String Theory

WARNING: Explicit content

This story is dedicated to two friends of mine, who know who they are.

Sagramore buttoned up his plaid shirt to boob level, and let the rest fan out into a glorious V, revealing chest hair and a sneak peak at a white wife beater. Next, he rolled up the sleeves halfway up his biceps, to show the barest hint of emerging muscle. A quick glance at the mirror revealed a full, trimmed beard, which completed the look he had dubbed “The Alcide.” Sagramore was ready to party.

Some friends of a friend were hosting a soiree at their place near Ueno. He had never met them; they were a group of Taiwanese who all lived in Tokyo physically together but in different life eras, spanning college, 20’s, and 30’s. Their friend, and his friend, Ayaka, was a pretty hot number. Unfortunately, Sagramore was balls-deep in the friend zone. Complicating matters was the fact she would probably be at the party, too.

About a month ago, Ayaka had told Sagramore yet another friend of hers from Nebraska, of all places, whom she’d met while studying abroad in America, was moving to Tokyo to teach English. Naturally, being a new emigre she did not have many friends, and Sagramore made sense as a point of contact since he was also American. They had facebook-messaged each other back and forth, and eventually agreed to meet up for a romantically-neutral museum date on a Saturday afternoon. Enter, LeslieAnn. (For real, that’s her name. Not a first and middle name, but one combined thing.)

They met up at Tokyo Midtown before hitting up the National Art Center. Right off the bat, during the introductions, Sagramore started sizing the girl up, seeing if there was any physical attraction, since that’s what you do. There wasn’t. She was…I guess in Nebraska they’d say “homely.” Anyway, she was the plain bagel at the hotel complimentary breakfast bar. But that was totally fine. Really.  They chatted, stared at some boring impressionist art, and even had themselves some Starbucks after. Totally pleasant, friendly afternoon. No complaints. However, through sheer lack of interest, Sagramore hadn’t contacted LeslieAnn at all since the museum date. It had been pretty much one month since then, so it was still right in the awkward zone of still kind of freshly happened, but yet it’d been a while so maybe she was mad. Sagramore assumed she had been interested in him because he hadn’t found her physically attractive, which meant logically she must have been all hot for him since he was a stud relatively.

It was 8:50 pm so there was seating room available on the subway, thankfully. He told himself to relax. LeslieAnn might not even be at the party; no use worrying now. His phone lit up with a text message. His bud Heero would be late, and told him to just meet directly at the party. Sagramore stuck the mp3 player buds into his ears, and turned on some Asian Kung-Fu Generation. It had been a while.
He decided to start with Angou no Waltz (暗号ワルツ), his favorite song of theirs from his college days. He wasn’t sure what it was about, since it was Japanese and not literal, but it most likely concerned the inability to completely connect with, and understand, another person. Given the thematic content, Sagramore figured not totally understanding the lyrics was OK.

He got off the train, and started the 8 minutes trek to the designated apartment complex through Ueno, which was sort of a strange area. It was the Northern end of the old “shitamachi” area, and featured lots of museums and concert halls, but it was also the mecca for Tokyo’s homeless. Arriving at dusk reveals ant-like trails of vagrants completing their daily hajj to one of Ueno’s parks or ponds, where they set up for the night. Sagramore felt icky as he walked along the train tracks deep into the district. He stopped off at a liquor store to buy a 6-pack of Sapporo beer, the best Japan had/has/will have to offer. The building was tall, and dwarfed its surroundings. He checked his phone again to make sure he had the address: apartment number 1224.
He knocked on the door, and when no answer greeted him, decided to try opening the door on his own. He reached down for the handle, and the door flew open, almost slamming him in the face. As fate would have it, out tumbled LeslieAnn. She collapsed into a hug.

“Oh, shet. Hey there, Sagramo—ah ha ha hah aaaaaaaa—–I’m sorry. I’m right high now. High. Right now.”

Sagramore didn’t even know one could get drugs in Japan. He assumed it was possible, theoretically; he had seen Into the Void, after all. He had never been faced with the reality of it before. He felt like a middle schooler starting at his friend’s older brother’s Jimi Hendrix poster for the first time. But this was a Taiwan party. Maybe things were different, and drugs were accessible. Sagramore allowed himself racist thoughts and speech in Japan, since everyone else seemed to. The justification was in itself racist, and the irony didn’t escape our noble hero’s gaze, but all’s fair in inner monologue.

