The English word “Love” is a multipurpose and ambiguous word. The Greeks differentiated love into six types though only four will be mentioned here.
Philia: specifically referred to as “brotherly love” between friends or can also be a very general term for any kind of love such as a love of some activity or food.
Eros: the love that exists between lovers, also sexual passion.
Agape: love that unselfishly looks out for the interests of the one that is loved, sometimes referred to as Godly Love or principled love.
Storge: love among the family
As a non-native English speaker, I am amazed at how English can be so unnecessarily wordy and yet people still can’t seem to say exactly what they mean when they say, “I love you.”
—Intermediate Studies in the English Language, Ren Kato
Kato was not used to having the room all by himself. When he first arrived here, he wished he was alone. Now, it was too lonely.
Takahashi wasn’t there for breakfast. Where could he be?
Murata was prattling away about his food and his swap with Nakamura. Kato was politely listening though he didn’t hear a word Murata said. He kept thinking of Takahashi.
Kato was seated waiting for class to start and his heart leapt into his throat again as he saw Takahashi hurriedly enter the room and go to his desk. He patted Kato on the shoulder as he went by.
Music class was fun as they all did a sing along. Kato could tell that Takahashi’s heart wasn’t in the music though.
At break, Takahashi got up and tapped Kato on the shoulder. “Come with me,” he said. Kato obediently got up and followed Takahashi to the restroom.
“I’m sorry about yesterday. I was told that my mother passed away.”
“What?” Kato exclaimed.
“Yeah, was quite a shock. Apparently, she got a very aggressive form of cancer and she was gone, just like that.”
“I’m so sorry to hear that, Takahashi-san.”
“Yeah, my dad picked me up and we went to see her grave.”
“What? She was already dead and buried before you knew about it?”
“Hey, don’t be so fucking insensitive,” Takahashi snapped.
Kato looked down and shut his mouth.
Takahashi let out a long sigh. “I already said she pretty much disowned me. And my dad doesn’t really give a damn about me. But, for some reason, he decided that I should be informed and get a chance to see the grave.”
Kato looked up at Takahashi. He was wearing that complex, unreadable expression again.
“At any rate, he said mom left me a few things and a bunch of money that I can have when I graduate here. But he warned me that if I don’t graduate, I won’t get a ‘fucking silver yen’ as he put it. I really hate that asshole.”
Kato moved close to Takahashi and put his head on Takahashi’s chest, leaning on him.
“Why are you leaning on me again?” Takahashi asked.
“I dunno. I was so worried. When sad things hurt you, I want to be close to you,” Kato spoke softly.
“Well, I’ll be fine.” He put his arms around Kato and hugged him, causing Kato to return the hug. “I only regret that I will never have the chance to one day make it right with mom.”
Kato had nothing to say that wouldn’t sound patronizing right now, so, he silently held onto Takahashi.
Takahashi let go first and then said, “Come on, let’s go back to class. She’s been gone for a while. No sense in crying about it now.”
Kato saw through the façade and knew that Takahashi was sadder than he was pretending to be. He let go and they returned to class and then to lunch afterwards.
Kato stood outside the dorm, watching boys pass by on their way to the afternoon class at the Sport’s Complex. He was waiting for Takahashi again, hoping to walk with him. He was not disappointed this time. He greeted Takahashi and was greeted in return.
“After the first half of class, I’m going to skip and come to watch you play baseball,” Kato said with a smile.
“Cool. I’m excited. My first full game since I was injured. I need the practice.”
“I’m also looking forward to our swap tonight,” Kato added.
“Me too. What do you want to do?” Takahashi inquired.
“I want to hear you sing.” Kato smiled.
“That can be arranged. I’ve been working on some new material. I had to finish up some stuff that both Aizawa-san and I were working on together. Still sad about that. But no sense in wasting good material.”
“What’s it like living by yourself now?” Kato asked.
“Lonely,” Takahashi replied. “We played almost every night. We had talked about trying to see if we could start up a school band since there isn’t one. Guess that won’t happen now.”
“Don’t give up just yet. We’re only in grade 10. Still plenty of time until graduation,” Kato said.
“What’s it like without Tachibana-san?”
“Lonely,” Kato admitted. “Besides you, he was the most helpful person I’ve met here. The first few days here would have been much different without him, probably a lot harder.”
Before long, they were at the gate. They both parted for their respective sports.
Kato waited for a couple minutes then Murata and Nakamura showed up. They ran warm-up laps and then picked up a partner for Kato.
Kato’s partner was taller, so he assumed he must be a seme. He was a very easy-going guy. He was funny, listened attentively to Kato and even joked with him. For some reason, Kato really liked the guy. Kato was having fun stealing the ball and teasing him. They pushed each other as they played.
After a few games, Murata threw down his paddle on the table and barked, “Kato-san, let’s go to the bathroom. Let these two play for a minute.”
Kato was shocked, but he put his paddle down and said “Excuse me for a minute” to his partner, then followed Murata into the bathroom.
“What the fuck are you doing?” Murata asked angrily.
