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Monday, June 13, 2011

Tsuki! - Chapter 20

Chapter 20

     Once alone, Toshihiro accepted a drink – a delicious honey mead – and watched numbly as Hannah’s father used a computer to call someone. He paid a little bit more attention when he recognized who was on the other end of the call.
     “Toshihiro-san, your father-in-law wants to know if anything is wrong.”
     He sighed. “My wife and her child belong to this world, and I don’t. I have no right to keep them from this… I don’t understand why Hannah chose to leave all of this behind to be with me… I… I’m so confused.”
     Hannah’s father thought this over. “Good. It’s good that you recognize that Hannah is from a different world. That shows wisdom and intelligence. I also don’t understand why Hannah chooses to live in your world rather than bring you into ours, but I do know that she loves you. I’m not blind; one look at her blog would be enough to convince anyone of her love for you…”
     Hannah’s father gave the translator a few moments to do his job, then continued. “One look at your grades in college convinced me that you are a dedicated student, and that your interests are very similar to Hannah’s. I’m sure that if you let her take the reins in your relationship for a while, she would surprise you by arranging your life in a way that suits you.”
     “What does that mean?” Toshihiro asked. “I know that I am destined to work an office job. There’s no way that I could support Hannah in this manner. My family… They’re farmers. Hannah must have thought my family was so… so… low class.”
     Privately, the translator agreed.
     “Toshihiro, do you plan to remain poor your entire life? You think you could never have an office job with a large income? Do you really think Hannah is capable of thinking poorly of your family like that?”
     This made Toshihiro think. “I… I think you’re right; Hannah is too wonderful to think like that… You don’t seem to understand the way life is in Japan. If I were able to get a high paying office job, I would have tested high enough to get into a much better college. I don’t really have to plan to remain poor, since I will make a middle-class income at the best place I qualify to work for.”
     The translator confirmed that this was true.
     “I’m sorry, but it’s not true,” Hannah’s father informed them. “You’re forgetting something very important. I have no one to leave my money to except Hannah, so she will always have money. It seems to me that you have an important decision to make, and it isn’t whether or not you should leave Hannah here in this world of wealth… It’s whether or not you can accept living off of your wife’s money. She already has access to enough money to keep you both in comfort for the rest of your lives without ever doing a day’s worth of work, but she’s not one to remain idle, and neither are you, I think.”
     Hannah’s father paused to stare intently at Toshihiro. “However, she knows you are not comfortable around money, and so she tries to conform to your expectations. I have a feeling that she might very well decide not to tell you some information that will likely upset you… So, I want you to think about something. I don’t know how it is in Japan, but in America, it is customary to give a newly wedded couple gifts to start out their new life together. You saw it yourself earlier, everyone gave Hannah a check. Technically, that money is half yours, and it’s likely to be enough to buy you two a house. So, you see, already you have more money than you ever thought you would. I wonder what you will tell Hannah to do with the money if she does decide to tell you about it.”
     Toshihiro was stunned. That money is half mine?! Enough to buy a house!!! He thought back to when Hannah asked him if he wanted to buy a house. His answer had been that they would buy one after he graduated from school, and he had earned enough to buy one. He had never thought for one second that Hannah easily could or even should buy them one. Why had he just assumed that it was all up to him to provide for them?
     “You’re right, sir… I am not the type to just do nothing. I was taught to work hard, and I expect to do so. I do not want to live off of anyone else’s money,” Toshihiro finally replied.
     “Yet, you live off of your parents’ money for now. This is probably because you intend to pay them back as best you can later on… Why not think of it like this… Allowing Hannah to invest in you now will pay you both back later. She’s not stupid with money, so if she decides you’re worth investing in, you’re worth investing in.”
     “What does that mean?!” Toshihiro demanded. Several times now, Hannah’s father had made a comment he couldn’t understand, and it was starting to irritate him.
     “Just that if you let Hannah continue to take care of you while you go to college, you really will be prepared to take care of her once you’ve graduated. But, in order for her to take care of you now, she has to spend her money on you. That’s an investment; one I assume she expects will eventually be returned once you’re out of school.”
