As the connection between the two characters evolves, the unexpected love glows in various colors inside them. The original drawing was made on paper with graphite and ink gel pen.Enjoy!
E toamnă iar. Un vânt subțire mână frunze aurii spre albastrul intens al cerului. Albastru, auriu….Culorile unei amintiri ce nu vrea să pălească.
Eram proaspăt absolvent de exobiologie și sociologie planetară. Preluasem de puțină vreme postul de Observator pe planeta GX-3, desi aveam unele rezerve privind politica de neimplicare promovată de angajatorii mei. Ascuns ȋn spatele hologramei proiectate de stația de observare, urmăream zi de zi cu o curiozitate crescândă, desfasurarea evenimentelor din zona mea. Asta până cand….
Creatura ȋsi scoase capul cu precauție prin desișul de sikhra. Ciuli urechile și adulmecă aerul dimineții. Totul părea să fie ȋn ordine. Se strecură cu grijă printre crengile țepoase și ieși la lumină.
Era suplă și grațioasă; o tanără femelă cu aripi translucide, ȋncă insuficient dezvoltate pentru zbor. Ȋn ciuda diferențelor evidente dintre speciile noastre, o simțeam tulburător de apropiată. Ȋn lumina difuză a toamnei târzii, pielea ei aurie avea un luciu mătăsos, iar ochii ei albaștri, cu pupile reptiliene străluceau intens ȋn fața delicată. Creatura scrută ȋmprejurimile cu simțurile ascuțite la maximum. Părea preocupată de apropierea unui dușman invizibil.
M-am aplecat spre ecran s-o văd mai bine și am mărit imaginea. Ȋn clipa aceea, am simțit cum tremurul lăuntric al acelei ființe ȋndepărtate mi se transmite și mie. O teamă fără chip și nume ȋmi invadă simțurile și stomacul mi se contractă nervos. Aerul ȋncăperii se umplu de mirosul ȋnțepător de transpirație. Cine ne urmărea? Cine ne voia răul? Creatura se avântă si cobora dealul ȋn viteză, căutând scăpare ȋn spatele unui pâlc de arbori răzleți. Vântul ce-i șuiera pe la urechi ȋmi răcori o clipă obrazul. Am răsuflat adânc cand ea s-a oprit, scrutând valea. Dincolo de petecul de arbori era un drumeag ce se bifurca; ambele drumuri duceau spre așezări umane.
Creatura ezită o clipă, apoi ȋnaintă un pic pe drumul din dreapta. Valul de teroare dinlăuntrul ei m-a luat complet pe nepregătite. Ȋmpins de-un resort lăuntric, am sărit in picioare ca ars, răsturnând totul ȋn calea mea. Inima ȋmi bătea nebunește ȋn piept și preț de cateva clipe, am fost incapabil să mă orientez. Tremurând din toate ȋncheieturile, m-am târat ȋnapoi la scaunul din fața ecranelor și m-am așezat, ȋncercând să mă liniștesc.
“Adună-te!-mi-am strigat. Ea e ȋn pericol, nu tu!”
Mi-am impus să mă calmez și m-am concentrat din nou la protejata mea. Creatura se ȋntorsese din drum și se uita acum ȋn direcția mea. Am ȋnțeles atunci că ea știa că eu sunt acolo, ȋn spatele imaginii ȋnșelătoare, un martor neputincios al tragediei sale. Ȋn clipa aceea, m-am urât pentru neputința mea. N-o puteam ajuta, n-o puteam salva.
Creatura se ȋntoarse și fugi spre stânga, dispărând din raza mea vizuală, lăsându-mă ȋn urmă, scăldat ȋn sudoare rece. A doua zi, mi-am dat demisia din post.
Au trecut ani de atunci dar privirea ei bântuie cărările memoriei mele ca un vânt de toamnă.
Fuyuki had been slightly disturbed by the piercing look coming from those light-brown eyes, like those of a bird of prey, but later he dismissed the feeling. He was exhilarated spending his free time with Yoshiasu. This was a very pleasant Sunday and he didn’t want to let anything to ruin it. He also knew that people used to stare at them; after all, they were an outstanding couple. Trying to avert the massive attention brought upon him, Fuyuki did his best to turn down his natural beauty but it was no use. The light coming from inside made the outside even more beautiful. And Yoshiasu loved him deeply; he took pride in his handsome and talented companion.
