Character(s): Kanae, her parents.
Summary: Silence is just another form of dishonesty and sometimes dishonesty is just another kind of truth.
Length: ~ 950 words
Author's Notes: Just a small insight into Kanae's relationship to her father.
It’s the same kind of atmosphere lingering in the air every time she visits them and stays for more than the hurried blur of an hour. The silent treatment seeps into every of his movements, every of his looks, the hint of disdain adding edge to his features whenever his eyes come to a rest on her. Kanae had thought it would get better – with time and maturity on both their parts. Maybe after years had passed and he saw that it wasn’t just a phase she was going through; an immature, young girl’s inability to distinguish clearly between the love of the roles she played and her own blooming emotions.
Re-zu-bi-an, she wants to tell him. It’s a noun, father. It’s a woman attracted to women. If it had anything to do with me playing men, I would be something else. Something else altogether.
She bites her lip. She’s thirty now. She’s come home to tell them that their labour has born fruit, celebrate with them how she’s finally, finally close enough to the top to almost taste its sweet flavour on her tongue. Her victory, but theirs too, because they allowed her to follow her heart. Kanae has never felt as if she owed them to go all the way – after all, it’s her tears and blood that have been shed, not theirs – but being made nibante of River Troupe means everything. To her. One single step more and it’ll be her walking down the grand staircase with feathers adding wings and volume to her slender body. It must mean something, if not everything, to them.
“Do they know?” he asks suddenly as they’re sitting at the table, mama’s chopsticks scraping against the bottom of the bowl of rice in front of her. Kanae takes her time, pretending to be considering his question carefully. She raises her glass to her lips, but doesn’t drink. It’s just an excuse to close her eyes and count to ten in her mind. Sometimes she wishes she had been born a son, if only to be able to take it out on him physically. Have him face her in a football match or maybe get to wrestle it into nothingness.
Yet, he never misses an opportunity to point out to her that she’s his daughter, and the daughter role isn’t broad enough for that kind of antics. Even for the kind of daughter she’s turned out to be, it can hardly be considered an option.
There’s no need to ask to what he’s referring. More than once, when their arguments have been at their peak, roaring like a thunderstorm, he’s threatened to let the board of directors know. If her official secret becomes just “official” they’re both aware that the only way forward for her will be to leave and close the door after herself as she goes. In too many ways they’re similar, Kanae and her father, and he knows she’d never allow for anyone to let her go. She’s too proud. Just like he is.
Kanae turns her full attention to him. “If they ask, I tell, but no one asks, father.”
She drinks, holding the glass firmly between numb fingers, her fingertips leaving marks on the surface when she puts it back down on the table, next to the beautifully arranged dinner mama has prepared for them. For her. The wine splashes against the sides of the glass, leaving heavy curtains of alcohol to sink slowly back into the red pool of liquid.
Yes, for her, really. Kanae hasn’t seen them in more than two months. What with the preparations for her transfer and the last loose ends to tie up with Rain Troupe, she hasn’t had the time. Not for them. Not for this. Not again.
“Silence is just another form of dishonesty,” he replies, brusquely, digging into his meal without much interest.
He has always been like this, as far back as Kanae remembers. When he returned from his business trips, his clothes still smelling like foreign countries, foreign impressions and foreign perfume, he would be all disdainful affection and irritated presence. Yes, of course he would think something like that. Kanae’s father has never been anything but perfectly honest. Mama knew about his other women – the women who weren’t Japanese, housewives or who shut up like oysters in an argument. Kanae, too, knew. Of his other children – all the young, vigorous men he took under his wing when they entered his company from the very bottom, his eyes shining with pride the closer they got to the top.
Her bowl stands untouched before her. He’s never looked at her that way. When she was younger, he would take her by the hand and show her off to his colleagues, make her twirl in her dress and tip-toe in her shoes. She remembers those moments so vividly – how these tall, well-groomed men had laughed at her, called her cute and turned back to their desks as soon as she wanted to go out and play soccer. By now, even the value of boasting has long gone faded away. Unlike mama, Kanae’s Takarazuka persona has no inherent worth to him. Not that he doesn’t think it an honourable profession for women in general – he just never thought it was very fitting for the only daughter born to him.
“I know,” she says, trying to come off as nonchalant as she can manage. It’s always a lost fight with him. She can’t be Murasaki Eri when he’s raised her as Kanae-chan – no matter what clothes she wears or what role she’s playing. The words are a lie, of course, but sometimes dishonesty can be another kind of truth. He, more than anybody, has taught her that secrecy can be a very effective way of emphasizing the reality behind it.