On a mild winter evening, Akihiko was lost in thought as if his mind was elsewhere, standing by a window of a hotel. He looked like he was gazing through the window into the outside, but didn’t see anything actually. There should have been the lingering sunlight in the western sky that could be seen from the window. But now, it had completely gotten dark outside.
Meanwhile, there was a lively street below the window. It was one of the main streets in a big city belonging to a European nation at where Akihiko was staying now.
Being assigned a new project, Akihiko left an apartment in Shanghai, which he had not gone so far as to get used to living in.
He had to stay at this hotel on business for the time being and noticed that he didn’t long for the apartment in Shanghai very much any longer. Of course, he sometimes missed the time that he had spent with Takanobu, Mitsuru, and Yumiko at Shanghai. It had used to have Akihiko feel relieved while he was working there. But he was wondering what place he had lived ever would have him want to go back there.
Were there any rooms which Akihiko had ever lived in and had felt nostalgia with strongly? Such his thought was meandering like the mist drifting in the twilight, which was complicatedly reflecting various lights of a big city in the dusk. As he had started going on a business trip, he could not eat any meals cooked by himself or by somebody who was close to him. He had to have supper alone this evening, too. âIt’s stressful for me to stay at cities that I cannot enjoy eating out.” Akihiko said to himself and started to search some places to eat by a tablet computer of him. He had found some restaurants that sounded good but didn’t stop doing online search. âI’m not very hungry,â Akihiko whispered, roaming around the Internet continuously.
Then he almost unconsciously started to browse what “That woman” had written online as he always did. âThat woman,â — she was an ex-girlfriend of Akihiko, and her name was Tohko. She often had mental ups and downs outstandingly when Akihiko was dating with her more than 10 years ago. Even now, when what she’d written became unstable, Akihiko could know that she had gotten into a state of depression by only reading what she’d uploaded on her blog or some social media without talking with her actually. She seemed to sometimes feel blue even now. But the range of fluctuation in her mental state was not so wide compared to her old days. Akihiko remembered that it had used to move violently. âIt’s no exaggeration to say that she is always too peaceful now,â Akihiko was wondering, âThat is because most of the women who’ve become a mother tend to be like that? Or are there any other reasons? I don’t know, but I can only say that she seems calm almost every day now.â Still, she was a little nervous right now, Akihiko felt while browsing her blog. He gradually noticed that she usually felt melancholy the most severely whenever she uploaded something written by taking a form of a letter addressed to a certain person. âThat is to say, she is trying to say something to the person who is set as a destination in the letter,â Akihiko told himself. âOn top of that, I can understand that the person to whom she addresses in those letters is none other than me. Can I know such a thing truly? Duh! Since I was going out with her in her most tempestuous period, now I cannot know what she is doing and feeling for nothing,â Akihiko thought, smiling faintly as if remembering their sweet memories. Also today, in her blog, there was a letter written in an ambiguous way that readers would not be able to know whether it was a reality or a story. âThat womanâ was always writing in such a way. And Akihiko had been reading what she’d uploaded online. Almost always, almost everything. And she added, âOf course, there is very little possibility that âThat man’ is really reading what I’m writing online still now,â around the end of her latest uploads several times recently. But usually, whatever she was writing online, she seemed to realize Akihiko was really reading her works still now. But it was only when she was in good mood and had confidence in herself.
Suddenly, she stopped thinking like that anymore. Her own self-confidence disappeared without a trace. In such a time, she seemed to be seriously thinking that Akihiko had never read anything she had written. On the contrary, Tohko seemed to imagine that Akihiko had completely forgotten her presence and never recalled it any longer.
She was the type to be sometimes presumptuous, having too much self-confidence. Which made Akihiko even feel that he could not get along with her in some cases in those days.
But now, even though Akihiko knew Tohko was in bad mood he had a calm mind without losing his sense. That might be because he didn’t need to react to her every behavior nowadays.