The Real Secret
I don't want to remember the past.
Not any of it.
The pain, the suffering...the unbearable guilt that I have inside.
I don't want to remember any of it.
And yet...despite how hard I tried to hide and cover it, there was always someone who questioned it.
And I want to find some way to get rid of all the weight on my shoulders.
"May I ask you a question?"
Shizuru looked at Kisara who was taking a deep breath.
"Are you okay?"
"Just a little tired. Anyway...Takara...there's something I want to ask that's been bothering me."
Shizuru felt her heart race.
"Takara...is she really your sister?"
Shizuru hesitated for a moment as she looked into Kisara's crimson eyes. She nodded her head yes.
Kisara scratched her head and sighed.
"Well...if you say so."
"There is a big age difference, but she-"
"You lied to Natsuki, its not about a 10 year distance. It's a 13 year difference, Takara's 10 you know."
"I know this."
"You said you two were separated 7 years ago. That would of made Takara 3 and you 16."
Shizuru remained silent.
"So when she was born you were 13."
Kisara paused for a moment.
"Are you telling the truth that she really is your sister?"
"It might be my imagination, but your eyes say otherwise." Kisara responded.
Shizuru remained silent. She wanted to say something to defend herself, but no words could come up her throat. Kisara slightly glared at her.
"Please don't lie about this, not about Tak-"
"I'm not lying!" Shizuru suddenly burst out.
Kisara slightly backed away from Shizuru who was taking deep breaths. Shizuru calmed down but made no eye contact with Kisara.
"I'm not lying..."
Kisara sighed and rubbed her neck.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked.
"I have to go. I can't wait any longer." Shizuru walked out of the room.
Kisara clutched the blankets in her hands.
"Well yeah of course she's your daughter. Technically speaking." Natsuki responded.
"You adopted Takara. So she's kind of like your sister daughter person...something like that." Natsuki gave her a small smile.
Shizuru gave her no smile back. Her hands clutched tight at her skirt. Natsuki noticed the silence and the disturbance Shizuru was still in and the smile quickly faded. Shizuru looked up at Natsuki and took another deep breath.
"Natsuki, she really is my daughter. I gave birth to her."
Natsuki backed up from Shizuru. She could hardly believe what she had just heard.
"S-She's your kid? B-But...but how?"
Shizuru tried to control her voice as she clenched her hands into fist.
"I...I was thirteen when I was pregnant with her."
"Who...who is the father?" Natsuki hesitated to ask.
Shizuru remained silent as she wiped away the tears coming down her face. Natsuki waited patiently for Shizuru to answer. Taking another deep breath Shizuru looked up at the waiting Natsuki.
"Natsuki...this will be easier for me if I just explained everything from the beginning."
"Natsuki...please don't hate me."
Shizuru felt two arms wrap around her shoulder. She then felt being leaned back onto the couch with a hand stroking her hair.
"I don't and won't ever hate you," Natsuki whispered in her ear, "I'm here for you so take as long as you want. I'm not going anywhere."
Shizuru leaned into Natsuki and took a deep breath.
"It started...I never saw it coming..."
I was thirteen.
My parents...my mother and father were married to help better the family on both sides. I'm not sure how or why now that I think about it all. I don't really remember at all my father or mother holding each other. I just did as they told me, obeyed them like a good daughter would. I'm not sure...but I think somewhere along the way I began to create small fragments of my mask. I began to wear a painted smile for everyone around me. At least it somewhat came off at home. There was no need for it. Everyone was unhappy in that house.
One particular day I came home from school as usual. I entered my home and closed it behind me. It was quiet, that was usual too. My mother was out with her friends either shopping or sight seeing. My father was still probably at work or with his group doing something fun. Whatever men do that's fun for them. It wasn't unusual to come home to an empty home. Though it was painfully lonely all the time. I sighed to myself and walked to my room. I was tired, tired of the mask I had worn all day. I laid on my bed and watched the minute hand on my clock slowly tick. My schedule was always the same, I come home and rest for only 10 minutes, I do my homework and finish it within an hour, make green tea for myself, cook myself something to eat, if I was lucky my mother would come home by this time. If not I would practice the piano until it was bedtime. Nothing changed, nothing happened.
