorry. It slipped out. But I am–”
“I don’t doubt it, but there’s no need to spell it out for me. Anyway, I can feel it.”
“I know. It’s like–”
“I mean literally feel it.”
“It’s prodding my leg.”
“Oh, sorry.” Airnori shuffled away, turning beetroot red. “So sorry. I didn’t– Well, I wouldn’t– Urg, this is embarrassing.”
“Tell me about it.” I began laughing. “But at least you didn’t tell me to go find a kappa or something.”
“You’re utterly impossible. Come here.”
Airnori tried to kiss me again, and I dodged slightly so his lips struck my neck. I then kissed him, and we ended up playfully tumbling on top of each other on the bench. We didn’t ‘get it on’ or anything like that, but we did kiss each other until our lips went numb and our hands explored all that decency permitted. We didn’t realise until Airnori glanced up that a young courting couple – a man and woman this time – had walked up and had been staring at us for perhaps the past minute. We must have looked like protagonists plucked from the pages of a BL light novel.
I don’t know what we should have done, but we just burst into a fit of giggling and ran past the two as if we’d been caught vandalising. They probably followed us with their gaze, but all I could focus on was Airnori – his hand in mine, his eyes fixed on me – as we ran back towards town. When we reached the bottom of the hill, we stopped to catch our breath, then Airnori spoke.
“Hey, when the holiday’s over, we’re really gonna keep in touch, right? Maybe you can come and stay in Tokyo for a while.”
“Sure. By the way, you don’t have to act on it, but I really think you should make a crack at being a mangaka. Alongside your other stuff.”
“You’ve got talent. And I know you can tell a good yarn. Go for it.”
Airnori laughed gently. “You’re alright, Yu.”
“I should hope so, after what we’ve just done.”
We laughed again and made our way back home, talking happily. The evening passed in a flurry of talk and laughter, like a dream. That night, we arranged our beds so we could sleep together. It was enough just to be side by side that night, eventually sliding into each other’s arms and dropping to sleep. That night was bliss, and the dreams I had stay with me to this day. They were good dreams.
The rest of his stay there went like a breeze, and in between spending time with him, being with my family, and attending my Sensei’s lessons, I didn’t have a lot of free time. But then, I didn’t need it. Spending time with Airnori was my free time, and it was wonderful. I was so sad when it came time for him to go home. I stayed on the platform until his train was out of sight, and when I got home at the end of the day, I felt hollow. It was then that I knew I needed him in my life. I needed him so badly. It was like a disease, but one that filled me with energy and hope rather than draining me of both.
“You’ll see him again.” my sisters said. “Guaranteed.”
I really wanted to believe them. I did believe them.
It was another month before I got the message from Airnori I really wanted to see in my email inbox. It was an invitation to visit Tokyo for as long as I liked. I decided three weeks was enough time, and having received permission from my Sensei, I booked a hotel suit in Meguro City where Airnori lived, not too far from his own home, and travelled down there with two suitcases and a strong wish to hug Airnori when I got there. I got my wish, thought I had to be somewhat delayed due to circumstances beyond my control.
As when I’d passed through the many toll areas, I saw Airnori waiting for me at the bottom of an escalator. Next to him was a young girl about a head shorter than him, and when we met, he introduced her as his sister Hiroe. I greeted her, and she was telling me in a bubbly way how thrilled she was to finally meet me.
“I’ve been so wanting to see you! Onii-chan’s told me loads of stuff. I never expected you to be so... normal.”
Airnori went red. “Onee-chan, no need to–”
“It’s alright.” I said, grinning. “I don’t mind.”
It seemed Airnori had really been telling Hiroe about me for some time. We spent a little time together in Shibuya as a threesome, and I suddenly felt reassured – if his sister was this alive, Airnori could loosen up and be an even greater source of joy in my life. I asked Airnori whether he would like to visit my apartment, and he agreed. Hiroe had another date to keep, so it was just a matter of checking in, making sure I could receive visitors, then having Airnori help me with my luggage. When we were inside and the room door was closed, we each dropped the cases and embraced.
“It’s been way too long.” Airnori’s voice was unexpectedly soft. “I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you to.” my embrace was perhaps even stronger than his own. “I didn’t want to stay away for so long. I’ve only got my Sensei’s grace like this because I worked extra hard and got ahead on my work.”
“Yeah. Feels like it.”
Airnori was feeling my hips and buttocks. Not wanting this to degrade into that creepy scene from Urusei Yatsura, I suitably but gently chastised him with a gentle pinch for being so forward before I’d even unpacked. He gave me a day to settle in, then we were off around Tokyo.
I hadn’t been really around Tokyo in a long time, except when Airnori led me round in our university days. He took us to a few of our old haunts, then on to new places he had found in the intervening time. It was wonderful being with him, like my entire world had returned back to that blissful time in our youth, when all the world lay before us. It was great to just let our hair down, let ourselves be ourselves in each other’s company, and reminisce about the old days. Airnori went home for the first few nights, then I reminded him that I could have visitors.
I didn’t know what to expect, but I ended up having Airnori as a visitor that evening. Standing in the doorway, sliding in alongside me as I opened it, I felt like I was doing something erotic. I closed the door quickly.
“Can’t complain.” Airnori almost immediately flopped on the bed. “Father’s out on a job, Hiroe’s got someone having a sleepover. Your invitation couldn’t have been better timed.”
“Thanks.” I grinned. “So... you’ve noticed it’s a double bed...”
Airnori glanced, and saw he had indeed lain on one half of a double bed. I walked round and flopped next to him, then we gazed at each other. I smiled softly, he returned it, I felt our hands interlocking. It was wonderful.
“So how’s Tokyo since you were here as a student?”
“It’s different. I’ve grown so used to Kansai.”
“I didn’t notice anything. Oh yeah, I tell a lie. That cool family-run ramen bar we used to hang at closed when the family head died. Apparently he was the financial brains, and they didn’t want new management, so they closed.”
“That’s sad. That was good ramen.”
“Hey, there’s a good curry place. Not as good as my curry.”
“You can cook?”
“Why didn’t you tell me that while you were visiting?”
“Didn’t seem to matter.”
“Well tell me next time. Getting all the meals done... It’s not easy being a host, you know.”
“I know. Don’t get angry. Your face goes all crinkly when you’re angry.”
“I thought you liked my face crinkly. It didn’t stop you interrupting me in the middle of studies. I think I lost a couple of points from my final exams because of you.”
I reached out and felt Airnori’s thigh. It was delightfully full, but didn’t stray into that weird ‘fat’ class so many seem to think gay men prefer. It was unusual to be lying together like this, but also oddly relaxing. Finally, We each turned on our sides, facing each other.
“Do you think we could spend more time together?” asked Airnori.
Next week, Airnori and Yusuke find the courage to commit to their love, but will both their families accept this unconventional romance? Next week, the grand finale; Part 4 - Family Matters.