The man at the table has set his mind; he wanted to lay a hand on that wonderful youth. The fact that he was already taken only made the conquest more exciting. The man was wealthy and powerful; a refusal was out of question for him. Having this young man just for himself even for a day was just a whim; he wasn’t used to give up on his own desires. But he knew that he needed to be careful and patient since the young man looked very happy with his chosen one. It was a real challenge to break that up and fulfill his desire.
The exhibition hall was full almost from the early hours. Five young artists were having a collective exhibition and people were constantly flowing in, many of them interested in buying from the promising talents. Five young people, all between 25 and 30, two girls and three young men were the stars of the exhibition.
The man has watched them arriving one by one; the one he was looking for, usually brought in also the two girls in his small city car. They were getting along well; the girls were usually teasing him for his good looks but he took it lightly and laughed it off. This went on every day; in the evening, the boyfriends came to take the girls home and the young artist drove home alone. Due to his work, his companion was waiting for him at home. The man’s secretary provided him with a precious piece of information: the companion was about to leave the town for at least four or five days on business.
When the day came, the man decided to take action. That afternoon, he visited the exhibition hall. It was crowded as usual; he strolled around and watched carefully. He had to admit the real talent of those five young people, but he was mostly caught up by the delicate beauty and the deep emotion hidden in the works of his target. It was like everything he touched remained somehow connected to his inner self and radiated some kind of fragile magic. Watching the young artist from behind the crowd, the man sensed that magic flowing around the youth. It was everywhere: in the way he turned his head, in the pleasant smile, the movement of the hands, in the ease of his talking but mainly in the transparency of those amethyst eyes…
The owner of the exhibition hall spotted the man and recognized him; he came to greet him and offered to introduce the young artists to the one he knew was a real arts collector. He caught the gaze of the man fixed on the Butterfly Artist and smiled:
-I see…well, you could say that he’s a work of art himself. Yet he is not vain at all and that’s quite unusual among artists.
He led the man and introduced the young artists one by one. The man saw a flicker in the lavender eyes; the young man recognized him. The man shook hands with each of them but the soft, slender hands easily slipped from his grip. The young man wasn’t an easy catch.
The man talked with each of them extensively; he left his target for the final moment. He slowly approached him when he was finally alone in a corner. But even before he opened his mouth, the young man turned to him:
-So, you are stalking on me- he said, sadness seeping in his voice.
-You recognized me-said the man.
-Yes. I recognized your eyes and the way you were looking at me. I know that kind of look and that you are following me for days.
-How do you know that?-asked the man incredulously.
-I have sensed your presence. What do you want from me?
-As you may see-said the man closing on him-I’m interested in you. I can’t take you off my mind.
The young man turned away; as he moved, the man sensed a faint fragrance of wild flowers coming from him. He took a deep breath; surprisingly it wasn’t a perfume, it was the strange, intoxicating scent of the body. The man took another step towards him.
-I have invited the others for a drink. I’d like you to come.
-You’re cunning-said the young man looking straight in his eyes. I’ll come but you have to know that I am not interested.
The man kept silent for a moment then he said:
-I could help your career; I have enough money to buy out all of you…
The young artist shook his head and laughed softly.
-I’m not interested in that either. I ‘m not doing this for the money. Almost all I earn from the sales goes to a foundation for abused children to help them rebuild their lives. My needs are low and I’m not keen on reaching “high-life”.
-I see that you’re not vain-said the man. That makes you only more desirable. With your talent and your beauty you should be spoiled; yet you hide behind your companion and refuse my offer.
Are you aware how many people would do anything to get my support? All I ask is one night spent with me, nothing more…
Fuyuki turned to him; his eyes were darkened and his cheeks were flushed by the inner turmoil.
-For you this is just a whim. The more I reject you, the more you want me. But I…I am not an object; whatever your offer is, I won’t give you what you want. At least not on my own will.
