Confronted with a very possible future without Kyo in it, Tohru is finally forced to interrogate her real feelings.
The Curse has to be broken by next spring! It has to be! Because if it isn’t, Kyo-kun will…! He’ll disappear!
It turns out that Tohru’s point of conflict, like Kyo’s, has to do with Kyoko.
I can feel her presence fading. Even though she was just here. Mom should be sitting right there, laughing and smiling, like always. It’s all fading away into nothing. Fading away, leaving me behind…even though she was just here…she was here. She was. She’s supposed to be here. So why…?
This is when her grandfather starts calling her “Kyoko” instead of “Tohru”…
That’s when I swore it. From that moment on, Mom would always be first in my heart. I believed if I kept thinking of her like that, she would never fade away. Nor would our memories or our promises to each other. “We’ll always be together.” If I didn’t hold on to that, it felt like I wouldn’t be able to go on.
Her mother was her whole life for almost as long as she could remember. Tohru wanted some semblance of stability in her life, but I think it came at the cost of truly grieving her loss. She couldn’t bring herself to let go, so now she can’t really move on with her life. She can only do what she promised to her mother, no more and no less.
While she’s lost in thought, Shigure runs into her.
Shigure: So it wasn’t just Rin. You’ve been trying to break the Curse too, hmm, Tohru-kun? I had no idea.
Tohru: Shigure-san, did you know from the beginning that the Curse would eventually be broken?
Shigure: Oh, no. No way. I just had this feeling…this might be the last time around. Did you know that this is actually the first time all twelve Members of the Zodiac are alive at the same time? Someone’s always been missing before, waiting to be born. The maids are pleased as punch about it, but I have a different theory. I think we’ve all gathered for the final banquet. I think that after all this time, the “blood” itself has weakened. […] The end is probably near, but it’s only coming faster thanks to the accumulation of all these small changes and triggers.
Shigure spells out all of his suspicions about the Curse (and confirms everything Kureno told her). Obviously he wouldn’t be averse to having it broken faster than “eventually”. Then he mentions that he knows all about Kyo’s impending confinement…
Shigure: We all know. All of us. What awaits Kyo-kun in the near future…every Member of the Zodiac knows. But none of us will lift a finger to stop it. We either accept it in silence or pretend not to think about it.
Shigure: “Why”…? Because that’s the Cat’s “role.” All of us are monsters. Miserable, misshapen creatures. Don’t tell me you think we’re happy like this? That we enjoy being freaks? Do you know how many handicaps we have, how much pain we go through, just to survive within the framework of this world…? Do you? To us, the existence of the Cat is our salvation. Without him, our lives would be completely unbearable. You see – that monster is the ugliest of us all. He’s inferior to us all. So it’s only natural for him to be discriminated against, disrespected, and locked up. The rest of us look at the way he’s treated – and we sigh with relief. “Thank God,” we think. “At least I’m better off than that.” You should ask the others sometime. “Did you know he was going to be confined? Deep down, don’t you feel superior to him?” They won’t know what to say. The Cat was prepared as an outcast creature for our sakes.
Discrimination is not a social necessity, but it is a convenience. The Sohmas don’t really know why the Cat’s different, but they don’t need to. Discrimination can be made based on far less significant factors, like skin color. Why shouldn’t they beat up on a godforsaken monster like the Cat? The fact that they see themselves as outcasts and monsters only increases the satisfaction they get out of making the Cat suffer. And of course, it’s always been done that way. The Cat was never a Member of the Zodiac – it’s numerically impossible. It’s just like what Kagura did, hanging out with Kyo because it made her feel better about her own home life – except few of the other Zodiac Members ever bothered to get to know him under any pretenses, true or false.
“We are bizarre, devious, and cursed.”
Did I ever really understand what Hatori was trying to tell me that day? No. I still don’t understand. I don’t understand any of it. Their conflict, agony, pain, misery…it runs too deep for me to ever touch.
Shigure: […] Do you want to save Kyo? Do you…love-?
I promised. I swore that Mom would always be first in my heart. And yet – but I can’t! She’ll disappear. She’ll go far away!
Kyo shows up before things can get too awkward between Shigure and Tohru, and Shigure passes it all off by claiming Tohru somehow got in a fight with Rin (which Tohru is way too upset to convincingly deny).
I’m sorry. But just for a little longer…I want to stay “here.” I know I’ll have to do something when the time comes. But I think I already know what I’ll have to let go of.
Until next time…