|Dec 17th 1985 - May16th 2015|
On a rainy February morning, I met an extraordinary person who would change my life. His name was Ai.
I was walking home and a flashy v-host pokes his head under my umbrella and asked me to listen to his request. I was wary at first and didn`t understand most of what he was saying as he was speaking extremely formally. His customer reservation had fell through and needed a last minute replacement. He requested only of my time and that he would pay for all expenses. We ate breakfast together as he intently listened to my story of why I was in Japan. I made it clear that I wanted to stay in Japan forever and listed the all possible options of stay. a] work, b] marriage, c] adoption etc. He took great interest in my determination. He was also the first person to patiently explain all his words to me until I understood and the first person to take me seriously instead of writing me off as an idiot just because my Japanese level was worst than that of a child`s.
We drank from start til finish of his shift and then went off to karaoke where he showed me his beautiful voice. Both exhausted he suggested we go to a hotel for a few hours on the promise that he would not try anything funny on me. He kept his word other than a sneak short kiss on the lips while I was sleeping. When we awoke he walked me all the way home. Going back to the topic of options to stay in Japan, he said if possible I would like to try out for option B. From that day on he tried extremely hard to gain my attention by going out of his way to see me and to help me with moving, taking me to amusement parks and serenading me with his amazing singing talent.[ Mou kimi iegai aisenai by Kiki Kids was a song he said expressed his feelings towards me] While he was not my usual type I found we just had a lot in common and we could talk endlessly without end. After a few dates we became girlfriend and boyfriend.
However a few months later, there was a shift in his attitude and he became colder. He started to distance himself from me as my visa was getting closer to closer to its end while he was preparing to leave hosting to open up his own business. Unsure what to do I pressured him to give me a straight answer. He broke up with me with a lengthy cold mail about life. We didn't speak for eight months while he opened up 3 new bars and I starved myself and pulled all my resources to get my next visa. Unsure as to why we broke up he was always in the back of my mind. I tried for 3 months to visit the bar he opened to gain some answers but didn`t manage to muster up the courage until a few days before my birthday. I went to see him for closure but what I got was a somewhat of a rekindling of our feelings. He then went to visit my workplace with a bouquet of blue roses and a ring. This confused me as I had thought things were over but yet he was hinting that his feelings for me has never changed. He made a bet with me. He said that before 30 he wanted to get married. In the next 3 years he is going to try hard to make it so that he can be able to balance work and a relationship and he wanted me to also try my best to stay in Japan on my own power.
It was an awkward of together but not together, hot/cold mysterious gruelling pressured 1.5 years with him in relationship limbo as he stressed that work was really busy and important and that I must not let him win over me. That I too should become a business owner and find a job I want to do not understanding how much more difficult it is for a foreigner with so many restraints. I eventually snapped from all the stress my body has put through with lack of sleep and money and food all because of my visa status and from him always keeping me close but never making it official. I of course tried many times to find someone to replace him but each time I failed with him smirking like he has yet won again. Telling me if I am with him I`ll surely find happiness yet not taking me at the same time. Eventually I started to put up a front that I was ok with just being friends and gave up trying with him while he continued his little game of hot/cold.
At some point, I met with someone else who was the exact opposite of Ai. He was extremely outwardly emotional, traditional thinking, spontaneous and openly affectionate. When I first told Ai about this person after a moving in with him. Ai gave me his congratulations and told me he has heard good things about him. However I could tell there was a slight look of defeat on his face even though he forced a smile and said that as long as I felt happy he was good and he was willing to help me with any troubles I had--giving me advice on some of the difficulties that arose in m new relationship. I dated this person for 1 year but ultimately broke up because of the nightmare he dragged me into was too much to handle and I felt myself spiralling deeper and deeper to the point of almost suicide.
Completely broken, Ai comforted me but couldn’t hide a sense of relief on his face. We continued on as friends and relationship limbo [however a more calm and mature limbo] as I recovered slowly from the traumatic experiences of dating a mentally unstable partner.
Things were getting more relaxed as another year went by. Both busy with work we only saw each other from time to time. Each time I grew and levelled up in my work telling him all about my accomplishments making him smile each time. I was slowly catching up to him like he always rooted me for. While he was preparing to be able to detach himself from the bar so he can venture out into other work ultimately graduating from night work and kabukicho. His dream job was to start a company to help counsel and prepare couples for marriage.
After my mom returned to Canada, Ai started to contact me here and there and seeing me in private at my house were we battled it out again in drinking games. He said that he does`t trust a lot of people and that I was one of the few people he feels like he can be himself around… actually more truthfully perhaps the only one around. He said that I was getting close to what he envisioned me to be doing. Just a little more he said..
I was moving on up in my company and they had offered to give me a visa. Each accomplishment I sent him messages and photos. I tried to reach him by phone as well however there was no response. I figured he must have been busy as he could not make it to my birthday celebration a couple months before. A few weeks had gone by where his phone was turned off. So I finally mustered up the courage to message his tencho to check up on how he was doing. I found out that he had an accident in which he was drunk and fell off the building. [April 30th 2015] He was in a coma for 2 weeks before he passed away… [May 16th 2015] his funeral was held on May 20th in Akita…. The day I found out was June 12th 2015. I could not stop crying. [And I still can`t]
Ai was a serious, romantic and stubborn fellow. His heart was big and he wanted everyone to find happiness. He had trust issues and everything needed to be controlled in the right timing even though he was almost never on time but he always had the best intensions. He was truly a unique individual who had his own set of beliefs that he would not let anyone waver. He was smart, clever, and highly intuitive. He loved playing games and holding competitions. His philosophy is that his lover of his life is one and the same as his rival. He hated loosing but at the same time he hates having easy competition more.
He was my soulmate. We had a deeper than lovers, deeper than friends kind of love. No matter what I did I always came back to him and he always had a look on his face like he knew I`d be back. To keep things professional for his workers we had to keep our feelings a secret. I lied to myself, my friends and everyone that I thought of him as only a friend now, but I had always loved him. I just didnt like the feeling of missing him and the uncontrollable want to always see him all the time even though he was busy. So I tried to convince myself I was fine as being friends because this way I`m free to roam around and no matter what happens I`ll never have to say goodbye. But he saw through my facade and I`m glad he did. I would have hated to have him go without him knowing.
I may no longer have that someone to report my accomplishments to, I may no longer have someone pushing me harder and harder to be a better person nor anyone to challenge me. But he lives on in my heart and from now on I will have to try twice as hard on my own. His physical body is gone but his spirit lives on in the hearts of all the people he has touched. I love you Ai. See you again in the afterlife.
PS. I can be a bit of an fragile idiot sometimes as you know. Please guide me or send me a sign before I start to do anything stupid haha.
I plan to draw a few drawings, make a photo album and visit his grave as soon as I have the time and money to make the trip to Akita.