It’s an early Saturday morning when he feels his wife’s alarm go off. It wakes him up but he tries to not stir too much. There was a storm last night and Eito had asked them if he could sleep with them. When they said yes, instead of getting in the spot between Eijun and Wakana, he had settle for Eijun's right side, the closest to the window. That’s why he tries to stay still, to avoid waking up their toddler.
He hugs Eito tightly and cuddles with him under the covers, when he’s about to fall back asleep he feels Wakana touch his shoulder, he looks back slowly and when he sees Wakana's crying face he untangles Eito from his body and gets up to talk to his wife.
“What happened?” he asks concerned, “are you okay?”
“I’m leaving,” she says in between hiccups and sobs.
“What do you mean?” he already knows what she means, but doesn’t want to admit it. They had been married for over 10 years, and together for even more time. He knows Wakana well, and he can see enough to know that this was coming, but never thought it’d be this soon. He asks mostly due to shock and because he’s still half asleep, even maybe to feel that this isn’t real.
“I’m leaving, I’m tired and I wanna go,” she cries.
“Where are you going? You can’t just leave like that. How am I supposed to take care of Eito by myself?” he’s getting desperate, he has to go to work on Monday, today and tomorrow he can manage, but what about the rest of the week, the rest of the month? “When are you coming back?”
“What do you mean?” she can’t possibly mean what Eijun is thinking.
“I’m not coming back.”
He knows there’s not much he can do. She already packed most of the stuff. Eijun came back, from an away game, rather late last night, so he didn’t notice all her bags near the entrance, or her part of the closet empty. He’s wondering if she packed in front of Eito, if it was like that, what did she say to their son.
“You can’t just leave us like that. You can’t leave Eito like that, he’s just a toddler, he can’t just… you can’t leave him like that,” he’s shouting and he only notices when he feels Eito clinging to his legs. He lifts him up and wipes away the tears going down his face, while he does that, though, Wakana exits the room and he chases after her.
“Please,” he begs with his crying child on his arms, “don’t leave him.”
“He doesn’t even like me,” she spits, crying.
“Don’t say that.”
“He’s gonna be better without me.”
“Stop,” now he wants to cry too.
He doesn’t have time to retort something back before she grabs her bags and leaves.
“Daddy?” Eito says, he puts his tiny hands in Eijun’s face and then wipes the tears Eijun didn’t realize he shed. He does it the same way Eijun did it to him. “Where is mommy going?”
He has no idea, Wakana is a complex person and even when he knows her so well, he sometimes has no idea what’s going through her head. He doesn’t know. He doubts she’s going back to their hometown, and she still has to go to work on Monday so maybe she didn’t go that far away. She could always get transferred or she can quit. There are so many possibilities and so many decisions she could take.
“Daddy?” Eito asks again, it cuts him off from his trance-like state, immediately. He’ll talk to Wakana, no matter what it takes. He can’t do this alone, he can’t raise his child alone.
“What do you say about breakfast, buddy?” he tries to divert the question, it’s not gonna last forever but it will have to do, for now. Eito’s eyes light up and it’s enough to make Eijun stop crying and try to get it together, at least for the weekend.
They decided to meet in a café near Wakana's workplace, he’s waiting on the table, it’s been about 10 minutes and Wakana still hasn’t arrived. He’s starting to think she’s not even going to show up when the doorbell chimes.
“I’m sorry I’m late,” she apologizes. The first face-to-face words they exchange since Wakana left on the weekend.
“It’s okay,” Eijun reassures her, and then they stay quiet. He’s not sure how to approach the topic, he has so many questions he needs to ask her and all of them seem too important to let out. But still, there’s one that he’s been desperate to ask.
She takes a deep breath, like she already expected that to be the first question. “You know we’ve been together for 20 years, right?” Eijun nods. “in all those years, did you truly felt happy? I’m not asking about maybe the first few years or when we got married, I mean in general. Did you picture yourself with me for our whole life?” Eijun nods again and she looks surprised. “Well I didn’t.” she says, after a while.
