Chapter 18:

In Search of all Thing that Warm the Heart

What All Mermaids Are In Search Of

“Kiyoshi-Sama! Time to spend the day with your Friend!”

The weekend is underway. With midterms successfully completed and my path to Authenticity going stronger with every passing day. I couldn’t be more excited to be around the people I care about.

“Yeah, yeah, I heard ya.” Kiyoshi cutely whined at my joyous behavior, while he walked out of his house.

“Hehe, to think the great Kiyoshi can get embarrassed.” I giggled.

“Tch, whatever… And what’s with you?! I thought you didn’t like pants?” Kiyoshi retaliated.

“Pants?” I questioned, looking at my outfit. I was wearing a cute light blue loose fit romper, with white heeled sandals.

“Oh, yeah, I guess these are technically pants, but they are still kinda loose like a skirt.” I remarked with a smile as I twirled around in my outfit.

“Let's just get going!” He declared.

“Okay!” I gleefully agreed as we went to Motoko’s car.

“How are you doing Kiyoshi?” Motoko asked once we were in the car.

“I’m well, thank you.” He politely responded.

“Good to know. So, just the one Museum right?” Motoko asked.

“Correct, the Chiba City Museum of Art, please.” Kiyoshi stated, as I nodded in agreement.

“Got it.” She replied and began to drive to the Museum.

“You know, this worked out quite well. I have some small business stuff to work in that area. So just call me when you're ready to go and I’ll be right over.” Motoko mentioned.

“That’s great! Isn’t that right Kiyoshi?” I chattered.

“Yes.” He quickly responded, with little emotion.

Placing my hands over my cheeks to ease them from the amount I’ve been smiling this entire day so far. Then glancing at Kiyoshi every few minutes, as he scowled at my excessive glee. The ride to the first Museum wasn't too long so we didn’t talk very much. Which was fine. Plenty of time for my self reflection on my joyous attitude.

Along with getting thoughts with midterms, and opening up to Minato. I think that most of my joy is growing so close to someone. Even if that someone struggles to admit that loving gesture. That said, Kiyoshi also planned out the whole day. An interesting gesture, I kind of admire. We’ll get to spend time on the first floor of the Museum, then have some lunch at a restaurant that’s nearby. Lastly, we'll end the day on the upper floors of the Museum. I was also excited to go to my first Museum, unsurprisingly, there weren't many Museums from my old home that we could have gone to.

“Alright, we’ve arrived, you two have fun.” Motoko smiled.

“Thanks Motoko, love you.” I smiled back.

“Love you too, just call me when you’re ready.” She mentioned, I then nodded in agreement as she drove off.

“So, I’ve, uh, never been to a Museum.” I stuck my tongue with some embarrassment.

“Ugh, why am I not surprised.” Kiyoshi rolled his eyes, while I giggled.

“Well, I only want to see a few new exhibits that they added a month or so ago. So what you have to do is wander around and look at the Art.” He then mentioned.

“That’s it?” I asked.

“No, of course not. With each art piece, take your time to examine. Truly appreciate the craft the artist created.” Kiyoshi gracefully explained.

“Alright, I’ll do my best.” I replied.

“But most importantly! No talking!” He soon followed.

“Huh?!” I questioned with great confusion.

“Now, let us begin.” He announced as we walked in.

Within moments of entering the Museum I quickly felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of eye catching and abstract creations. Mom likes to think of herself and I as artists in this same realm of artful creations. Which I do agree with. We reveal ourselves through means of colors and imagination. Showing the world that we have an intimate desire to convey our inner feelings. However, I do think that there are like levels of artistry. Despite being one myself, I think makeup is more in the middle, while painting, sculpting are on the top. But! That opinion might change as time goes on.

Maybe even today. With Kiyoshi’s tutorial: I still found it a little difficult to ‘examine’ each art piece in a way that will be property appreciated. Every room we entered, I looked at every single piece of area within the hour whereas Kiyoshi took several minutes at every last painting and sculpture. But the most frustrating part was I couldn’t talk! I wanted to ask Kiyoshi so many questions. I just couldn’t bring myself to do so. When I was done looking at some art, I’d look at him, and he just looked so blissfully lost in the artwork. I wanted him to enjoy that because he clearly knew how to appreciate art.

“Hey, it's about time for lunch.” Kiyoshi tapped my shoulder right when I was finished looking at some artwork.

“Sure, do you have a place in mind?” I asked with a smile.

“Tenhaku, I think its called. It's a Tempura place.” Kiyoshi explained.

We soon made our way across the street to the delightful smell of buttery fried food. We were pleasantly greeted by the employees and soon made our order of, well, Tempura!

Waiting for our order I figure this'll be the best time to talk to Kiyoshi since I can’t talk in the Museum.

“So, how do you think you did on the tests?” I asked.

“Regrettably, most of them are between 93% and 97%.” He swiftly explained.

“Huh?!!! That’s like missing a total of like 10 questions for all of the tests!” I remarked with impressed confusion.

