(Title – デートに行ってくれますか？Dēto ni itte kuremasu ka? – Will you go on a date with me? Part 2)
“Look, look… Look Shi-kun! It’s a cute usagi! 🐰 ”
Shirō stood by the crouching Kichirō, who was happily playing with the usagis. Kichirō was pulling onto the edge of the hem of Shirō’s shirt with his other hand, just like a child who was having fun with his father during their quality time at the park. Shirō couldn’t help but smile seeing how happy the person that he loves the most was.
There were many usagis with various colors and sizes. Some were gray, white, black, and some were multi-colored. Some were small, while some were big. Shirō bent over and tried carrying one small usagi by it’s ears. The usagi was somehow trembling.
“Shi-kun, you’re scaring the poor little usagi,” Kichirō looked at him with a worried look.
Shirō carried the usagi in his embrace and started rubbing it’s back. The usagi eased up a bit when he started stroking it’s warm fur. “Does he still look scared?”
Kichirō shook his head and said: “You have a way of taming animals. I envy you.”
“Oh no, there’s one cute critter that I can’t tame for some reason,” Shirō chuckled.
“Is it a dog?”
“It’s you, silly. You’re a cute little usagi, remember? If only you’re like this one I’m carrying, I would really keep you in my lap for all of my life.”
Kichirō wanted to pout but unknowingly, the corners of his lips curled up. He awkwardly laughed a “ha ha” and said: “Stop it. You think you can woo me by saying all of that cheesy stuff? Am I the usagi in Tsuki no Usagi?” After that, he stood up and pinched Shirō’s tummy. He turned away to hide his blushing cheeks. Apparently, he wanted to hide it from the other boy.
“Hey! Ouch~~~! You’re such a naughty little usagi. Are you rabid? Someone needs to get his shot!” Shirō exclaimed then gave him a side-long glance. His teasing streaks just won’t stop.
“Humph! You’re so shameless. Who told you that I need a ‘shot?’ Let’s just go. I wanna watch a movie.”
“Do you have a checklist or something? Looks like someone’s prepared for this date. He he. You amaze me Ki-chan,” Shirō looked astonished seeing how Kichirō seemed to be so unguarded. He let the usagi go and in a whim, embraced Kichirō. “You really make my heart race. If I met you first, I swear I would never let you go.”
Kichirō was stunned by the sudden turn of events. They were just talking about usagis, a few minutes ago, and the conversation ended with a sweet embrace and another confession. He can hear Shirō’s heart beating loud. His face became warmer, a sign that he was blushing again.
“That escalated so fast, ho ho,” one of the visitors said.
The people around them were curiously looking at them. Some were touched, some were disgusted, and some were neutral about it. Shirō didn’t care about what others thought. What matters most to him right now was this limited time that Kichirō gave him – for him to show how much he loves the other boy, even though he knew it would end up as a one-sided, unrequited love. What took a few seconds, actually took a lifetime for Shirō. This was something that he would surely treasure ’til his next life.
Kichirō woke up from his brief daze and pushed Shirō away. “Hey, what are you doing? We’re in public,” he shyly said while attempting to cover his face.
“Sorry, you’re just too cute. I can’t stand it. Don’t mind them. Nobody knows us anyway. Let’s go…”
The two boys then decided to head for the movie theater.
While they were leaving, someone spoke: “Isn’t that Fumiko’s son?”
At the movie theater…
“Now, can we buy popcorn and cola? You promised…” Kichirō flashed his ever-powerful puppy eyes.
“Fine… let’s do what hime wishes to do,” Shirō sluggishly responded.
“You do have a lot of ways to tease me, don’t you?” Kichirō squinted his eyes.
“I’m only like this when I’m with you. Please believe me,” Shirō looked earnestly at Kichirō.
After buying their food, Shirō suddenly remembered something: “Eto, won’t your parents get angry if we stay out late today?”
Kichirō’s body froze when he remembered about his family. Of course, for sure, his mom will scold him later. He forced a smile and said: “Nah, I’ll just text them to let them know that I’m doing a project with a classmate so I will be late for today, ehe.”
“Are you sure?”
“You don’t believe me?”
“Oh no, just making sure. I believe you. Let’s get inside. The show’s about to start.”
The two walked side by side. Shirō was carrying the food they bought while Kichirō was happily skipping toward the entrance of the movie theater. They were going to watch a horror film.
“You know, it would be better if it’s a romantic-comedy film that we are going to watch. You sure about this?”
“I’m not a girl and wouldn’t it sound awkward when two grown men watch a movie meant for lovers on a date?”
“You can deny it for the nth time but it looks like we have been dating from the start,” Shirō rebutted.
“Ano sa… humph! Let’s just go in!” Kichirō sulked and went ahead.
Shirō grinned because he’s been winning all day. Kichirō couldn’t even take a chance on him.
Once they were inside the theater, they sat at the back. The movie hadn’t started but Kichirō was already munching on the popcorn.
