After Hoshina's surprise visit I left Ise Grand Shrine to take care of him. At that time I was in my early twenties. Hoshina's health became little by little more worse, but he lived longer than he and I had thought. Our life with each other was a happy life. His wife, he was married with Sayuri, accepted me as her son and she also accepted that Hoshina and I were lovers.
Sayuri took care of Hoshina too, but mostly she let me care for him. One day she came to me. "Is it okay to ask you something Yozakura?", she asked. I nodded. She took me by the hand and led me into the garden. I could smell the Jasmine and the Wisteria. In the back of the garden Hoshina had a built an alcove. The alcove was covered with Honeysuckle and it was in full bloom. We sat down on the wooden bench. She laid her hand on my knee.
"Yes", I answered.
"Hoshina and you are so close. Your relationship must be strong and honest. How did it became such a warm bond? You were only a child when you became his Wakashu. How did you cope with his love for you?"
"It felt natural when he asked me to be his lover. My dad ...". I took a deep breath and swallowed away my tears. "My dad had told me what it meant to be a Wakashu. When Hoshina asked me to be his lover I felt honored that he ... such a great samourai ... asked me to be his lover. Of course it wasn't always nice to lay next to him, but as I became older my heart opened up to him fully. One day when I went to visit my dad. Hoshina kissed me and hold me tight. "I love you Yozakura", he said to me. "But I know that you have to leave me". I cried when I left that day, because he really was in love with me and I loved him dearly. After the Great Fire I didn't return, because I was mentally broken and had to find my purpose in life. At that moment I decided to become a monk of the Grand Shrine of Ise".
Sayuri looked at me and I saw tears in her eyes. "Sayuri don't cry", I said. "Hoshina has a big heart he has love enough for you and your children and me. He is a wonderful man. You have to cherish him. I have been here now for several years. I have learned a lot and I have seen how great your love is for him. I see that every day as you are taking care of him".
"I know Hoshina has a big heart, but ... as I see how he is looking at you than it feels like he loves you more, so much more than he loves me. I am not jealous, but I have some difficulties to cope with that. Do you understand what I mean?"
"I do understand what you mean, but ... what can I do to help you, to make you feel more comfortable with this situation?"
"You don't have to do something Yozakura. I have to do something". She looked at me and I saw tears in her eyes. "I will leave", she said. "I go visit my mother, she's ill and she has not long to live. Take care of Hoshina. He is my greatest love and I cannot cope with his love for you, but I also cannot cope with his fragile health. Take care of him Yozakura".
"I will take care of him Sayuri and I will cherish him. I will love him even more, because than he feels your love too. He really loves you Sayuri you will break his heart, but he will understand that you need to go to your mother'.
Hoshina's heart really was broken as I told him that Sayuri had left him to take care of her mother, but he understood. Hoshina's health worsened fast after Sayuri had left him. I took care of him and loved him. Together we wrote a short chained renga on his deathbed ... the last stanza, he had to write, but he never did that, because his health was that bad that he not even could write anymore. I sat next to him and hold him in my arms as he gave his last breath. Hoshina died in my arms, he was 62. After a few hours his color changed, his skin became young again ... "I love you Hoshina", I whispered.
After the cremation of Hoshina I left again ... again I was a wandering spirit. I had taken care of the one I loved for almost ten years.
I wrote the last stanza of our renga ... to close this part of my life:
moonlight on the river
thousand lanterns float to the horizon
honoring the dead
© よざくら Yozakura