Chapter Eighteen: Building Contact:
-July 1st, 2011-
Tai and Lenard eyed each other across the table. Tai lowered his chopsticks.
“How are your counselling sessions going?” he asked.
“Good,” Lenard said. “Dr. Nakajima wants you to come in with me for the next session.”
“What time?” Tai asked.
Lenard looked down at his bowl. “Ten.”
“Alright, I can take the day off.”
“How are you doing in Japan?”
“How have you been since we moved to Japan?”
“Oh. Fine. I’m doing fine. Why do you ask?”
“Just asking. You seem kind of lonely.”
Lenard raised his eyebrow. “Lonely?”
Tai set down his bowl and chopsticks. “I enjoy being around you, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that we keep hanging around each other all the time.”
“What are you saying?” Lenard took a sip of his Pepsi.
“You need other friends too.”
“But I don’t know that many people in this country,” Lenard said.
“That’s the point,” Tai said. “You meet new people and connect with them. You’ll need all of the support you can get if you are going to go through this transition.”
“But I have you and your granddad.”
“You still need more.”
“I don’t want too many people surrounding me.”
“And that’s fine. But it doesn’t hurt to have more people to talk to.”
“Easy for you to say,” Lenard muttered. “You make friends easily.”
“And you can too if your tried,” Tai pointed out. His roommate looked up with a grim expression on his face.
“I mean it,” the Japanese man said. He took a sip of his tea.
“In fact,” Tai added. “I propose a little challenge towards you.” His roommate eyed him.
“A challenge?” he asked.
Tai set his empty cup next to his bowl. “Meet and talk to five people before you begin your transition.”
Lenard narrowed his eyes. “And what would I get out of this if I complete the challenge?”
“Name your prize.”
The American man took a moment to think about it. He looked the other man in the eye.
“Take me out on a date,” he said. Tai blinked at first.
“You sure?” he asked.
“Yes,” Lenard said. “After my transition, of course.” His roommate nodded.
“Alright,” Tai said. “A date it is. But you have to keep your end of the bargain and make friends.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Lenard said. Both men shook hands.
After dinner, Tai cleaned up around the table and Lenard did the dishes.