(Of Tenderness – Part 8)
Continued from Part 16.
They barely talked until eleven o’clock, when it was almost time for them to check out. Hirosue scrambled to get his stuff together and left the hotel. ―Matsuoka was also with him, looking thoroughly exhausted.
Hirosue invited Matsuoka to an outdoor cafe nearby. He had actually wanted to go somewhere with a more relaxing atmosphere. But he was afraid that if he went all the way to the station, Matsuoka would leave him to go straight home. They chose seats in the shade. Hirosue ordered orange juice and Matsuoka ordered iced tea.
The cicadas buzzed. Matsuoka lazily put his lips to the straw in his iced tea. Hirosue wondered how to broach the topic of their future. He had stopped the man from leaving with no plan in mind at all. A question was tossed out at him.
“ ―So what is it that you want to do from here, Hirosue?”