(3rd POV, Narrator)
Heavy downpour sweeps the area of the sleepless night of Tokyo. The sound of the small yet countless droplets of water impact succumbs the area into silence, leaving a slightly eerie white noise of it. Puddles form around the sidewalk and asphalt road, as the whole city becomes drenched.
Surprisingly, the midnight rainstorms seem to have stopped almost all activity of the area, and it pours forever long. At least, that’s what a single woman thought of the weather living in a downtrodden part of Tokyo, inside of a small four tatami mats sized apartment room.
Just like its neighborhood, the room is shady at best. The walls are so thin and tiny cracks are almost everywhere to the point it wouldn’t shock her if it can be torn down with a single punch. Tiny growing molds are also apparent on all corners, something that disgusted her constantly and she can’t get used to, no matter how long she stayed there.
She’s left laying down in a small futon just near the window, looking to the outside world. A grim and dark alley littered with trash and pipes puffing out smokes. Drunken salarymen would sometimes pass the alley, throwing up midway, leaving a horrifying smell that just adds the hopelessness aura of its cramped space. The only upside of the place is that other than its occasional random passerby, it’s relatively deserted, giving her some needed peace.
Yet, no matter how much noise the rainstorm can get, it fails to mask the ringtone of her smartphone. The woman notices it of course, how couldn’t she went it buzzed constantly for the whole day. Exactly twenty-four times, she counted.
This time, however, the buzzes hit differently. Maybe it’s because of the constant ringing or the fact she’s not been eating food recently, where even if she eats, it’s always the cheap pre-packaged kind you can always find in seven-eleven minimarts. But nevertheless, the buzzes call for her attention constantly. A mix of annoyance and anger is directed towards the phone after so long she tries to ignore it.
Fed up with the constant annoyance, she helplessly picked up the call.
「 Oh my god!!! 」The man on the other side of the phone says furiously, forcing her to momentarily distance her ears away from her phone, 「 Finally, you’ve picked up the goddamn phone! Do you know how many times I’ve called you?! You know that you’ve been skipping your shifts unannounced for several days right?!?! There’s even a customer who booked for you yesterday! Something that rarely happens for you ugly ass whore and you screw it up by not attending to the establishment! Do you know how much I have to reimburse for not meeting the customer’s expectations?! 」
「 …Yes… 」the woman replies reluctantly, knowingly nothing good will come of saying many words to her manager.
「 Look, If you don’t want to do this anymore then that’s fine by me. You’re the least popular hostess anyway. I’m just calling you to let you know that you’re fired. Never bother the establishment anymore. Farewell. 」
「 W-wait! 」she desperately shouts.
But the call is already cutoff.
「 Damn it! 」she says to no one in particular, as she throws her phone to the bed, feeling frustrated, 「 that piece of shit manager doesn’t even bother paying the rest of my paycheck! 」
She knew inside, however, even if she has any, that shady underground establishment wouldn’t graciously give it to her, especially with her already minuscule reputation.
Back then, out of desperation, with no one to ask for help. She was left to survive by selling her body in a shady soapland. It was her last option. Not necessarily actually, of course, there are always other ways, but will it give her the same luxury she once had?
It might be dirty, but other than faking moans and having to withstand pleasing ugly clients, it was relatively effortless and it was fine for her. As long as she can continue her luxurious lifestyle, everything is fine she thought.
Lifestyle-wise, nothing has changed. She’s still able to stroll around Ginza, buying whatever luxurious fashion item that catches her eyes without even thinking about the costly price, ending the night with a dinner at a luxurious fine dining restaurant on an almost daily basis.
But that wonderful lifestyle is shortly dismissed after fresh recruits of cuter, more beautiful, and most importantly younger girls take the center scene of the establishment. No rich men would want to sleep with women past her prime age — below the age of thirty anyway.
