1614 c/o N. God Savage

The Siege of Osaka

Akane has been outside his apartment since the beginning of November. That's twenty-six days. She is not there continually; that would be ridiculous. But she is there most of the day and some of the night. She sits on the wall opposite, looking up at his bedroom window, or maybe, at night, she will be in the manga cafe across the street. He wonders what she does in the cafe. Googles him obsessively, he suspects.

She is always there in the mornings. As soon as he wakes he rolls over and looks through the glass. She is standing on the pavement, her arms by her sides, staring back at him. She makes no movement when he appears at the window. She doesn't wave or smile or look away. She simply stares at him, doleful, like a guilty dog.

One afternoon, she left for a few hours. When she came back she was loaded down with shopping bags, mostly clothes and jewellery. She had probably gone to Shinsaibashi. That was always her favourite place to shop. He missed her when she was away. He kept watching for her return. When he saw her head among the crowd he darted back from the window so she wouldn't see. He must keep up his veneer of indifference until the summer.

And in the summer, he will let Akane in. He will stop using the back door – the one she obviously doesn't know about – to come and go. He will have a long shower and dress well; he will put on aftershave and style his hair. He'll walk down to the front door and open it slowly, and when she sees him he will simply stand back as if to say, come in.

Akane will walk slowly across the road, scared and unsure. She will know that this is but a small step. Getting into his apartment is the most minuscule of victories. Getting him to forgive her will be the real fight.