Maemi Sato tentatively approaches Kentaro Takahashi and coughs to attract his attention.
“Excuse me. Would you have a little faith in the promises you’d made after I’d given you seven years of my life?”
Takahashi narrows his eyes in confusion. As Maemi gestures to the sentence on the paper, he nods with realisation. “Yes, of course,” he says.
“Your name?” asks Maemi as she rests her paper on the nearest desk and clicks out the nib of a ball-point pen.
“What does it all mean?” sobs Borislava Kruglov into a wad of tissue on the other side of the classroom. “They treat you like you’re a princess for a few months and then as soon as you make your vows they start going cold. It’s just as well he was infertile!”
“Who the hell cares about life experiences anyway?” she asks through the tears. “Who cares if anyone has flown in a helicopter or met someone famous? That’s not what really matters in life…”
Her tears drip onto the spare worksheets in front of her. A drop of water turns black as it soaks up the toner of the capital F of Find someone who… Beneath the incomplete imperative are several possible permutations to end the sentence, with space allowed for writing the names.
…respects your needs as a woman.
…pays some goddamn attention to you.
…remembers your birthday.
Maemi has moved on to the next student and is coughing politely again to attract her attention.
Ume Ito removes her reading glasses and strains to hear as Maemi speaks.
“Would you honour your commitments to your wife instead of running away to Bratislava with that whore from the delicatessen?”
Ume purses her lips in thought for a moment before indicating that she would.
“Your name?” asks Maemi.