This chapter will be a little… different. Hopefully in a good way.
Chapter Thirteen: Sleepless in Sendai (Or wherever the airport is.)
Christmas had gone wonderfully, and it was only now, waiting at the airport towards the end of December, that Misha was again nervous. You can train and coach as much as you want, but in the end, there is no preparing for meeting the parents. Misha wasn’t sure it was a good idea, but she had chosen this path. No matter how strong Lynda was, at the end of the day, their relationship was her choice, too.
Her parents stood behind her as they waited in the airport’s lobby. She had her father’s eyes and her mother’s hair. Her father was a tweedy man, and he wasn’t looking happy- he had nearly run into a phone pole when Misha had came out to him- but her mother was holding his hand, and he seemed calmer then when he told her of her weekend plans.
At least she wasn’t alone. Hisao and Shizune were standing to her left, waiting patiently for the plane to unload. The two looked much as they had when the three friends had separated; Hisao in a black jacket over his blue sweater vest, and Shizune in a black petticoat. Hisao had cut his hair, and Shizune’s was growing out in a ponytail, but either way, they were here for her. They were also politely not holding hands in Misha’s eyesight.
”There she is~!” Misha said, bounding forward to meet Lynda as she descended the escalator. She was the same, too; same black hair, same black coat, same subdued demeanor indicating she had taking her medication. The two stopped just short of hugging, nodding and smiling to each other.
“You ready for this?” Misha asked.
Lynda nodded, “as I can be. And thanks for not freaking out when I suggested this.”
Misha raised an eyebrow, “’suggested’?”
Lynda sighed, “I said I was sorry.”
Misha beamed and Lynda groaned, “no teasing the anxious girlfriend, okay? Oh…”
Misha’s parents and her friends had followed Misha, and now stood behind her once again. Lynda aimed herself at Misha’s parents and bowed so low she was almost parallel to the floor.
“Mr. and Mrs. Mikado, it is both… an honor, a privilege, and… a pleasure to meet you.”
Getting up, her back creaking slightly, she turned to Shizune and Misha.
[Mr. Nakai, Ms. Hakamichi, it is a pleasure…and honor to meet you two…in person… Please, save me from her… parents before they…kill me.]
Lynda turned to Misha while Shizune and Hisao suppressed their giggling, “well, I’ve exhausted my knowledge of JSL and Japanese.”
Misha nodded, “you did very well; my parents say they are glad to meet you, and you know Hisao and Shizune, so relax, please~?” It worried Misha when Lynda was nervous, mostly because it clashed so strongly with her assertive nature.
Lynda shook her head, “no, if I relax I might say something stupid. My meds don’t stop me from being a jackass.”
Misha sighed and spoke to her parents, “we can go to dinner now,” she said to Lynda. Lynda nodded and the group left. Misha’s parents led the group, followed by Misha and her friends. Lynda took the rear, cautiously following them. As they stepped outside Shizune turned and held up her smartphone:
Hi, I have the translator text program pre-programmed, so if you want to say anything directly to me or Hisao, just tap your palm, type what you want to say on the screen, and hit the translate button.
Lynda smiled and nodded to show she understood.
Dinner had gone well; Misha’s mother had even hugged Lynda goodbye as they checked into the hotel. Her father had shook her hand, and told her through Misha that he had never seen her happier, which had made Misha blush as she told Lynda. She had managed to endure the standard questions asked of a relationship partner, and Misha’s parents had managed to avoid saying anything insulting or humiliating as they ate and talked.
Unfortunately, that night did not go quite as well. Jet lag and a drowsiness- induced nap on the plane had made it hard for her to sleep. Around midnight she gave up, threw on a cotton nightgown, and carefully exited her and Misha’s room.
The hotel room was an odd mix of the West and the East. Aesthetically, it looked like a room a samurai would have studied in, writing haiku’s in between practicing sword moves. At the same time, the furniture was distinctly western. Either way, it was a nice place, with a counter and sitting room just inside the front door.
It took Lynda’s eyes a while to adjust to the light, but when she did she noticed she wasn’t alone. Hisao was sitting in one of the lounge chairs, his eyes drearily looking over a thick book that Lynda wouldn’t have been able to recognize except for the image of Ciaphas Cain- HERO OF THE IMPERIUM- heroically posed on the cover. He glanced up when he heard Lynda approach and cautiously sit across from him. Reaching next to him, he pulled out Shizune’s smartphone and typed something out, nudging it in Lynda’s direction:
Couldn’t sleep? It said.
