Last Friends 7 – a harsh reality

Rejection can take many forms, but the end results are never happy.

Ruka, I… I like you.
I don’t feel attracted to anyone easily, so, I am certain that this feeling is unfaltering. Consequently, no matter what it is, I hope you can feel comfortable enough to tell me.
I, am on your side.

Sorry. I, can’t accept your feelings. I…

… You like someone else?

nod

Is that so..

Sorry…

Unable to bear with Takeru’s disappointment, Ruka runs away. “Ruka,” Takeru calls out, “You had something to tell me, didn’t you?” Still having her back turned from Takeru, Ruka puts on her usual I-wouldn’t-care-even-if-the-sky-fell facade and starts to reassure Takeru that what she wanted to say no longer mattered, but she stops in mid-sentence and turns around to face him.

“What I wanted to say is about Michiru,” she finally mustered, “You’ve noticed that I’ve been irritable towards Michiru. She is so dependent on me, but strangely, I haven’t been treating her very well. So.. Takeru, why don’t you take care of her, for me?”

Takeru consents.

“Start liking Michiru.”
“I do like Michiru.”
“Then like her more. A lot more.”
“What do you mean?”
“Michiru feels lonely all the time. She needs a person to comfort her, reassure her by her side. So, Takeru, can you bring her comfort?”

Sigh.

They return to share house. Eri and the others are playing wii, Ruka joins with them with overt enthusiasm to distract herself from all the troubles surrounding her, newly introduced or not. Takeru watches in silence.

If I want to stay by your side, I have to refrain from being your burden, nor can I let you see my sadness. Ruka, you must think the same.

While playing, Eri announces that she has won six tickets for an amusement park. One, two, three, four, five, but there are only five people in the share house. Ruka assures Eri that there will be a sixth person.

Meanwhile, Sosuke is spying on the share house and its residence.

The day of the outing has arrived! Eri and Ogura are busy bickering and packing for the trip, while Michiru and Takeru watch in amusement. Ruka enters and introduces her coach as the sixth person and the person that she is currently dating. Takeru tries to keep a neutral face, but his sad, sad gaze betrayed him completely. He is caught off guard at the arrival of this unexpected revelation.

Michiru is caught by surprise at first, but quickly sets her mind to believe that the coach is the person that Ruka’s been secretly admiring for a durable amount of time.

Eri openly doubts the coach to be the kind of man that Ruka would find attractive, but accepts it as a pleasant surprise.

While everybody fusses over the fact that Ruka has a secret boyfriend in hiding, Takeru continues to look at Ruka sadly with longing and a defeated sense of acceptance.

The six of them paired up at the park. Ruka walks ahead with her coach to avoid confrontation with Takeru. Takeru walks alongside Michiru but his eyes and his heart never left Ruka. He sighs to himself softly. When he lifts his gaze again, he sees his sister along with her kid and her husband. She looks up and sees him, they suspend in time the moment their eyes meet. Takeru breaks the contact by hastily looking down, fumbling at nothing at all. His sister smiles a helpless smile at his reaction and turns away. Still looking down, Takeru opens his mouth to gasp for air. Once, twice. No use. The sight of his sister has already set a cascade of repressed memories in motion. Still unable to sooth his rippling emotions, he wanders away like a lost child. Takeru finds a tree and digs his head onto the tree trunk, images of her sister running towards him, of him calling after his sister, and of her trembling breasts gush at him like a disease, infiltrating every vein of his body.

Baffled at Takeru’s sudden, indescribable state of being, Michiru follows him. “Are you ok?” she catches up with him and asks. He makes an excuse for his odd behavior to avoid an explanation.

Eri notices Takeru and Michiru have gone off by themselves. Ruka is slightly taken aback at the idea of giving up the woman she loves to a man who loves her, but regains her outward cheerfulness to cover up her inner struggle. She tells the rest that both Takeru and Michiru are grown ups, there is no need to worry. They may even get along well enough to consider dating. While Ogura is making a deal out of being ignorant of the intimacy between Michiru and Takeru, Ruka once again diverts everybody’s attention, as well as her own, by fully investing herself in going on rides.

Later alone, Ruka thanks her coach for complying to her request to pretend to be her boyfriend for the day. He accepts it coolly and implies that a date with Ruka like this is quite pleasant.

