The Perfect Place To Die - Part Two
The Perfect Place To Die
When Mamoru opened his eyes the room was so completely black, that he thought to himself “This must be the way a person who is going blind must feel.” There room was filled with vague shadows without shape, form or color. He lay there for a few seconds, eyes wide, taking comfort in the darkness. After some time he breathed a heavy sigh, cautiously got out of bed, made his way over to the window and gently raised the blinds.
As his eyes adjusted to the light he wondered why he didn't dream anymore. He used to dream vividly every night and took great pleasure recounting them, in great detail, to Tamiko the next morning. These days, his sleep was broken and troubled and Miko often slept in a different room. Mamoru watched desolately as outside the street was already busy with commuters hurrying to catch the Tokyo express which would speed them to the city and their jobs.
It had been a shock when his boss had called him into the office and had given him the news that he was to be let go at the end of the month murmuring something about “restructuring”. Outwardly he had been calm and reasonable, refusing to betray the turbulent emotions that churned within. He finished out the day in a daze and after work shared the bad news with his friends at a nearby sake bar. They were sympathetic, but they had worries of their own. There were rumors that the “restructuring” was far from complete, in fact two of them had meetings scheduled with the boss already.
On the train home Mamoru sat staring impassively at the floor. Even after drinking many glasses of sake he wasn’t drunk. At least he felt sufficiently anesthetized to tell Tamiko that after twenty years of service he was no longer going to be employed by the Yamitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company. Although this was less attributable to the sake then to his state of mind. Mamoru was in shock.
He had been with the company since he graduated from the university. Soon after joining the insurance firm it became his life. In his first year Mamoru had secured a new contract for every month. His diligence and determination were rewarded with several promotions. With the promotions came additional responsibilities and more demands on his time until he was working late every night. It became routine that he would arrive home so late that Miko would already be asleep and when he awoke early in the morning to go back to work she would stir briefly to tell him to have a good day and fall back asleep. Frequently their weekends were also sacrificed as he would attempt to conduct important business deals while playing golf with potential clients.
He wondered if by surrendering his will so completely to the company he had sacrificed some part of his relationship with Miko. He had only wanted the best for them though. That is why he had worked so hard for so long. He wanted them to have a large house unlike the modest apartments their parents had which were so small and cramped. He wanted to provide her with every material possession she could possibly want. He imagined if he could make division manager his stability within the firm would be assured and then he could spend more time at home.
That was not going to happen now.
He stood there shrouded in silence, clenching and unclenching his fists, overwhelmed with feelings of impotence. He shivered once and turned away from the window, got dressed quickly and padded into the kitchen.
Tamiko had taken the news well if a little apathetically. She tried to reassure him that it would be okay. They had plenty of money put away and with his work ethic he was sure to find another job in no time, but her words came out lacking sentiment and he wondered if she was in shock too.
To combat the loneliness and boredom Miko had taken a part-time job and also attended numerous classes. Now that he had more time at home it was her turn to not be there. He could hardly expect her to just drop everything now because he had lost his job though...right?
Mamoru had to admit that they had been leading separate lives for many years; they were like strangers sharing the same home. All that could change now though. Mamoru had cashed in his accumulated vacation days and thought that perhaps if they could go on a little holiday they might rekindle the flame that once sparked their love.
When they had first married Miko had wanted to take a holiday to Mount Fuji. He had booked a room at the hotel for them, but an emergency had arisen at work and he was called in. He could not refuse. The firm took priority over his other commitments. They did not go and she never mentioned Mount Fuji again.
The sound of a door quietly sliding shut broke into his thoughts. He could hear Tamiko moving around the house. Mamoru decided to prepare breakfast for her as a surprise. He would tell Miko of his idea while they ate.