“Yes, I'm quite curious to see which answers I got wrong…” He then pondered.

“Geez, do you know my test results?” I asked, somewhat sarcastically.

“I don’t know your score specifically, but I can say everyone in our class passed with a 71% and higher.” He explained with certainty.

“Oh, that’s awesome! Everyone is going to be even more cheerful next week.” I happily expressed.

“You can say that’s for sure.” He mentioned as he sipped some tea.

“Oh, don’t be shy, I saw that you had a slight smile with all that cheering.” I teased.

“Humph, regardless!” He huffed, in a way that I can’t help but call cute.

We were quiet for a few moments, I then started to think of the next topic. Then from the corner of my eye, I saw Kiyoshi wiggling a little bit. I think he’s going to start talking!

“How’s your, um, club going?” Kiyoshi unexpectedly asked.

My eyes obviously glimmered at Kiyoshi’s question, but I had to remain calm or else he’ll get too embarrassed.

“Very good! But my Mom keeps saying that she’s conflicted about Kado Club, because my normal scent and smells are totally different when I come home, from the flowers that I’m around. Although, she also says that she enjoys the fresh flora aroma that I give off every time I come home, too. Isn’t that silly!” I chatted delightfully.

“Yes, quite a contradiction.” He lightly mentioned.

“That’s it?” I remarked.

He quickly nodded.

“Ya know, you are impossible to converse with sometimes!” I whined.

“Agreed. Here comes our food.” He then remarked, as our food came to us.

◑ ◒ ◓ ◐

Our bellies are now full with yummy food. We soon made our way back to the Museum, then walked to the upper levels. I hate to have the thought, but I was a little bit bored with the day. Then again, I didn’t want to leave. There are several guesses why I still wanted to stay. I want to have that experience Kiyoshi is having. I’m enjoying my time with a friend. Or, I’m just joyful with the fact that this friend was having fun! It could be anything, so I didn’t question it too much because it is the reason why I want to stay!

Walking through the artful areas, these artworks felt slightly different. There are not as many as the lower floors and they are very subtle. Almost humble with how they present themselves. I’m pretty sure Kiyoshi noticed this too. He spent way more time on just the first few paintings. Since they’re less artworks, I made a few more laps in this area than the lower floors. Then I started to wonder if I should just break Kiyoshi’s one guideline and talk to him for a bit.

As I pondered the thought, I was about to make my fourth lap around the area. On one of the walls, there are 4 only paintings, all done by different artists, but for some reason they each got their space. The piece all the way on the left, stood out to me. I must have missed it the first few laps.

There it was. Simply something about it. This must be what Kiyoshi has been feeling the whole day. I gazed at this captivating artwork longer than any of the others. It is very blue, light shading of greens, grays, with small spots of yellows and white. I think it is depicting the middle of a summer night, with energetic fireflies everywhere. The main draw was one person, probably not much taller than me or Kiyoshi. Under a well made Edo Era bridge. The person is right at the edge of the river running underneath, but the bridge was still small enough for the person to hold on to. They’re leaning over the river water as they held onto the bridge to look at its center. Their eyes can’t be seen, but their mouth is open ever so slightly. The only word that came to mind was ‘Longing’. Whatever this person was looking at was just in their reach but for whatever it was they wanted, they could never have it.

For a quick moment I thought I was going to cry, surprisingly I didn't. I’m almost certain I just appreciated my first lovely piece of artwork.

“Okay, I’ve seen what I wanted to see. Are you ready to go?” Kiyoshi asked, again tapping on my shoulder as I began to move to the next painting.

“Already? But it's barely the afternoon!” I whined.

“What’s with the face? What else is there you want to do?” Kiyoshi lightly scolded my pouty face.

“Well, I don’t know. I just want to keep hanging out I guess…” I pressed my index fingers together as I explained.

“Tch, well… Then, let’s go somewhere else.” He slowly remarked, with a sharp tone.

“Really?” I asked with glee.

“Sur-sure. Whatever makes you stop making faces.” He looked away.

“Oh! Uh… Where should we go…?” I thought with excitement.

“Ah! Is there any place with water around?” I asked.

“Water? Um, there’s Honcho Park. That’s right next to the Miyako River.” He soon explained.

“Sounds perfect!” I shouted with glittering eyes.

We soon left the Museum with a joyful jog. Well, one of us. Simply knowing that the happy evening will be continuing was enough to make me grin ear to ear.

“Oh, this is perfect!” I shouted with glee.

“Yeah, the river is just over there.” Kiyoshi mentioned.

With the walk from the Museum only taking a few minutes, we were just a couple of steps away from the river. I wanted to talk about the feeling that I had at the Museum, but I think that I can wait for the next Date with Kiyoshi!

“Oo, I can almost see the bottom…” I quickly knelt down to get as close as I could to look at the water.

Seeing bodies of water has always been such an incredible sensation for me. Gazing at the near translucent blue-green river, as it naturally flowed, likely into the Tokyo Bay. Something about it brings me indescribable warmth inside me.