The Nebraskan said she was heading out on a beer run, but our hero displayed his gift, and she smiled in the way only someone who just found out she doesn’t have to do the thing she thought she had to do but didn’t want to do, can smile. She grabbed his hand, and pulled him inside. The apartment was huge. It looked like they had smashed a bunch of walls, and connected several units into a cavernous expanse of cheap furniture and mismatched art. The ceilings were high, too, this being on the top floor. LeslieAnn also mentioned a huge roof was accessible, and that’s where the people were smoking the dope, or doobies, or what have you. How could college-age and barely working people afford a place like this? Chinese people were mysterious, especially in packs. Sagramore couldn’t make heads or tails of anything.

LeslieAnn led him around the room, introducing him to some of the other party goers, most of whom didn’t seem to recognize who she was. He handed the host the 6-pack of beer, which was received with cheer. Sagramore noticed a significant majority were wearing glasses, and of the same black, thick-rimmed kind. Then he saw the leather wristbands. The tight jeans. The ironic T’s….

He was surrounded by Asian hipsters. Even the women. He frowned; “The Alcide” wouldn’t help at all in this depraved environment. The vaginas here were tuned to art, self expression, and counter culture. He self-consciously buttoned up his shirt, shutting off the last of the lamplight from his barely hairy chest. He next wondered how to best get the Nebraskan off him. Suddenly, her clone walked up to them.

“Hey, Sagramore. This is my big sister, Riot. She’s here for the week visiting.”

She extended a hand, and he shook it, his mind trying to process both her weird fucking name and the fact he’d need to deal with 2 LeslieAnns for the evening.

“Nice to meet you. Leslie has told me a lot about you. Nice to talk to someone who can speak English, too.”

“Wait. She just goes by Leslie?”

The two sisters looked at him puzzled, like he was The Riddler standing over an ominous gift-wrapped box.

“I just mean….LeslieAnn is a mouthful, you know? Leslie is kind of easier.”

They stared at him, silent. He wasn’t sure how he could accurately express to them that he didn’t understand why someone who went by Leslie anyway would introduce herself as LeslieAnn, which oozed more Appalachian flair than incest and rusted trucks. He supposed a world in which people named their kids Sigourney and Keifer would have no problems producing people like Riot and LeslieAnn. Thankfully, Sagramore noticed his buddy Heero stepping through the door. He walked up and they fist-bumped. Heero was also from Atlanta, and was currently getting a master’s degree in something at some university in Tokyo. Sagramore introduced everyone.

“Ladies, this is my friend, Heero. These two lovely young women are Anarchy and MarySue.”

The girls giggled unevenly, as only people who are plastered out of their minds truly can.

“It’s Riot, Actually. And she’s LeslieAnn.”

Heero shot Sagramore a look that expressed: Riot and LeslieAnn? What the fuck?, and Sagramore responded with a look that said I knoooow! No words we spoken, but the bros understood each other perfectly. With the introductions out of the way, the group decided to hit the roof/balcony place. The scene was pretty great. There was a DJ setup at one corner, with an actual faux-DJ there, pressing the play, shuffle, and repeat buttons. Couches and tinted lights dotted the landscape. In the distance was a pretty spectacular view of the city’s nightscape. Sagramore noticed Ayaka standing near the railing with another group. He told Rebel and Carrie Ann to sit down on the couch, and that he and Heero would be right back. He made sure they sat next to a large group of hipsters, so that they’d feel like they were part of something. He led Heero over to where Ayaka was standing.

“Hey, gurrl. What’s up? How’s life?”

“Ha, hey Sagramore. I’m good.”

Her expression brightened, and they exchanged a quick hug. He leaned down a little extra and stuck in a quick chest to boob press. Gotta take the chances when they come.

“So this is my friend Heero. He’s studying at somewhere university to get some kind of Masters.”

Sagramore moved to the side as Heero seamlessly swooped in towards Ayaka, extending his hand.

“Yea, it’s at Jouchi University, and it’s a Global Business masters.”

Sagramore took his queue. “OK, I’m gonna go get a drank and some food. Big dawg’s off the leash, and he’s a hawngry!”

He left the pair, but noticed a strange expression on Ayaka’s face. He couldn’t quite read it, but it didn’t look happy…He figured since she had introduced SueLynn to him, it would be appropriate to return the favor and hook her up with a friend, but, well, …hmm…maybe not?