Nothing out of the ordinary happened.
My 10 minute nap was up, time to do homework. As I work on it, I think about my friends. Actually...I'm not sure they could qualify as friends. Their just girls who follow me around like idiots. Though if I told them that they would leave and I would be alone. So I cope with it and put on that fake smile I hate. I wish...I really wish I had a friend. A true friend. Someone who would stick by me no matter what happened. Someone who likes me even without my painted smile on my face.
I'm done with my homework. Now I can go make myself some green tea. Green tea was always a favorite of my father's. I was hooked to it the moment it slipped past my lips. This time, besides the piano practice time, was my favorite. For once I was at peace as I smelt my tea before drinking it. I was content and didn't have to worry about anything or concentrate on keeping my painted smile on. Of course all good things come to an end. I stared blankly at the cold cup in my hands. My green tea was gone.
I'm not hungry, but its not time to practice the piano. I...I don't know what to do. To pass the time I cleaned whatever needed cleaning. After that it still wasn't time to practice the piano. I sighed in frustration. With nothing else to do I walked to the piano and smiled. I liked playing the piano, it made me feel at peace. Not as much as green tea but it was enough. The black keys, the white keys, it all sounded beautiful when all played in harmony. I was good but not excellent. I still had much to learn.
I heard a door slam but I didn't miss a key. This was usual. I ignored it and continued to play my song. I begin to play the last measure of the song I was playing when the door to the piano room slammed open. I stopped playing and turned to the person at the door. His eyes were crimson, but the whites of his eyes almost matched with the color of the iris. This drunken man in my home...
This was unusual.
I felt a chill go down my spine as he began to breath heavily.
"Who said you could stop playing?" His words slightly slurred.
I quickly turned around and began to play again. I decided to play from the beginning to not upset his mood further. As I began to play the keys I felt the nervousness move to my fingers and I began to mess up. I heard footsteps come from behind me.
"No, let me show you how its done."
He slightly moved over and began to play the wrong keys. I just let him and stayed silent as the noise began to escalate. After a few more keys he stopped and slightly glared at me.
"That's how you play. Now try again."
I took a deep breath and concentrated on playing the right notes without messing up. I let the music flow freely, tried to become a part of it. Then suddenly my finger slipped and hit a wrong note. I felt my hair being tugged back and I flew off the piano bench. I was on my back and looked up at the man who was drooling from his face. How do you reason with a drunk man? I still don't know even to this day.
"Stupid bitch..." He began to sway towards me.
I crawled back a few paces before I managed to get up. I began to reach for the door but a hand grabbed my arm and forced me back on the ground. I hit the ground with a thud and yelped a little. The stings of panic broke when I heard a clear rip in the room. I felt the cool air breath on my bare chest.
"NO!" I began to fight back.
He clamped both my hands above my head with one hand and ripped off my skirt and let the cool breeze touch my skin with the other. With his free hand I felt him spread my legs and place himself in between them.
"NO! PLEASE NO!"
A rough hand covered my mouth. I smelled the heavy alcohol from his breath.
My eyes pop open.
Wha...what is this?
It hurts, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts
I feel the heavy weight lift off me but I lay there as if the weight is still on me. I hear a zipper zip, the man mumbles something under his alcoholic breath. I turn to my side with my eyes and soul still in shock. I felt something harshly grab me by the arm and begin to drag me. We reach my room and I'm thrown into it.
"Dirty your own carpet!" The door slams shut.
I feel something warm leaking between my legs. I stand up and look down. I reach down with my hand to collect it. I stared at the red liquid flowing on my fingers. I go to the bathroom and lay in the tub. The blood on my legs won't stop flowing, the pain in my core won't stop pulsing.
The tears on my face won't stop falling.
