My beads are in her room. They’re next to her mom now. She won’t throw ‘em away. I get where she’s coming from, I guess…those things, they’re like pieces of her heart, I think.

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Kyo and Tohru are on their first date, at the zoo. And Uo and Hana are tagging along, as promised.

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And giving Kyo a hard time, as expected.  But they’re all really there for Tohru, so they drop it before she can get too stressed out.

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That day, I watched Tohru pick up my scattered beads. I couldn’t find any words to say. Among other things, they were proof of the monster I’d been. I thought I wouldn’t have minded just leaving them to rot…but at the same time, I had this feeling that someday down the line, I might regret not picking them up. Even so, I couldn’t move. So she picked ‘em up instead. It felt like she was protecting both the present me and the future me. Or maybe it was even more than that. Maybe she wanted to protect something bigger, maybe she was trying to save all those feelings from far away of every poor soul who had to wear a string of prayer beads just so they could live their lives. I don’t have the answer. But the one thing I do know is that “love” isn’t just about loving what’s in front of you. The past, the future…maybe it’s about holding all of them close to your heart. That’s what I think, at least. When I look at her, that’s what I think.

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Kyo’s come to appreciate Tohru’s knack for loving people holistically – she accepts the past while holding space for a better future, accepts the goodness as well as the ugliness.  She learned that once you’ve grown past the pain, you’ll be glad to have those memories.

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Saki: You’re going to take her away, aren’t you…? […] I knew this day would come. I knew we’d have to part ways. But…it’s selfish…[…]

Arisa: Listen, Kyon. As much as we yank your chain, we do like you, y’know? You’re dumb, but impossible to hate. You’re a good guy! […] Tohru is our best friend, our comrade, and our family. In all seriousness, we’re counting on you.

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Because we know that if they really disapproved, they would never have allowed a date. They’re very strict BFF/surrogate parents!

Meanwhile, Yuki is hanging out with Manabe, his girlfriend, and Machi.

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Yuki’s decided to move away to a university, and Ayame enthusiastically agreed to cosign for an apartment (among other things).  But it turns out he’s not the only one exerting his newfound freedom to go where he wants.

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Kyo: I mentioned this before, so I wanna get the rest out. After I graduate, I’ve been thinking that I wanna get away from here. Ah – not like that, not in a weird way. It’s not like I’m being pessimistic or trying to run away. It’s just – up to now, I’ve been avoiding the world, living my life like I was somehow apart from it. I was being selfish, and most of the people around me didn’t care to correct that. But things are different now. I’m a normal human being, and as a normal human being, I can finally be with you in this world. That makes me so happy…so, more and more, I want to be a part of this world. I want to put myself to the test someplace I’ve never been before…! And if possible, I’d like to do that with you by my side.

Until next time…

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