“We just ate earlier and you’re eating like you haven’t eaten all day.”
“Hey, it’s already 5 in the afternoon. We ate, hours ago.”
“Ha ha… You’re such a lively usagi.”
“Let’s just watch. It’s almost beginning…” Kichirō diverted the topic.
The movie was a foreign film about a group of friends who were studying in a convent. Their teacher was a nun. The nun was a very strict and scary one. She later on found out that one of her students was pregnant. She brought the girl to the bathroom and started “washing” the girls private area with a detachable shower, saying “she needed to cleanse herself.” While the story was progressing, Shirō started yawning and stretching out his arms up. He stealthily snaked his arm on top of Kichirō’s shoulders, who apparently was engrossed watching the movie. He already ate all of the popcorn, including Shirō’s share. Very shameless.
The other boy landed his arm successfully on top of Kichirō shoulders. He kneaded here and there. Then started to pull himself closer to Kichirō.
“What the heck are you doing?” Kichirō roared. A girl in front of them turned back and looked at the two with her brows furrowed.
“Shhh… You will disturb the other people. I’m just enjoying the movie.”
“Enjoying the movie, or enjoying my body?!?”
“He he. I surrender. Let me just hold your hand, okay?”
“I’ll take that silence as a yes.”
With that, Shirō held onto Kichirō’s hand, their fingers interlocked. Kichirō was feeling nervous but at the same time, he’s getting butterflies in his stomach. He couldn’t explain the feeling that being with another man brought him. As they watched the film, hand in hand, Kichirō slowly fell into a dreamless sleep.
Shirō noticed that he was already nodding his head and realized the other boy was already fast asleep. He laughed inwardly and let Kichirō lean on his broad shoulder. He stroked the other boy’s head and he leaned onto Kichirō. Finally, he, too, fell asleep…
After the movie ended, Kichirō finally woke up. The other people were already leaving the theater.
“Hey, it’s done? Why didn’t you wake me up?” He asked.
“You were sound asleep. I don’t want to wake you up. I know you’ve been tired all day. I fell asleep too, ha ha.”
“Humph! I’ve always wanted to watch this film. Well, I’ll just have to rent the DVD for this later.”
“You wanna go home now?”
“Yeah. It’s getting late. We should go home now.”
“Oh, before we go, I need to go to the washroom. I need to clean your drool off my shirt. I didn’t know that you drool when you sleep, heh,” Shirō teased.
“Eh? I don’t drool when I sleep. Can I check?” Kichirō inspected Shirō’s shirt. He was so curious that he almost had his face up close to Shirō’s chest. “I don’t see anything?!?”
“It’s here.” Shirō pointed to his collar.
Kichirō then stuck his head close toward the other boy’s collar. When he was busy checking, he felt something warm and soft touch his forehead. “What happened?”
“Sorry, my lips ‘accidentally’ touched your forehead, he he.”
“You did that on purpose, didn’t you?” Kichirō asked while squinting his eyes.
“Ha ha, no. Let’s go. I think I can clean your drool off later. Or better yet, I won’t wash this shirt and keep it as a souvenir.”
“You’re a real pervert. Tsk.”
It was almost 7 in the evening and the two were walking on the sidewalk. They came across a lot of people: some were obviously from work and some were from school. They seemed to be on their way home. Life in Tokyo could be so stressful: the city lights, the traffic, pollution, the tall buildings… It’s literally a concrete jungle. Although society could be so demanding and so depressing, this two seemed to be walking as if they were on cloud nine, ignoring the world… The people around them… They were perfectly happy with the short time that they spent today with each other… A forbidden moment that would soon end up into a tragedy.
“Look Ki-chan, there’s a night bazaar,” Shirō pointed out.
“Oh, yeah. Wanna take a look before we go home? It’s still early anyway,” Kichirō said.
The two took a stroll through the night bazaar. There was a lot of stuff for sale. There were surplus items, secondhand ones, bargain clothes and accessories, street food, and some street performers. The two did some window shopping and took a look here and there, touching and checking any item their eyes would land on.
“Look Shi-kun, this wig is so funny, ha ha,” Kichirō chucklingly said as he wore the long, white, cheap-looking wig.
“Ha ha, you would look like an old man if you would wear that.”
“Who said I’m going to buy it for myself? I’ll buy it for you so that you would be the one who would look old!”
The two laughed heartily. While they were laughing, something fell off from the wig. Shirō noticed the peculiar item and picked it up.
“Hey Ki-chan, take a look at this. It looks so cool.”
“Huh?” Kichirō gazed at the item that Shirō was holding. It was a pendant. The design was very intricate. It was made out of black gold and shaped into a crescent moon. There was a small, heart-shaped pendant hanging in the center of the moon. Inside this was a blue gem stone. (A/N: refer to the cover photo of this book) Kichirō’s eyes shone so bright. He fell in love with this pendant at first sight. Without any hesitation, he asked Shirō: “Do you think it’s for sale?”
