It’s difficult to be both sensitive and direct. In Naho’s case so far, she’s usually been one of either. She’s young and naïve, and although she never wants to hurt anyone, she can still speak carelessly. She’s especially oblivious to times when saying nothing is the most hurtful thing of all. Although she’s changed, she still mistakes silence for gentleness, unaware that her lack of motivation is not helping anyone, Kakeru least of all.
We need balance. Of course it’s important to care about people’s hearts and not say things needlessly, but sometimes difficult things need to be said for everyone’s benefit. I think it’s natural for us to speak without thinking, but in some ways it’s worse to think about something important but never, ever say it, which we do far too often, especially when it’s because we hate conflict.
When Suwa and Naho confront Kakeru in this episode, it’s true that their opening was a little rough. I’m not exactly sure why they thought it was fine to tell him not to go see his old friends when they supposedly know nothing about them. Despite this, they eventually properly communicate that he was hurting everyone by holding his feelings back. It was especially necessary for him to know that it wasn’t his fault. Naho failed to say so earlier because she was so insecure, but Suwa got right to the heart of the matter, and I think in time she will change even more by working together with him.
Unfortunately, Kakeru is probably still holding things back from them to his own detriment, but if they’re patient they will likely find a way to save him anyways. Love is gentle and kind, but love also protects, and you can’t protect the hearts of others while protecting your own comfort zones. Obviously, Kakeru’s friends don’t have a right to know anything about his life, or it wouldn’t be friendship. But by refusing to let them support him, he’s not helping anyone, he’s really hurting them, and the only thing he’s protecting is his own sense of isolation.
Even if you don’t do things perfectly, if you keep on loving people it will reach them. We can’t always make sure our gestures of kindness are perfectly sensitive and tactful, because life is not lived in retrospect. Sometimes we are going to make mistakes, bur mistakes do not give us an excuse to stop trying. If we are to love others as God wants us to, we must not only love them when it’s easy, but when it’s difficult and we can’t think of the words to say. God is gentle and loving, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t convict us when it’s for our good. If we are to become like him, we need to have the courage to step outside our selfish avoidance and let others know that they are valued and loved, even when we’d rather run away.
This episode was beautiful, heartbreaking, and the best one yet. I’m especially sad that it sounds like Kakeru’s relationship with his mother was emotionally abusive, and it’s still doing damage. Getting Suwa involved has really changed the story. I am so glad Kakeru and Naho understand each other’s feelings now; it would have been slightly painful if it had taken the rest of the anime, like many others of the romance genre. I’m starting to really suspect that the rest of their friend group also got letters. My biggest question, though, is how many more tissues I’m going to need if the story is going to get sadder than this, because I’m certain it inevitably will.