Beer in hand, Sagramore plopped down on the couch with the hipsters. They were all speaking English, for the benefit of the Nebraskans. The group was about half Japanese and half Taiwanese, and they actually all spoke the Queen’s tongue pretty ably. Topics of discussion ranged from hating current jobs to hating current jobs. No one seemed really pleased with their work-life. Sagramore scanned the sheeple. They were seated on 4 couches all clustered around a table with a lamp on it, like some kind of Gen-Y campfire. There were some cute girls…some damn cute girls. However, none of them seemed like they would put out. He’d probably get a blowjob, at most. Honestly, CarrieLynn was likely the best chance he had at getting laid that night. She wasn’t the prettiest, but hell, even Jaime Lannister would have fucked Brienne, and Sagramore had hooked up with uglier girls before, and YOLO. One of the other girls choked up some of her drink, like she’d just realized something. She pointed at Sagramore.

“You look like the werewolf from True Blood!”

His eyes widened in appreciation. “Yes! That’s exactly what I was going for. I call the loo–”

“That show is stupid.”

Sagramore turned to his right, and for the first time noticed the lead hipster of the group. He continued.

“All the new HBO shows are bad, even Game of Thrones. They’re so…mainstream. Went downhill after The Wire.”

Mother fucker! The others in the group nodded, and Sagramore stared in wide-eyed horror. The alpha hipster led the conversation to other avenues, and then our hero understood what had happened. The hipster didn’t really care about HBO shows. He had been the center of attention, and hadn’t liked it when the girl had turned to Sagramore, so he decided to bash him, and take control back. But that was fine. Sagramore had read The Game. He could roll with this shit. He didn’t know much about hipsters, but he knew enough to exploit them. Sagramore just needed the right chance.

Five minutes later the Gods smiled upon our hero. The GoT-hating douchehat whipped out a camera, to take a group picture. All the girls and guys got together, and shot out peace signs, cuz that’s what you do in Japan. The camera flashed, and as the alpha hipster put it away, Sagramore pounced.

“Oh, shit. Is that digital?”

His opponent’s eyes widened in surprise.

“Well, yes. It is conveni-”

“Sure, it’s convenient. But in terms of picture quality, digital still hasn’t caught up to film. But it’s not even about quality…”

His hipster audience stared at Sagramore with rapt attention.

“It’s just the feel, you know? The touch and look of film grain is just…special…”

They were enthralled. Now he just needed to finish the crescendo and bring them to climax.

“I actually dabble in pinhole camera photography. You can really get some amazing shots out of that. I build the cameras by hand. Homemade, yeah. I…have a website. It’s”

Boom went the dynamite. The former alpha stared at Sagramore in horror, as the other dudes shifted in their seat towards him, and two of the hotter chicks scooted closer. He was now the center of faux-intellectual attention. He leaned back into the couch, and spread his arms out behind the headrest. Our hero was done. They asked him a few more questions about photography; he answered all of them with variations of “the lighting is key.” Sagramore’s nemesis tried to pry back into the conversation a few times, but to no avail. Our boy was in control now.

Having relinquished his alpha status, the evil hipster then turned over to one of the less attractive girls near him, because that’s what beta wolves do. But Sagramore wasn’t done with the GoT/True Blood hater. Time to go direwolf on him. He noticed he recognized the band on the girl’s torn T-shirt.

“Hey, nice shirt! Do you like Straightener? They’re a great band. Saw them live last year at Nano Mugen.”

She beamed, and shifted forward in her seat, toward Sagramore and away from the hipster. The omega wolf looked around uncomfortably, and then got up, presumbly to lick his wounds or look for a drink. Victory was sweet. Sagramore gradually let himself recede from the center of attention, since he had already used up all his hipster knowledge. The others started talking about vinyl…no joke. As in, vinyl music records. Sagramore didn’t even use CD’s anymore.

Our hero turned his attention back to the Nebraskan, since he really wanted to score tonight, and she did seem like the best bet. He need to focus on her; splitting attention would net nothing. If you chase two rabbits, you won’t catch either one. They flirted a bit, i.e- he flirted and she inhaled it like shy girls do. At one point, while LeslieAnn was up getting herself another drink, her sister Riot leaned over and said:

“You know, I like you with my sister.”

Sagramore raised an eyebrow and bobbed his head in a pensive stance.

“What a weird thing to say.”

She backed up, offended. “Excuse me?”

“Sorry, I totally meant to think that, and not say it. Thanks for your blessing?”

