Why did you end up two-timing, Peadar?

After Mié dumped me . . .

Mié, again?

Would you let me continue? After Mié left me, I went through six months without a girl. And the longer I went, the more desperate I got. My standards plummeted.

A vicious cycle.

A “Bitch-ious” cycle’s more like it. One thing I learned then was that it was much easier to find someone new, someone better when you were already with someone. And so, my relationship with Tatami, morphed into a relationship with . . .


No, I was seeing another woman on the side.


Sorry, but that’s the way it was. Anyways, that relationship, or should I say those relationships, blended into the relationship that developed with Haruka.

And your affair with Akané?

I intended to eventually leave Haruka for Akané once I was sure that Akané was the one I wanted to be with.

Eventually? You dated the two of them simultaneously for quite some time.

That hadn’t been the plan.

What was “the plan”, Peadar?

I was going to dial down the relationship with Haruka and dial up the . . . I know how it must sound.

Do you now? So, did you “dial down” your relationship with Haruka?

A bit, yes. We would see each other only about once every one or two weeks, usually on the weekend. With Akané, it was more like once or twice a week. But, because of the nature of Akané’s work—she usually had weekdays off—we would meet during my afternoon breaks, on weeknights, occasionally on a weekend. I was definitely spending more time with Akané. And, to be quite honest, I was happier with her than I had been with another woman in a long time. For once, I wasn’t looking back. I wasn’t preoccupied by “what ifs”, anymore.

So, what went wrong?


Haruka would do something that drove me up the wall.

Which was?

She would go off the radar for days on end. Now, I’m not the jealous, clingy type—I understand that people need their space—but if a woman promised to meet me or call me, well, I would expect her to keep her word. Haruka, though, she kept leaving me hanging, waiting for her to call.

You could have always contacted Haruka . . .

No, no, no. Haruka was living at home with her family. I couldn’t just call her up anytime I liked—Japanese parents can be overly protective—and I didn’t dare call her up at work. You just don’t do that in Japan unless you want to embarrass someone or get them fired. No, all I could do was wait at home until her Highness deigned to grace me with an audience. Sometimes a whole week would go by and nothing. And then one Friday night after we had been dating for a few months, Haruka stood me up one time too many. As a very last resort, I tried her at home only to get her sister who said she didn’t know where Haruka was or when she would return. I should explain that although Haruka wasn’t what you would call a bombshell, she was still wildly popular with men. The power of cleavage, I suppose. She once said there hadn’t been a time in her life since junior high school when she wasn’t dating someone.

So, what did you think she was doing?

I figured she was out with another man. She had said something a month or so earlier about having to collect her things from her ex-boyfriend’s apartment. Perhaps, they had gotten back together? The guy was apparently very rich, drove a Ferrari in a country where you didn’t see many conspicuous sports cars.[1] You know what I was driving then?

No, what?

A rusty old bicycle I had liberated from the station one drunken night.

And it was around this time that you went by Akané’s workplace?

It was the very next day, actually. In the afternoon.

Akané was surprised to see you. Happy, but surprised. She could tell that you hadn’t quite remembered who she was when she had bumped into you, and, to be honest, she was relieved.

Relieved? Why do you say that?

You really don’t remember, do you? I find it hard to believe that after all these years you still aren’t able to put two and two together.

Could you give me a hint?

Maybe later.


[1] Times have certainly changed in this regard.