Mitsuru decided to go back to Paris in where her parents were living now, and to stay there during this Christmas holiday as usual.
She saw Mr. and Mrs. Takanobu, who were also going to go back to Japan to stay there during this holiday, off at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport before her departure, and was killing time while waiting for her boarding time now.
In shanghai, people celebrated Chinese national holiday called Spring Festival most splendidly in a year as an annual function, so many companies of Shanghai would perform business as usual in spite of Christmas and New Year.Â But the company that Mitsuru worked at was managed by European countries mainly, so she could get the Christmas holiday every winter.Â Still, there were many Christmas decorations all over the city of Shanghai, and it as well as other big cities in the world was bustling with many people.Â Mitsuru, who had spent her childhood in Europe where people valued Christmas season, was enjoying its atmosphere in Shanghai, too.Â It was very today Mitsuruâs vacation had begun.Â Takanobuâs family, who were also going to go to their country today, chartered a full-size taxi, and picked Mitsuru up on the way to the airport.Â Mitsuru’s flight to Paris was 2 hours after Takanobu’s to Japan, and their flights would depart from the same terminal as hers.
Mr. and Mrs. Takanobu, their two children, and their many luggage had lively gone into the boarding gate, Mitsuru saw them off there.Â Suddenly, a silence surrounded Mitsuru, who was quite delighted with this lively mood that was peculiar to this season a short time ago.Â She came to feel calm, and moved to a lounge owned by the airline company Mitsuru had reserved where its passengers could await their departure.
Her flight would be due to depart 2 hours later.Â Mitsuru heard that Akihiko would go out to U.S. tomorrow, and stay there during this Christmas holiday, because a friend of him had invited him.Â Akihiko had lived in U. S. for a long time, and had many friends living there.
2 days ago, Mitsuru had a good time with Akihiko at Takanobuâs apartment, having the Christmas and year-end party.Â Mitsuru prepared 2 boxes, which were very large, as a present of Christmas for Takanobuâs children, and carried them with difficulty. But she didnât give any presents to Akihiko this year.
However, Mitsuru recovered composure as if she had been dispossessed of an evil spirit, after she had told Takanobu about some matters that was concerned with Akihiko.Â Mitsuru stole a glance at Akihikoâs laptop when she visited Akihikoâs apartment the other day. She confessed her guilt to Takanobu.Â But she was getting to be able to enjoy spending time with Akihiko, Takanobu, and his family as before.Â Still, there was awkwardness between Mitsuru and Akihiko, but she persuaded herself that this situation was a kind of process of their relationship.Â Then she stopped doing what she didn’t want to do, and stopped trying to make their relationship deepen hurriedly for the moment.
Still, although she cogitated like that every day, she also perceived that her own affection toward Akihiko would be steadfast.Â She attempted to accept her own feeling, though it was painful for her, because she could not fall in love without feeling painful, and she had experienced it many times, and was familiar with it.
On the other hand, Mitsuru could not help taking interest in âThat womanâ, so she had continued reading what âThat womanâ had written on the internet.Â Moreover Mitsuru tried to search what Mitsuru had not found yet, going back to past.Â Mitsuru had not yet known what kind of the relationship between Akihiko and âThat womanâ was: Had they been lovers, actually meeting offline? Or they might not have met actually offline, just talking only online? Was there a possibility that they had been lovers of only online, not meeting offline at all? Mitsuru thought these various possibilities.
Mitsuru wondered why herself continued doing such a thing: she investigated the relationship âThat womanâ and Alihiko had once as if being a detective.
She did it because of her jealousy?Â Because she could not stop herself to be interested in Akihiko too much?Â Or because Mitsuru came to be interested in âThat womanâ herself purely?
The reason was not clear, still Mitsuru could not help continuing to search and read what âThat womanâ had written on the internet, after she had confessed to Takanobu that she had found out âThat womanâ by using Akihiko’s computer.Â Of course, it could not have become an excuse to assume her own defiant attitude, even though she had confessed her guilt. She was disgusted herself, but couldn’t stop such a behavior.
Takanobu said to Mitsuru at that time, âI am worried that it would harm yourself to continue doing such a thing. I mean that if you would continue reading what âThat womanâ had written, you would get hurt, I guess.â
Mitsuru agreed with his thought, but could not stop doing.Â She never confessed to Akihiko her guilt that she had seen Akihiko’s computer without his permission, and forbad Takanobu to say anything about it to Akihiko.Â Takanobu seemed to keep her promise.
But, Mitsuru never felt guilty anymore.
âWell, but Akihiko should not keep such an interesting things to himself.â, she told herself before she knew it.
âI would like to read them very much, because what âThat womanâ had written is so interesting for me.â
Mitsuru continued so, and noticed that the fact what âThat womanâ had written was interesting for even Mitsuru simply made her sense of guilt weak.
