[Translated from Japanese by James Au]
On the night which Fumihiko broke up with Rie Furusawa, a pharmacist who had been his lover for five years, he closely examined his own face in the mirror inside the washroom of his apartment, which is located on the second floor. He had no idea why he was doing so but he examined it steadfastly – his lone self without Rie, which should definitely have existed in the past and should re-exist now. It was as if he was curious about the nature of the man whom he had not met for a long time.
It has turned two in the morning. His wash basin are always kept unstained, while the toothpaste he is using to brush his teeth at the moment disperses a scent similar to that of a wet towel.
Five hours ever since the issue of breakup has been brought up, but no fuss occurred indeed. On the contrary, the couple ate a lot together as usual, and drank afterwards in another place.
Stupor almost dominates all his senses, Fumihiko thinks, as that Rie has already been gone away from his life is really incredible to him. He cannot even fear such a wretchedness he is experiencing now.
The man inside the mirror has borne a sunken face. Because of the alcohol, his eyes are engorged with blood, bewildered and dumbfounded. He certainly does not look grisly – his skin is lustrous and his eyes (normally speaking) are as glamorous as pellucid lights. Thanks to his imposing straight nose, neither his cheeks nor his chin possess any excess fats. His slowly undulating, bushy black hair, though adulterated equally with white one, yet grows in the way which the two colours form a perfect harmony with one another so that at least he does not look wretched.
“You’re simply too gorgeous,” Rie often commented.
“Even the wrinkles of your forehead are chiseled quite uniquely. Do you know it?”
After the denial, Fumihiko would move his twin eyebrows ups and downs deliberately in a funny way to wrinkle up his forehead, and Rie laughed.
Is it really true? Is it really true that he was dumped by Rie today? Everything have gone too natural.
Now inside this same home his wife and his daughter are falling into a deep slumber.
Over the past couple of years, Fumihiko has considered few times a divorce with his wife. Although he did not put it into actual practice, he has earnestly thought about it few times. He was not concerned with whether she shared the same family name with him, but still he coveted strongly that he could date with no others, but only with Rie.
Fumihiko has given up hope for his wife Yūko, who loves to tidy up the house to an extent that she even decrees the position of cushions, or her own method of folding bed covers, and has a taste of decorating their family photos at home. When he suggests a travel to elsewhere, for example, her attention is not on travel but on taking photos. Such a pre-established harmonious way of thinking has made Fumihiko tired of her.
“You mean your love to her is cooling?” Rie once asked.
“Yeah, I think so,” He confessed as he had intended to.
Whenever it came to talks about his family, Rie always raised her eyebrows, which looked hilarious to him.
“Are you just getting sulky?” Rie inquired again.
Fumihiko denied, and with Rie’s lips on one of his cheeks, she pleaded, “Then keep cooling it.”
Rie was a special girl. Her bosom was ample with long limbs. Tall in height, she also bore some sort of a funny face which quite suits her working wear – white robe. Frankly speaking, girls with only black, stiff and curled hair could never be Fumihiko’s cup of tea. Rie always tied firmly her pitifully curled and seemingly-hard-to-be-un-tousled hair at the back, with her cold black rubber band.
The company where Fumihiko works is close to the pharmacy where Rie works too. Fumihiko got to know her after several encounters at the drug counter, and the two grew fond of each other after few times of talk.
[To be continued]
[Featured image taken on 27th March, 2016]
 In the coming few entries, I will continue translating the fiction of “Chamber” to give readers a taste of what Japanese contemporary short fictions are like. Stay tuned with our blog entries !