Last Friends 9 – your life

Flick. Flick. Flick. Eri passively sits on the couch, flickering through channels to find a station that broadcasts Ruka’s race. Takeru lies on the sofa, eyes glued to the TV and barely twitching.

Eri: “Ugh. 45 station isn’t enough. Can’t find a single station about the race.”
Ogura: “Are you indirectly criticizing the owner of the TV?”

Takeru gets up to pour himself a cup of water.

It’s Michiru’s phone that breaks the tension in the room. Ruka called to announce the good news – she had won the race and will come back for a brief visit tomorrow.

Even without Ruka being in the share house, its residences celebrated for Ruka’s victory.

Like everyone else, Takeru misses Ruka and wonders how she’s doing. He walks into her empty room at night, sits down and lets his thoughts takes him back to his confession at the park…

Michiru passes by the door and sees Takeru.

How are you and Ruka?

Ruka and I are friends. The kind of friendship that won’t change.

Ruka returns the next day with a bright smile on her face. The kind of smile that hasn’t been appearing on Ruka’s face lately.

Share house characteristically holds a welcome party for Ruka. They secretly bake a turkey to celebrate Ruka’s victory now that the champion herself is back. To keep the turkey a surprise, the bunch makes Ruka stay outside while they add the final touch to the golden brown turkey.

Takeru joins Ruka in the patio.

Ruka, congratulations.

Thanks. It’s all because of you.

Me?

Because of you, I gained confidence. I didn’t know that knowing someone who truly understands me in this world can give me so much strength.

Michiru enters the scene and watches from the window as Ruka and Takeru chatters away happily. She looks on with sad envy and thought to herself,

I’ve never seen Ruka smile so carefree. I can feel the kind of harmony that I’ve been yearning for between you and Takeru.

After a night’s feast, the bunch are found sleeping across the share house floor. Michiru wakes up first. The door bell rings, she gets up to open it. A strange woman stands at the door.

She introduces herself as Takeru’s sister and asks Michiru to give him the bag of homemade desserts she has brought for her brother. Then she leaves after briefly entering the room to take a look at Takeru who’s still asleep.

Eri mentions the need for adequate paperwork for staying at share house. Since Michiru recently lost her job, she will need a guardian to co-sign the paper in order to continue to reside in the house. Michiru is reluctant to go home to her mother, Takeru volunteers to accompany her. The meeting didn’t go well at the beginning since Michiru’s mom still prefers the seemingly gentle and obviously rich Sosuke. However Takeru’s charm soon eradicates any prejudice the mother held against a less well off man and the two drink and chatter till dark.

Satisfied with the result of the meeting, Michiru exclaims that things would be different if she had known Takeru before Sosuke. Takeru tries to explain his situation, but ends up joking that he has a heart condition which left his heart half the size of a normal person. (Except that heart expands thrice as big for Ruka.)

Suddenly, it starts to rain. Takeru takes out an umbrella and covers both himself and Michiru with it. While thinking Takeru’s considerately thoughtful, Michiru can’t help but to notice as his hand that’s holding the umbrella lightly scratches the surface of her arm. A little uncomfortable, even nervous about the intimate contact, Michiru finds herself a petty execuse and runs off to purchase an umbrella for herself in a near by store.

Thud. Thud. Thud. A dark figure approaches behind Michiru and ominously looms over her…

“Michiru, long time no see,” Sosuke greets Michiru as if he’s an old friend. An intuitive fear takes over, she starts to back up slowly. “When are you coming home?” he inquires. “Home?” Michiru doesn’t understand. “Look at my foot, it would be great if you would return home and help me with the chores. Of course, I will do as much as I can.” Unable to look into his eyes, Michiru shakily reminds him, “Sosuke, we separated.” She puts down the umbrellas and runs out. Sosuke, half limping, follows out, “Michiru, let’s go home together.” He reaches out and grabs her. “Sosuke, please forgive me. Give me freedom. I, like someone else now.” Showing shock for the first time, Sosuke asks, “Are you lying to me? I don’t believe it.” “It’s true.” Michiru runs away.

Takeru finds Michiru and accompanies her home. Sosuke walks out from the dark corner, witness the “intimacy” between Takeru and Michiru.

In the next few days, Takeru takes a big case – a promising opportunity for his career as a makeup artist.

He bikes home one day, while climbing up the stairs, someone strikes him unexpectantly from the front. Takeru rolls down the stairs with his bike. Sosuke walks out from the shadows with his cane, looking down at Takeru with hatred. A horrifying beating ensues.

It ended with Sosuke stepping on Takeru’s right hand with disgust, sending Takeru into an excruciating hell of pain.

Takeru manages to stumble home after the heartbreaking attack. Michiru is aghast at what she had obliviously initiated. Ruka returns to share house and decides to move back – to protect those she loves and loves her.

Takeru loses the job opportunity.

Ruka receives a call from Sosuke and faces him alone in his apartment, letting go all her self-imposed constraints and the secrecy of her sexual orientation that has tormented her long enough.

Is she with that man?

It’s none of your business.

You arranged for it.

No. It’s Michiru who has changed. She walked out, learned to be independent. She is, starting to love a reliable man. A man more tender than you, more tolerant, and knows how to love! Michiru will be happy hereafter.

Sosuke lowers his head, covering his stoic expression under the long, dark bangs. Ruka continues,

I won’t let you ruin her happiness!

What enables you to do that?

Because, the one who truly loves her, is me. … The love you go by, can’t be considered love at all.

Sosuke lowers his head a second time, and swallows. (Prisoner of Love starts to play) Then he shoots up, grabbing a random object from the desk, one had grabs Ruka’s collar and starts hitting her with the object. She gets him off using her head and pushes him into the floor. She starts to kick him. Once, twice… He grabs onto her foot and sends her onto the floor using the force. He picks her up and socks her hard on the cheek. She gasps and coughs, but before she could take a breath, Sosuke locks his two hands on Ruka’s neck, strangling her. She musters all her energy and pushes him off. He falls down, knocks over the lamp that broke once in the first episode. It shatters into little shards and scatters across the floor. Ruka grabs her bag and starts to hit Sosuke on the head with the bag. He gets a hold of it and drags Ruka onto, the bed. She strikes back. He picks her up by her collar and throws her out onto the floor near the broken pieces again. She hits the floor, still coughing. Sosuke takes the opportunity and sits on Ruka’s back and pushing her face against the shards. She resists and flips over. He sits on her stomach and starts to punch the soft part of her tummy. She takes the blows with muffled scream. Sosuke tears open Ruka’s shirt, revealing the black tank top underneath. (The music stops.)

Takeru picks up his cup by its handle, it falls, separating from the handle still in Takeru’s hand, and rolls idly on the ground. (Music resumes.) Michiru rushes in from the sound of the cup drop. They stare at each other, a sense of uneasiness creeps over.

I find myself recapping the dramas I don’t like as much with good humor and a wry enjoyment because there are an abundant amount of silliness I can poke fun at to cover up the repetitiveness of my writing. When it comes to dramas I do like, that enjoyment is replaced by the frustration of not being able to capture the essence of the scene with words. I think the recap is not/will not be good enough so I hide away and refuse to write. When I actually sit down to type, it’s really not that bad. It may not be the wonderful, sensual description I had hoped for, but it’s not that bad.

It’s easy to watch a drama and go “ah, if Ruka had been up front about her sexual identity, she would not have suffered so”, but if freeing one’s self from one’s own constraints is a simple task, there wouldn’t be so many dramas, novels, plays, and whatever art form there is, that painstakingly go into length to explore and the “epiphany” we are all well acquainted.

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