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Mar 22, 2018 - 12:44 PM

Who I Am (2) ~ Missing Pieces

With a quick movement I pull the blue curtains open and the bright sunlight playfully shines down on his face. He is startled by the sudden brightness and covers his half closed eyes with his hand. "Huh, what the.." His sleepy voice mumbles.

"Morning, brother," I reply and jump on his bed.

My brother Hisashi and I have always been best friends who supported each other through all the difficult periods of our lives. We both did not have a good bond with our parents, but while I chose to walk away from my problems (to get other ones in the States) he remained in Kanagawa to pursue his dreams.

He is the best brother one could ever dream of. He has always protected me in every way. If other kids bullied me he would always be there to, well, teach them a lesson, though he knew very well that I could perfectly stand up for myself.

But I feel that things will never be the same again. Due to my absence, I'm missing three years of my life with him. Due to my weaknesses, because I chose to walk away from the problems at home, I also had to miss my time with him.

I look at his sleepy face and I can read the sadness and regrets from his handsome face. I want to tell him that every step in life is one that we'll learn from, so there's no need to regret anything. Every single one made you the person you are today.

"You really should stop staring at me without saying a word." He said while he slowly sits up, his elbows supporting the weight of his upper body.

His voice was still the same: deep and yet cheerful and determined. I've always loved to listen to his voice.

While I reach to turn on the radio, I reply: "I'm not. I'm just checking how much you have changed."

"Everything has changed."

He smiles bitterly and sighs. I notice a little scar on his chin and want to ask all about it. But I can't get the words out of my mouth and strangely, I don't know why... I used to talk to him about everything and nothing, didn't I?

"I missed you so much." My voice trembles and I look down at my shaking hands.

He sits up straight and I feel his strong arms wrapped around me, his hand gently strokes my back and then silently rests on the back of my head.

Do you know that feeling of being very close to someone and yet feeling a great distance? That is exactly what I feel now and I hate it so damn much. We've been separated for three long years and now we're finally united again, why do I feel that great gap of void between us?

"I missed you too." His soft whisper calms me down instantly. His arms slowly relax and I move myself back next to him leaning my head on his shoulder.

We sit quietly on his bed listening to the local radio station and I realize that I barely know any Japanese songs anymore.

Finally, he breaks the uneasy silence: "When will you leave for the States again?"

I look up and reply: "I won't."

Did I just see a little smile of relief on his face?

"I decided to stay and attend Shohoku. I heard this school has a pretty nice basketball team," I smile at the thought of going to school with him every morning. It would be just like old times. But, it also seems so long ago, buried deep somewhere in history that we both cannot get to anymore.

I am sure I spotted a little smile curled at the corner of this mouth. The little scar playfully dances along.

"So tell me, how are chances of this team?"

His eyes roll and lighten up as I mention basketball. One cannot imagine how something can rule someone's life in such a way. How in the world did he survive those years without basketball?

"You would not believe it but our team consists of a bunch of completely crazy people, and somehow we do form a team. Some of the guys are just plain stupid, but they know the game of basketball."

"And you guys have two rookies in the starting five, haven't you?"

"Yeah, I know. I hate to admit, but Rukawa is an amazing player. You won't believe he's just a rookie when you see him on the court. I remember our game against Kainan very well. He saved the gameā€¦ And yesterday he even stood up to Sendoh."

I hear in his voice honest appreciation and yet also a bit of anger. "And the other one?"

"Sakuragi? He is a lunatic."

I have to laugh at his quick reaction, but again I sense a kind of appreciation. However I feel that it's a different kind.

"This will probably be my last tournament and I just have to do well... I've already wasted too much time." The disappointment in his voice hurts me deep in my heart and the pain burns in my eyes.

I force a smile on my face and say with my most cheerful voice: "You should be getting up, hot shot. It's almost time to go to school. You need to show me around."

He yawns and stretches his arms. "Let me lie down for five more minutes ok? Damn, every part of my body hurts," he moans.

"Come on, brother! It's time to get up!" I jump off the bed and pull his arm. He doesn't give in immediately, but after some struggling, blanket pulling and shirt pulling he finally gets up.

"I'll wait downstairs, but hurry up! I can't wait to see school."

~~ We're one, but we're not the same... We get to carry each other. ~~

--> To Chapter 3.