And how long had you been with this girlfriend by then?
No, no. It was only two months, possibly three. It was during the rainy season, around late June or early July, when Akané spotted me on the corner that day. Haruka and I had only been dating since early May.
And your eye was already wandering?
I am, what I am.
But that’s not really true, is it? It’s not as if you were a lady-killer in those days.
No, I’m embarrassed to admit, I was not.
Who was it, again, that you were dating when you first met Haruka?
Ugh, do you have to remind me?
It was Tatami.
That’s right, Tatami! Good Lord, Peadar, what were you thinking?
That’s the problem: I wasn’t. It was something of a low water mark in my life . . . I didn’t have hell of a lot of confidence.
So, when Tatami went away to England for a year and was finally out of your hair you met Haruka, right?
Yeah. Tatami left in April and, let me tell you, I was never happier to see someone go. We promised to write regularly, of course—you know the things people say—but, I don’t think we exchanged more than a handful of letters during the next twelve months.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Got that right.
 Haruka is a name that is sure to be brutalized by the American accent. It is not pronounced Ha-ROO-ka, but rather Ha-du-ka with a slight emphasis on the first syllable.
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