Love is

Mayumi Kanda

Sitting on the porch in her grandmother's house, Kaoru can feel the warm sunshine. She can see some ripe persimmons, some colored trees, and the Japanese bellflower turned bright yellow.

Kaoru is a girl who loves sweets. She will be 17 years old this November. She lives in the city and her grandmother lives in the countryside in Japan. She is now in her grandma's house. She likes Grandma because she is the only woman she can talk to about personal things like her periods or her loves. Kaoru's mother died of a disease when she was two. Therefore, when she worries about something, she always visits her grandma's house and talks to her.

This time Kaoru is troubled about her boyfriend. He is her first boyfriend. Because of that, she has been anxious about sex. She is nervous about what it's like or something; Is it painful? Is my body OK?

"How's it going, girl?" Grandma asked to Kaoru from the inside of the house with wiping a table.

"How's what?" She said.

"Your life. Because you seem to be worried about something."

"Oh, you look through everything about me." She said with sadly smile. "Well, you know, I really like him."


"Him, Takuya, my...boyfriend."

"Oh you got a boyfriend! Sounds good! So, you love him?"

"Yeah, I like him."



"Do you enjoy being with him?"

"Yes! He is very kind, has a sense of humor. I always laugh with him!"

"Oh that's good, so what's the matter? Hey, come here."

Granma was fixing the table for the tea time. There are two cups of tea and some pieces of orange pound cakes. Whenever Kaoru comes, she bakes something like breads, cookies, biscuits, and cakes. Kaoru is looking forward to eating that and also Granma is looking forward to feeding to her.

"Recently, I was asked by him." Kaoru starts to talk chewing her orange pound cake.

"Lovemaking?" Granma said with smile.

"Yes, but I refused because of my period. But actually, I didn't have my period at that time. I was just scared." She munched away at a piece of cake and gulped down her tea. "Because my friend said it was really painful the first time! Even if it is not painful, am I OK? Is my body Ok!? Perhaps I might have a baby or get sick! I'm just scared!

Granma drink her tea and said, "Do you think about him every day, all the time? Or do you want talk and being with him every day, all the time? And do you want to touch him?"

"Yes all of them are my feelings."

"So, you can just trust to him. 'The action' is very natural between a couple loving each other. You do not have to feel scared. If you have pain, you just say that and if you really do not want to do that, you have to say that to him." "Can I?"

"You must be careful. It's heavy problem for women because we have risks being pregnant. And of course, we have risks of some disease."

"So I'm scared."

"Well, from now on sweet girl, I'm going to talk about my old experience."

"It was when I was young. I was a student. I had a boyfriend who worked at factory making car components. He came to my school when I came home almost every day and we walk to my home together. He was about 6 or 7 years older than me. So he took care of me and was gentle to me. On Sunday, we sometimes went out together. We went to movie, went to cafe. We were actually platonic loves for a long time. So one day I told Akiko, my best friend, who was a very optimistic girl. She had been my best friend since we were children. We used to played house , bean bag and marble together.

'What do you think about that, Akiko? Why does not he touch me? Because I'm child? I'm not attractive?' I told to her. 'Oh, why are you so anxious? I don't think you have to be in a hurry. You are a very charming girl actually. He is just a gentle man. Because you are much younger than him, he takes good care of you! How nice he is! Don't you think so?' 'It is true that he is gentle, but...'

'You just believe him! Actually I don't know so much about him huh!!'

'Exactly! Huh!' We both laughed.

On the next day, we had a date. It was a very happy day. We walked to my home like always in the evening. When we reached the front of my house, I was amazed. I said goodbye waving, and, he pulled me to him and kissed me. My heart was beating even after he had gone.

It was not so long until when we made love after the day. From then on, I loved him more and more. He loved me, too. I was really happy.

However, we broke up soon. He was a busy man, so we could not meet so often. I had fears that he had another girlfriend. One day, I met him after about one month of separation. We went a walk to park. I was happy to met him after long time no see. However, at that day, I did it. I said him something bad. It was when we were in the cafe for the rest. He had black coffee. I had my coffee black too, trying to play as an adult. While we were talking, a woman told to him.

'Hi! What a coincidence to meet you here!'

He saw her and soon he replied.

'Hi! Fancy meeting to meet you! Huh! What are you doing? You live near here?'

'Oh, this cafe is my favorite. I take a rest here at least once a week. Actually I live a place thirty minutes from here.'

'Oh, really? I came here first time but it's good. Oh, I'll introduce her. This is my girlfriend.' He said to her and then said to me. 'This is my co-worker.'