She smiled, and playfully punched him on the shoulder, then turned back to some other people. What had just happened?

Let’s fast forward: Sagramore and LeslieAnn had found an empty bedroom somewhere in the cavernous complex of apartment. After the pair had fooled around for about 10 minutes, LeslieAnn blurted out:

“I don’t want to have sex with you tonight.”

If there were a set of words a man with a boner less wants to hear, Sagramore didn’t know of it. It was ok. He just needed to keep cool. Sometimes it just took a little finesse.

“Hey…girl. It’s cool. We’re just enjoying each other’s company right now, not having sex. Don’t think ahead to sex, just enjoy right now. We don’t have to have sex at all.”

The hell we don’t! She seemed to relax after his response, and the fooling aroundery continued until she put her hand over his, which was suction cupped to her boob.

“It’s just that… when you have sex so soon, it’s hard for the relationship to last.”

Sagramore should have left right then. He should have thanked LeslieAnn for her time, slipped her some cab fare, and left the room. But who makes appropriate decisions with his jeans unzipped? He was committed to doing this. Rub some dirt on it, and get back in the game.

Clothes came off, tits were felt, and penises were touched. Things were starting to look promising once again. She actually wasn’t a horrible kisser, either. He breathed a sigh of relief. She reached down, and started up an awkward handjob, which…well, it was a handjob. Who has ever enjoyed a handjob? He could do it himself at any time. Literally, any time. He bet some Christian woman from the 19th century, too prudish to even give a little head, had come up with the damn things. The Victorians! Anyway, he was lying back getting an awkward handjob, when MarySue said:

“You know…I really haven’t been with many guys.”

Kettles of Catfish! The situation was degenerating fast. What reason could anyone possibly have to say that? Imagine a transatlantic flight where the captain told the passengers: OK, expected flight duration is 9 hours and 22 minutes. FYI, this is my first time flying an aircraft. Just got my license Tuesday. Enjoy. Sagramore closed his eyes and thought about rainbows and laughing unicorns. it would be OK. Just power through. She seemed to finish the unsolicited handjob, and sort of sat on him unsure of where to go next. She leaned in close, and whispered into his ear:

“You’re a nice boy, Sagramore”

Keep your eyes closed! Don’t make eye contact. Just grin and bear it. You’ll get in in soon.

“I’m on my period.”

Our proud knight was in free-fall. What?! What day was it? What–there must be a way–somethi-someone, help! LeslieAnn must have seen the disappointment on his face, and, bless her heart, she tried to do the best she could.

“Don’t worry, I have an idea.”

Dread splashed across his face, like a psychological money-shot, and he grimaced in fear. She pushed him back down on the bed, and slid her panties off. Sagramore didn’t understand; she had just said she was on her perio–Aaahh! She straddled our hero, and started rubbing the outside of her lady parts onto his dick. Sagramore lay back immobile, frozen in terror. He looked up at her, moving back and forth above him, and wondered where he had gone wrong. He wondered what unconscionable crime he had committed in a past life to deserve this.

And then shit got worse: he felt her tampon string on his penis. He dry heaved a couple times, and covered his mouth. This was the darkest moment of his life. He tried to think of rainbows, but they were only red. He tried to imagine unicorns, but Nebraskan cowboys were lassoing them with tampon strings.

It took forever, but Sagramore eventually blew a load, and graduated from horrifying almost-sex to cuddling. They had put their clothes on, and were spooning on the bed. She gripped his right hand tight, and he stared forward at the wall like a death row inmate on his last day. She shifted around to face him.

“Do you like me?”

Sagramore would rather she had told him she had herpes. How was the feel of a tampon string not rock bottom?

“I mean. There were other girls here tonight; why did you choose me?”

You’re not a fucking Pokemon! I didn’t choose you. We knew each other, and this seemed like a safe bet to score. Sagramore looked at the woman in front of him. She had eyes, hands, and a face, so how could something human seem so alien? What was she thinking? He didn’t understand her at all. Why ask that? What did she want? For him to say she was special, and he loved her on their second date after she’d rubbed her tampon on him? Whatever, he just responded with one of her lines; maybe using her language would get through.

“You’re a really nice girl, LeslieAnn.”

She furrowed her brow, and looked disappointed. She turned back around.

“Maybe we should go back to the party.”