I look up blankly at my mother. We don't really look alike, save the hair. I mainly take after her mother. At least from the pictures I have seen. I've never seem my grandparents on either side.
"Is something wrong?" She ask my placing a hand on my cheek.
"...Nothing is wrong mother." I give her a small painted smile.
It looks like she doubts me, but she nods her head and gets back to what she was doing. I look at my father, he's sitting in his chair and reading his paper. It had been a month later after that incident, nothing has happened. Though these past few days I've been feeling sick. I've thrown up a few times but I keep it to myself. I must be coming down with something. Maybe the flu, my body does hurt sometimes. I have that sick feeling again, I stand up and look at my mother.
"May I be excused?" I don't feel good.
"Of course." My mother nods her head again.
I get up and I feel my stomach turn. I fall to my knees and put a hand to my mouth.
"Shizuru!" My mother rushes to my side.
"What's wrong?" My father slowly walks over to me.
"N-Nothing." I stand up.
"I'm taking you to the doctor." My mother began to lead me to the door.
"Mother I'm fine."
"Your going to the doctor." My mother fiercely insisted.
My father says nothing as my mother and I exit the front door. I feel my stomach turn as he looks back to his paper.
We're at the hospital in the room waiting for the results. My mother rubs my back, she knows that calms me down. I love it when she does that. I almost jump when I hear the door open and the doctor comes in.
"What's wrong with my daughter?" My mother ask.
The doctor hesitates, she looks at me first before turning to my mother.
"I'd like to run a a test on your daughter."
"What kind of test?"
"Well you see...your daughter...she's...she's pregnant."
I felt my world shatter. I'm pregnant? How? Why? Why me? How could this happen to me? I felt sick but not from whatever was inside of me. I heard my mother gasp and cover her mouth with her hand.
"If I may-" The doctor began.
"Who did you sleep with?" My mother demanded.
"I...I didn't. I-"
"Mam please let me run the test on her." The doctor defended me.
"Fine, by all means." My mother turned her back on me.
I felt my heart drop, but I felt the doctor guide me away from the room. It's funny how its the strangers in my life that help me and not my own family.
It was long and humiliating, but she finally finished the test and we went back to the room where my mother was still glaring at me. I sit on the bed and avoid eye contact.
"Your daughter's tissues were damaged and ripped. Their are several bruises still trying to heal around the inside of her legs. Believe your daughter when she says she didn't sleep with anyone."
"Wha? Are you implying that..." My mother hesitated.
"Your daughter was sexually abuse. She was rapped."
I felt worthless, shameless, humiliated. I wanted to die. Then I felt arms wrap themselves around me. I felt hot tears fall onto my shoulder.
"Kanin na Shizuru. Kanin na."
I wrapped my arms around my mother and never let go.
"Shizuru...who was it? Who did this to you?"
My mother was holding me, something she never did for me except when I was born. We were on the couch as she petted my hair. I had closed my voice and had not spoken one word for a week, maybe even two. I've lost count of the days as they flew by. My mother continued to ask me who had rapped me, I wish she would stop asking. It makes me sick every time.
I just nuzzled myself in her hug and stayed silent. My mother sighed but continued to pet my hair. For that moment, I felt safe and loved.
"Shizuru...kanin na...I'm a terrible mother."
I stayed silent.
"I...I think figured out who it is. I promise he won't ever touch you again. I swear I'll protect you and my grandchild from him."
I wrapped my arms around my mother and began to cry. She wrapped her arms around me and began to rock me slowly.
"Shizuru...if you make a promise to someone, keep it. No matter what the situation, keep that promise."
I nodded my head and slowly began to fall asleep in her warm arms.
My parent's are arguing...again. I don't know nor care what their fighting about. Though I'm sure it's me their arguing about. I'm usually the subject of their arguments, even before I was pregnant.
I sit on the couch and wait for the yelling to cease. I look at my slightly extended stomach and stared at it for the longest time. The doctor said I was 3 months pregnant. A baby...my baby...his baby...
It makes me cringe.