I bowed to her. She glanced at me, and soon, she turned round to him and told again. She and he seemed to be friendly each other. She has blond wavy hair. She was slim and fashionable. She was certainly beautiful. She was mature, she seemed to match with him than me. Few minutes later, she left.

'I'm sorry, she is a woman who work with me. She always helps me. She is smart woman.' He said. But I said nothing. Actually, I couldn't say anything because I was about to cry.

'What's the matter? Are you OK?'

'You guys are friendly, aren't you?' I finally mumbled.

'Ye...yeah, exactly.'

'You seem to be happy with her'


'More than with me!' I said something I didn't want to say one after another. 'You had a great time while you didn't meet me.'

'What are you talking about?' He was confused, but I could not stop myself. I said crying,

'You love that other woman more than me? So you don't come to me lately.'

'No! Why do you think so?'

'Because...I AM just a child. You don't meet me lately, it's because you have the other girl friends? I guess so....' I was crying and crying.

'Hey, sugar, calm down. She is just a friend. She's not a lover.' He drank his coffee, but he was upset. 'I'm sorry for not meeting you lately, but I'm busy now because order from our customer is increasing recently so...I wanted to meet you.'

I was just crying. I had never complaint at him before. I could not control myself because I really loved him.

'I want you to believe me. Hey honey, I'll try to make time to meet you.'

Finally, I came home remaining an awkward feeling each other. After I came home, I really regretted saying that. We hung out some times also after the day. But somehow I felt awkward with him. One day, he was transferred from this town to a far-off place. He said to me 'I'll call up you, I'll send you letter, and I'll come to see you when I have holiday.'

After he had gone, he sure sent me letter and sometimes called up me. But he never came to see me. Few months passed without notice, and we gradually didn't make a contact each other. I realized we were finished.

A few years later, I worked a flower shop. I often drunk at one place after another then. It was one of like my hobby. It was just enjoyable because I could meet many new guys. I, at the time, was as if a prostitute. Actually I had sex with many guys the first time to meet. One man, only one time. I was just...probably... lonely. When I spent my life such a thing, I met him again, very long time no see! We met a bar by accident. I found him getting drunk and he was alone. I was surprised but I was not me a few years ago. I told to him was hanging his head.

'Hello? Why don't you drink with me?'

He replied with keeping hung his head.

'Oh, I cannot drink more...I was too drunk tonight.'

'What's happen to you? You had something unpleasant?'

He was silence for a while, and said very weak voice, 'I...I found it.'

'What? You found what?' I asked sweetly to him. Then he suddenly put his head up and saw my face.

'You....!? Are you Michie!?' He was surprised and confusing. 'Why are you here such a place?' He said to me but he was dizzy, so he soon hung his head again.

'So, what's the matter with you?' I asked more sweetly. 'Oh I found I am...I am infected with HIV!!!' He screamed and drooped over. It was very loud voice, but the sound of crowd drowned out his words. However, I surely heard it.

'Uh...oh...what's?' I could say nothing at first. 'What did you say, you are infected...HIV?'

'Yes.' He replied a hollow voice.

I didn't remember how I went back my home that day. I found I lay down in my bed in the next morning. I speculated about things happened before day. He surely said he was infected HIV. So what? Then I thought,

'Perhaps I was also infected HIV! Moreover, if I was also infected, the other men who had something to do with me also infected....'

I trembled at blind fear. Actually, I didn't know so much about AIDS. I worried about that for a week or more. Finally I told to her, Akiko.

'What should I do!? I must have HIV!!!'

'Oh my dear, calm down. You should know more about AIDS. Whether you are infected with HIV or not, you are you. You don't have to change your life so far, of course you do NOT die so easily. Precisely, you know, no matter though he was infected with HIV, you cannot say you must be HIV positive. He might be inflected after broke with you. Don't you think so?'

'Yes, exactly.' I replied rubbing my eyes to wipe tears.

'So, first of all, you should go to hospital. You have to take a test if you are inflected.'

I went hospital next day. Finally, I found that I was not infected with the virus. I was relieved form the fear. I learned from this experience, I should not have sex with so many people so easily. If I do, I have a risk. I was regenerated after the happening. I didn't go such a bar and club no more. Since I was living earnestly, I meet your Grandfather, and got married."

Her tea was already cold. Because Kaoru heard her Grandma's talk very seriously.

"So, you just enjoy your sex, but don't forget, you have a risk. You know, I think if you live earnestly, you are OK." Grandma smiled.

"Thanks, I will" Kaoru smiled too.

What do you think Kaoru learn? A certain thing is that Kaoru felt something.

Warm sunshine lightened her. She called her boyfriend.

"Hi, Takuya! Where will we go tomorrow?"


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