-I’ll take it like that…for now-said the man. I’ll wait for you all after closing.
-Whatever….murmured the young man and left him alone.
Half an hour later a very worried Yoshiasu called home; Fuyuki’s voice was almost inaudible.
-Fuyuki, what happened?! Where are you?
-Please…come home…I’m here…please-Fuyuki’s voice broke.
He wasn’t able to say more; Yoshiasu could clearly discern the sobs, then the line went dead. He quickly assessed the situation and looked for the shortest way home. He excused himself from his colleagues and packed up hurriedly. He caught the earliest flight and by half past eight, he was already home.
He entered the house and found Fuyuki asleep on the bed; he was in his usual troubled position, curled up like a baby. His eyelids were swollen and his cheeks were streaked with tears. Yoshiasu sat next to him and gently touched his companion. Fuyuki stirred and woke up; as he saw Yoshiasu he fled into his arms, hiding his face.
-I’m here- said Yoshiasu in a soothing voice. Fuyuki, look at me…
He gently lifted Fuyuki’s chin but the young man averted his eyes; Yoshiasu spotted the purplish patch on his neck and quickly recognized the suction mark. Pain and anger flooded his heart, recognizing the eternal source of his companion’s ordeal. He squeezed him and kissed his soft black hair.
-I see- he whispered. Now please calm down and tell me what happened.
Fuyuki buried his face in his palms; Yoshiasu stood up for a moment, went to the kitchen and brought back two glasses of juice from the refrigerator. He handed a glass to Fuyuki and run his fingers through the young man’s hair, ruffling it lovingly. Fuyuki sighed and lifted his face. The violet of his eyes was darkened by sorrow.
-Do you remember when we sat for a coffee on that terrace on M-street?- he asked, his voice only à whisper.
The man was sitting for almost an hour on the terrace on M-street, watching the constant flow of young people walking up and down on that sunny day. Boys and girls, young couples with small children, students, high school graders, young employees…all of them were walking in a colorful, youthful movement, like the waves of a sea of youth and joy. The terrace was almost all the time fully occupied but only for short amounts of time. Young people were coming, sitting, drinking, chatting and then they moved away with their habitual restlessness.
The man enjoyed the sighting; he was sipping slowly his cup of coffee, watching each face with undiminished interest. He spotted in the oncoming crowd a young couple. They were both tall and slender and were walking hand in hand. The taller one was a young, athletic Japanese man with handsome features and a pleasant smile. The girl on his side was slightly smaller but gracious. Her rebellious black hair was cut short above the neck. Her smile was shy but her eyes held happy and playful sparks. As they came closer, the man realized that he was mistaken: the girl was in fact …a young man of a deceiving and unexpected beauty. Though from a distance he looked like a girl, now as he was sitting at the table it became obvious that he was a male. Besides his delicate and sensual features, he had the most amazing eyes: almond shaped deep lavender-blue and shaded by thick, black eyelashes. His slender, expressive hands spoke about artistic inclination. He was wearing a silver band-ring on his left hand, the same as his companion. They were obviously an item; they looked comfortable and happy together.
They ordered two coffees, a house specialty and they were engaged in light discussion. From a nearby table a young girl approached them, excused herself for intruding and asked for an autograph from the beautiful young man. They invited her to sit at their table while the young artist drew something with an easy hand. He asked her something and the girl pointed out to her other three girlfriends waiting at her table. The artist agreed with a pleasant smile, asked for each girl’s name and the four sketches were ready in a moment. All this time, his companion watched the scene with a proud and loving smile.
The young man handed back the notebook to the girl and she fled back to her group where they all burst into excited giggling. The man watched the whole scene; he just couldn’t take his eyes off that beautiful youth. Almost like sensing the gaze, the artist turned his head and looked in the man’s direction but the other was hidden behind a newspaper and only their eyes met for a moment. The man saw a shadow clouding the amethyst eyes before the young man turned back to his companion and finished his coffee. As they finished, they both rose, paid for the consumption, leaving a generous tip and left.
