title: It's hard to dance with a devil on your back
pairing: Iwahashi Genki→Miyachika Kaito
word count: 5,600
author's note: Companion to falling meant to be read second, though honestly, I think it could stand alone. Title is from Shake It Out by Florence + the Machine, which is suggested listening while reading this. Some of the basis for this comes from this interview from Winkup~ This was originally for shiritori @ writetomyheart, but holy crap it got long.
summary: Maybe Genki's being careless, but maybe for the first time in his whole, entire sixteen years of existence, he's found someone capable of chasing away the lowlight-reel and showing him that there are a few good things in his life, too.
Over and over again, Genki relives all of the stupid things he's done in his life; in the shower, on the train, lying in bed at night. The times when he can't occupy himself with something else are the worst, because even stressing himself out over his studies, even being criticized by the harshest of choreographers, even being chewed out yet again by his parents for not living up to their expectations, for not being the son they wanted him to be is better than being forced to reflect on all his faults. Because there are too many to count, too many to ever fully address, and so daily routines and long commutes and sleepless nights just become a never-ending lowlight-reel of his life.
And of course, Genki is mediocre to subpar at a lot of things, but recently, at times like these, all he can think about is Miyachika. All the times that he's messed up, all the times that he's made a fool of himself, all the times that he hasn't been good enough… there are so many instances that Genki feels like he's being buried alive sometimes. Because Miyachika is so cool, and so talented, and so funny, so full of life, so surrounded by friends… and Genki is the exact opposite, and so any attempt to engage with Miyachika, any time that they're in one another's presence, even, is an accident waiting to happen. Nothing about Genki measures up, and so even if he tries to pretend, even if he tries to stretch himself up to Miyachika's level, it only ends in failure, another snapshot to go into Genki's mental photo album of his own shortcomings.
But somehow, despite it all, Miyachika seems generally unruffled by Genki's existence, doesn't seem to look down on him or talk about him behind Genki's back or, really, care much at all, and while Genki longs for Miyachika's attention, his approval, being completely neutral is far better than being disdained. And actually, sometimes, when Genki's feeling particularly optimistic, sometimes it even seems like Miyachika is a little bit fond of him, times like when he asks Genki if he's coming out with the group for lunch between rehearsals or brings Genki a water from the vending machine. Despite the fact that he knows he shouldn't, despite the fact that Genki knows it's just going to leave him disappointed in the end, it makes him hope, hope that maybe, one day, somehow, things can get better between them, and while maybe, Miyachika is lightyears out of his league, at least maybe, somehow, one day they can be friends. Or something.
And so, despite his continual reliving of all his mistakes, despite how small and insignificant he feels whenever he's around Miyachika, slowly but surely, as summer turns into fall and they continue to be featured in Shounen Club performances and magazines and the choreography for Dream Boys together, somehow, Genki begins to build up something that might be comparable to courage. It isn't much, especially with the looming memories of things like tripping and falling on Miyachika at the beach and being caught staring wistfully at him on several separate occasions hanging darkly in the back of his mind, but it's enough to meet Miyachika's eyes and smile and say hello at the beginnings of rehearsals, enough to sit a little closer to him during rehearsals and listen and maybe giggle a little when he tells stories, enough to wave and bid him goodbye at the end of the day. It feels good, being able to be just a little bit closer, and even though some part of his mind screams at him that he's taking himself out dangerously far on this limb, when nothing goes horribly wrong as Dream Boys rehearsals become tech rehearsals and then performances, Genki can't help but feel like maybe, just maybe, his life is taking an upward turn for the first time ever. And it's in this swell of hope, this bubble of optimism that he finally does it: he asks Miyachika if he wants to grab dinner together after the show that day, and Miyachika actually agrees.
Genki barely feels like his feet touch the ground for the rest of the day. He barely even feels sick to his stomach before the show, and somehow, remembering his cues and choreography doesn't seem nearly so hard. Nothing can bring him down now, not when he's finally found the courage to do what he thought he'd never be able to do and actually gotten a good result. It feels like the first time in his life; up until now, Genki's entire existence has been a repetition of the best effort and most hard work on Genki's part only to have things fall short because no matter how much he tries, the fact remains that he's mediocre and untalented at the end of the day, and no amount of hard work can make up for it. But now… now, for the first time ever, he's worked towards something and actually achieved, and not even his perpetual fear of failing onstage can dampen that.
