Chapter 75: Something to Wish For

Tohru has way too much on her heart already, and not much to show for it (yet).

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Chapter 74: Just on the Other Side

Once again, Tohru makes a bold move for the sake of a friend.

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Arisa quit all her old jobs, officially giving up on running into Kureno again.

Arisa: I’ve just had enough. Every time a customer came in, a part of me got excited, thinking maybe it would be him again – it’s like I was holding my breath. But then, when it wasn’t, I’d get depressed real quick. You know that’s not like me…I guess I just got worn out torturing myself like that.

She’s trying to be realistic and move on, but when she mentions that his name is Kureno and Tohru wonders aloud if it might be Kureno Sohma, Arisa jumps at the possibility.

Tohru: He had very pretty brown eyes and hair, and he had, like, a cool, calm demeanor.

Arisa: That’s definitely a different guy. The Kureno-san I know is so absentminded. […]

Tohru: But don’t you think there’s a possibility it’s him!? Wouldn’t it be worth it to find out for sure!?

Arisa: Don’t bother. Believe me, there’s no way it’s him. I’m positive. And anyway, I’ve already given up on him. Sorry I kept whining about it. But thanks.

It’s rather amusing how Uo-chan thinks she knows everything about a guy she only met twice (especially since “absentminded” and “cool and calm” are kind of interchangeable in different contexts).  But of course the real reason she denies the possibility is that she doesn’t want to get her hopes up again only to have them dashed.

Tohru asks Kyo about Kureno, and learns that Kureno seems to be very isolated – he’s Akito’s personal assistant, but rarely even speaks to the other members of the Zodiac.

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Kyo: Why are you asking about Kureno anyway? […] Don’t go borrowing trouble.

Tohru: (internally) But Kyo-kun, one of my best friends is worried about something. I could never think of helping her as “trouble.”

And so she decides to just go to the Sohma compound alone and seek out Kureno.  But then she (quite understandably) loses her nerve when faced with the doorbell at the gate.

Tohru: I can’t just suddenly barge in like this. That would be reckless. […] Ah, but still, if there’s even a small chance the man she wants to see is behind this wall…

Her thoughts are interrupted by the sound of a violin playing, and then she literally runs into Momo, Momiji’s baby sister.

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Why yes, this is going to be another heartrending Momiji story!

Anyhow, Momo shows Tohru a secret entrance (a hole in the wall).

Tohru: Momo-san, are you acquainted with…I mean, do you know Momiji-kun?

Momo: I know him. I met him once at Papa’s building. I thought he looked just like Mama. So I was real surprised when Mama said, “We look nothing alike”, and Papa said, “Don’t see him again.” But when I was playing here in secret, I found it. Momiji’s house. Know what? He was playing violin that day too. I sometimes come to secretly watch him play.

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So now Momo and Momiji are both secretly watching each other from a distance, but forbidden by their father from actually having a relationship.

Momo: But hey! You’re his friend, right, Onee-chan? And Momo led you to him, right? So please do Momo a favor. Give Momiji a message. Ask Momiji, “Will you be Momo’s big brother?”

She started learning the violin so they could play together and I can’t.  Why does this always happen to Momiji? Why?

Momiji: I’ve been slacking off since I started high school and quit taking lessons with my old teacher. […] Momo wanted to learn the violin, and my teacher is famous, so…so that’s why Papa wanted me to quit. But really, Papa was just scared of me being near Momo and Mama. He’s scared that the happiness he’s worked so hard to rebuild will be destroyed. He doesn’t want to get hurt anymore. He’s afraid that just by meeting them, I would hurt them.

Tohru’s reminded of Uo-chan, who’s trying to rebuild her happiness in her own way by trying to make herself forget Kureno.

Tohru: But…Momo-san wants to meet you. Momo-san…actually, Momo-san led me here. It’s true. Momo-san…Momo-san has known about you all this time. All this time…she’s been watching you all this time, Momiji-kun! Just as you’ve been always, always watching over her, Momo-san has been listening to you play the violin! She said she wants to play together with you. She wanted me to ask you if you would be her big brother…(internally) Even though they want to meet each other, even though the person they want to see is just on the other side of the wall…

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Momiji: What should I do…? What should I do? I’m so happy…Tohru. My dream? Is to play the violin professionally. If I could become a professional violinist, I would hold a small concert, and then Papa, Mama, and Momo would come hear me play.

Each of the members of the Zodiac has some simple dream made impossible by the curse, and for Momiji it’s just to be in the same room with his family.

Why? Why can’t they be together? Why can’t these feelings be allowed to grow? I want that dream to come true. I want it to come true, from the bottom of my heart, even if it’s irresponsible to want that.

