so i promised to tell you the whole story. i'll try not to belabor you with the infinite details, as i have done to the people i've already told aloud (sorry friends, the Great Minutia Catcher has to unload somewhere). some of this story you may already know. if you need to catch up, search for "wisteria" in my blog and read the previous entries.
so this is the story of a boy and thegirl. it's the slowest story ever told. if it were a movie, you would have given up watching hours ago, called your friend to say "never rent that movie Thegirl Meets Mr. Sugar, 'cause i only made it halfway through the first disk, and nothing happened. why does everyone think slow movies are so artistic!?" and your friend would say, "well, i did like Lost In Translation, and it was slow," and you'd reply, "oh, i liked that too, but this is totally different. how on earth did this movie ever get made!?" then you would have drunk some herbal tea and gone to bed. but this is my life, a movie i'm part of, and i have the time to sit around and see what happens.
[after the initial meeting/four months of awkwardness/slow reconnection]
as the year wore on, every enkai gave me a better opportunity to talk with mr. sugar. it seemed like we both welcomed the chance, and slowly i was getting to know him. we could even have a little casual conversation at school, only for a moment, but it felt more comfortable.
finally, about two weeks ago we had another enkai. this time i was determined to find out something real. i wasn't sure what, exactly, but something. i finally made my way over to his table in the confusion of tipsy, boisterous teachers. we started to talk. we were only interrupted when his very drunk friend spied us chatting and pointed suddenly across the table with a friendly, accusatory finger and blurted, "HE'S SINGLE! HE'S NICE GUY!"
i had found my something real. not hiding a wife or girlfriend at home, mr. sugar is single (and i'd like to presume for the moment, heterosexual). ending the night with several vague promises to do things together (or at least in the vicinity of one another), i glowed home. but would the next day prove to be that ice-water wake-up call? enkai promises are often forgotten or ignored embarrassedly in the daylight hours.
within seconds of the 8:30am bell, mr. sugar had placed a brand new baseball in my hand--a promise that i had completely forgotten! he had said he would give me a baseball with our school name on it, and he did. (he's the baseball coach, see?) grabbing the moment of fulfilled promise, i asked if he would be able to teach me some kanji. he agreed.
i was a mess of adrenaline and hard heartbeats waiting for our first kanji lesson. for the next hour, i jumped when anyone came near my desk and felt positively silly for doing so. i finally realized he wasn’t coming, so i relaxed. then i looked up and there he was. “sorry.” he had been too busy with baseball practice. i waited for him to dash off, but he didn’t; he stayed. along with my best friend teacher, we talked and laughed for the next hour and a half! at school! sober! finally, i was too hungry to stay any longer. he asked if i had time to try our lesson early the next week. of course!
our first lesson was exhausting! we were trying so hard, and neither of us really had a clear direction. i kept up as well as i could, but finally i told him to please write the finished character and then teach me how to write it. we started getting the hang of it. after an hour and a half of that, we sat back and just talked. he stayed at my desk until i headed out for lunch. we met again the next day. this time we talked a whole lot more than we studied. i learned about his family and friends, we harassed each other, and at long last i felt like i had met the real mr. sugar.
but...i was set to fly home in two days. a three-week interruption, WHY NOW!? on the morning of my last day, he brought me the sweets i wrote about in my last post. that felt like the most concrete sign that something had truly changed. no longer afraid to speak to me at school, he had sat for hours at my desk that week in full view of everyone. his little food present was the nicest goodbye, and it was completely unexpected. i’m not fooling myself into believing this means anything specific, just that after all this time, he feels some sort of friendship with me. for now that is enough. i hope when i return to japan, what little momentum we gained is not lost. i hope he misses me a little.