     Hannah’s father chuckled. “Despite what I’ve made it sound like, this isn’t all about money, it’s about love too. She loves you enough that if you let it, the issue of money would never have to come up. When I say that she expects her investment to be returned, I mean that she expects you to be happy. So, ultimately, I guess you just have to figure out what it is that will make you happy.”
     Toshihiro sighed. “Being with Hana makes me happy. I love her so much that the thought of being without her… Well, I would rather die… Even so… How can I ask her to stay with me now that I know how different our worlds are? My family members are farmers, and Hana…!”
     “… Son,” Hannah’s father put a hand on Toshihiro’s shoulder. “I inherited a bank from my father, and I have turned that small fortune into a large fortune, but my father did not inherit that bank; he had to build it from scratch. He was born and raised on a farm, the youngest of three sons. He left the farm because there wasn’t enough work for three families on that farm. He worked his way through some college, saved as much as he could, and eventually started investing.”
     Toshihiro studied the picture Hannah’s father pointed out. It was an aerial photo of a farm. “My father never forgot all of the valuable lessons he learned on the farm, and he made sure I learned them as well. I, in turn, made certain that Hannah had a healthy respect for farming…”
     Hannah’s father let Toshihiro peruse a series of photos on the wall depicting Hannah as a child playing with and caring for various farm animals. She was unashamedly dirty, and dressed like a true farm child in sturdy work clothes.
     “You might also be interested to know that I have invested some money into your parents’ farm. They are only as poor as they are due to a series of costly disasters that happened when you were a child, you might recall. With just a small amount of money from me, they will be able to restore their farm to its glory days.”
     Toshihiro flinched in shame. He did remember the natural disasters. He did know why his parents were poor, and he had felt guilty ever since the first moment his parents had insisted that he go to college. Guilty because they would be the ones to support him while he was in college. Yes, he intended to pay them back, but now he realized that Hannah’s father was right about everything.
     His parents supported him because they loved him, and Hannah was trying to do the same thing. He was the only one who couldn’t see things clearly, and he had been feeling guilty every time Hannah paid for something they needed. Meanwhile, instead of graciously accepting his wife’s support, he continued to be a financial burden on his family.
     Toshihiro looked his father-in-law in the eyes. “You have given me much to think about, and I suspect you are right. I need to figure out quite a few things.”
     Toshihiro looked at the translator, and blushed. Knowing that the translator was a stranger in the middle of a private conversation, though necessary, was not a comfortable thought. Especially since Toshihiro had some embarrassing questions to ask.
     His father-in-law guessed his thoughts. “Don’t worry about him, he knows better than to discuss our conversation with anyone else.”
     Toshihiro fidgeted, obviously torn over something. “Sir…”
     “You can call me dad.”
     Toshihiro wondered if he meant in English or in Japanese. “Otou-san,” he said in Japanese, “About Hana… About marriage… She… She’s… different. Several times now… she’s… … … Other women…” Toshihiro just couldn’t figure out how to ask his question coherently.
     His father-in-law understood him anyway. “Ah, Hannah was a lesbian before falling in love with you, and seemingly she has not let go of her attraction to women.”
     Toshihiro blushed and nodded. “And…”
     “And…” There was a soft chuckle, “She was raised by parents who were nudists and swingers. She does not believe in monogamy, and you are confused enough by your relationship without the added confusion of different partners?”
     Toshihiro was amazed that his father-in-law was able to sum things up so accurately. Well, he was amazed once the unfamiliar term of swinger had been accurately explained to the translator who could then do his job.
     The translator blushed at the thought, and grumbled enviously. “Lucky bastard!” Not only was this nobody college student married to a rich and beautiful woman, but also she liked to be naked, and he got to have sex with other women!
     “I can’t really give you any good advice about this, son, except perhaps you should just consider yourself lucky, and leave it at that.”
     Toshihiro smiled wryly, I figured he’d say that.

Go To Chapter 21 

2 comments:

  1. LOL!!! I just came from the kitchen where my partner is making honey mead, sat down to read and the first line mentions "a delicious honey mead".

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like to mention real food and drink in my writing, lol! I figure it may get people thinking about it :-)

    ReplyDelete

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