Not long after you got back together with Akané, you started dating Haruka again, didn’t you?

I did, yes.

So, could you tell me what that was all about, Peadar?

Haruka wrote me a beautiful, heartfelt letter.

A letter? Oh, that’s right, this was way back in the Nineties. An age when the coke-fired blast furnace and steam engine held great promise for the future of industry . . .

May I continue?

By all means.

After Haruka and I had broken up, she traveled to the U.S. with a friend of hers—this was the same friend, mind you, who had at the very beginning asked me what I thought about Haruka, the one who had encouraged us to go out on that first date. That friend would get married to an American, by and by, and move to Texas with him where they would start a family.

That’s nice.

It is. It is. They’re still married today and have something like five children.


So, I agreed to meet Haruka. And when we got together I found her to be so sincere in her . . . I don’t know what to call it. “Love” seems too strong a word; “admiration”, too controlled . . .

Her “feelings”?

Yeah . . . Haruka was so sincere in her feelings for me that I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it was over.

How considerate of you, Peadar.

Well, that “consideration” had me dating the two of them for the next twelve months.

How do you think you managed not to get caught again?

I was more careful . . . Busier, too.


I had decided to enroll in the graduate program at Geikōdai, Kyūshū University’s School of Design, and was busy preparing for the entrance exam which was held the following winter. The two of them respected that and gave me the space I needed.

Well, wasn’t that convenient?