It was a cold, and windy fall morning as Yoshi walked slowly through the park. He'd been in dismay for a week now ever since she told him she was destined for another. She, Harumi, the love of his life, the girl he would, and did, climb a mountain for was engaged. He'd found out as he returned from his climb of Mt. Jinba from a friend, A FRIEND! Her father had arranged her marriage to an uptight businessman.
He'd just carved her name in a rock at the top of the mountain and he comes home to learn this! And she never told him about it? He was devastated. He'd hardly eaten and hardly slept since. More so, he'd never admit it, but he'd cried for hours on end; more than he ever had in his life. He'd been close to killing himself twice since, but knew he couldn't. Not without seeing her. He had to see her smile again. It was his breath, his heartbeat. It was everything. He also knew she wouldn't want him to die. He knew she loved him and that the last thing she would want is for him to give up on life.
So here he was walking and trying to figure out his options. He could go to her father, but he knew that was futile. He was of a different race than she, and her father wouldn't even let her marry outside her class. Yoshi had known that all along but hadn't accepted it. Had always thought there was a possibility they could be together.
He'd believed it so much that they had stolen moments to be together. They'd spent hours in their secret place, just to be together to talk and hold hands mostly. They'd kiss when he was sure no one would catch them. There was even one beautiful night when all was quiet, the rest of the world was busy with preparing New Year celebrations that no one noticed them missing. He was also preparing to leave for his climb.
He felt so close to her at that moment. They were lying on a blanket under the warm summer sun after a picnic lunch. She looked up to him with the softest eyes. She whispered in his ear, "I will love you forever."
Her breath sent shivers through his body. The blood pumped hard to his nether regions. He tried very hard to ignore those feelings of desire that he knew were forbidden. He kissed her trying to distract his thoughts to another part of his body. It didn't work. Her soft lips were like feathers against his. They caressed and slid every so succulently over his own. Her tongue touched just the tip of his sending new waves of passion through him. She'd never kissed him like this before! There was desire yes, but the deepest of loves too. He could feel it in the kiss.
He wanted- no, needed more! He needed her to be a part of him. She already was spiritually, but physically he wanted to be joined with her as one. He slowly slid his hand to the button of her top and he looked at her questioningly. She didn't say a word but nodded her consent. He moved one button at a time barely grazing her breast with his hand. He felt excitement but also a little disquieted.
She pressed up into him as she took his lips again in hers. Of course she wanted him. She felt what he felt. They were already one. He hesitated only a little after that. He wished to share his great love with her, to feel their bond solidify. He made love to her in the softest most caring way he could, always making sure she was comfortable and that he had her approval for each step. She gave herself to him with a little hesitancy. They both knew it was wrong, but it felt so perfect in that moment. This was what they were put on this Earth for; to complete each other.
Now he regretted it. He'd taken advantage of her. She consented at the time, but he knew he'd taken her virginity from her and so now she had nothing to give her potential husband. In her mind, she was no doubt filthy. He hurt her more than he ever wished to. He took something precious and pious from her. She could never have it back. She would probably never forgive him for it. At the same time this added a new level of difficulty to their relationship. She'd never look at him the same way again.
He blamed himself for all of this. He believed Harumi allowed her father to announce the engagement because she felt guilty over what she allowed Yoshi to do with her. So now he felt guilt for having done it and for hurting her.
So he came to the only place he felt comfortable. Their secret spot. A secluded area of the park. It seemed not many knew of this area because of the tall bushes. Also many didn't like going there for security reasons. Many people were paranoid about being attacked in areas that had little activity. He never worried about it, but he worried when she arrived before him whenever they met. He didn't like her there alone. He believed it was his responsibility to protect her and keep her safe. Ever since they were children he felt that even before he knew he loved her.
He heard the old rusty swing squeak and fell further into depression. Someone had discovered their spot. He'd have no privacy there today to sit and think. But perhaps it was a good thing. He knew he'd also fall into a horrible depression being in their spot without her. The thought of never being able to hold her again was already ripping him apart inside.
He felt like falling to the ground and collapsing inside himself right there and then. To be without her forever. He knew she was meant for him. They both knew they were born for each other. Soul mates. To live without her was unthinkable. He began to cry again and wiped the tears angrily away internally yelling at himself to stop, but never being able to.
His feet had kept moving even though he hadn't thought about it at all, straight for the bench and swing they'd sat on so many times. A swift breeze kicked up and the squeaking of the chains stopped, so he knew it wasn't the wind making the swing squeak. He peeked around the bush and saw a woman sitting in the swing head down. The wind blew her hair obscuring her face. He felt disappointment to discover someone in their swing, yet something about the woman... Yes, the shape of her body... Elation filled him and hope as he believed it was her. Then the wind blew just right revealing Harumi's face!