I hesitate as I put a hand on the place the baby is suppose to be. I began to rub it...I'm not sure what to do. I continue to slowly rub my stomach. I looked at it and began to speak for the first time since I learned I was pregnant.
"Please...be a girl. I don't want you to be a boy."
I felt something tap my hand and I quickly take my hand off my stomach. I feel more of the kicking and I felt something tug at my mouth. I touch my lips and felt the pattern it was making. It was a small smile. I put my hand back on my stomach and closed my eyes.
I felt this before. When was it? I rub my stomach and let that feeling wash over me. Whatever it is, I like it.
I heard doors slamming open and I quickly take my hand off of my stomach. I look up and see that man come towards me. I wanted to move, I wanted to run but my legs froze. They wouldn't move to my commands.
"Get up." He grabbed my arm making me stand up.
I tried to pull back but he was much stronger. My mother came and tried to separate us. That man glared at my mother as she pulled me close to her.
"I won't allow it!" My mother yelled.
"This isn't your choice. It needs to go." The man pulled me closer to him.
"She's three months pregnant, its too late for that operation." My mother pulled me towards her.
"The sooner the better. It's not too late to get rid of the problem."
Not too late? Get...get rid of the problem? My eyes widen at the realization of what the man wanted. I pushed towards the man and surprised him. He let go and balanced himself as to not fall to the floor. I rush to my mother and cover my stomach with my two arms. I open my mouth and slowly let the words out.
"N-No...I won't let you."
"This is for the best."
"No..." I rubbed my stomach.
The man glared at me and mother. My mother got in front of me and glared back at him.
The man stood their for a moment. Then he turned away and walked out of our home. I let out the breath I was holding in. I felt two arms wrap around me.
"I kept my promise and will continue to do so."
True to her word, my mother had kept me safe from the man who had hurt me.
The months were slowly slipping away. With each passing month my stomach grew and grew. As my stomach grew my mother took me out of school and began to home school me. I didn't mind...though I was forbidden to leave the house in case someone we knew saw me. I was like a bird in a cage, a pregnant bird at that.
I was eight months pregnant and I feel so huge and ugly. It hurts almost all of the time. I feel the baby inside me kick everyday. I was sick of it. I'm sick of it all.
I'm alone right now. My mother went to go buy some food for me. I sit on the couch and rub my extended stomach. I'm sick of this. I didn't ask for any of this. I hate this. Why? Why me? Why couldn't I just live a normal teenage life?
I feel another kick...
Something inside me snapped.
I think that was the day all of the dark emotions I had kept in a bottle exploded. It was from the pregnancy, the rape, the everything that had hurt me.
My mask was broken.
"Why? Why did you have to grow inside of me? Why do you have to be that man's child? Why? Why do you have to exist? I wish you never grew inside of me! I hate you!"
My breathing calmed down after I threw my tantrum. Then I felt a stabbing pain on the end of my spine. I grab that area with one hand and the other on my stomach. I clench my teeth together to prevent me from screaming. The pain was unbearable.
"Shizuru!" My mother had just walked into the door.
It was painful. I felt like I was being ripped in two. It was like fire coursing through my lower body. Then it was born and the pain went away.
Hours had passed and I was cleaned and staring up at the ceiling. I felt relieved, it was all over. Maybe...maybe things can go back to normal.
I hear the door open and I look in that direction. My mother was walking in with a pink bundle in her arms, alongside her was the doctor that helped me deliver the baby. I managed to sit up for the doctor and my mother. So the baby could hear me, she's a girl. I continued to stare at the pink blanket, I saw black wild hair out of it. Black hair...just like her father...
"Shizuru, she's a beautiful baby girl." My mother smiled.
I smiled my painted smile for her and the doctor. The doctor sighed and coughed.
"The baby...I'm sorry but she may not have long to live."
"What?" My mother and I responded.
"She's a small baby conceived by a raped 13 year old girl by her father. I'd say she has a week or two, maybe three weeks at the most."
I continue to stare at the baby, she was tiny. I could probably hold her with one arm alone.