After the show, Genki waits for Miyachika at the end of hall where they'd agreed to meet, his heart beating excitedly in his chest and a nervous smile hanging on his lips. He feels a little silly, being so excited just for dinner, but this is a big deal, this means so much more than just dinner to him, and even if it's the quickest fast food dinner in the world, Genki knows that he'll be happy. The waiting is hard, but he knows he's gotten ready pretty quickly in his enthusiasm, and he doesn't mind waiting.
The minutes feel like they're taking hours, the second hand of his watch moving as if it's fighting its way through molasses, but eventually five minutes, ten minutes go by, and Miyachika doesn't appear. Their arranged meeting times comes and passes, and slowly, worry begins to overcome all the other emotions that have been filling Genki all evening. He tries to tell himself that it could be anything; Miyachika could be caught up talking with the director, or joking with friends, but he could just have easily become ill, or gotten some sort of serious call from family, and finally, when fifteen minutes have passed since the meeting time, Genki breaks down and hurries back to their dressing room, just to check.
Miyachika isn't there, and neither is his bag, a fact that leaves Genki unsure of how to feel. He looks around the hall once more, but Miyachika is nowhere in sight, and when Genki asks a few of the younger juniors if they've seen him, none of them have in the past ten minutes. He tries not to panic, but Genki's never really been good at that, and when any texts he sends to Miyachika go unanswered, Genki isn't sure what to do.
Before Genki can work himself too far into a tissy, however, worrying that Miyachika has died or fallen off the face of the planet completely, Miyachika appears down the hall-- talking and joking with a few members of Snow Man as they all head out of the theatre together. Genki watches as Miyachika smiles and laughs with their senpai, elbowing them and bumping shoulders like they're the closest of friends, watches as he leaves Genki behind without looking back. Never mind the plans that they had, never mind what he had told Genki, never mind that Genki had been so happy, so excited, so much in anticipation…
Genki isn't sure what a heart breaking feels like, but, as his knees give out and he falls to the ground right there in the hallway, tears flooding his eyes before he can stop them, he thinks that this must be it.
He can't make the scene stop replaying in his mind for the rest of the night and into the next morning, can't stop seeing Miyachika's face, all lit up with laughter, as he turned his back to Genki, like it was no big deal, like Genki didn't matter at all. But of course, Genki thinks wryly to himself, he doesn't matter, he's never mattered to anyone, and he was fooling himself to feel otherwise. There's a little anger at Miyachika, a little feeling of betrayal, but mostly he's angry at himself for stupidly thinking that Miyachika could ever care about him, could ever want to spend time with him, could ever even remember that he existed. He'd let his guard down yet again, just like every time he'd let himself be tripped up in the past, he'd been stupid and naive and gotten hurt in the process. He's not sure how he, the kid always picked last for teams in elementary school, the wimp of the class and the target of all the bullies in middle school, the Junior with so few friends that he spent his first year or so in Johnny's mostly alone in the corner doing homework and only began to gain friends when the management, for some unfathomable reason, decided that he ought to be pushed, could have forgotten something so quintessential to his existence, but somehow, he let himself get careless, and he only has himself to blame for being hurt this way.
Still, despite the fact that it's mostly his own fault, he can't bring himself to meet Miyachika's eyes at work the next morning, and doesn't know what else to do but avoid him like the plague throughout their warmup time and while they get into their costumes and fix their hair and makeup. He knows that he probably can't avoid Miyachika forever, but on the other hand, Miyachika probably won't even notice, and maybe, Genki thinks, he can just let himself fade into the background. It's an appealing thought (on some level, it always has been-- if only he could blot himself out altogether, without anyone noticing, without causing anyone any problems, and put himself out of his misery), and while maybe it's doomed to fail, he doesn't really feel like anything he tried could ever be anything but doomed to fail, and he doesn't have the strength to try to face the issue right now.
By some miracle, it seems to work all the way up through the end of the show. Genki's always quiet and generally keeps to himself, and so, he thinks, no one will notice if he slips away when Miyachika starts to talk to the group, no one will notice if he looks the other way when Miyachika joins the conversation, no one will notice if Genki hides in the bathroom as often as possible, feeling sick from something altogether different from his usual nerves. He wonders if he ought to be depressed at how little it seems to affect anything that he's entirely miserable, but right now, it makes everything easier, and so he tries not to think too hard about it, tries not to think too hard about anything as he goes through the day with his guards up and his spirits down.
