Reo had insisted that they walk at least around the block, having sent the car back to Lan's apartment. The sun was setting, Reo knew he wasn't going to get back until late anyway. The awkward couple walked at Lan's pace, barely a shuffle as the rest of the busy world parts around them.
The younger one of them was irked not only with the speed of their walk, but the fact that this towering beanpole looks like you just killed his favorite teddy bear, he thinks. Reo shakes his head a bit, that's not fair, though. Not that he knew what was going on in Lan's head anyway, he was just in charge of keeping his half-brother alive. Lan's emotions weren't his concern, that's what the therapist was for.
“When she--” Reo pauses for a moment before speaking again. “When you came here, to Tokyo, why did you choose Ota? I mean you know Hana set it all up. You know Hana..”
“I know his secretary, yes.” Lan mumbles.
“Is there a reason you wanted this? Ota wouldn't be my first choice.” Reo looks down the road, shaking his head a bit, Ota wouldn't have been his fourth or fifth choice.
“I mean, why not Shima, or Niigata? Beaches. Or hell,” he throws up his hands. “Hokkaido or something, at least we own places there. Why some hole in the wall in this big city? You could have been in a nicer hole in the wall in Hiroshima.”
Lan let his brother rant, usually it wasn't this bad, but it's surprising what you can tune out once you've heard it five or ten times. He had his reasons to talk, just as Lan had his reasons to come to Ota, thin as they might seem.
“She liked Tokyo Bay. And she hated big cities. She never told me why.” Lan said, pausing midstep as he counts on his fingers. “No, that's not true, she liked Italy. Merano was like a 'small-big' town. I guess that doesn't count..”
Reo only turns to look at Lan five paces away. He tuned Lan out the same way. He's looking at his hand and talking about Italy. They had gone to Italy, once, that was fifteen years ago. Why the fuck is he talking about it now? Reo thought.
He waits for his brother to catch up, Lan stuffing his hands in his pockets. Reo grabs Lan's arm and holds him in place. “Stay here.” Enough of this, I've done enough. He steps to the street and raises an arm as a taxi rolls up to a stop next to them.
“Come on, we need to get back. I'm paying that driver like this taxi. Get in.” Reo pulls open the door, getting in after Lan does.
Reo gives the driver Lan's address and leans back, pulling out his phone. There was no way he was getting back before midnight, so he set out to message Hana and anyone else that may have been expecting him.
“Why do you still wear the gloves?” Lan asks, looking at his brother's thumbs as they move along the phone's screen. “Or rather, how are you using the phone with them on?”
Reo stops typing for a moment, turning one palm up and looking at the glove. “They're touch-capacitive, I had them made.. as to why? I mean.. habit, I guess. Why do you wear underwear?”
“Because my dick hates denim? What do you mean, are your gloves hand-underwear?”
This idiot.. Reo turns away for a moment and bites back a laugh because he knew if he looked at Lan it would be a perfectly curious expression, no joke intended.
“No, I.. grandfather always used to wear them, remember? Not so much late in life, but in all the pictures we have, when he was out and about, he had his gloves on. And I.. always thought that was..” Cool. “I thought that set him apart from his peers.”
“But father never wore them. Or rather, it was rare.” Lan sat back, looking out his window.
Yeah, well, how many of father's habits did you inherit? Don't kids end up being the antithesis of their parents?”
Lan rests his chin in his hand, mumbling again, “And only when they're older do they realize just how similar they were in reality.”
Reo glances down at his hand and rubs his thumb and forefinger together, opening his palm again. He hadn't thought about the why in quite a while. They had just become.. normal.

   They sit under a tree overgrowing the pergola in Morigasaki, Gregg's fingers linked through Saya's as they watch a few kids kick around a soccer ball in the green in front of them. Says's mind races with intentions, actions, excuses, Gregg hadn't told her why he wanted to talk at first, she had just nodded and followed him here.
Saya was overly conscious that her hand was sweating against his. This is like our first date, she thought. So this is the last, then? Gregg was looking down at his feet, but he seemed like he was trying to find the words for something. When you work with kids.. Saya thought, she saw the same frustrated face on her students that can't find the right word.
Looking up through the foliage above them, Saya thought back on their relationship. It wasn't the sturdiest, but it was.. driftwood bumping against driftwood in the ocean. They knew English, they came from America, they were lonely, they were cute. So why this, why now? Best not think about it, let's just..
Saya pats the back of Gregg's hand and stands up, stretching her arms above her head as she turns to him. “Shall we go? It'll be dark soon, come on.” She holds her hand out to Gregg again and after the tenth second he doesn't take it, she drops it down to her side.
She is a smart girl. She's not stupid. She knows. But it still catches him off guard when she sighs and says:

  “So when are you leaving?”


Support "Integration"

About the author


Bio: apologies for everything about me, it might get better.

updates will be once a day for the next seventy days since i am migrating from another platform and have those chapters - and more - ready to go. (from 8/9)

feel free to come hang out in the discord, if you like.

[email protected]

Log in to comment
Log In