She’s really calm, not even a hint of regret on her face, and as impossible as it may sound, she looks better. Eijun though, he’s exhausted. It’s not like he didn’t take care of Eito before, there’s a reason why he is so attached to Eijun, but most of the times, his schedules are all over the place, so he can’t make lunch for him every day or take him to the kindergarten or just spend that much time with him.
When Wakana was home they took care of everything together, getting Eito ready, making breakfast and lunch, driving him to the kindergarten and after that the daycare, preparing dinner for them, it depended on their schedules but they had a routine, now he has to do it all by himself. He’s just lucky that Eito is rather independent and willing to help Eijun, maybe he just wants to be with Eijun but regardless. He helps a lot.
He never realized how much they did because it wasn’t that much with the two of them. If he barely did everything for a weekend and when he didn’t have to work, he doesn’t know how he’s going to do if Wakana never comes back, so he asks her again when is she coming back.
“I already told you I won’t come back, you’ll do well without me.”
“There’s no way you know that, and this isn’t about me, Wakana,” he tries to reason, “this is about Eito, about you, you can’t just abandon your family like that, we’re married, you don’t get an out so easily,” he’s angry. He doesn’t get angry that much, but this situation is too much for him to handle, and who can blame him.
“I don’t love you anymore,” she says, way too loud apparently because now the café is completely quiet and looking at them, none of them care, though. “I don’t love you. You think it’s easy for me to go back every night to my house when my own child likes my husband better because I can’t be with him all the time? Do you think it’s easy for me to sleep next to you when I don’t want to be with you and I know you don’t want to be with me either? Do you think it’s easy for me to pretend like there’s nothing wrong with our marriage? I’m so used to you I don’t even see you as my husband anymore,” her eyes are glossy but she doesn’t dare to cry, she’s acting tough.
“You made me so happy, Eijun.” She’s talking quietly again, it’s almost a whisper. “I have never been as happy as in our wedding day, or the day you proposed. I can still remember the day I confessed, over 20 years ago… that was the best day.” She sighs. “I don’t feel that happiness or love anymore. Not for you or Eito… or myself.”
He looks down, she’s not completely wrong. The magic between them is long gone. It feels more like they’re siblings or roommates. It’s hard for him to admit it because he’s been pretending that happiness for years. He’s been pretending he loves her, he does love her, just not like that.
It makes him feel bad because he always wanted this domestic life, a good job, a wife, a son, a house… everything he has is what he always wanted, but it was different for Wakana. She didn’t want children, or settling down, she wanted to travel and be free. Their marriage and their kid and everything else just happened because they thought that’s how it was supposed to be, not because they truly wanted, or at least Wakana didn’t.
And Eijun knows this is it. He knows there’s not going back. They’re already old, if Wakana has made up her mind, that means its definitive. She’s not going back and Eijun is not going to force her into it because he would only make her miserable, so he just accepts it.
I’m sorry,” she says and now she looks like she is sorry, but still, no regret. “Please tell Eito I love him and that I’ll visit him when I can.”
“I will,” he says and then she’s gone.
It’s on his way to where he parked his car when the realization dawns on him. He needs to pick Eito up from the kindergarten and take him to the daycare, he thinks about what he should say but nothing comes up, so he ends up calling his boss and asking him for the rest of the day. He’s lucky he likes him enough to say yes.
He stops in front of the kindergarten and doesn’t dare to get out of the car for a while, he has to tell the teachers he’ll be the only one coming for Eito from now on, and it's gonna spread like wildfire and the rumors won’t stop for a long time, but there’s nothing else he can do.
He finally gathers enough courage to do it and the nasty looks he gets from the other moms who heard make him think that maybe he should change schools but the situation is bad enough already to make it worst by either moving or transferring.
Eito runs to him as soon as he sees him and that makes him forget everything, he’ll be a mom and a dad now, he can’t break under pressure, not when there’s someone else depending only on him. And he’ll try his hardest to be the best dad, he’ll try even more now, he loves his son so much, he’ll do everything for him, no matter what it takes.
They will get out of this situation, together. Just the two of them.