My Last Eight Hundred Eggs — Part 2

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86 eggs left.

I went — or to be more precise, ran like a mad woman — to the orphanage where Hasemi volunteered. There, Toshiko told me he would come on Monday, and that she didn’t know his phone or address, which didn’t sound logical but I didn’t know if she was old enough to lie.

52 eggs left.

Fearing the home for children would send me to one for the crazy — they’d began questioning my sanity due to my insistence on contacting Hasemi — I stopped going there. Instead, I spent the day browsing all the Hasemi’s on social media. I’d surely find him since that surname only existed in Japan. Wrong. People from Afghanistan and Bangladesh also had it.

With only a day and a half left, I was screwed. Should I jump from Tokyo Tower?

18 eggs left.

I had my head buried like an ostrich in my drawer, choosing from my few date-worthy clothes. This was my last chance. If I didn’t make Hasemi love me and make love to me in the next twenty-four hours, my dream daughter would remain just that. A dream.

After defeating indecisiveness, I took my red summer dress (because men subconsciously liked women in red), my black lace thong (because only an mad man wouldn’t like it), and the Saint-Amour wine I’d bought a while ago (because it was a good moment to be mentally anesthetized).

When I arrived at the park, I found Hasemi sitting at the entrance of the park’s slide, wearing skintight chinos, a loose shirt, and a well-fitted blazer. