It had been a long day. Yeah, school was easy enough. Just sit down at the desk as the professor prattles on about something, you take some notes and then go on to the next one. The part-time job was where it was really a pain in the ass. 1000 yen an hour to serve cheaply processed food and having to put up with the constant yammering of high schoolers who keep the other potential customers waiting because they’re using the drink bar for all it’s worth as they study to get into a university where it will then be their turn to get a family restaurant job and go to classes? Such a depressing cycle.
That’s why he looked forward to the 22:13 train out of Ueno back home. It meant that he could her after all that hassle. He didn’t know her name but he knew her face, knew that she had a predilection for sweets based on that she always had one of those Oreo cookie bars in her hand which she munched away on as she read some manga or another. One time he caught her reading Golgo 13, as opposed to some else like Nana. It made her that much more curious. She wasn’t going to win Miss Japan anytime soon, but she had some interesting tastes.
It was New Years Day 2010. No school, of course, but the family restaurants of the nation needed to be staffed. It was a rather easy day actually. Hardly anyone comes on New Years. Especially at night. The students are either all in Harajuku and the salarymen are either back home in some distant countryside, still conked on yesterday’s partying, or both.
Even so, the 22:13 still ran it’s course, unaffected by the holiday scheduling, thank goodness.
The train was just crowded enough for there to be no seats but not so crowded that you couldn’t see around you. There she was again. Holding on to the handrail but this time without any sweets or books. Nothing of the sort.
She was looking right at him. Smiling as if she had seen him every day.
“I’m Mari. Happy New Year.”
He was more surprised at how unsurprised he was. He could’ve sworn he caught her sneaking peeks sometimes. There’s always that sixth sense of being watched, right? No way stuff like that goes unnoticed.
“Shigeto. Happy New Year to you too.”
She put her arm around him. Best to start things full force.