But then, of course, when he's let himself get careless, when he starts thinking that everything's going to be fine this way, before he realizes what's happening, Miyachika brings everything crumbling down. Genki is sitting at the mirror after the show, taking off his makeup and washing his face when suddenly, he's startled out of his concentration by Miyachika's face in the mirror, terrifyingly close to his own. He starts enough to visibly jump in his seat, his face turning bright red as he turns to face Miyachika, his mind pumped with adrenaline and racing to figure out how to handle the situation.
Before he can say anything, however, Miyachika laughs, pointing at Genki's reflection in the mirror. "You seriously look like you've seen a ghost," he chuckles, but while usually, Genki would laugh along, happy that someone is willing to joke around with him, of all people, today, he feels hotly ashamed, and he can feel his face heating up more, a hot, tight pressure building behind his eyes and already threatening tears. His throat is tight too, and so he simply shrugs, unable to find the words to say anything, not to mention how he feels.
Miyachika squints at him, cocking his head to one side for a moment before slowly asking, "What's up with you? You've been acting funny since yesterday." The way he looks at Genki, as if Genki's the one who did something wrong, as if Genki is acting strange or unreasonable-- well, Genki supposes that to someone like Miyachika, who has no need for a loser like Genki, his behaviour must seem odd and inexplicable, but it still hurts, still makes something in his heart feel like it's exploding, and before he can hold himself back, all the feelings that have been festering inside of him since yesterday suddenly won't be held in any longer.
"I waited for you--" he bursts, his voice cracking embarrassingly under the emotional strain, and he tries to hold it all in, but it's a lost cause now. "You said-- I… Yesterday…" And he sounds like an idiot, unable to even manage a complete sentence to express what he wants to say (something he's never been able to do under pressure, something his parents have reprimanded him for time and time again and that keeps him from ever being able to defend himself to them), but there's nothing he can do about it; he's too far gone now, and it's all he can do to even fight back the tears threatening to fall at any second.
He can't bring himself to meet Miyachika's eyes, can't even find the strength to look up from the floor, but he can tell just from Miyachika's body language that he doesn't really seem to care; his body isn't tense the way Genki's is, and it only breaks Genki's heart even further as he braces himself for Miyachika's reply. Miyachika, for his part, seems unsure of how to proceed after Genki's outburst, and he makes a sort-of forced laugh, shifting his weight uncomfortably. "Um… oops," he replies at length, and the lightness of his tone already makes Genki feel like he wants to just die and get out of this misery. "I totally spaced it. Sorry! I'm busy today, but let's grab dinner sometime this week instead?"
He supposes it's an apology, sort of, but clearly, Miyachika doesn't really think the whole thing is a big deal, doesn't think it's even really worth a real "I'm sorry," and it's that knowledge that pushes Genki over the edge. He can't think of a response, can't really think at all as the tears break forth, spilling down his cheeks and creating small, wet circles on the floor beneath him. He should be embarrassed of his tears, should be ashamed of his weakness, but right now, all he can feel is empty inside, and without another word, he flees, heading for the bathroom.
It's stupid to hide in the bathroom, the way he used to do when he was first in Johnny's and was too scared to tell anyone how sick he felt before shows for fear that they'd decide he wasn't good enough after all, but he doesn't know where else to take refuge. Luckily, most people are out at the conbini or taking a nap between shows, and so he can snatch a few moments of solitude, but he knows it's only a matter of time before his friends and fellow Juniors return and begin to flood the bathrooms to get ready for the evening show. It's not like anyone would be surprised to find Genki locked in one of the stalls, but even after a few minutes, he can't make the tears stop, can't steady himself or stop the trembling that's spread through his entire body, and he can't let them see or hear him this way, he just can't. They already think of him as a pathetic loser, and on top of everything with Miyachika, Genki doesn't think that he can handle anything more.
