I'll carry you
It was difficult to get out of bed. Every move was painful, but I forced myself. I had to stop Akimitsu from entering my house. My grey t-shirt was sticking and rubbing against my back. It stung. I was sweaty and looked horrible. I managed to get to the door. My father told me that he was waiting outside. I opened the door and for a moment the sun blinded me. There he was, standing right in front of me. I tried to smile but the ends of my lips would just not go up. Instead, my body was shivering.
“Hey,” I said.
“Can I come inside?” he asked and placed his hand on the door that I was trying to close behind me. I looked up to see his face. He looked agitated.
“No,” I answered him. My throat felt dry. The door opened up and I saw my father standing behind me.
“Of course you can come inside. Ayu, he was probably worried all night about you. You selfishly left them behind so suddenly,” he said and stepped aside. My hand wanted to reach out to him, but I stopped myself. We all went inside and Akimitsu and me, sat down on the sofa. My father offered to get some drinks and snacks. He explained to Akimitsu how there was an emergency and my mother and sister had to leave. We were sitting in silence. I didn’t know what to say. Only the noises from outside were filling up the room. My father returned with some sandwiches and melon sodas. He placed them on the table in front of us. My leg kept shaking. I was waiting for Akimitsu to say something but instead he stood up.
“Mr Moriuchi, I am going to take Ayumi with me. Some other friends want to see her,” he said to my father who was sitting at the dining table and reading the newspaper.
“Other friends? What a nice surprise. Take her with you but make sure to bring her back home before the sun goes down,” my father told him with a smile. How I hated that fake smile of his. Akimitsu immediately grabbed my hand and led me outside of my house. It was a bit chilly and he gave me his jacket to wear. We were walking side by side.
“I won’t force you to tell me the truth but don’t bear it all alone. If you need help, I’m right here,” he said and stopped to look me in my eyes. I squeezed his hand, the one he was still holding mine with. We were heading to Yumiko’s place. Nakajima was at hers as well. They both looked worried sick. I explained to them what had happened with some twists. Yumiko wouldn’t stop hugging me. When was the last time I felt like this? The feeling of belonging somewhere. I buried my face in her chest and started crying. And here I thought that I had forgotten how to feel anything. How to cry and feel sad. The door to my heart had been locked for such a long time that I forgot how to open it again, but he broke it open. Not fully, but enough for him and his friends to enter. Akimitsu and Nakajima left Yumiko’s room. I took off my t-shirt and she froze in shock by the state my back was in. The sight was too disturbing for her, but she tried her best not to cry because she knew I didn’t like it.
“Tell me if it hurts too much and I’ll stop,” she said and dabbed my wounds with a cotton pad doused in saline solution. It burned and stung badly. I placed my hand over my mouth and kept quiet. I didn’t want to worry her more than I already did. She was sniffling and I could hear her taking deep breaths. Akimitsu and Nakajima came back with a tray full of food. Yumiko had told her mother to make a meal for me. It was rice with fried fish and some side dishes.
“I can’t eat it if you all keep staring at me,” I told them.
“Well we have to make sure that you actually eat it,” Nakajima said but Yumiko told him and Akimitsu to turn around. She, herself looked away as well. I pulled at her arm and gave her the okay to look. Her eyes got big. She was really happy about it. They wanted to discuss what to do about my situation after I had eaten my meal, but I forbid them to get any more involved.
“I can deal with it on my own. It’s my problem to begin with. It has nothing to do with any of you,” I said with a serious tone. I couldn’t let anyone else get hurt because of me.
“Yeah, we can clearly see that you can deal with it on your own,” Nakajima said sarcastically.
“Shut up, Isa-chan,” Yumiko told him off and grabbed him by his arm. We were all surprised by her getting angry and using rude vocabulary out of the blue. It caught me off guard and I bursted out laughing. The others were even more surprised by my reaction and started laughing as well.
“Don’t worry. I won’t lose this fight. Please be patient. I can’t go to the authorities yet,” I asked of them and after some hesitation they agreed. The sun was going down and it was time for me to go home. The time had flown by and I felt a little bit bitter to leave this pleasant atmosphere. Akimitsu walked me back home but stopped me from going into my house. It looked like he had something to tell me but didn’t know how to say it.
“Don’t worry. I’m fine,” I reassured him.
“No, I will worry, and I know that you are not fine,” he said. “Please tell me if anything happens again and fight back next time. Don’t let him hurt you even more and push you around. You have us now. We will always support and help you. And keep your phone charged and with you at all times. I was worried sick when you weren’t answering my calls nor texting me back.”
“Mhm. Sorry,” I said. That was all I could say to him before returning to hell once again. Fortunately, my father wasn’t at home. I went into my room and put my phone on charge. It lit up and I saw several missed calls from not only Akimitsu but Yumiko and Nakajima as well. One message had just arrived. It was from Akimitsu. He had sent me his home address.