Ogata swipes at his split lip, spilling red onto the pure white snow crunching under his snowshoes. There are splotches of blood on his fur-lined overcoat and now his thumb has beads of blood dripping off the curve of his fingernail. Ogata looks up from his thumb.
Sugimoto’s eyes are livid, burning light. Daylight falls near perfectly across the snarl splitting his face.
Ogata tongues at his teeth and huffs a laugh. So easy. Still so easy.
He wants to kiss the snarl off Sugimoto’s mouth. He wants to crack his head open on ice floes.
Sugimoto says something but Ogata isn’t listening already – the last thing he remembers is the bizarre yank of gravity and a sudden dusting of snowfall.
There must be blood on his sheets, because Ogata has only seen red for every morning his eyes open. There is no explanation otherwise. His tongue is already accent fried, adopting a new one every other week until he can mask the Ibaraki-ben that his ears always pick up, even when he speaks English. Something to wash off, rinse thoroughly and scrub pink and hang out to dry.
His throat itches. His phone rings.
Things keep happening, his fingernails keep growing longer, his blood still thrums through his veins. Things keep happening without prior notice, without prelude.
Memory forces its brute way to the forefront of his dreams. Ogata wakes up again with the faint memory of hair in his mouth, the scent of English Roses brusquely rubbed under the jaw, buried deep in his nose and his arm bent over the phantom shape of another body pressed into his.
Something stings in his eyes. Ogata has long since forgotten the names of things and people, same way he has gotten used to seeing red or perhaps blood seep into the whites of his eyes.
He rolls over, rubbing his face into the sleep-creased pillow and lucid dreams the sound of a singular bullet piercing through hair and bone.
The drive to work is cold. Ogata adjusts his tie and watch in the comfort of his car, flicking up the air-conditioning. He checks his rear before neatly pulling out of his parking spot.
There’s a spot of blood on his white shirtsleeve. Perfectly circular, until closer inspection, revealing the
It’s been raining for the past few weeks, leaving a musty smell to permeate in Ogata’s apartment, with its windows drawn close to shut out the prying rain.
Someone keeps knocking on Ogata’s front door.
—Sometimes love is watching eyes water.
That’s what Ogata learns the first month he spends alone.
There are other things to learn too; the sun only lasts well for good 4 hours to dry his clothes, his corner store doesn’t carry his brand of cigarettes and he yearns the body of another to keep warm.