So, she could recognize that her own doings would not be stalking.Â In the same way, a possibility that Akihiko could not help reading it only because it was simply fun for him would also console her.
Akihiko was the very person that âThat womanâ was writing.Â Therefore, it was natural that he could not but read it, Mitsuru could understand.Â Now, it was a novel written by âThat womanâ that Mitsuru was looking for.Â It was the work that âThat womanâ had written just after she had broken up with Akihiko.
According to her blog, she submitted it to an online prize of literature, and seemed to have gotten a prize.Â Not all of the parts of the novel, but some of them seemed to be written on the basis of some true facts of âThat womanâ and Akihiko’s relationship.
But âThat womanâ did not publish it on her blog anymore now. âThat womanâ was still using the same blog as one she used when she was Akihikoâs girlfriend.
However, Mitsuru knew that âThat womanâ stopped publishing only that novel by reading other posts of her blog.Â So, Mitsuru conceived of an idea that she would try to find somebody who had read that novel, and would ask him/her to tell her what story it would be.Â As she repeatedly searched it on the internet, she found some user accounts that had already read it.Â But, if Mitsuru would approach them who were still on friendly terms with âThat womanâ, there was a danger that somebody of them would tell âThat womanâ that Mitsuru eagerly checked her out.
So Mitsuru was looking for someone who would only tell her it in a beneficial way to her.
She took a laptop out of her bag, and started to check e-mails.Â Mitsuru was wearing a brilliant light grey dress, which was made from mohair, was putting a black cardigan on it, and was wearing black patent leather boots today.
As soon as Mitsuru entered this lounge, a young man, who was tall and handsome, like an elite business man noticed Mitsuru, and he watched her in fascinated.Â Mitsuru was used to such a situation she felt most men looked at her.Â But, because she had been so crazy about Akihiko for these past about 6 months, she had not paid attention to other men at all.Â But even though Mitsuru was going to remain being in love with Akihiko from now on, today, Mitsuru would like to stop her way of thinking that she was apt to chase Akihiko one-sidedly, so she responded to the glance of the man sitting in the lounge.Â When Mitsuruâs eyes met his, he politely greeted her only with a smile.Â Mitsuru expected that he would come to her, but he didnât do at that time.
However, when she entered a passenger cabin of business class, she found that her own seat was next to the seat of the very man like a movie.Â Mitsuru was excited because she was going to go back to Paris after a long time.Â So she struck up a conversation with him before she knew it, speaking in English first.Â But he replied in French fluently,
âBecause, I saw you were reading a book written in French at the lounge.â, added so, and introduced himself to Mitsuru.Â Each seat of business class was separated from other seats, but Mitsuru enjoyed the conversation with him all the time of the flight to Paris, as if he was originally a company of her.Â His name was Qui Jangjae, and he was a businessman frequently coming and going between Shanghai and Paris.Â Mitsuru parted from Qui at the airport after they had exchanged contact information each other.
Qui said to Mitsuru, âMay I invite you for dinner after having gone back to Shanghai? I am usually living in Shanghai.â
Quiâs way of speaking was polite, and seemed to be a kind of lip service, so Mitsuru politely replied on the same level with him, and waved her hand with a smile.
âAu revoir, Ă bientĂ´t.â
Good bye, see you next time.
Mitsuru restored her own confidence as female, because she’d been cherished by the man other than Akihiko after a long time, and she cooled down.
âAkihiko is certainly a nice guy, but I feel I’ve been crazy about him too much. My shortsighted passion might have made him suffer.â Mitsuru thought.Â Still, although she was getting to be calm in regard to Akihiko, she remained being concerned with the novel âThat womanâ had written once.
âThat is one thing, this is another.â Mitsuru said.Â When she finally arrived Paris, it was the day before Christmas eve.Â Powder snow was falling, and it was cold.Â She took a bus to go to the stop near her parental house.Â As she looked out of the window of the bus, a combination of color that were dull grey of the city and pure white of snow made her feel nostalgic.Â Those colors were familiar to her.Â Suddenly, she came to feel that it might have been silly that she hadn’t personally made contact with Akihiko.
She recalled that she used to be in love with somebody many times in this Paris, when she was in her 10′s, and 20′s.Â Even though her love affairs were not so enormous, she had certainly had as much experiences as other people: she came to love somebody, she did not love them anymore, somebody came to love her, and somebody did not love her anymore and so on.Â Then, when a bus stop that was Mitsuru’s destination was getting closer, she noticed herself to be satisfied, because she was going to stay at her hometown from now on.Â She could believe this holiday would come to be heartwarming.
âI know that I would be sometimes satisfied when I have unrequited love rather than when I have a steady. Now itâs the very time I am so satisfied!â Mitsuru said.Â The bus stopped, and Mitsuru got out from it.Â She found her parents impatiently waiting their lovely daughter there.