“Huh? What are you talking about?” Kato asked.
“Why are you flirting with that seme?”
“Flirting?” Kato exclaimed.
“You are so dense. He was hitting on you!” Murata exclaimed back.
“But I’m not gay!” Kato complained.
“That doesn’t have anything to do with it. You were sending him all the right signals.”
“That’s bullshit. I was not sending any goddamn signals,” Kato protested.
“How do you think Takahashi-san would feel if he was sitting in a chair watching you two fucking around like that?” Murata pointedly asked.
Kato was still irritated at the insinuation. “We were just playing around, not fucking around,” Kato insisted.
“Yeah, well tell that to the nice seme who’s been hitting on you all afternoon. Go on, dash his hopes to the ground and crush them under your foot. Tell him you have a seme.”
Kato was suddenly afraid to do that. “But I didn’t mean to send signals!” Kato exclaimed. “What do I do now?”
Murata sighed. “You just can’t get through a day without causing somebody some trouble, huh?”
Kato looked at his hands. “I’m stupid. It’s the only explanation.”
Murata replied, “No, you’re not stupid. Just dense. Come on, let’s go back.”
Kato walked up to his partner and said, “I have to bow out. I promised my seme that I would watch him play baseball. It was nice to meet you.”
“Ah, no problem. It was nice to meet you too. I hope we can play again sometime,” the boy smiled.
Kato could detect that the boy was let down a little. He felt sorry that he couldn’t be what the boy wanted him to be. Rejection is always hard to take but it’s also hard to give.
Kato sat in the bleachers watching Takahashi man shortstop. It was a very active position and he fielded many plays and threw the runners out at first. Kato realized that Takahashi looked very attractive in a uniform and a ballcap. He sighed to himself that, again, some lucky woman was going to be his wife someday. They would probably have beautiful children and a nice home, and a rock star for a dad. He’d live to a ripe old age, having long forgotten Kato and this school. His thoughts were depressing him.
After the game was over, Kato waited outside the gate for Takahashi, then they walked back. He was still thinking about Takahashi’s future that surely didn’t include Kato when his thoughts were interrupted.
“Come over for dinner,” Takahashi broke the silence.
“Dinner?” Kato exclaimed.
“Yeah, nothing too much. I made a beef stir-fry and some rice,” Takahashi said nonchalantly.
“5 o’clock?” Kato questioned.
“Yup, that’s fine.”
“By the way, Takahashi, you are a good shortstop,” Kato said.
“Thanks. I need to improve my hitting though. Way too many groundouts,” Takahashi lamented.
“You look cute in your uniform too,” Kato spoke and then covered his mouth. What the fuck did I just say?
“Um, thanks?” Takahashi gave Kato a sideways glance.
“Uh, I meant that someday you’ll have lots of lady fans all wanting a piece of you. You are an attractive guy, after all. I don’t mean that in a pervy way. It’s just a fact.”
“A woman is the furthest thing from my mind right now,” Takahashi said. “I want to start a band, tour the world, play music. I don’t want to be tied down to a wife and kids.”
Part of that statement confirmed what Kato what thinking earlier. Takahashi had a bright future, but Kato wasn’t a part of it. He was a little disappointed.
They walked in silence and separated at the dorm. Kato was at a loss as to what he was feeling any why. It was simply depressing to think that one day Takahashi and Kato would have to part. It just seemed inevitable.
The door opened and Takahashi invited Kato in. The smell of the stir-fry was heavenly. Kato’s mouth watered.
“Have a seat,” Takahashi said as he grabbed a bowl and started dishing some food.
Kato obediently sat and waited patiently. He was rewarded with a large bowl of delicious food.
“Here is some soy sauce. Even though I don’t believe my cooking needs it, sometimes people prefer a little more saltiness than I tend to put in.”
Kato tasted the food and felt that no soy sauce was necessary except a little on the rice. “It’s quite excellent,” Kato offered. “There is no way I could ever express how much I appreciate your cooking.”
Takahashi fidgeted a little, scratching the back of his head. “Thanks,” he replied.
Kato devoured the food and shamelessly asked for seconds. He was given a bottle of ramune also. He hasn’t enjoyed food for a while now and his heart was as full as his tummy.
After dinner, Takahashi sat on his bed and played the guitar for Kato, singing some new songs and sadly singing some of the songs that he and Aizawa created together. He ended the set with a couple of love songs.
“You are amazing, Ken-san.”
Takahashi gave a modest little bow from his seat.
“For someone who doesn’t want a woman in his life, you sure sing a lot of love songs,” Kato said.
“Yeah. I’m a softy when it comes to matters of the heart. It’s not that I wouldn’t like to fall in love someday, or even get married, or have kids. That all may happen. And it may not. Love songs to me are like experiencing that love for as long as the song plays.”
Kato smiled. “I wish you all the love songs in the world then.”
Takahashi smiled softly. “Okay, enough with the mushy stuff. Go do your thing and be back here at 9.”
Kato stood up and in English said, “Yes sir!” as he saluted and marched to the door.
Takahashi simply laughed as Kato left.