Her future now looks very grim. It has always been grim. It’s just now that she truly felt it to the core, added with her not knowing exactly just how minuscule the remaining money in the bank. Other than it is less than a month’s rent for sure. She’s basically living on borrowed time. Now, she regretted wasting her money on many useless branded fashion items or on trending holiday trips.
Left with money problems in a shitty apartment, she is truly hopeless to live by. She begins to wonder why bother living anymore. What’s the purpose of living anyway when she has to suffer this much. Is there a way to escape from this hellish nightmare that becomes a reality?
As she contemplates life, she begins to remember someone, a person that could possibly get her out of her current shitty life — her past boyfriend. But soon immediately remove the idea. Not much is known about him anymore. After the widespread news of their debauchery, he removes all contacts with her. His last message was devastating, he simply stated that he wants to remove any connection with her since he has to focus on his business on the other side of the globe, the United States of America.
Betrayed. Thrown aside after the trouble soon catches up.
She hated herself that what comes to her mind first is that bastard. The bitterness of betrayal is still fresh in her mind to this day. How could he, when she gave him practically everything?
It is then she starts to recall someone else who might be able to help her current situation. But unlike her ex-boyfriend who leaves her on sudden notice, this person broke his ties with her with fury and a bang. It is none other than her father.
Left with him as the sole option. She starts calling him with no small amount of wishes and hopes.
「 Hello, may I know who’s calling? 」A horse sound of an old man says on the other side of the phone.
「 It’s me… dad. 」
「 Ughh…. 」The old man immediately replies, not even hiding his annoyance,「 what do you want, Karin? 」
Karin. That single word crushes her heart. It reminds her of their broken relationship. She remembers her dad used to always call her “Sweetie” or “Daughter”.
「 Y-your daughter would like to ask for money… Please..? 」She earnestly asks, hoping for a chance to mend broken ties.
「 Hmph! I don’t recall having a daughter! 」
「 Please dad, just transfer me a meager a million yen [footnote] (roughly 10k USD) to live by and I promise I won’t bother you again. 」
「 And you think that amount of money is cheap?! If you are truly my daughter then you will know that this father of yours has retired and lives a very humble life back in the Kyushu countryside. 」
「 I-I’m sorry… Please forgive me… it would be great if you just… just spare any money you are willing to give… 」
「 Ungrateful whore! You are not my daughter! I, Tamaji Satoshi, no longer consider Tamaji Karin as his daughter and she no longer bears the Tamaji family name! 」
She starts to shake up. Goosebump is apparent on her. Even after these few years his dad still doesn’t consider her as his daughter. She thought maybe… just maybe with time, he will change his mind or at the very least starts to warm up to her again.
「 Give me a second chance dad… Please give me a second chance to redeem myself, dad. 」She earnestly begs with a whimpering noise.
「 Karin. You’re already an adult. Mature? Never was, but a full-fledged adult. I’ve warned you to be careful and be responsible by the time you’ve grown up. But you never listen. I’ve already given you many second chances when you’re younger.
「 Remember when you wanted to study abroad in Canada? 」He continues,「 I fully supported you. Remember the premium private English tutors that used to teach you and set up meetings with higher education consultation to know how to study in Canada? But then midway, you’ve changed your mind, wanting to study abroad to French — Paris specifically instead. That’s fine I thought. I will always support you. Instead of an English tutor, it changed to a French language tutor. But after a few weeks of studying french, you thought it’s too hard so you went back again wanting to study abroad in Canada and learning English. Even then when I thought you’ve finally decided to study there, after just a year of studying in Canada, you decided to go back to Japan just because living in Canada is harder than you thought. I’ve always given you second chances.
「 Now that you’re an adult, however, there are no more second chances. Especially one with others involved. You’ve brought shame to the family name Karin. I never expected you to be perfect, all I ever wanted from you is to be a decent woman…. and perhaps… a decent wife for a great man. 」
「 I know… I’m so sorry… But please just do this one more time. I will be responsible this time. 」
「 No, Karin. Farewell. I’ll be sure to change my phone number this time. 」
The call is immediately cut off once again.
