Chapter 2:



                                                               JUNE 15, 2006

The country commemorated its 58th anniversary of independence from her former dominion, Japan. With her ensign winging its way up and wafting in the air, the roads evincing the gallant parade of soldier's march, T.V announcers casting big appraisals for the immolated warriors, Radios playing the federal paean sonorously and the avenue packed with pedestrians in their traditional attire, bustling in to capture the pompous panorama of the frolic's grandioseness.

Kane Haki gazed out from the window, A boy in his late teens with a light hazel, epicanthal folded eyes devoid of sparkles, thick wavy hair done in a drew cut, straight raised low bridge projected nose, a full lip, chiseled cheekbones and an aura with a certain whiff of absence and silence. At age 18, his physique scored its premiumness with a brawny framework and an elevated 6 ft 2 tall letting him standout in most cases.

Today as usual, he locked himself up entrap in his lair, cascading to his loneliness, thoughts boating him away into the unremitting loop of blues, shadowing the very thrill of effervescence outside.
 The same period where he has been drifting in for days now, as the term 'Happiness' seemed distant and remoted for him. Rather, he felt more secure in his solitary choices and had totally confided himself in it.

The distant booms were now approaching nearer, as the promenaders cavalcaded through the street where he resided, igniting the blaze of the lane's anticipating cheerer's.
His gaze stood fixed at the vibrant crowd, unfazed, while his thoughts started to retrospect a vivid memory of yesterday.

He was going back to home after school when he saw two man coming up from above, one dressed in blue top and khaki pants while the other in mustard yellow and charcoal black, they were engrossed in a deep banter of confabulation and seem to be sniggering and cachinnating over a topic, as the distance started closing in between them, He could make out few sentences out of their conversation.

"Don't you find it gross to know that gays are now so random in the streets", the blue top man delivered blatantly.
"Yeah! the 'sickos', good that they get kicked out from the house and removed from the bloodlines", the other person joined in.

"Like, C'mon!, It's a 'disease'. I hope I don't get infected by one, besides, there's many who shelter themselves in the comfort as being one of us but in reality hide their true faces, instead of diagnosing their 'sick minds'." The blue top man snapped hard.

" SSSH!...keep it low or else some awoke flamboyant faggot might come to disrupt our fun talk, I don't want myself to be anywhere near them."  the companion aired a chortle reply.
And they walked past him chuckling, eyeing an desolate look.

The conversation still ran fresh as if a podcast being played over a radio in a continuous loop.
"Is that the truth I don't want to confirm, where do I lay myself in this chaos, and just 'WHY' for Gods sake." His thoughts started to breeze past a play of self-evaluation.

Haki's world seemed happier before but with coming of age, he found himself blowing in the other direction, where the brimming knowledge about his interest and sexuality, chilling him up with volatile potpourri of introspection, especially in a place where hegemony resides as the culture's backbone for men, where even shedding a drop of tear may disrupt the very idea of the masculine norms, where the standards weaves its root in praises of toxic-masculinity and to advocate oneself under the rainbow circle was deemed as a lost cause.
 He found himself getting lost and with the death of his father 2 years ago it doubled it's weight with responsibility resting under his shoulder as being the older between the two siblings, his younger sister, and most importantly the disappointment he doesn't want his mother to taste. 

Now, shifting his peers from the ceremony, he crumbled himself on the bed in a fetal position with hollowed optics contacting the mirror upfront with an enigmatic tension of comprehending life drawn over his face.

Thud! Thud!

He heard a soft knock on his door.

Haki Dear, "Can you hear me?", his mother called out from outside.
" I know you're in there, I wanted to know whether you would like to join us, to see the ceremony?"
He paused for a while. Then replied back,

"Umm...No Thank you, I'm fine being home". 
 "Okay! since you deny on seeing the ceremony, can you do me a favor?"
"I'm going out with your aunt and sister for the event, please receive the parcel for me when the delivery man arrives". His mother requested from outside.