"Could you leave us for a moment doctor?" My mother asked.
She nodded and left the room. I heard the baby make a sound which made my mother smile.
"Your too beautiful to die."
"Be careful, hold your daughter carefully." My mother handed the baby to me.
I carefully held the baby in my arms. She was small and looked weak.
"Shizuru, I'll be right back. I have to let your father know the baby is born."
I was about to protest but she left before I could speak. The baby made another noise that captured my attention. She may of had that black hair but her face looked just like mine. I tried to hold her close but she seemed to reject my touch. The more I tried to hold her to my chest, the more she tried to push away from me. She began to cry and began to push me away with her tiny fist. Why is she-
"I wish you never grew inside of me! I hate you!"
I felt my heart remember those terrible words I had said before she was born. I look at my baby as she tried to push herself away from me. Its...its all my fault. I did this...she heard me say those words. She doesn't want me because she thinks I hate her. She hates me...who wouldn't? I'm...I'm a monster.
Once she stopped crying I laid her down on the bed and gently laid down besides her. She stops squirming and falls to sleep. She's beautiful yet so tiny and feeble. I move some of that dark wild hair from her face as she yawns for me. Something powerful swelled up inside me. More powerful than when my mask broke. I felt some tears fall from my eyes as I poured out my heart to her.
"I'm...I'm so sorry. I didn't mean those thing I said to you. I don't hate you. I...I was just angry at the world and what it had done to me. Please, please forgive me. If you live, I promise I'll love and protect you. I'll try and be a good mother. I know I'm a terrible brat, but please give me another chance. Please, I love you. I love you so much it hurts. Please forgive me. Please."
My baby began to move in her sleep. I gently try to hold her close to me again. This time I didn't feel her reject my touch. Rather she seemed to move closer to me. I felt a warm sensation swell up inside me as I heard a small coo from my baby. For the first time in a long time, I felt a large smile form on my face. A real smile.
"Your my precious treasure. My treasure alone, I won't let anyone take you from me."
I looked down at my baby and she seemed to have a small smile on her face.
I heard the door open and my mother walked in again. She seemed surprised with the real smile on my face.
"My baby's name is Takara. Takara Fujino."
My mother smiled as I held Takara close to me.
"I love you Takara."
The doctor's were baffled by my Takara's sudden strength and growth after that. She continued to grow and get stronger as the days passed. Her first birthday, her second birthday, her third birthday, it all passed by so fast.
I love my little Takara.
She developed so fast. Before I knew it she was walking. When she began to talk my mother swore she sounded just like me. It made me smile knowing that the only trait she picked up from her father was his hair color. Though I'll admit it does suit her. That jet black hair with my crimson eyes...it was all beautiful.
I turned around and faced my little girl. I decided to teach my daughter to call me onee-chan. I don't really want to tell her that I'm really her mother. I'm happy just being her onee-chan. Though I know one day I'll have to tell her. She does have the right to know. I just don't know if I can do it...
I smile at her with my real smile that I only show her and kneel down to her level.
"Will you play with me?"
"Yay!" She smiled and hugged me.
There are so many things I want to do for her that I never experienced and there are things I never want her to see or feel. I want her to be happy, I don't ever want her to know what it feels like to be unwanted. I want her to be loved.
"Are you okay?"
That something you never hear from a three year old. I smile and gently run my fingers through her short hair.
"I worry a lot about you onee-chan." She laid her head on my legs.
I...I really don't deserve someone like Takara. She deserves so much better than this family, than me. I pick her up and hold her close to me.
"Don't you worry about me, okay? That's my job."
"What's my job?" She asked with those innocent eyes.
"Be a good little sister." I kiss her forehead.
She just smiles and hugs me. I hug her back and love the way her hair smells.
I love this little girl.
My mother passed away when Takara was three. My last strong defense against that man was gone. That man came to my house again, at first nothing happened. I would have killed him if he tired to touch her. He knew it, he could see it in my eyes. Then one day it happened.]I heard screaming, that man took her away from me. He took Takara away from me. I was dragged somewhere far away from her. It felt as if he had ripped my heart out of my chest and threw it to the dogs.