Takeru and Michiru returned to share house after Takeru’s little unpleasant experience of bumping into his sister. Waiting for coffee, Takeru apologizes for causing Michiru to come back early. Michiru smiles and tries to lessen his sense of guilt, “I never liked those rides that brings you up and down.” Takeru smiles an is-that-so smile. Michiru continues, more serious this time, “Takeru-kun, if there is something unpleasant on your mind, you can tell me. If it not for everybody, not for you, I wouldn’t be sitting here. Therefore, if Takeru-kun, you are troubling over anything, I’d like to help. When you are lonely, I will stay by your side.”

“Thank you. .. Really, today is because I was a little tired. I guess I’ve been too stressed over work.”

The rest of the bunch returned home. They bring back with them a present for Michiru. Michiru opens it, it’s a cake with “Welcome back Michiru” written on it. Because Ruka wanted to officially celebrate Michiru’s return. Michiru is reduced to tears:

I have, always been afraid to be by myself. I’ve always longed for someone to tell me to stay.

Eri jokes back, “We’re afraid that you’d desert us!” In a happy mood, Takeru offers to pour everybody coffee. He puts the five cups on the platter, ready to pour the famous Takeru coffee, when the coach returns with food. Everyone stand up to welcome him, neglecting Takeru’s coffee. Ruka walks to the kitchen and grabs Takeru’s cup, pours a cup of coffee, throws back a careless “Browing it”, and hands the cup to the coach. Miserably, Takeru watches himself being replaced silently, helplessly. He is hurt.

Late into the night, Takeru is sitting in his dark room thinking. Michiru stands up from her seat and walks out. Ruka is looking up surgery related material online. Michiru knocks on Ruka’s door and explains to Ruka her determination to sever her relationship with Sosuke – to break up with him. Ruka is dubious. Michiru insists to talk to him face to face, “No, I can manage it by myself. I can’t always rely on people’s help.” Ruka agrees.

The next day, an anxious, but determined Michiru arrives at Sosuke’s apartment. Looking up at his balcony, she calls him from downstairs.

He picks it up, “You will come back soon. Because this place is where you belong.” He speaks with such confident dominance that would surely send Ruka’s fist flying if she were in Michiru’s place.
Michiru only says, “Sosuke, I, want to break up with you.”
Sosuke doesn’t take it well, he says curtly, “You’ve been brainwashed. By those people. … The ones from share house. They are still outsiders. They will abandon you in the end. I will not abandon you even in death.” Silly, when you are dead, even if you don’t want to leave her, you will have to.
Michiru closes her eyes but manages to tell him, with difficulty that, she is losing herself by being with him, “You evade every being of my existence, I don’t have room to think about my own feelings.”
“Isn’t that great? You are always in my mind too.” Sosuke doesn’t understand.
“I used to think that, but it’s not true. Now I want to live my life with my own will.”
Sosuke sits down on the couch, “I don’t understand what you are saying. I treasure you so much.”
“Sosuke always hits me, why is that?” Sosuke is silent. Michiru continues, “that’s because Sosukes you want me to comply to your wishes. Compared to my feelings, what you value more is your own feelings.”
Sosuke’s tears start to well up in his eyes, “I only wanted to become one with you.”
“I, don’t understand what you are saying. Sorry.”
“Wait!”
“Goodbye.” Michiru slowly puts down her phone.

When Ruka comes back to the locker room, a crowd of people have already surrounded the place, looking at papers taped on the window – the same letter sent to her parents. Ruka tears them down and is ready to hide in the locker room when her coach asks her if what’s in the letter is true. Ruka struggles, but when she turns her face towards the coach, she resorts to her lie, leaving the other racers half dubious. Once inside the locker room, Ruka shuts herself up in the shower and starts to cry.

Sosuke goes to the park where he always meets the little boy. The boy comes up to him asking for bread. Sosuke shakes his head and asks the boy how long has it been since he last saw his mother. He doesn’t remember. The boy takes Sosuke to his house, everything is scattered everywhere, the mom is nowhere to be seen. The boy comes back to Sosuke, telling him there is no food in the house. Sosuke takes him home and lovingly makes dinner for the two of them. While the two are eating, the boy asks Sosuke if he’s lonely without his girlfriend, Sosuke sinisterly replies, “She will come back to me.”