The man’s eyes followed them closely; the young artist was walking keeping slightly closer to his mate. The man asked the waiter about the couple; he thus learned that the beautiful youth was a much appreciated artist who recently opened an exhibition of his works and that he was married to the handsome Japanese. They were both Canadians and they were traveling across the old continent, each of them with its own business. The man made a mental note; there was a good chance to meet his new obsession at the exhibition hall and have a closer look.
Fuyuki woke up late that day. The sun was already high in the sky when he emerged from the dark waters of dreams. He felt dizzy; his head was heavy and he had a foul taste in his mouth. The worst of it was, that despite all efforts, he couldn’t remember anything of the previous evening.
He decided to chill and to take things slowly so the first thing was to carefully descend from bed. Oddly enough, his whole body was aching. For a moment, he almost fell to his knees. He felt feverish on the inside and the strong daylight pained his senses. He stopped for a moment, took a deep breath, then made his way to the shower.
The steady flow of water eased his pains and helped him regain control over his body. He made some disturbing discoveries in the shower; there was a pink, sore spot on his left upper arm and a purplish larger spot on his neck, right under his earlobe. Yet, his memory was blocked, like somebody has hit the “delete” button.
Yoshiasu was due to come home only Friday and today was/ probably/ Wednesday. Fuyuki left the shower and dressed up. He went to the kitchen and took some salad from the refrigerator, made some toast and a strong, hot coffee to clear his mind. He wasn’t at ease at all; he felt sick and he was alone. He pushed the button on the TV set and let the noise fill the surroundings. He took his cell phone and left a message for Yoshiasu. He was missing him.
Fuyuki eat a little although the food tasted like cardboard in his mouth; he took the mug of coffee and sat on the top of a high chair hoping to clear his mind. Nothing useful came to him so he decided to look into his clothes from the previous day. He found his organizer and remembered that till half past eight he had been at the exhibition hall along with the other four artists. He also found his car keys but he couldn’t remember driving home. As he was trying to fill in the missing moments the doorbell rang and a male voice announced that he had a delivery. Fuyuki opened the door and let the young man in. He was close to his age and was carrying a middle sized box wrapped up in expensive paper.
The name of the sender was unfamiliar but he took the parcel anyway; he didn’t want to create problems for the young guy. He signed for it and gave a generous tip. On a spur of a moment Fuyuki asked the guy if he would like to have a coffee until he looks into the package. Fuyuki felt the need of a living soul next to him; probably the delivery guy sensed something or it was just the shade of fatigue showing in Fuyuki’s violet-blue eyes, but he decided to take the offer. They both sat around the table and Fuyuki unwrapped the parcel: it contained a bottle of very expensive champagne, an equally expensive box of chocolate and an unmarked envelope. Fuyuki took out the envelope and his heart sank; he had a bad feeling about its content.
Giving a small smile to his guest, he stood up and went to the window to look to the content; there were only two items inside- a photo and a white card with only a few words in handwriting: “ You are even more beautiful at a closer look. Thank you.”
Fuyuki felt sick; he didn’t have to look at the photo; he knew exactly what it was. He stood up pale like a sheet of paper and shaking from inside. He took a deep breath and handed the box to the young man.
-Take it, please; it’s yours- he said in a coarse voice.
The delivery guy looked up in surprise.
-But Mr. Tanaka…I can’t…this is very expensive.
-Please…-whispered Fuyuki. Do me this favor. Thank you.
He let the man out; the guy turned to him and asked in a worried voice:
-Are you OK? Do you want me to call a doctor? You’re very pale…
-No, thanks; I can manage-said Fuyuki.
As the puzzled man left with the expensive gift, Fuyuki sat on the bed. He took out his phone and left another message to Yoshiasu. This time it was an urging one: “Come home, please!”
Angela soon became a regular to their house. Yoshiasu had to return to work so he asked his long-time friend to look after Fuyuki. She happily complied; she liked the young artist so she took him under her wings.
She took him out shopping and helped him to buy his own clothes. Yoshiasu was earning well so money was not a problem. Angela also bought colors and all the material he needed for his art and encouraged him to draw and paint. Not surprisingly, Fuyuki’s artworks sold well; though the first buyers were mostly from their close circle of friends, soon the outsiders got to know about his art and liked it too.