But he can't seem to get ahold of himself even as the minutes tick down, can't get Miyachika's tone out of his head, the way he'd shrugged the whole thing off still stabbing into Genki's heart, and he can't stop seeing his face from the day earlier, can't stop reliving the past twenty-four hours on continual loop. He hates himself for this, for everything, hates himself for letting himself get careless in the first place and stupidly thinking that Miyachika would ever care about him, hates himself for making a fool of himself in front of Miyachika, hates himself for being so self-pitying and unable to get ahold of himself now, but still the tears don't subside no matter how much he mentally berates himself. In fact, it seems to make the them come even harder, and soon Genki finds himself doubled over retching on the bathroom floor.
He knows he won't throw up; he never has, and that would be all too fulfilling, to be able to say that he'd gotten tangibly sick, to have that credit to make people believe that something was wrong. Instead, he'll just look like a big baby with a stomach ache again, just like always, because he's a pathetic mess. But he knows that this stomach ache won't be cured by any medicine, won't be cured by anything. There's no cure for his own worthlessness.
Somehow, some way, Genki finds the strength to pull himself together enough for the stage twenty minutes before curtain, but even as he stands in the wings for his first entrance, he thinks, it probably would have been better if he'd just told everyone he was too sick to perform. After all, he's a bad enough dancer as it is, and now, on top of everything else, he forgets everything every time Miyachika comes into view, and he's sure he's just going to let everyone down.
Prior to the incident, Genki had actually been tentatively looking forward to performing in ABC-Za, but now, the whole thing has become a nightmare, a cycle of failures that haunt his dreams at night and keep him from focusing on his studies and rehearsals during the day. It's all a mess, because before, despite being excited to be allowed to perform with ABC-Z and looking forward to spending more time with Miyachika, Genki had been confused at best at how he of all people had been selected to participate in a show that was mainly dancing and where the majority of the cast, from ABC-Z to the professional dancers to Snowman to Miyachika, were amazing at dancing. But now… now that he's been reminded so harshly of his failures, now that he's had any confidence he might have been building tugged out from under his feet, it just feels miserable, like an effort in futility. He can tell that the choreographers and rehearsal instructors are all confused as to why he was cast in the first place rather than Kishi or Jinguji, or even a less popular but more talented Junior like Reia or Fu, he can see their frustration growing to the point that they want to yank him out of all the numbers, or at least stick him in the back, but have been instructed that Genki brings in too many fans to cut him now.
But at least Genki is used to the disappointment of his elders, used to his parents' scolding and his teachers' dirty looks and choreographers' harsh words and insults when he fails time and time again. What's worse than that is the disappointment of his senpai and his peers, the knowledge that every time the rehearsal director stops the number in the middle and reams Genki out before telling them to take it from the top, it's causing ABC-Z to sigh heavily, causing the members of Snow Man to roll their eyes, causing Miyachika to think god only knows what about Genki. It's his fault that every single member of the cast is suffering, and Genki hates himself for it, hates his own weakness and failure every single time it happens over and over again in each rehearsal. He respects ABC-Z so much, has looked up to them ever since he joined Johnny's, and he wants so badly for Snow Man to like him… but of course, all of it is in vain, because Genki is a failure, simple as that, and he's never going to amount to anything more.
But worse than all that, even, somehow, worse than being seen for the failure that he is by his most admired senpai and by the most talented Juniors in the whole agency is Miyachika. Ever since the incident during Dream Boys, he and Genki hadn't spoken to one another-- or rather, Genki hasn't spoken to Miyachika. Somehow, presumably because Genki meant so little to him, Miyachika had clearly thought that it wasn't a big deal, and had continued to talk at Genki when he was together with their group of friends for the following few days, but Genki hadn't been able to handle it, had begun feeling so sick to his stomach whenever he even saw Miyachika that he couldn't do anything but turn away, but hide from the problem even when it was a problem he had created himself. Some part of him feels guilty for acting so strangely when Miyachika really hadn't done anything, when it had been all of the ridiculous and outlandish expectations that Genki had heaped on him, but really he couldn't help it when it felt so much like his whole world had come crashing down with Miyachika's complete lack of any sense of responsibility for his promise to Genki.
And so Genki had avoided Miyachika like the plague for the latter half of Dream Boys, and eventually, Miyachika had gotten the message that Genki really didn't want to talk, and so now, as Dream Boys draws to a close and they enter tech rehearsals in Nissay for ABC-Za, an awkward distance hangs between them throughout their rehearsals. It hurts Genki, to keep avoiding someone who he's liked so much for so long, but at the same time, it seems better this way, to keep all his failure and all his screw-ups as far away as possible from Miyachika. Miyachika, who's an amazing dancer, Miyachika, who gets nothing but praise from the rehearsal director, Miyachika, who is handsome and funny and popular and talented and perfect and the exact opposite of Genki… just looking at him makes Genki's heart ache, and so he keeps his distance, because it's better, he thinks, for both of them.