“This is the first time I’ve touched water since I moved here.” I whispered as I rested my hand in the water.

“So you haven’t bathed?” Kiyoshi remarked.

“Hehe, no. I mean that I haven’t been by this much water in a while.” I giggled, as I then laid flat on my belly to get even closer to the water.

“When I was really little, there was a river not very far from our house. I’d go there all of the time to watch the little animals live their little lives around the river. Each one of them has their own journey.” I expressed with a low yet happy tone, with most of my arm submerged in the river.

Kiyoshi got down to sit next to me.

“One day, as I was walking along the river bank. I lost my balance and fell right into the river, but it was just a little too deep for me, so I couldn't swim very well in it.” I continued with a faint smile, with my hand still playing with the water.

“Then what happened?” Kiyoshi asked.

“Well, my Motoko saved me. Of course.” I happily answered.

“I’m kinda not surprised.” He lightly giggled.

“Yup, she’s truly amazing… I always think back on how she got to me so quickly, but as time went on I just figured that she was simply nearby.” I mentioned.

“Normally, something like that would have really traumatized someone. Not for me, in fact, I’ve never felt unsafe or worried about where I was… Because I just knew that Motoko would rescue me.” I continued, taking my hand out of the water and sitting up right.

“Even though I never worried about running into any kind of physical harm. As I got older, I started to have the thought of encountering emotional harm, like stuff in the mind… Who will be there to save me from something like that? Ya know?” I pondered.

“It took me a whole week to gather enough courage to start my first day at school. Then on that first day, I was so terrified at the possibility of everyone hating me because I had a little secret.” I mentioned.

“‘Was’? You aren’t terrified anymore?” Kiyoshi asked, with a small impressed smile.

“Well, maybe a little. But not so much… Because... I told Minato that I’m a boy.” I slowly expressed.

“And?” He quickly asked, somewhat eagerly.

“Better than I expected.” I smiled at him.

“Good.” He simply remarked, he always knows when I'm truthful.

“Sorry, you don’t get to destroy anyone today.” I teased him with glee.

“That’s not- Whatever!” He waved his hand in disregard.

“Ki-Kiyoshi?” I stuttered.

“Hm?” He soon turned.

“Ah, not again!” Kiyoshi flinched at my tearful face, as I comically sniffled.

“I’m-I’m just so grateful that I’ve been able to have such beyond perfect people in my life.” I leaned closer to Kiyoshi as more tears ran down my red face.

“Good to know…” He remarked and scooted away more.

I quickly whipped my crying face with my hands and handkerchief.

“Sorry, I’m finally starting to notice that my crying can be a little silly. Haha.” I giggled as I removed the remaining tears.

“You know what?!” I swiftly stood up with confidence.

“I realize that I don’t need to let the world know that I’m a boy, or even call myself a girl. I just need to be myself around the people I care about. So, if that means I have to tell them all my ‘secrets’ then so be it! If my authentic love is strong enough, I know in my heart that they’ll accept me for who I am!” I declared with the most confidence I’ve ever had.

“Humph, so does that mean you love me?” Kiyoshi chuckled, as he stood next to me.

“Aha! Well um, yeah. I guess.” I remarked with some embarrassment.

“Although, that means…” I whispered, with a small grin.

“Ahh! Hey! What are you doing!” Kiyoshi hollered as I latched onto him.

“Surprise huuug!!!!” I shouted as I quickly hugged Kiyoshi from behind with love and affection.

“Get off!” He growled as I hugged tighter with a smile.

“Never! Haha! Not until you admit it!” I laughed.

“Admit what?!” He remarked, as his face began to turn red.

“Oh, come on. You’re smarter than that, hehe.” I mocked, as he wiggled around. Trying to break free.

“Agrr, fine! But just let go first!” He growled again, as I slowly let go.

I looked at his face, turning ever redder and redder, with my massive smile of welcoming friendship.

“I… I… Consider…” He stuttered.

“Hmm?” I smiled.

“You… And I…” His face is completely red.

“Almost there.” I teased.

“To be go-good… Friends…” He finally said the secret that has been on his mind for weeks now.

Kiyoshi shouting in embarrassed annoyance was music to my ears. Even though I forced it out of him. He absolutely believes it to be true. The most joyful sound is knowing that I’ve made not just a friend, but a someone that will be right by my side throughout my journey for self discovery and Authenticity. As well as for them knowing that I’ll happily do the same for them!

“Okay! Are you satisfied?!” Kiyoshi announced as he tried to cool his red hot face.

“Well… I-” I started to say.

“What?!” He shouted in confusion, quickly tensing up his posture.

“Hahah! Just kidding! Yes. I am very satisfied.” I smiled, then started to walk into the park’s center.

“Good! How about you tell Motoko to pick us up!” He barked, walking to one of the benches.

“Sure thing… Best Friend.” I grinned.


“What? You don't want to say you had fun on our date?!”

“It's not a date!”

Walking off with youthful bliss. I can proudly say…

Finding Love in Friendship is just another form of True Love.

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