It was Angela who introduced the young artist to the world of computers and Internet and she was pleasantly surprised by the quick progresses made by her apprentice. Getting in closer touch with the real world, helped Fuyuki to build up some confidence and a protective wall. He was still very vulnerable on the inside but this was known only by Yoshiasu and Angela. But being so much around them, made Angela aware that tension was building up under the surface in the life of the two young men.
As Fuyuki seemed to become more independent, Yoshiasu was becaming more and more distant and busy. He even refused to go out with the two of them, pretending that he had urgent work to do. This particular change in his behavior hurt and puzzled Fuyuki. Though he did his best not to show, a veil of sadness started to dim the light in his eyes. One day, he finally burst out:
-Angela! Please talk to Yoshiasu! He is constantly avoiding me. I must have done something wrong that he doesn’t want me around…
-You did nothing wrong-she said, trying to comfort him. He is just tired and jumpy because of his work.
-I hope you’re right- he said in a small voice. Because I have no reason to live if he doesn’t want me anymore…
-Fuyuki!-protested Angela but the young man has already shut the bedroom door behind him.
Despite her best efforts to get Yoshiasu to talk to her, things were just not adding up. There were days when Yoshiasu was becoming almost monosyllabic, while Fuyuki was trying to put up a brave face. This went on until one day, when Angela showed up right in the middle of the storm. Looking at them, it became obvious for her that the two men had recently fought over something.
Yoshiasu quickly disappeared in the kitchen. “I’m making a coffee”-he said, while Fuyuki’s eyes were red and his voice broke as he spoke to her.
-He’s angry; help him, please. I’ll be fine…-he said though obviously he wasn’t.
Angela patted him on the shoulder and went to the kitchen where Yoshiasu was fumbling with the coffee pot.
-Why is Fuyuki crying? What have you done to him?-asked Angela.
-Nothing-mumbled the other.
-Yoshiasu, what are you doing?-Angela was getting angry. Why are you pushing him away? It’s so obvious that you’re in love with Fuyuki.
Yoshiasu slammed the pot.
-This is exactly why I don’t want to tie him down to me. I can see that he is getting better and for the first time in his life, he can make a choice for himself. I don’t want him to stay with me simply because I was the one that nurtured him back to life. It wouldn’t be fair to him.
Angela shook her head in disbelief; she then grabbed Yoshiasu by the shoulders, shaking him vigorously.
-My friend, you are a fool! You are an even bigger fool that I’ve expected. I can understand your moral concerns but it didn’t cross your mind that maybe Fuyuki has already made his choice and that is you?!
-How would I know?!-shouted Yoshiasu.
Angela slammed her palm to the table.
-What do you expect from him, a solemn declaration, written down or what? For God’s sake, you don’t even realize how lucky you are! Here is this sophisticated, beautiful young man who sees no one but you and you’re uncertain…About what are you uncertain? Let me tell you something as a good friend: I can vouch for Fuyuki’s feelings. He loves YOU, that’s for sure! But seeing how you treat him I come to doubt YOUR feelings towards him: is this really LOVE as you pretend or just infatuation? Make up your mind, man, before it’s too late! After all he has been through, Fuyuki doesn’t deserve this!
There was a moment of deep silence. Angela poured the coffee in three mugs while Yoshiasu stood there, bent over the kitchen table and head in his palms. There was a soft rustle at the door. As they both turned, they saw a pale and shaken Fuyuki leaning against the door frame.
-Yoshiasu, I cannot tell you if this is love-he said in a soft voice. I have never known love before. All I know is that I don’t want to go on without you. Don’t let me go! Please…
Yoshiasu pushed everything aside and quickly closed the distance between them. He cupped the young man’s face with both hands and looked deep into those beautiful lilac eyes.
-Forgive me-he said in a coarse voice. I love you so much…I’ll never let you go. Never!
As Fuyuki folded in his arms, he buried his face in his hair.
-Hmph…That’s better-coughed amusedly Angela. Now let’s have that coffee and talk about the plans for the winter holidays.
The evening turned up fine and they all agreed in spending Christmas together with their friends at an inn in the nearby mountains.