But unfortunately, the circumstances of their situation make things hard, because Genki and Miyachika are the only two maybe-maybe-not Sexy Boyz in the show, and they're easily the two Juniors with the most mainstream popularity in the group, and so they're directed to do everything together. Not only are they in almost all the same scenes, not only are the symmetry partners in almost every dance, but they have a duet of just the two of them, and therefore have rehearsals every single day where it's just the two of them and the director. It's awful, it makes Genki feel sick with anxiety and nervousness, because not only has he completely ruined his friendship with Miyachika over his own idiocy, but now he's ruining the show for Miyachika, too. Because when it's just the two of them is when his mental state is at its worst, and he hates the self-fulfilling prophecy that he makes himself. After all, he's terrified of failing in front of Miyachika, which only makes him anxious and causes him to fail, which doubles his fear of of failure. It's a never-ending cycle, and the way Genki can't stop reliving the whole incident during Dream Boys every time Miyachika is in his presence and he isn't physically being forced to think about something else doesn't help matters in the slightest.
But, Genki thinks, he has to endure, just has to make it another week through the end of rehearsals and then a month through the run of the show, and then it will be over. Sure, he'll still (possibly) be in a group with Miyachika, but, Genki thinks, nothing about Johnny's is certain, anyway, and it seems doubtful that he'll maintain popularity for very long when really, there's nothing special or likable about him, anyway. And so he grits his teeth and tries to fake it in hopes that he won't ruin the show for everyone.
It's easier said than done, though, and as they get closer and closer to opening night, the director seems to get more and more nervous about Genki's ability to perform at the same level as everyone else. As tensions rise, so does the director's apparent anxiety over Genki's skill level, and, Genki begins to think, it's all an effort in futility and maybe soon the director will just cut him from the show and put him out of his misery. Still, even his hope in a swift and easy end begins to fade as the days count down and the number of times he gets criticized skyrockets, but he tries to hold it together, because that's all he really can do.
He tries his hardest, but that's really never been enough, and so, sure enough, four days before the show, he falls apart. The director has been on him particularly mercilessly today, stopping his and Miyachika's number barely seconds into the dance to rip into Genki's form, his energy, his timing, and by the seventh time of starting over before they've even gotten halfway through, Genki can't take it anymore. He's used to being told how much of a failure he is, used to being told that his efforts aren't good enough, but at some point, at some level of emotional battery, even he falls apart, and so fall apart he does, spectacularly.
He's not sure what's happening, but one moment, the director is telling him he's not trying hard enough, and then the next minute, his face is hot and his eyes are wet and someone who doesn't sound like him but must be him is yelling, "It's impossible! I just can't do it!" And then tears are streaming down his cheeks and his legs are moving of their own accord and then he's fleeing into the hall, his vision white with panic and hysteria until he throws himself into the farthest corner of the dressing room and sinks to the floor and into the smallest ball he can manage, body shaking as suddenly, he's overcome by the strength of his own sobbing.
He doesn't know what he's thinking-- he really isn't thinking, not about how he should be humiliated by this breakdown, not about how he's probably going to be kicked out of the show for talking back to the director this way, not about how his peers and senpai probably see him as a ridiculous crybaby now and will never respect him again… he just feels empty, like after weeks of struggle, finally, he just can't handle it anymore. Maybe, he thinks hazily, in his emotionally wrung-out state of delirium, maybe they'll all just ignore him and he'll die here, in this disgusting, pathetic heap.
His delusions of a pitiful but undisturbed death are thwarted a moment later, however, when the door to the dressing room opens slowly to reveal Miyachika hesitantly peering in at him. It's the crowning blow, and Genki whimpers, withdrawing further into himself and hoping desperately that the other boy will just leave; the last thing he needs now is to have it rubbed in that he's a failure by having Miyachika tell him off, or worse, try to brush it off and coax him back to rehearsal. He just can't handle it, and so he pulls his knees tight to his chest and tries to somehow block Miyachika out. It's pathetic, but he doesn't know what else to do, especially in this state, especially when his own failure to be able to do anything right is what got him into this mess to begin with.