That was it: he’d had enough. He got off the bed and left the room. Sagramore stumbled through the hallways like an injured soldier seeking a medic. He found one in a beer. He saw a small group was getting ready to leave on the last train. Most seemed resigned to pulling an all-nighter at the party. One always maddening aspect of Tokyo was the trains shutting down at midnight. You’d think a city with 24 million inhabitants could support a 24 hr. subway system. Heero walked up to him.

“Where’ve you been, man? You disappeared for a while.”

“I was living a god damned horror movie. How’d it go with Ayaka?”

“Meh, I dunno. She’s nice, but…”

Heero looked down at the ground, and shuffled his feet around.

“But what? Ask her out, dude. Take her out to a movie or something.”

Sagramore took a long drag of beer.

“Maybe I should. I don’t know about taking that kind of risk, though.”

“A risk? Starting your own business with your life savings is a risk. Asking a girl out is fucking Tuesday. It happens.”

“No, Sag. I mean a philosophical existential risk.”

Sagramore almost dropped his beer. “What?”

“Intersubjectivity always has its dangers.”

“Jesus, Heero. I need wikipedia open in my browser just to talk to you. What is intersubjectivity?”

“Ha, it’s just connecting with another as two subjects instead of subject-object. But there’s always a risk because you can’t really know if they really understand you as a person or still just an object.”

“Dude, you’re the Platonic form of overthinking asking a girl out. We’re talking about coffee or a movie.”

Heero rubbed the top of his head. “Maybe.”

“Your problem, bud, is you don’t drink. Let’s get me another beer and go back upstairs.”

The night took a turn for the better. Sagramore enjoyed hanging out on the balcony with the other partygoers. Heero seemed to be enjoying himself, too. Rebel and MarySue had come up earlier and said they were leaving on the last train. LeslieAnn had thanked Sagramore and winked at him as she turned away to leave. He stared at her retreating figure, flabbergasted. He had never even used the word flabbergasted before, but he sure felt it. He shook his head, and pinched himself.

The group was seated on the couches again, surrounded by the night glow of the city. Sagramore spied a few people smoking weed over in the corner, leaning back against the railing. He opened another beer. The current pack was all men, including the Taiwanese host. The conversation, of course, centered around women. One of the men was having trouble with his girlfriend.

“ she still won’t forgive me. I just don’t get her.”

Sagramore gave his two cents, in heavily slurred almost-speak.

“It’s cuz we’re different, you know? Guys and gals. Think about it. A dude is like evolutionarily programmed to put it in stuff. OK? Like, our life mission is to give our dick out into chicks. Give. Away. But them? It’s the exact opposite! Their role is to receive stuff. Their whole life revolves around how to best do that. So it’s like, we’re different. We have opposite missions for life. That affects you, as a person. Your personal growth and personality and all.”

Heero shook his head.

“How many beers is that? Maybe you should stop, Sagramore. You’re not making sense. Well, that did make just enough sense to seem misogynist…”

“I’m not a mysgolonist! I mean, mygolosist.. I don’t hate women; I just don’t understand them.”

Everyone had a few laughs at Sagramore’s expense. One of the other Taiwanese chimed in.

“I think you’re sort of on to something, in terms of our ability to understand another, but it’s not gender specific. You know how long your dreams last? Minutes. You have about 6 dreams every night, and the vivid images and feelings you remember as you wake up make up a fraction of only one of those dreams. Think about that. In one lifetime, how many dreams, thoughts, and images, go by without us even knowing?”

Sagramore stifled a yawn.

“That’s just our unconscious. The human experience includes so much that 30 universes couldn’t contain what makes up one person. What did you want to be as an adult when you were 5? 8? 15? Now? How many ideas have you had for books, car designs, fantasy landscapes? How many dates have you run through in your mind with that hot girl you never asked out? All that stuff makes up who we are, and most of it we’re oblivious to ourselves. So how can anyone hope to accurately express their being to anyone else? When I have kids, how can I show them what their father is? When I die, will I be happy with what’s written on my tombstone? Forget the difference between men and women. Focus on difference between one person and any other.
The English language consists of more than a quarter million words, Chinese has a little less, and yet if I used every one of those words, I couldn’t show you the smallest detectable fraction of who I am. Is any sort of significant understanding between individuals possible? ”

“Judging by this conversation, no.” Sagramore took another sip of beer and everyone laughed off the talk. They were treading into water too deep for 2 AM. The MTV philosophy session was over.