Takeru is at the bar carving ice when he remembers Ruka telling him she has a deep secret that she’s never told anyone. Unable to concentrate, he returns home listlessly. Ruka walks straight to her room without saying any salutation to Takeru.

As if remembering something, Takeru yells outside of Ruka’s door, “Ruka, what happened? If you feel troubled, you can talk to me about it. Didn’t you say you feel you can tell me anything? I am your friend, aren’t I Ruka?” Michiru listens to it in her room. Ruka stands up and throws her backpack at the door, “So annoying. Everybody has a secret that they don’t want to reveal!” As of reminded of his own secret, Takeru wants to say more, but eventually returns to his own room.

The share house is surprisingly cold and silent that night.

Takeru buries his head in the pillow, remembering the past…

He is playing hide and seek with his sister. She comes to him and picks him up. “Takeru, can you do me a favor? Don’t tell dad about it.” …

When Takeru reemerges into the kitchen, he finds Michiru crying by herself. He walks away silently, leaving her alone.

The next day at breakfast, everybody is strangely quiet. Michiru finally says, “Ruka, if something’s been bothering you, sharing it may help. We can all think of ways to help you.” Ruka lies that she’s in a bottleneck, that she hasn’t been making progress at training. Michiru announces that she had broken up with Sosuke.

After everybody leaves, Takeru inquires about Michiru’s crying, deducing that she’s been thinking about Sosuke.

“You really can see through everyone. Whenever I think about Sosuke, I will be reminded of a beautiful garden that I can no longer trod. And then, I will feel sad. Strange isn’t it? Reality is like a living hell.”
“I can understand.”
“You can?”
“I’ve had similar experiences.”
“Similar experience?”
“The one I loved most ended up being the one I detested the most. … It’s okay, things will get better. Meet someone you like, find a few friends, allow them to share the burden with you. Even if the scar is still there, but it will be small enough to vanish on its own.”

Michiru leans on Takeru’s shower and asks, out of a moment of vulnerability, “Can I like you?”

Ruka returns to pick up the phone that she forgot on the couch and witnesses it.

Takeru puts his other hand on Michiru’s shower, slowly, hesitantly. Michiru starts to cry.

Ruka closes the door silently behind her. She leans against it for awhile to let the conflicting feelings sink in. Then she rushes away, accidentally knocking down a pot of flowers.

The sound alarms Takeru and Michiru. Takeru walks out of the kitchen to find the sound source and notices Ruka’s phone on the couch is now gone. He is aghast.

The relationship between people is such an intricate thing, love is as frail as the lingering snowflake. Ruka, the time with you, my own remaining happy moments, is a lot shorter than I thought.

Eri is getting ready to leave the airport when she sees Ogura in the cafe with his wife. Although upset by the sight, she stops to regain herself. She sighs, then straightens her back and moves on with her usual cheerful composure.

Sosuke and the little boy walk out of his apartment together. The boy suddenly sees his mother and chases after, ignoring the railroad and the oncoming train. Sosuke runs towards the boy to the middle of the tract to save him…

Michiru walks out of share house and takes notice of the pot that was knocked down by Ruka. Suddenly understanding, she looks out towards, guilt and worry combine into one uneasy look.

Sad, sad episode. On the one hand, Ruka knows she can’t promise Takeru’s happiness, nor can she give Michiru happiness, so she buries deeper into her problems and tries to push Takeru to Michiru. As cruel as it seems – the fake boyfriend and the cup – we know that no matter what, Takeru will be disappointed and hurt by Ruka’s inability to return his affection. Like Ruka realized two episodes ago, whoever is trying to hurt another person is hurt herself.

On the other hand Michiru has gradually become stronger. Although Sosuke’s outright confidence looms ahead as a dark foreshadow.

Finally, Takeru’s past is coming to light little by little. There is a strong hint of incest, which explains his avoidance of intimate contact with people.

One thought on “Last Friends 7 – a harsh reality”

  1. Incest… yeah, the sister probably molested Takeru. Ack, disturbing =/ …Last Friends is just oh-so-strange. But I guess that’s what keeps us watching 😛

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