Midori and Toru go out for drinks (at 2 p.m.), and she lets him in on a couple of her latest fantasies. Fantasy #1: Toru undresses her tenderly, like a mother undresses a child (concerning), and then proceeds to corrupt her as she protests delicately (oh hai, rape fantasy). Fantasy #2: She and Toru are kidnapped by pirates and tied together NAKED (naturally) with only 1 hour between them and a long walk off a short plank (1 hour to live? Conveniently naked? Only one thing to do, I suppose.).
Toru's go-to response to these confessions is, "Oh, brother" . . . because that's how teenage boys talk. No. WRONG. That is NOT how teenage boys talk . . . that is how Winnie the Pooh talks.
But Toru grew on me through these three chapters. When he assumes care of Midori's terminally ill father so she can take a sanity break, it's a brief glimpse of how borderline wonderful he is when he's not thinking of himself. He helps the man pee in a jar! He spoon feeds him! He talks to him about Euripides! In short, I have no idea who he is anymore.
One thing that made me give him suspicious face was when he lied to Hatsumi (WHO ALSO KILLS HERSELF WHY HATSUMI WHY?!) about how Kizuki died. I can't think of any good reason why he would do that, unless he didn't want to elicit her pity.
Speaking of Hatsumi (WILL EVERYONE PLEASE STOP COMMITTING SUICIDE YOU'RE MAKING ME SAD), she also brings out Toru's inner tubby bear when she explains that all she wants is to get married and have kids and that Nagasawa will grow to want those things if she just waits long enough.
Maybe this is all Toru can say when a woman in his life announces something so ridiculous that a more elaborate response just won't do. In that case, wisely played, sir. Please accept this jar of honey and my humble apology.
Another sign that Toru is growing into a healthy boy and swimming away from the suicide rip tide everyone else seems to be floundering in is this uncharacteristically mature statement, written in a letter to Naoko:
"Two and a half years have gone by since it happened, and Kizuki is still seventeen years old. Not that this means my memory of him has faded. The things that his death gave rise to are still there, bright and clear, inside me, some of them even clearer than when they were new. . . . Part of what Kizuki and I shared when we were sixteen and seventeen has already vanished, and no amount of crying is going to bring that back." (p. 218)And then Toru and Midori team up to summarize the whole depressing point of this novel (the context is porn, but isn't it always?):
"'They just keep doing the same things,' I said.Everyone seems to be stuck in a vicious cycle that goes something like this: angst, sadness, tiny happy moment, depression, selfishness, suicide. Maybe Midori and Toru will be the enlightened two who break away from that permanent rain cloud.
'Well, what else can they do? We all just keep doing the same things.'" (p. 225)
I'm sure if we tried hard enough, we could make a pretty good case for why this novel is a thinly veiled adaptation of The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh . . . with more than one Eeyore.