Upon seeing how interested Kichirō was, he immediately asked the vendor if the pendant was for sale. “Ano… Ojisan, is this item for sale? It looked like it was mixed up with this wig that you were selling.”
The vendor looked at the two and smiled. He took notice of the pendant that Shirō was holding and said: “I’m sorry dear sirs but this item is not for sale. This is one of my personal belongings. I don’t know why it was mixed up with my products for sale.”
“Awww…” Kichirō looked disappointed.
“Ki-chan, can you buy me some gyoza over there? I’m a bit hungry. I’ll just talk to the nice ojisan for a bit.”
“Okay. Wait for me here.” After saying that, Kichirō went to the stand where Shirō pointed to to buy some gyoza.
When Kichirō came back, Shirō was frowning. “What’s wrong?” He asked Shirō.
“The ojisan won’t sell the pendant to me. I knew you liked it.”
“It’s okay. We could always look for something else,” Kichirō smiled at Shirō but deep inside, he was really disappointed that that item was not for sale.
“I’m sorry if I couldn’t convince the ojisan. I’ll make it up to you next time,” Shirō reassuringly said.
“Let’s go then.”
The two continued to walk and looked for a bench were they could sit. After walking around for a few minutes, they couldn’t find any vacant bench since they were all occupied. In the end, they went to a convenience store and, luckily, there were available seats. They bought additional food and some drinks too.
“I hope no one will tell my mom that I didn’t attend class today. This is my first time skipping class. I’d be seriously dead if she finds out,” Kichirō looked anxious when he said this.
“Don’t worry, I’ll defend you if ever. We could say that I’m your classmate’s older brother. I’ll inform them that you went to our house to finish this project that you mentioned earlier.”
“Do you think that would work? My mom is very strict and she knows if I’m lying.”
“Hey, Ki-chan. I’m here for you. I’m good when dealing with grownups so I’m pretty sure I could convince your mom.”
“All right. Let’s go home them. I seriously need to go home.”
“Okay, I’ll walk you home.”
The two finished eating the food they bought and continued walking into the busy streets of the city. They rode the train back to Shinjuku. When they got off the train and were walking in the train station, Kichirō suddenly spoke: “I’m good here. You can now go home. My house is just two blocks from here.”
“Are you sure you’re okay without me? I could explain everything to your parents,” Shirō said while furrowing his brows.
“I’m fine. I can manage,” Kichirō said with a smiling face.
“Okay. I’ll let you go then. Thank you for giving me time today. I feel like I’m the happiest man because you agreed going out on a date with me. I hope there will be a next time, he he,” Shirō chuckled as he patted the other boy’s head.
“This is not a date, remember?” Kichirō squinted his eyes. “Hey, don’t thank me. I enjoyed your company too. There will definitely be a next time,” he added.
Before the two separated their ways, the two looked earnestly into each other’s eyes. Nobody was talking but the two hearts knew exactly what they both have in mind. It’s like they have an inkling about each other’s thoughts. Their hearts were definitely beating as one but due to the circumstances, they could not go on with this forbidden affair.
After a few seconds of silence, the two bid farewell to each other. Both were happy and at the same time, sad because of the restrictions and the situation that they were both in.
Shirō looked back and watched Kichirō’s back. Kichirō’s followed into the wake of the crowd, slowly, he disappeared. Shirō was smiling but in his heart, he felt like it was crushing, knowing that this boy could never be his…
To be continued…
 Tsuki no Usagi「月の兎」
The moon rabbit is also popular in Japan, just like in other Asian countries. However, in Japan, he pounds mochi (餅), or rice cakes in his pestle rather than the elixir of Life. In Japanese the rabbit in the moon is known as “Tsuki no Usagi”. There is a famous story about him in Japan that goes:
“Many years ago, the Old Man of the Moon decided to visit the Earth. He disguised himself as a beggar and asked Fox (Kitsune), Monkey (Saru), and Rabbit (Usagi) for some food.
Monkey climbed a tree and brought him some fruit. Fox went to a stream, caught a fish, and brought it back to him. But Rabbit had nothing to offer him but some grass. So he asked the beggar to build a fire. After the beggar started the fire, Rabbit jumped into it and offered himself as a meal for the beggar to eat.
Quickly the beggar changed back into the Old Man of the Moon and pulled Rabbit from the fire. He said “You are most kind, Rabbit, but don’t do anything to harm yourself. Since you were the kindest of all to me, I’ll take you back to the moon to live with me.”
The Old Man carried Rabbit in his arms back to the moon and he is still there to this very day exactly where the Old Man left him. Just look at the moon in the night sky and the rabbit is there!”
This story is said to originate from the Buddhist Śaśajâtaka, where Śakra is the Old Man of the Moon and the monkey, otter, and jackal are the rabbit’s companions.
Also in Japan is the mid-autumn, or Jugo-ya, festival. As in China and Korea, people gather to watch the full moon and children sing a song about the moon rabbit called “Usagi”, or “Rabbit”.