E. Michelle Logan
You’re such a benevolent ruler.
“Ne, Himemiya,” you said earlier tonight, “Let
me do the dishes.” You took the white rag off my head that
held back my hair and placed it over your own hair before starting
to diligently scrub away at the day’s dishes, grimacing at
the thickly-coated lasagna serving dish and grinning at the bowls
with little puddles of colored water in them. “At least the
shaved ice is easy to clean up.” You laughed. I moved across
the leaf-decorated white tile floor to stand in the doorway so you
would have plenty of room to work, and so I could watch you.
ChuChu fell into the sink a few minutes later as he scouted the
countertop for crumbs, unattended leftovers and other culinary delights.
You calmly scooped him out of the foamy water and used a wet dishrag
to wash the soap from his eyes. As you wiped away his tears, you
laughed and smiled at him.
“So you want to help, ChuChu?” You asked him and placed
him on your shoulder. He chittered at you quietly and played with
your hair until you drew your hands out of the soapy water and caught
him just before he burrowed completely behind the cloth holding
back your hair.
“Ne, ChuChu what do you want?” You held him in one
hand and poked his chin with the other. He grabbed your finger with
a tiny paw and smiled. “Are you still hungry?” You pulled
your finger out of ChuChu’s grip and snatched a morsel of
lasagna off of one of the dirty plates littering the counter. ChuChu
greedily gulped down the food, and, as usual, you just laughed.
I hate the idea of interrupting you now, but I so want to be a
part of your laughter, the recipient of your smile.
“Hai, Himemiya?” You and ChuChu look up at me.
“Chu?” ChuChu smiles at me, waving his greasy little
paws in the air.
I want to say so much to you; I want to tell you how much I love
you, how much I long for you, how much I...I...I
“I’ll finish the dishes.” I say.
You seem confused, or maybe disappointed. Do you know that I want
to say so much more?
We stare at each other for a moment, you cradling ChuChu next
to your chest, me standing in the doorway between the hall and kitchen,
between returning and ruining. I open my mouth to speak again, but
ChuChu grabs one of your breasts with his greasy paws and you pull
him away from your uniform with a yelp.
“ChuChu, you got grease stains on my uniform!” You
shout. My little monkey begins to cry with fear as you scold him.
“Himemiya, I’m going to go clean ChuChu and myself up,”
“...Hai,” I respond with my normal bright smile, the
expression of a porcelain doll. Sometimes I wish I was a porcelain
doll. Then you would hold me in your arms without thought. Other
times I wish to be more than a doll; wish for the ability to walk
up to you and whisper softly into your ear, ‘I love you.’
“Ne, Himemiya, is something wrong?” You stop next
to me in the doorway and lean against the other side. I catch a
brief whiff of your light perfume as you stand there, our faces
mere inches apart. “Himemiya?”
“Hai, Utena-sama?” I try not to sound like I’ve
woken up out of a trance too much, such an intoxicating scent. You
smile widely despite ChuChu stamping more grease prints onto your
“I already told you; I’ll do the dishes tonight.”
Your insistence makes me smile and my feelings for you again bloom.
My hands have started trembling from the power of my emotion. I
wonder if you notice. I clench my hands.
“Utena-sama, I...” My voice fails me again and my
“Hai, Himemiya?” You coax gently.
“Arigato gozaimashita,” I say sedately. I want to
hug you, kiss you, love you for your kindness. Why can’t I
be as bold and strong as you are?
You’re such a brave and shining monarch.
You offer me one more smile before turning away with ChuChu peeking
out from your folded arms.
“...such a benevolent ruler, Utena-sama. Arigato.”