I felt empty, gone.
I failed to keep my promise that I had made so long ago.
I'm a terrible mother.
A terrible sister.
"That's the truth. That's my secret." Shizuru wiped the tears that had fallen from her eyes to her face.
"Shizuru I'm so sorry."
"I hate myself."
"Shizuru, forgive yourself already."
Shizuru looked up at Natsuki with surprised eyes.
"Forgive myself? How can I? I don't deserve forgiveness."
Natsuki held Shizuru close to her. This was unexpected and Shizuru jumped a little.
"You've been hurt so much. But your giving yourself the most pain by not forgiving yourself."
"Shizuru please, let me carry half or most of this burden. I love you."
Shizuru felt arms wrap around her and held her close. She wrapped her arms around Natsuki and began to cry in her shoulder. Natsuki held her closer and felt the lump in her throat take her over the edge.
"I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry you went through all that pain."
Shizuru continued to cry in Natsuki's shoulder and hugged her tight. Natsuki began to cry as well as she held Shizuru and tried to comfort her. After a while Natsuki made Shizuru look her in the eyes.
"I promise I'll protect you and Takara not matter what."
Shizuru nodded her head and buried her face in Natsuki's shoulder again.
"I love you Shizuru."
Some of the tears that began to fall from Shizuru's eyes were filled with joy and relief.
"Shizuru...if your heart was closed off, how come you feel in love with me?" Natsuki asked as the emotions died down.
"My father had promised me that if I was good, I would see Takara again. So that's why I tried to be the perfect model student at high school."
"It must have been hard."
"It was, but then you came along." Shizuru gave her a small smile.
"Me?" Natsuki pointed to herself.
"You were alone and I hated to see that. You didn't pretend around me, you were just yourself. I love that about you." Shizuru grabbed her hand.
"Your too kind Shizuru."
"I'm not kind at all."
"Takara's 10, right?"
"Yes...Natsuki...the moment Takara was born...I fell in love with her," Shizuru smiled, "It tore me apart when he took her away from me."
"Make sense now."
Shizuru slightly pushed Natsuki away from her and looked at her with a serious face on.
"Takara's my daughter, that's the secret I had been keeping from you all this time."
"Why push me away?"
"Because I want to take care of her. I was scared you wouldn't like her or would leave because she's not your child. I pushed you away...because I didn't want to get pushed away first. I'm sorry."
Natsuki had a flashback to the carnival time. How she pushed Shizuru away that day. It all made sense to her now.
"Can you still be with me, even knowing I have a child?"
Natsuki stayed silent for a moment. Shizuru felt her heart drop until she felt Natsuki hold her closer.
"I love you Shizuru, no matter what."
Shizuru started to cry cheers of joy.
"Okini Natsuki, okini."
Natsuki smiled but then remembered something.
"Is that where you went this afternoon? To visit the bastard?"
"Why? Did you tell him something?"
"I told him that visit was the last time he will ever see me or Takara."
"I...I also forgave him. Forgave him for rapping me and taking Takara away."
"You forgave him? Why? He doesn't deserve it, why would you do that?" Natsuki raised an eyebrow.
"Because if I didn't, I'd be holding myself back," Shizuru smiled at her, "And I learned forgiveness from you. I didn't deserve it either, but you forgave me anyway. That's much better than holding it forever."
Natsuki relaxed a little and gave Shizuru a small smile. She placed her forehead on Shizuru's and pulled out the ring from its box.
"Shizuru...will you stay with me?" Natsuki asked, holding the ring in her hand.
"I'll have to get you a ring then too." Shizuru smiled.
Natsuki smile as she put the ring on Shizuru and leaned in for a kiss. Shizuru leaned in and kissed back.
"I love you." Shizuru wrapped her arms around Natsuki.
"I love you too." Natsuki smiled into the hug
I feel so much lighter.
I think...I think I can move on now.