End of bubble
I left for home at the end of May. Mark saw me off at the airport. Mark wasn’t afraid of showing tears. As we embraced, I heard a tour guide behind us say, “I see they are saying goodbye,” trying to get the attention of the Japanese tourists distracted by the sight of us.
I felt miserable. A series of once-in-a-lifetime experiences had drowned me in the euphoric bubble. Life in Japan seemed too bleak in comparison. I did my best to keep my mood uplifted. Mark’s upbeat pretense had influenced me as my sister used to do with her forced optimism. I pushed my unhappiness aside and feigned a life-loving facade. The effort kept me going for several months until Mark told me over the phone that he was ready to date someone else.
Mark visited me in Japan over Christmas and new years. Shuji had gotten a job in Japan, so the three of us were reunited after six months. I was in the bubble again for a couple of weeks. Mark looked disgruntled when he departed. He asked me to come to see him, but I told him I couldn’t until I got a job secured after graduating from Waseda (most new graduate jobs for April start were decided by summer of the previous year.) Mark wasn’t used to dissatisfaction. Unhappiness for him was unfairness, not the constant state of mind or situation. The phone conversation occurred in spring, between our Valentine’s day anniversary and my May birthday.
My busy life didn’t give me enough time to grieve. Kubo’s mama had let me work for her again, and I had another job distributing return-gifts at funerals. Also, I had to decide what I wanted to do after Waseda. So I tried a quick-fix for my heartbreak. I slept with Shuji. But when we slept for the third time, I almost called him Mark, which Shuji sensed, and told me never to do that again. I don’t believe I needed that mistake for our arrangement to end shortly after. Shuji couldn’t provide me the ecstasy that was the delusion of happiness.