Aitai (I Want Love)
Hey, I know a lot of people think that love is over-rated, or that teenagers don’t really understand what romantic love really is. I admit, I honestly believe that I haven’t got a good grasp of it. But you know what?
Sometimes, all you want is someone who’s willing to give you the occasional long hug, a helping hand, a little token of their appreciation, or just some good old-fashioned time with them, even if there’s no ultimate plan on what to do together.
In the end, for me, love is just impossible, even on such a simple basis. You know why?
It’s because I feel like no matter how hard I try to be the very best (like no one ever was) person in terms of respecting people and in terms of giving them support regardless of how conflicted our opinions are… I feel like they still develop resentment to me.
As a result, it ends up becoming a matter not of how I will find THE ONE for me, but rather, how I will tell a lady – who wants to love – that I honestly don’t feel like I can love properly. And this results in some pretty interesting chuunibyou moments, which occur daily.
What comes next is an example of what can happen. IT’S VERY LONG! And yes, I know this is imaginary, but I let my imagination humour me…because, you know, insecurities can be fully realised here in a safe environment – and by “safe”, I mean that no real people will suffer the repercussions of bad actions.
7:30pm, my bedroom. The night has fallen and I’m just about to start changing into my PJs. Misaki Riako (surname, given name) – my ideal girlfriend – appears in the doorway to my room. She’s slightly shorter than me, has all the appearances of a Japanese teenage schoolgirl, and she’s eyeing me nervously as she peers behind the door frame.
“What’s wrong, Riako-chan?”
“Um…I need to tell you something. But, I see you’re changing…so I’ll come back…”
“No no! I haven’t taken anything off yet. I actually wanted to rest on my bed for a bit, so just sit down on that chair and tell me what’s up.”
She meekly shuffles over to the chair near my study corner-desk. Sitting down, she crosses her ankles and lays her hands on her lap. I sit cross-legged at the head of my bed. A distance which seemed like a mile separated me from her, and an eerie silence falls upon us, the seconds passing like eons.
“So what’s up?”
Her face brightens to a ripe tomato. Her eyes wander to her skirt as she clenches her hands. I secretly laugh at her, because not only is she so cute when flustered, but I already have a hunch as to what she will say.
“I, uh…want to tell you something.”
“I’m all ears.”
“I…I think I like you.”
She quickly bows her head to hide the overwhelming embarrassment she’s feeling. Of course, I think to myself. Walking over to the chair, I kneel down and place my hand on hers. She looks up to meet my eyes, in surprise, it seems. Smiling at her, her eyes begin to well up. Taking her hand, we both stand up, face to face. She quickly buries her head into my shoulder, quiet sobbing ensuing. Clearly, her tears of embarrassment and fear began coursing down my shirt. I hold her, gently stroking her wonderfully silky hair.
“It’s okay to be afraid of confessing your love for someone. You’re a brave soul, and I commend you on your courage, honestly.”
I cautiously kiss her hair as she looks up from her crying. Her eyes are red, and flowing with tears. Her nose is a little runny, and her cheeks are so perfectly pout. She looks at me, as if she’s been longing for this moment since she first laid eyes on me in high school.
“Tintin… I… I really like you… because not only are you kind to me, but you’re kind to everyone. Even if you’re having a horrible day, you always try to make people happy, and if they ask what’s wrong, you always tell them what you’re feeling. I… I wish I could be as brave and as honest as you… I’m always so shy…”
She buries her head into my chest again, looking towards the window slightly ajar. The suburban skyline is speckled with the lights of all the neighbourhood. I leave my hand on her head and stroke it gently. Her hair releases her intoxicating aroma. Still embarrassed, I see.
“It’s fine, Riako. Thank you for your kind words. It’s so nice to hear it from you. Your words really do mean a lot to me.”
And with those words, her eyes light up with so much joy. We share the moment, our chins resting on each other’s right shoulder, eyes closed, secretly taking in the scent of our new-found lover.
And then, my memory snaps to attention. Memories of my past relationship come flooding back in. All I see is heartbreak, tears, anguish, separation, hate, sadness… And then I see myself… I see my former self yelling at my current self. That man who so passionately loved an angel, shaming his future self for being so stupid, so blind, so naive. I see that now-fallen angel crying.
I break out of the hug. Riako’s eyes seem confused. The rose tint in her eyes fade as she begins to question me.
“I just… I just had a flashback.”
“About…why I don’t think I’m worthy of loving you, let alone anyone.”
“What? What do you mean?”
“Did I ever tell you about my ex-girlfriend, Riako?”
She falls silent.
“No…but I heard about it from one of the other girls you hang out with.”
“Oh, okay. That’s fine. She’s honest, so she must’ve told you everything she knows.”
She nods cautiously.
“Do you still love her?”
“Of course. Just like I love you, Bec, my parents, sister, teachers, and everyone else I know.”