These perfectly normal feelings are somehow made irresponsible because acting on them might cause irreparable damage.

Next time, Tohru does what she actually came to do: Meeting Kureno-san.

Chapter 73: Problem Children

How do I say this? The Student Council is like a gathering of problem children. Second-year secretary Kimi Toudou likes to stir up trouble. First-year secretary Naohito Sakuragi is always uptight. First-year treasurer Machi Kuragi tends to avoid eye contact and barely says a word to anyone. But as for second-year vice president Kakeru Manabe, I think it’s obvious how he’s a problem child.

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These kids are so busy messing with each other (intentionally or not) that Yuki seems to be the only one getting anything done (or at least that’s how he sees it).  I’ve been in situations like that before for group projects, but never something that requires regular effort for an entire school year. My condolences.

Yuki: To be honest, working with this guy is tiring. He has a lot in common with my brother, but he also reminds me a little of [Kyo]. The way people naturally gather around him. It’s like he glows with a light that I don’t have. A bright light that throws me into shadow. Don’t. Don’t run away. Don’t lose to the voice that whispers in my ear, to that side of me…

Yuki may be more popular, but Manabe (and Kyo) is more easygoing and approachable.  He still hasn’t figured out how to lower his walls and let people get any nearer than arm’s length.

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At least Yuki’s able to be comfortable with Tohru now.

Then Manabe starts an argument about colors.

Kimi: Kimi is pink! That’s Kimi! Pink looks better on Kimi and Kimi likes pink, so – no! It’s already decided!

Yuki: Um, Toudou-san, you know, it’s just a color. You don’t need to take it this seriously.

Kimi: How mean! Yun-yun won’t call me by my name! He won’t call me Kimi!

Yuki is especially flustered by this request (but can’t say no to Kimi Kimi). “Kimi” is actually a second-person pronoun in Japanese (so it means “you”), and it’s considered improper or rude to speak to someone in second person instead of third person (using their name or title).  Aside from it being out of character for Yuki to call any such recent acquaintance by first name, “Kimi” would feel particularly rude (and also he frequently addresses Manabe with that pronoun).  This means that Kimi speaks of herself in third person instead of first person by way of a second person pronoun.  And Manabe insists that he start calling Machi by her first name, too.

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After that pointless argument blows over, Yuki runs into Manabe again, and he offers a glimpse of the average student’s perspective on Tohru’s little love triangle.

Manabe: Hey, a little while ago, you were with Tohru Honda, weren’t you? She’s kinda famous for being good friends with you. So what’s the story there? You have a crush on her or something?

Yuki: …Why do you ask?

Manabe: Hmm? It’s just, if that’s the case, you’re probably heading for a broken heart. I mean, the guy with orange hair…Kyo, right? Your cousin, it seems like he could be her boyfriend.

Yuki: …I guess.

Manabe: Am I right? I’m right!? I knew it! Figures! Cause, like, that Kyo guy looks happier than you, Yun-yun.

Yuki: So then, I’m “unhappy”?…Is it fun? “This one’s happier.” “This one’s unhappier.” Is it fun measuring people up and comparing them like that? Do you get your kicks from deciding who’s superior and who’s inferior like that!? Does that make you happy!?

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Obviously Yuki’s reading way too much into it (although Manabe might be reading in a little more than he should, too).  Kyo’s just the kind of person who’s easy to read, and Yuki isn’t (although Kyo probably is generally pretty happy at school).

Anyhow, an argument ensues.

Manabe: I’ll take being ignorant over being a Mr. Know-it-all like you!

Yuki: You’re right! That’s exactly what I am! But the one I was really lecturing just now was myself! So, sorry for that! (internally) I always compare myself to other people, and if I find myself wanting, it feels like I’m going to be erased. That’s right. Maybe I’m just not cut out to be the president after all. I bet he’d be better at it. That’s what the voice whispers in my ear. It’s so easy to give into intrusive thoughts like that. […] The biggest problem child of the bunch is me.

Manabe would be a terrible president.  But he managed to hit a nerve with Yuki here, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Some people really do need conflict and arguments to be able to see their own feelings, good or bad.

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Manabe: Hey. Where should I stand so I’m able to see the same thing? If I see from the same point of view, will I be able to understand someone’s feelings so I don’t hurt them? […] You caught me off guard, and it pissed me off. Because…you’re a lucky guy. You’re lucky, Yuki. Because you understand.

He manages to bring out Yuki’s weaknesses, but also acknowledges the strength that Yuki couldn’t see in himself.  A clown like Manabe is no less insecure than any high schooler, even if he acts like he doesn’t care.

If we can come to an understanding with each other, even if we do fight, then maybe hanging out with him isn’t so bad. That’s what I’m starting to think, at least.

Until next time…