" 'Sure I will' ", he gave a drowsy reply.
" 'Thank you', the food's in the fridge, we'll be late so 'help yourself', and yes lastly, we have new neighbors who have moved in yesterday, make sure to greet them". his mother exclaimed and left.

He could hear his mother's steps now climbing down the stairs and finally fading.

Kane Yura had always shaded herself under the umbrella of diligence, hard  worker, and gumption .A virtuous woman principled to her beliefs and an epitome of a competent and sensible mother, whose love for her children was boundless.
Today, she could feel the void in her son's ambience immensely, an inkling she had been vary of for years now, but not to this extent. She first noticed the alter in his demeanor after her husband's demise to which she brushed off lightly thinking it as an aftermath of losing an important figure in his life, but gradually the change in air remained stagnant and she saw him getting plastered under it.

She thought of ways to talk it out and ease him with comfort, but every time the topic of his silence starts surfing up, he draws in the curtain with a subtle forced smile and a touch of, "I'm fine".
As a mother it was hard for her to see him getting draped under the hideous hole of loneliness, but all she could hope was maybe one day he'll open up to her. Thus, she always presented a cheerful facade of herself near him.

Now, as she climbed down the stairs her thoughts stood focused sharp on one note "Whenever he's ready".

"Yura-ni, hurry up! or we'll be late".

Haki could hear his aunt's voice out loud booming downstairs.

"She's loud", he humbled himself a thought.
On different note, his thoughts rested on the new neighbors.

"I wonder how the new neighbors will be, hope they won't be a bunch of nuisances".
Batting his eyes, he proceeded back on his ritual.

The summer was hitting hard with the sun blazing and escalating the heat, pounding in discomfort and uneasiness.

The wall clock chimed; it's hand struck on 12:00, signaling the peak of the prime noon, Haki lazily stood up from his bed and withdrew the curtains, as the heat and hunger drive now started to kick in, he slowly marched his way downstairs and went straight for the fridge in the kitchen.
As he stretched out his hands to open it, the door bell ding-donged.

"Must be the delivery man," he thought.
"One min," he called out lousily.

Sighing an exhausted huff, he made his way through the door dragging unready steps and swung open the door.

The person standing there wasn't the one he postulated but, instead a composed effeminate lad sparkling in optimism, beaming a bright smile with a beguiling face rocking the prime features of androgyny, a calculative juxtapose against his fragmentary barren emanation. He had a gift wrapped around his hands, gesturing a sign to hand it out.

He stood still for a second, motioning nervousness and bewilderment, when suddenly the boy sparked a demure yet zippy self introductory like a shot.

"Hi, I'm Sai Sora, we just moved in yesterday, my parents wanted me to go and greet the neighbors. So, I thought of greeting here first as this seemed to be the closest next door".
Wearing a tantalizing tone in his allured demeanor.

"Aah... Oh! Hello, I'm Kane Haki," Haki replied apprehensively.

"Hello Haki," the boy prompted an exchange to his words with an inviting smile, radiating a strong feminine energy, a seldom occur of event to which he never found himself getting encountered to because of the jumbled up ideals painted by the society for males, but was loving the every serve of it as the vista attended had a certain drape of relativity and glimmer, causing him to get drawn over.

"This would be for you, a greeting gift as the new neighbor". Sora added on carrying the same warm tone in his vibe.
"Oh!....Thank you," shrugging a shy reply, he took the gift.
 "Can we lend each other a hand of friendship? I believe we can be a good one in the long run, besides, you're the first person here I came in contact with". Sora added on with an enticing smile and hands stretched out for a handshake.

"OH!...Yes! Sure," omitting a blush.

While lending out his hand for the handshake, he found himself getting amused by the ongoing chapter.

As He stood there engulfed in the solace of the events aura, a benign sip in the atmosphere perforated through, mediating an interim peace, with dices of faith rolling in for the new outlook, the scorching midday heat taking a warm blush, the burdens heaving away few pounds, the significant upsurge of positive tingles brimming up, and the seemingly distant of isolation and lost closing it's gap. He found himself cracking a smile, a lost jewel he hadn't adorned in a long time.