Her futile attempt in mending broken ties, failed as expected. She doesn’t know what to feel anymore at this point. Defeat? Anger? Resentment? Shame?
None of these feelings matter anymore.
She lazily rises up from her bed, rummaging through her wardrobe that was once filled with exorbitant branded fashion items, now is only left with plain cheap clothing. She hopes to god, if it exists, that there is still at the very least a single branded fashion item so she can sell it online for some cash. It’s a hard thing to do at first, but hunger and the underlying threat of becoming homeless easily defeat the high value she attaches to luxurious fashion items.
It is then, when she rummages through the wardrobe’s drawer, amidst small random piles, she finds something she didn’t know she had this whole time — something she thought has been thrown away a long time ago. Her wedding ring.
Then it hits her. Even after all these years, she never thought about her past husband. It never crosses her to think about him. She wanted to hate him for leaving her alone but deep down she knows the reason for her husband’s suicide is due to her own fault — her affair.
Life wasn’t supposed to go this way, she thought.
Her mindset to life is one filled with relaxed fullness and a care-free attitude. Throughout her college and school experience, she never paid much attention to academia, for her as long as she passes and lives a fun life, going out with boys and her besties, everything is fine.
Graduating from a middle-rate college with middle-rate grades, however, changes everything. She couldn’t get decent jobs, and her rich father is close to retiring. Her luxurious and care-free lifestyle was in danger.
But thanks to her father’s connection, she’s able to continue her lifestyle by ending up marrying a very simple man on a fast-track in career trajectory in the biggest Japanese logistics company. A very respectable man with money behind him. Although he is a simple, and boring man. She honestly thinks he’s a bit cute at the very least, but what’s more important than that and the reason why she decided to marry him is how easy it is for him to accept her selfish demands.
A house of her wish in a very good neighborhood is easily bought by him, and the only thing she needs to give in return is just small gratitude and “love”.
Her husband also gives her a huge allowance for herself where she wastes it on girls-night-out and expensive luxury items she dreams of buying.
At that time she’s living the life that most people would dream of. Not the conglomerate, ultra-rich kind of course, but definitely better than most people. She can continue living a care-free life, leeching off from her husband.
But no, it’s never enough. She always wants more. Amidst her boring, yet very comfortable life, she desperately craves new excitement. She misses being the center of attention; where men flock to her like birds fighting over a delicious bread. She misses being showered with expansive gifts; where men compete with one another to spend time with her.
She began pondering whether marrying him is the biggest mistake she ever made in life.
A single high school reunion where she meets her past boyfriend who is much more attractive, charismatic than her husband was all it takes to have an affair with him. He promises her new excitements with exotic gifts, fancy vacation trips, and many more to win her over — to sleep with her.
It lasts for several months, until out of nowhere, she finds her husband… hanged.
She didn’t expect things to go down this way. At first, knowing that her husband committed suicide, a part of her is ecstatic. Her boring husband is now gone, leaving a fantastic house behind and a chance to make her relationship with her boyfriend official.
Sadly to her, her delusion was quickly diminished. The house was paid in mortgage or loans, not fully paid yet. With no money on her to repay the loan, the house becomes the bank property and she becomes homeless with no assets in her name. And from then on the downward spiral of the degradation of her life continues to this day.
And her boyfriend ran away from her. Not fulfilling his promises which she realizes now are just empty words.
Just for a small excitement, she throws away everything she ever had.
Now… The only thing she can do is wailing in deep regret. As it is the only thing she can feel that makes her alive. Cherishing the past that she used to have and cursing her past self for throwing it all away just for momentary excitement and pleasure; not knowing the extreme consequences that lie behind it.
「 That man was right… I’m… I’m just an ugly ass whore… 」Karin says out to the air, as she wears the ring again, recalling her boring, yet decent husband…