St. Catherine’s was a force for good in the community. Its resources were used in various ways to help people through its charitable organization.
Examples of this were having their exemplary students donate their time on the weekends to man soup kitchens, clean up streets and sidewalks, help in nursing homes, disaster relief, and so much more. This was a boon to those who received such assistance and to the students who provided it.
Many students who graduated from St. Catherine’s went on to become outstanding people in the community, known for treating all people with equality and compassion.
—St. Catherine’s Catholic Community Services
With lunch out of the way, the boys had the rest of the afternoon to spend together. Takahashi suggested that they get in on a game of football [or, soccer].
As they approached the field [or, pitch], Kato noticed that Murata and Nakamura were also playing.
“Got room for two more?” Takahashi inquired.
“Sure do. You can take my spot, I need a break,” spoke one boy.
“And mine. I need to take a piss,” spoke another.
So, just like that, Kato and Takahashi were on the same team, opposite Murata and Nakamura’s team. Kato would have liked to have been on Murata’s team.
Kato had played before. He knew how to dribble the ball properly and make a solid pass, but he was amazed at Takahashi’s skill. Kato wondered if there wasn’t anything that Takahashi couldn’t do, besides stay out of trouble.
And of course, where there’s a wolf, there had to be trouble. After one pass from Takahashi to Kato, one of the taller boys had tried to steal the ball and instead, obviously, tripped up Kato. This caused Kato to hit the ground hard. While Kato sat there for a moment, trying to ascertain if there was any damage, he heard his wolf howling, “Fucking Narita-san. What’s your problem?”
The boy laughed, “I was just attempting a steal. Not my fault your uke tripped over his own two feet.”
Takahashi come over and knelt on one knee, “You alright?” he asked Kato.
Maybe some wounded pride, Kato thought. “I’m fine.”
Takahashi reached his hand out and Kato grabbed on while he pulled himself up. He dusted himself off and said, “I needed a break anyways.” He turned and walked off the field and another boy quickly replaced him. He went to sit on the bleachers and watch Takahashi play.
There were good players on both sides, some equal to Takahashi’s skill. The only thing that really prevented Takahashi from destroying the opposition was the opponent’s goalie, Nakamura, who was amazing in his own right. He watched Murata also. He was a competent player. He really hoped for his friend that it all worked out between him and Nakamura.
“I’m out,” Takahashi said while huffing away. Then he walked off and headed toward Kato.
Takahashi sad down beside Kato and started watching the game with him. “Sorry about that, earlier.”
“Huh? Sorry? What for?” Kato was puzzled.
“Oh.” Kato paused. “It wasn’t your fault.”
“Well, he’s one of those semes who thinks I shouldn’t have an uke. I think he wanted to test me.”
“I see.” Kato was silent for a whole minute. Then he simply spoke, “Looks like you passed.”
“Huh?” Takahashi questioned.
“Instead of fighting him, you came to help me. Maybe that was the test.”
“Deep,” replied Takahashi.
Kato yawned a bit and leaned on Takahashi. He didn’t know why he did it, but these bleachers were aluminum and there was just nothing soft or comfortable except the boy who was sitting next to him. He closed his eyes for just a moment. He was so tired. Swimming, running laps, a big lunch, football, a warm and sunny day, he just wanted to sit there for a minute with his eyes closed.
Then a curious sensation happened, he felt as if he was somewhat in and out of reality as whatever he was leaning against moved slightly and with big, strong arms, maneuvered Kato’s body, placing his head on a soft pillow; well, to call it soft was simply to say it was softer than the hard surface he was laying on. He felt someone gently remove his glasses and move some stray hair out of his eyes. As he was contemplating these sensations, he fell asleep.
He awoke with a jolt. He was looking up in the sky, laying on his back. He then looked up at Takahashi, who was looking down at Kato with a smile. Kato blushed and quickly sat up. He had never had his head in somebody else’s lap before! He straightened up and sat properly.
“How long?” Kato meekly inquired.
“Oh, I’d say about 20 minutes.” Takahashi handed Kato his glasses.
“Sorry,” Kato replied, putting them on.
“You snore.” Takahashi chuckled.
Kato blushed a bit more. “Sorry.”
Takahashi laughed some more. “Don’t worry about it. You can use me as a pillow any time you like.” Takahashi gave Kato a wink and laughed some more as Kato’s blush deepened.
Kato looked over at the field and noticed that only Murata and Nakamura were left, kicking the ball to each other. “Takahashi-san.”
“Do you know Nakamura-san?”
“What do you think of him?”
Takahashi was silent for a few moments, then replied, “He’s a quiet seme. He keeps to himself and doesn’t seem to want to involve himself in the seme/uke politics. He can fight too. I don’t mean like me. I mean he knows some form of martial arts.”
“Yeah, his demeanor is mild. So, one of the predatory semes thought they could make an uke out of him. Nakamura-san beat his ass like he was out of some Kung Fu movie.”
“Wow,” Kato thought aloud.
“I was rather surprised that he took on an uke.”
“Yup,” Takahashi nodded. “Nakamura-san is somewhat of a loner, but I guess even loners need a friend.”
Kato couldn’t resist asking, “Is that why you chose me?”
Takahashi looked over at Kato and begin chuckling, “You just don’t let up, do you?”
Kato looked down at his hands.
“Stop that. Look at me, please.”
Kato looked up at Takahashi. Mentally he prepared himself to be chastised. He felt his chest tighten up.
With all sincerity in his voice, Takahashi replied, “Yes.”
Kato felt the knot in his chest break lose. He wasn’t sure what answer Takahashi was going to give but he was glad that it was a simple one. “I thought that it was just stupid luck.”
“Well, I won’t deny that luck played a role. It could have been Murata-san. Or, seriously, I could have just sat back and let you fend for yourself. I didn’t have to get involved. But I wanted to. I was really hoping to find a friend. As I said before, it seemed my only chance was finding an uke that didn’t know my history and wouldn’t judge me based on it.”
Kato felt a warm fuzziness in his chest. He sighed a bit.
“Why the sigh?” Takahashi noticed.
“I had friends wherever I went. But they were always short-term friends. A few months here, a couple there. Not sure I ever had a friend longer than six months. We were always moving around.”
Takahashi ruffled Kato’s hair, “Yeah well, you got a friend now. So, let’s try to make it to seven months, eh? Break that record.”
Takahashi smiled, that bright smile. Kato didn’t understand why, but he selfishly wanted that smile all to his own.
成田 健人 Narita Kento (nah-ree-tah ken-toh)