“Darling, I think our eldest is lonely.”
“I think you might be right.”
“Let’s adopt a kid. An eight year old kid with severe trust issues and a problematic background. The dogs like him. That would solve all his problems.”
“Yes sweetie, let’s do that.”
Thus begins the story about Haru and Ren, the oldest and youngest of the Kaido family. Well, in short that’s what makes Haru travel to Canada to meet his biological mother, who has taken on this eight year old kid while waiting for Haru’s father and step mother to pick him up. Interesting right? Let’s adopt a kid because our oldest is feeling lonely.
Haru is lonely. He longs for a family but he constantly feels like he stands on the outside peeking in. Growing up with an eccentric mother who has forbidden him to call her mother, and also has very little feeling for what a mother is supposed to be. At a young age he is shipped off to Japan where his father and his new family awaits. A family Haru doesn’t belong to. Not quite. It’s not that he isn’t welcome, he just doesn’t fit in with his foreign features and his foreign manners. But he loves his new twin brothers. And he takes care of them, dotes on them and does everything for them. Sacrifices himself for them. Smothers them in the end maybe. Because he wants to belong.
Haru meets Ren, the eight year old wildling in the deep forest of Canada, during his summer vacation when he is 16. You can’t really say that they click. It’s the other way around; Ren acts like a wild pup biting and scratching, and kicking. Everything to get away from this nice, friendly man who has come to invade his personal space. Ren is afraid of Haru. Friendly people are scary, the nicer someone is, the scarier they are. Haru is the most terrifying person Ren has ever met.
Life is harsh on them both. Summer is short and Haru leaves after making a promise with the little pup; they are one day gonna live together in Japan. A month later and Haru leaves the hospital where he has ended up after a fatal car accident that killed both his parents. His memory from the past summer is gone and so is his memories of Ren.
It’s sad. Haru felt for the first time that he belonged with that little boy and now his whole life goes back to something even worse than it was before. He loses not only his parents but also his twin brothers, who moves in with their maternal grandparents. Life is cruel, he isn’t welcome because he doesn’t belong to that side of the family. So, he has to make do with what he got and to do that he moves into a shabby apartment and starts to work as a host. All to save money so he can one day live with his brothers again. That’s his dream. He wants to make a family with his brothers and belong, stop feeling lonely.
One would think that he was a little less lonely with all the people surrounding him as the years pass but it’s as if it only makes it worse. People pass by at the club and all he does at home is sleep. He has friends but it’s questionable if they really are genuine or if they are just there because he is really hot and have money. He’s a true womanizer but in the end he always choses his brothers before everyone else. None of this makes him less lonely though.
When Ren shows up five years later he is briefly in doubt about the kid but he takes him to heart surprisingly fast. It’s strange really, one would be more careful when an unknown kid shows up at the doorstep and tells you to honor you promise. A promise you can’t remember you made. Ren refuses to leave Haru’s side and Haru accepts the kid quite fast and not many nights pass before Haru lays plastered by Ren’s side at night. And I mean plastered because the 22 year old is hugging the youngster like he was a body pillow.
Haru has some questionable antics like kissing the boy on his lips, sneaking up on him and hugging him, corner him and sit too close to him; stuff most people would be very uncomfortable with but Ren somehow accepts rather fast. He sees practical things as a bother in Haru’s acts like for example how he can get a cold if Haru kisses him on his lips. He doesn’t hate being kissed though.
Haru and Ren, two completely different types of people that are so incredibly alike it’s almost ridiculous. The questions is, who is the most broken one? The most empty? Haru tries to hide it with smiles and spreading love to his brothers, and smiles and laughs to his customers and friends. Ren shows very little emotions and he’s very blunt whenever he talks. He’s point on in his observations on Haru everytime.
Being lonely is probably the worst feeling there is. It’s painful to watch how desperate Haru is when he tries to fill the void in him. In the end he admits that all his actions has been completely selfish. That all he ever wanted was his loneliness to go away. He understands that after Ren has desperately demanded him to give himself to to him. “I want you to belong only to me.” Time and time again you can read in the manga how Haru doesn’t understand just how much he actually is loved. How he does have a family. It just doesn’t compute that he isn’t lonely anymore.
When you are young it’s hard to put words to your loneliness. I was a lonely child. I had a family. A mother and a father who now has been married for 48 years. A brother who was successful in school, the complete opposite of mediocre me. He still hangs out with the same friends now that he did 30 years ago, no make it 40. We (they) all grew up on the same street. But I, I can hardly remember the names of my classmates from elementary or middle school. I can’t remember what they looked like. I never belonged with them. We played of course in school but after it was a small wonder if anyone wanted to play. I was the last resort if they had asked everybody else. Sometimes they chose to not play at all but stay inside and have a boring day. No, I wasn’t a horrible, annoying kid, I was just forgotten.
I have never felt like an outsider but I have also never felt like an insider. I have mostly been standing somewhere in limbo looking both ways. Outsiders have their click, insiders have theirs but in limbo you have no one. It’s very lonely in limbo. What’s even worse, no one understands that you are there. One day you laugh and smile with the insiders, the next you hang around the outsiders. No one sees the pain when you come home. Like Haru, he was popular right, with all his customers, friends and brothers around him. Living in limbo, not belonging, peeking into the outside world.
I have my own family now; husband and two kids. One would think that I wouldn’t be lonely anymore but it’s not true. I am still lonely. I don’t work because of my bipolar. I get jealous of my husband when he comes home from work and tells me about his day. I also get happy to hear about all the things they have done and what they have planned. I feel lucky when my kids tell me all the fun stuff they have done with their friends. It warms my heart that they have friends, and when the telefon rings and someone wants to play I feel relieved. Someone choses my kids first. But, I don’t have any of that. There is no one but them in my life. Them and my parents and brother (and extended family which we meet occasionally). I don’t fit in their world and so I stand outside and peek in. There are nights I feel the loneliness overwhelm me, to the point I just want to cry. I have no idea what to do about it so I just endure it because I know that in the end it will go away. I wish I had something to work towards, like Haru. A goal that could fill my lonely thoughts. But I don’t.
Ren never felt lonely after Haru left that summer. He clung to their promise that one day they would live together. It was what made him live through those five years and that was what possessed him to fly all the way to Japan and alone move in with Haru and stay by his side. I can’t help but wonder how Haru’s life would have been if he had remembered their promise too.