The foreignness of the language of love
Intimacy wasn’t limited to physical. I got to know Mark more personally, and it was quite a challenge to feel close to someone whose life story was so different from mine. It would have been easier if his life outside our relationship unfolded without me. But knowing the person involved entanglement with other branches of his life paths. As I look back now, efforts were made mostly by me because my real life was across the Pacific, and I was a temporary visitor to his world.
Both of Mark’s parents had come of Irish ancestry. His father was very religious and was once a member of The Jesuits. He left because he realized he wanted a family. He had been dating Mark’s mother for a few months when she was impregnated. Abortion being out of the question, they got married and had two more children. They had been living happily ever after. I digested the information. Forcing marriage to a pregnant couple was also common in Japan. This was not to do with religion but to avoid the shame of single motherhood (always motherhood) or an abortion. People judged if the couple was young and mocked if they were of a responsible age. So it didn’t add up to me that a couple who had unprotected sex from the beginning of their relationship could last long as a functional family. I was also surprised Mark talked about his family in an affectionate language. I had a turbulent relationship with my father and my sister. Mockery and shaming were our languages of love. So when Mark extended his affection toward me, it felt more foreign than a foreignness of the language.