hikokomori

”The door is closed. It has been for days, weeks, possibly months. It feels like years. The door is the same colour as all the other doors in the hallway and made up of three panels. Only the bathroom door is different. It has a translucent glass panel.
Sometimes the other doors are closed for matters of privacy or convenience.

I can hear my father moving on the stairs. He is going down to the bathroom. He visits the toilet two or three times every night after going to bed. The timing of his visits are irregular I wanted to ask him if there was something wrong with his bladder. I wondered if he checked his prostate. I remember having a conversation about spending too much time on the toilet and informing him that it weakened the sphincter muscle. He laughed at me. Making a claim that shitting and creativity are directly linked. He is not an artist, photographer or musician. He sells….. Although I think he does has some sort of qualification in art. He is the sort of man who has reading material near to hand.  Indeed I should mention that he has his own toilet. No one else ventures in there.

Sometimes he stands at his son’s door whilst his wife is downstairs cooking food. He tries to think of something to say to his son if the door were to be accidentally opened but all that comes into his head is the argument that erupted on the last occasion of when his son sat down with the rest of the family to eat. It was something that should have been contained. It was something that should not have been allowed to get to fever pitch. But it did. He thinks of how he had to spit his macerated chicken into his napkin. Could the boy not have backed down. He would never have spoken to his father like that. But he had. He had traded blows with his father.

Mum slips notes beneath the door. She asks if I would at least open the shutters during the day. My concession is to open the windows and let in clean air. Darkness is a comfort.

It used to be that Miwa brought me cake round. She sometimes asked if we could open the shutters.
Why can’t you fucking try to understand me, I whispered to her one afternoon as we fucked.
She said she did. That was said in the moments before she came.
I sent her an e-mail telling her not to come back to visit me. I couldn’t deal with love. It wasn’t what I wanted. She said she knew I loved her. I told her she was fibeing mistaken and that I loved to check out porn sites and beat off. She said she wasn’t disgusted by that. I replied that it wasn’t meant to disgust her but it was merely to point out and make her understand that I was very self sufficient. Maybe I didn’t understand the point to sex. Or that I was thinking too much about it. She thought too much about it and it turned me off. It was too accessible.

Miwa sent me jpegs of my parents garden. Telling me winter had passed and look at the blossom in the tree.
If I hadn’t to see it all I had to do was open the window.

When father met me on the subway I was wearing shades. He was sitting opposite me for quite a while before he recognised me. I am not so foolish as to go out ontoe the streets without eye protection.
He spoke my name across the aisle. Aki. There were tones of surprise.
Aki.
Tones of hesitancy as if he were now feeling his way in the darkness. And he was. I had lived in my father’s house for seven months without seeing him. I smiled at him.
The subway was, as usual, incredibly crowded but no one showed any animosity to anyone else. Each occupying their own space in quiet fatigue nor elated…
I was seeing my father through the body of strangers. Sometimes he was obscured

My father thought I was going home with him. But I wasn’t. I had found a job and a place to live. I would work and steal myself away in my own place.

My father stood up.
Where are you going?
My place.
You are still living under my roof.
No dad, that changed this morning.
Changed. What has changed? You have left your room.
My life has moved on.

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