He can hear the door close again and footsteps move towards him, though, and it feels like a lost cause. He braces himself for Miyachika's words, for being mocked, or told to get over it, or laughed at, but even as he holds his breath, nothing comes. Instead, he hears a rustle of fabric, and after a moment, he darks to crack one eye open and is surprised to see Miyachika kneeling at eye level, looking at him in a way that inexplicably and incomprehensibly can only be described as concerned.
"…Genki?" he asks after a moment, and when Genki blinks back at him, uncurling slightly in pure, unadulterated surprise, Miyachika reaches out and brushes the hair back from Genki's eyes, giving him a hint of a smile. Genki doesn't understand, his mind can't wrap itself around what's happening, around the fact that Miyachika is touching him and smiling at him and he sits up a little further despite himself, his mouth hanging open but no words coming.
But "It's gonna be okay," says Miyachika, and somehow, in some way, those are the words that Genki has needed to hear this whole time. He isn't even shocked when Miyachika pulls him into his arms and pats his back as Genki descends into tears once more, he isn't even stunned as Miyachika whispers quiet words of encouragement into his hair as he sobs into Miyachika's shoulder. He's never really believed before when people have told him things like that, when people have told him it'll be all right or things will get better or you can do it, because he's a failure and things will never be all right or get better, because he can't do it. But somehow, when Miyachika says it to him, voice gentle and low and a lulling murmur against his ear, like it's just for Genki, it doesn't feel like a platitude. It feels like Miyachika really, truly believes in him, and maybe Genki's still crazy and delirious, but maybe that's what makes the difference.
Later, once Genki's pulled himself back together and made it through rehearsal, once they're showered and dressed in clean sweats and sitting together on Miyachika's bunk bed, hidden away from the rest of the world, Genki feels as if he's seeing the world from a completely different perspective. Maybe it's the height-- he's never been on a bunk bed before, and Miyachika had taken pity on him and brought him home rather than letting Genki face his parents in the emotional state he'd been in-- but maybe it's something else entirely. He feels wiped clean, as if he'd emptied his insides of all the negativity along with the tears, and now there's nothing there. It isn't a bad feeling, really, but Genki doesn't understand it, either.
They're sitting in silence, and while it's not uncomfortable, Genki feels as if there are words that need to be spoken. He's not sure what, exactly, but he opens his mouth and, "Why didn't you tell me you were changing your plans, back during Dream Boys?" is what comes out. He should be horrified, maybe, but oddly what would have taken an inconceivable amount of courage hours earlier now just feels like words.
Miyachika blinks at him for a moment, then licks his lips and frowns. "I… forgot," he admits, but he doesn't laugh, doesn't shrug or rub the back of his neck like it's no big deal. Instead, he looks off to the side and bites his lip for a moment before adding, "I was embarrassed when you brought it up again. But… that was sort of douchey, wasn't it?"
It's not an apology, but Genki isn't even really sure that that's necessarily what he wanted. The words ring around inside him for a minute before he nods, slowly. He's not good with words, not good with feelings, but somehow, hearing Miyachika describe his own actions that way feels as if maybe, just a little, he's seen it the way Genki's been seeing it and re-seeing it for a month.
Miyachika looks out into the room for a long moment as Genki digests, but after another beat, he turns back, offering Genki a smile. "I'll make it up to you, okay? Let's go out tomorrow. Just you and me. I'll buy the burgers?"
And maybe it's not perfect, maybe it's not what Genki was expecting, but it's something that makes Genki's hollow insides feel a little bit warmer, and he smiles too. "…mm," he agrees quietly with a nod, and somehow, at the affirmation, tiny and unobtrusive as it is, he feels suddenly as if his whole world just got a little bit brighter. It's inexplicable, but he can't fight back the smile the grows on his face as he shyly meets Miyachika's eyes, really and truly and of his own intent for the first time since the incident.
"It's a date, then!" Miyachika announces, slinging an arm around Genki and bumping their shoulders together, and Genki thinks, maybe he's being careless, but maybe for the first time in his whole, entire sixteen years of existence, he's found someone capable of chasing away the lowlight-reel and showing him that there are a few good things in his life, too.