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Standstill







It was sunny that day and for some reason I had the strange urge to go fishing. As if he read my mind, I heard my cellphone alerting me of an incoming text message. It was from Ruki.

His text read: 'Let's ride with the swans.'

And I texted back: 'Haa?'

I waited a while, but I didn't get a reply after that. Instead, I got a call from him saying, "meet me at the XXX train station." Then he hung up before I even had a chance to say a word. It's just like Ruki to do this kind of thing.

I didn't get why we couldn't have just used my car, but I arrived at the train station fifteen minutes later. And he was already there leaning against a post in the less than crowded platform. We exchanged our usual 'hey' greetings then I asked where we were going and he said, "it's somewhere different."

This mystery destination kept me rolling all through our ride. I was asking for hints of where we were headed but he just won't budge. After some more exchange we noticed we were being watched by the other passengers so we had to stop. But Ruki finally caved a little and told me, "there will be fishes." Then I told him about my earlier desire to go fishing, which he responded with a soft, "you old man." We were trying to maintain a low volume because a grandpa, who sat across from us was giving us and annoyed look. Plus he had this wondering eye that gave me the creeps.

A couple stops later we got out at Ueno Station. And my first thought was, "are we going to the Ueno Zoo?" Because Ruki did say there would be fishes and the zoo was like a five minute walk from the station. And I felt like seeing penguins. He said "no, but we might pass by if you want to," with his teasing laugh . So my next guess had to be Ueno Park because everything's there and know one goes to Ueno without going to Ueno Park.

We played follow the leader until we reached the Shinobazu Pond at the south end of the Park. The area was populated with couples and families, so we sort of stuck out being the only two guys together. Then Ruki proclaimed, "let's ride with the swans." I finally understood what he meant once I looked at the water and saw a dozen white, pink, and yellow swan boats floating on the water with people inside pedaling with their legs.

It looked fun so I was starting to get excited until Ruki disappeared and came back saying, "I rented a row boat."

By the time we got on the water I realized the only ones using row boats were couples. It was a little more than embarrassing when a little girl and her big sister pedaled their swan boat by us giggling. Not to mention we were sitting face to face. Ruki was saying, "forget everyone else ." So I grabbed the paddles from him and paddled us to a further part of the pond where there were lesser or no people around.

I had no idea how much energy it took to row a boat so I had to give the paddles back to Ruki and get a breather. And the other guy laughs, then asked, "man, are you okay?" I haven't had an asthma attack since I was ten but at the moment it felt like I might almost have one. But I toughed it out and answered with heaving nods and vigorous hand waves, then a "yea, yea." And I got better after a minute or two.

After I calmed down he said, "you aren't sea sick, are you?" which was silly because we were in a pond not some big ocean. So I asked, "why?" Then he said, "If you're not, nevermind." And that's when it started to get to me. Even though we seemed to be sitting pretty still I felt the boat wobbling. I didn't know if it was because I hadn't had lunch yet or that high-speed paddling I did, but I began to feel a little sick.

I held my stomach and murmured, "why'd you have to say that? now I don't feel so well." Then Ruki presented me with a tiny clear blue box of sea sick pills from his pocket. And after I swallowed one dry he said, "why don't you lay down for awhile." I didn't know how but his voice sounded really nice and gentle at the time so I took his suggestion. Although the only decent space to maybe lay down on was the bow of the boat but then we had to switch place so I just settled down where I was and leaned back on the stern

While my eyes were closed all I heard were the simple sounds of nature. The rustling of tree branches, the blowing leaves, the distant birds' chirping, the fraction of the water hitting the bottom of the boat, and the overall peace. It was tranquilizing. Then I felt a warmth caressing my cheek and I opened eyes.

There I saw Ruki's head turned away quickly with both his hands firmly gripping the paddles. It made me wonder what was really going on here. So I grabbed on to the sides of the paddles like a handle bar to sit myself upright. And this brought us just mere inches from each others faces where I asked, "Ruki, why'd you brought me out here?"

At this he shifted back a little and I do the same to give us space. He hesitated at first then said, "I, um, just wanted to hang out."

Suddenly, a mother duck and her three baby ducklings came floating by us and we both can't help but say, "cute". We laughed then our eyes met. A silence took over us. The atmosphere was quite nice which brought a smile to our faces.

I seized this moment, taking Ruki by the chin and kissed his soft, hot lips. I swear every time after we kissed I thought I tasted something sweet in my mouth. I seriously wonder if it's him. And even though it's passed our first, second and third kiss there's always something new and different the next time, just like him.

We were in our own world, until I heard a splash and I pulled my head back and realize one of our boat's paddle is in the water. Ruki panicked while trying to lean over the boat to grab it with his hand as the the boat wobbled more than ever before. So I told him, "wait a minute, use the other paddle to pull it back in." That way there was less of a chance to tip the boat over from the way he was doing it before.

Fortunately, we got the paddle back. Then Ruki told we the reason he brought to Ueno was, "I wanted our time to stand still for moment before you leave."

My new job position was transferring me to Kyoto and it would be a while before I'd be back in Tokyo unless it was business. For the pass month since I heard the news I didn't want to think about it. In fact, I hadn't been thinking about it at all. There was only a week left before I was going, and I hadn't even started packing up my stuff yet. That's why I didn't talk to Ruki much about this move. Honestly, I didn't even know where we were in our relationship, or if we're even dating.

But in general we do appear to be just friends. Expect for the part where we kiss, and how I feel a little hotter when he looks or touch at me a certain. Or so I thought.

I became curious and asked, "does that mean you want me to stay?" Then he asked, "do you want to go?" And I came back with, "well, the pay is really good, why shouldn't I?" On his turn he nearly shouted, "Then Go! I don't care."

Maybe I was really expecting something, and that was why I was about to the stupidest thing ever. I told Ruki, "give me the paddles." Once I took them in my hands I tossed them the furtherest away I could from the boat. I wasn't thinking at all. Ruki freaked out swearing up a storm, which thankfully mother nature didn't provide.

He shouted some more, "what the ******** did you do that for? how the hell are we going to get back?!" So I told him, "you said you wanted time to stand still. Now we can be sitting still around here for a while. Just like wanted, right?" Then he turned away and growled, "NO!"

I was getting really pisses, so I asked one last time, "then what is it?" And he finally gave up, "okay, fine, I want you to stay. Happy?" Of course, that was all I wanted to hear.



No one seemed to come this far out part of the pond so it took almost an hour before the park people found us and took us back to land. Later they asked us how we could loose both our paddles. We looked at each and said, "the ducks took them."

As for my job in Kyoto, the next day my boss suddenly decided to postpone it. I wasn't too unhappy about it.