“But I mean… do you still want her to be your… romantic lover?”
“No, not particularly.”
She starts to get aggressive. This is a side I haven’t seen before.
“Then why do you still feel guilty about a relationship you’re no longer a part of?!”
“It can’t be helped.”
“What do you mean?!”
“Clearly, you must be able to see that because of that traumatic experience, I’m scared of loving someone else. Because that would mean that I would end up hurting you the same way I hurt her: through all my depressing beliefs and insane tendencies and suicidal thoughts…”
At this point, I start crying. I fall to my knees and bury my head into my hands. Oh, how the tables have turned.
“HOW CAN I LOVE YOU IF I FEEL LIKE I HAVEN’T CHANGED?!
IF I HAVEN’T CHANGED SINCE THEN, HOW CAN I EXPECT MYSELF TO LOVE YOU BETTER THAN I DID TO HER?!
DO YOU WANT ME TO HURT YOU?!
DO YOU WANT ME TO BREAK YOUR HEART?!
I DON’T WANT TO DO THAT!
YOU’RE TOO PRECIOUS TO ME!
I CAN’T ALLOW MYSELF TO DO THAT!”
Anguish fills my heart. Fear of hurting this beautiful woman overwhelms me. My self-worth, my dream, my goal in life… they all collide and form this great travesty that is my existence. She wells up with tears and collapses with me. We both embrace each other to fill each other’s void of despair and rejection. Trying to catch my breath, I look up to her and sniffle.
“I love you. I love you dearly. You listen to my problems. You help me escape the suffering I must put upon myself. You remind me of all the good things in this world. I love you, Riako. I LOVE YOU! Don’t think you’re not loved by me… Don’t feel rejected. I love you dearly, and that’s why I don’t want to call myself your boyfriend. You deserve better; someone stronger-willed than me, someone physically stronger and taller than me, someone wiser, more intelligent, more…EVERYTHING!”
And… I begin crying again. Figures.
Riako goes in for the hug, still in a teary shambles. I am completely incapacitated at this point, so she makes do with her hug. Her warm chest presses on my cheek, and her arms wrap around my head. She rests her head on mine.
“Tintin… I accept you for who you are right here, right now. It’s okay if you are deep in thought about serious things, even if we’re together. You know why?”
Somehow, the question revives me. I shift a bit, and we revert to a sitting position on my now tear-drenched carpet.
She perks up. A smile suddenly beams across her face, which still has a runny nose and five or so tears along her cheeks.
“Because that’s what I love about you, silly!”
I look at her quizzically. She begins to stare out the window.
“I love you because even when you’re swimming in depressing beliefs, insane tendencies, and suicidal thoughts… even though you’re drowning in all that, you’re still swimming with me. And that means more to me than you could ever imagine.”
She turns back to smile again, with both her eyes closed. A pair of pearls roll down her cheeks. Her runny nose is still there, so I come in close to her and, with my sleeve, I wipe her tears and then her nose. A little shocked at first, but she happily accepts my gesture of benevolence.
“You see? You helped clean up my face even though you and I are both a big emotional mess!”
Her giggle is just the most precious thing I’ve ever heard. It cheers me right up, enough for me to giggle with her too. She grabs my other sleeve and forces me to wipe my tears and runny nose. As she releases my sleeve, another squinted smile beams from her.
“There, much better. Tintin, it’s okay if you end up hurting me emotionally. You know I’m smart enough for your tastes, so you should know by now that I can be resilient. I’m not the most fragile piece of crockery you can find, so don’t worry so much if you hurt me. It will be tough, I know that. But I love you too, so I will keep loving you for as long as I can. I love you the same way you love everyone else.”
“But…that’s what she said before… And look where we are now…”
“She’s different from me. For one, I play video games, and I enjoy the times we play together very much. I know you see me as your angel, but I know you know that I’m not. You fear that I’m hiding the pain you give me, when in fact I’m sharing the pain with you. I could only be as honest to you as I am to myself, Tintin. You’ve made that shine within me. I sparkle inside every time I see you because you keep polishing me up. You made me so much happier than before, and I cannot thank you enough for all you’ve done even if we’re just friends.”
She smiles with that cute squint and then suddenly pounces onto me. Shocked, I fall onto my back with a solid thump, which is followed by a pair of thumps as she slams her hands on either side of my head. She bends her elbows and gets extremely close to me; her nose a centimetre from touching mine, her eyes gazing wistfully into mine.
“So please, Tintin. Please be my boyfriend.”
Yeah… So that’s what can happen in my mind when I remind myself why I don’t consider myself boyfriend material, in case that story was a bit TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) for you.
Thanks for reading, dear reader! Hope you enjoyed that crazy chuunibyou short story! If you did, let me know your opinions by commenting, liking the post, and subscribing to my blog for more! Until then, DFTBA!