A few girls wandered over, and they started up a game of Mafia, which is the best party game ever invented. Everytime Sagramore was one of the killers, the mob won. He felt proud of that for some weird reason. During one of the rounds he noticed Ayaka talking to some guy over near a small coffee table. He decided to keep his eye on them. Eventually the guy left, presumably to get a drink, and Sagramore left the couch group to stumble over towards her.

“Yo. Haven’t talked much tonight. What’s up?”

She made no efforts to make her amusement, and laughed as she answered.

“I’m OK. But wow, you sound really drunk.”

“Nah, just a few beers.”

He collapsed onto the chair across the table from her. He supposed they should get the small talk out of the way.

“So how’s work?”

“Bad. I’ve been looking to transfer to another company, but I only have 2 years of work experience.”

“Yea, I never understood that unspoken rule of having to wait through 3 years of hell to change jobs in Japan. Why not just quit? You live with your parents anyway; you’d be happier.”

“I dunno. It’s just…it would feel like a step back, you know? Like I’m losing something.”

“Yea. You’d be losing that paycheck you blow on Louis Vuitton bags and overseas vacations.”

“Ha ha , shut up.”

They both leaned back in their respective chairs. He got the feeling she had more to say…maybe the wisecrack had been a bad idea.

“So I saw you spending a lot of time with LeslieAnn earlier. You two hitting it off?”

Sagramore downed the rest of his beer.

“Umm…she’s nice, yea. But there’s no…spark or anything extra there.”

“Ah well, at least you’ve made a new friend. That’s nice.”

“Yea, if only that were all…”


“Totally didn’t mean to say that. Yea. Friendship is great.”

She took in a deep breath, and started twirling strands of her hair around. The lighting around their table was bad, and her darkened figure was surrounded by the glow of a distant building’s lights.

“How do you like Heero?”

She thought about the answer for a bit in silence.

“He’s nice…a little…too serious, I guess? He was talking about philosophy and things I don’t understand. A bit weird.”

“Hey, he’s not weird. OK? He’s just a deep thinker.”

“Yea, sure. But my English isn’t perfect, and I don’t know a lot of those words he used…kind of strange.”

“It’s not strange! He was just trying to show you who he really was, but he dreams 6 times a night, and there’s too few words in languages.”

She furrowed her brow in confusion, and let out a quick spurt of laughter.


“Never mind. It sounded better when the dude from Taiwan said it. Anyway, you should give him a chance.”


She sort of caught Sagramore off guard with that question. He tried to take another swig of beer, but the can was empty. Ayaka’s figure was obscured; he couldn’t quite make out her expression. His gaze shifted down his hands, and noticed he lay bathed in a similar tenebrous cloak. They were both staring into impenetrable abysses, but they would be anyway, had they been standing in a well-light area. What did she dream about at night, and what did she really want out of life? Sagramore thought about what dwelt beneath the rehearsed lines and demure femininity that created the beautiful shell to which he was attracted. Probably insecurities; that’s mostly what he was covering up in himself, anyway.

The sky above the party had brightened, as the sun was just starting to peek over the Eastern horizon, completely blocked from view by the Tokyo cityscape. Sagramore had never gotten used to how early the sun rose in Japan. He thought about telling Ayaka that he wanted to be with her, and not her friends from school or Nebraska. But that would be quite a risk. Time was slipping by. He needed to answer her, lest he lose her attention completely.

“I mean, he’s a good person and all. Why not go out?”

“There’s lots of nice men; do I need to date all of them?”

“…I suppose not. But you’re always complaining about being single.”

“No, I don’t.”

She did. She totally did. At least, he thought she did. Maybe he focused in on her single rants, grasping onto the fact she was alone and not with someone else, to the exclusion of other stuff she talked about. Or maybe she had just lied to him. Or maybe years of hanging out at other people’s parties drunk, and nothing else, hadn’t really fostered a very close relationship. They both sat silently for a while. Sagramore still couldn’t clearly see her, but he felt she was waiting for something. The problem was that he was waiting, too. Neither one budged, and eventually our proud knight excused himself, saying he needed another drink. The party continued to fizzle out, until the sun finally rose up above the city’s buildings, and illuminated the dying cinders of merriment.

Sagramore rode the train back home alone, and listened to Angou no Waltz again. The lyrics didn’t all make sense, but he felt the song was somehow appropriate through vague music-y feelings. He thought about Ayaka the whole ride home. He thought about her as he fell asleep, exhausted, at 7am.

Unfortunately, he dreamed of tampon strings.


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