He wished to run to her and take her in his arms. He wanted to hold her tight and never let her go. He held himself back though. He even debated walking away. Her father would kill him if he saw them together, but the abandoned playground put bravery in Yoshi's heart. No one would see them here together. They'd been here a hundred times without interruption. He took a deep breath and prayed no one would see him.
To his horror two brutes walked out from behind some bushes and up to her before he could reach her. One grabbed hold of the swing's chain and leaned over her menacingly.
The other stood a little off and smiled confidently. "Hi. Looks like you are alone. Not very smart. You are quite pretty." The other guy bent down closer to her and she screamed.
"Hey!" Yoshi called as he ran forward. "Leave her alone!"
"Get out of here freak!" the smaller one said when he saw Yoshi's limp. Most people didn't notice it. He'd trained well to hide it. But the news of him climbing Mt. Jinba with only one leg had gotten around.
"I will call the police if you do not leave now." Yoshi threatened.
"Right, just try." The talkative one said while his large friend reached for Harumi.
"No! Let go!" Harumi screamed. Yoshi's anger erupted like a volcano. His blood boiled as he ran closing the gap between him and the assailants.
Yoshi tossed the mouthy one to the ground with hardly any effort. This caught the attention of the bigger one who was trying to pull Harumi off the swing. The thug dropped her and went to kick Yoshi's bad leg out from under him. What the man didn't understand was most of Yoshi's weight was on his good leg, so he only managed to succeed in throwing himself off balance. Yoshi knocked him to the ground with a single punch.
The other had gotten to his feet and grabbed Yoshi around the neck from behind. Yoshi was proficient enough in martial arts to throw the man off him. The larger thug was on his feet again and punched Yoshi in the face. Now Yoshi was off balance and at a disadvantage. He didn't like resorting to weapons, but as a mountain climber he always carried a knife with him, which he pulled now. Just in time too, the bigger man was about to throw another punch. He stopped when he saw the knife and how well Yoshi seemed to hold it. The attackers seemed to know when a fight wasn't worth it and they ran off.
When he was sure they were gone Yoshi put away the knife and limped over to Harumi. "Are you OK?" he asked her.
"Y-Yes," she stammered as she looked at his eye that was already beginning to swell. "Are you?"
He nodded. He couldn't tell her he did it for her. He would risk his life for her. She would just feel bad that she caused him to feel that way. Then she would be upset that he put his life in danger. So he let out the only thing he knew he'd be a little safe with. "How many times have I told you not to come here alone?"
She shrank back into the seat of the swing. "I needed to feel close to you, so I came here."
"Oh Harumi." His heart broke all over again. He rounded the swing so he was behind her. "Why didn't you tell me you were engaged?" Yoshi said with tears in his eyes.
"Oh Yoshi. I'm sorry. You know Father is in control of this. He told me the day before you got back. There was no time to send you a letter."
"You could have called!" He was hurt and yet felt ashamed for yelling at her.
"Please understand, Father won't let me. I'm not free. You are, dear Yoshi, my guardian angel. I am lucky Father let me out of the house today without an escort." She squeezed his hands. "I want you to be happy. Please be happy. Find someone who can love you."
"But I only want you. I can only have you. My heart is only for you!" He swung her gently in the swing and moved along with her. He wanted her to feel relaxed with him.
"I know, but it's not meant to be," Harumi said softly as she looked away from him. "I feel you in my soul every day. You will always be a part of me."
"But it's over, isn't it?"
"Yes." She said softly. "I'll always be in love with you. But I can't love you. Please understand."
He nodded as a knot tied in his throat. He couldn't speak. If he opened his mouth words would pour out that he would regret. He wanted to run away with her. To take her far from anywhere anyone would know them. Start a new life with her. But he knew she couldn't leave here. Her life was here. If he opened his eyes, the tears would flow like a river. He stood there gripping the chain so hard it pinched his hands. He endured the pain.
"I still need you as my friend, my best friend." Her voice cracked. She too was on the verge of tears.
He nodded still unwilling to speak. He owed it to her. The woman who changed his life. Showed him that someone could truly love him. He smiled for her sake.
"Thank you," she whispered.
He nearly cried at this. He knew it was for the best but it was like giving up his heart. He stopped the swing. She looked up at him, he saw the love still there, but he also saw the regret. She slowly smiled. He felt alive for the first time in two weeks. He leaned down and kissed her, soft and gently, one last time.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please send me any comments you might have, good or bad. Copyrighted 2008 by Christine Schnell. Go ahead and share it with others just keep my name with it.