Lynda nodded, taking the phone and typing her response:
Jet lag. You?
Insomnia. It’s a side-effect of my medications.
Lynda nodded sympathetically. Misha had told her about his arrhythmia. She had also told her that Hisao didn’t like discussing it. Lynda smiled and typed something else out:
Drowsiness is a side-effect of my meds. Between us we have a normal sleep pattern.
That got a smile out of Hisao, who went back to his book, too tired to read it, but unwilling to get up. After a while he closed the book, surprised to notice Lynda watching him, her face contemplative.
Penny for your thoughts, he typed out.
What was Misha like at Yamaku?
Hisao paused, choosing his answer carefully: why don’t you ask her?
Lynda rolled her eyes: I have, but she won’t tell me a lot, and I know it hurts her to think about it. I know what happened between you three, and I was curious if that’s all there is to it, or if there’s something…more.
Hisao took a while to answer her, typing slowly, occasionally rewriting something, before finally he finished: okay, but if you want to play the asking friends question, it’ll cost you. What were you like before you met Misha?
Lynda sighed: looking out for your friend, are you?
Hisao nodded, so she continued: I’m bipolar. Did you know that?
Hisao shook his head: Which kind?
It took a while for Lynda to type out her response, slowly typing out the basics of her disorder before ending with: When I was younger, I… self medicated a lot, because I hated how my meds made me feel. Luckily, I had someone around to make sure I didn’t overdue it, and my doctor and I were eventually able to find a brand and dosage of medication I could tolerate. I still don’t like taking them that much, but I do it, because my partner deserves someone who can look after themselves without turning into an alcoholic or a hyper-active wreck- or a depressed whining bitch.
Hisao absorbed this information for a while before responding: After Shizune rejected Misha’s confession, Misha developed a false persona, becoming this loud, bubbly person who seemed constantly happy. It was a lie, and it took me a while to see that- Shizune helped with that. Her real self is much more maudlin and withdrawn, and I was worried that she would revert to that when she went to America. But she didn’t, she managed to take that bubbly persona and her maudlin self, and mold them together into a more down to earth, generally cheerful person… I think you helped with that.
Lynda shrugged: maybe. She does seem happier when I’m around.
I’m happier when Shizune is around. It’s called love, I think.
Eventually, the two had managed to go back to bed. A few hours later their respective partners, finding their respective bedmate’s sound asleep, carefully and quietly wandered outside to wait a few hours before rousing them to head out for breakfast.
Shizune was up first, wearing a black nightgown as she sat with a cup of tea in a lounge chair, reading a newspaper. Misha noticed her and yawned loudly before sitting down, tapping her shoulder to get Shizune’s attention.
[Good morning] the two signed to each other, once Shizune looked up and set her paper down.
[Lynda is still asleep. I think the trip here messed up her sleep schedule] Misha signed.
Shizune nodded, readjusting her glasses, [Hisao seemed tired, too. I think he suffered an insomnia bought last night.]
[Speaking of which, how are you two doing?]
Shizune smiled, [great, though I think he wants to see how we handle being apart before he proposes] a pause, [do you think he’ll propose?]
[Of course he will, Shicchan, he loves you!]
[You’re right, but sometimes he is such a coward.]
Misha waggled her finger briefly, [He’s cautious, there’s a difference.]
Shizune shrugged, [If you say so. What about you and Lynda, how serious are you?]
Misha waited, collecting her thoughts before answering, [she said she loved me, and I think I love her, but I haven’t told her yet.]
Shizune frowned, [why not?]
Misha shrugged, [I want to be sure I am, I guess. I think she knows that.]
Shizune smiled and nodded encouragingly, [when you’re sure, make sure to tell her. I’ve never seen you happier- really happy- then when you talk about her, or you’re with her.]
Misha smiled, [well, if you can tell that through a webcam, it must be true.]
Shizune nodded and readjusted her glasses, [of course it’s true; I said it.]
Hearing that made Misha laugh, and as they waited for the other two to wake up, she realized Shizune was right; she was genuinely, truly happy, the most happy she had ever been in a long, long time.
I didn’t include the dinner scene because it would play out just like any other meet the parents scene, really. Maybe I’ll write a one shot for it later.
I hope I’m handling Lynda’s disorder accurately and respectfully. My stepmother is a social worker, and she was a big help with that. Thanks if you’re reading this, or if you’re not!
Yes, I got my stepmother to start reading KS. I am that awesome.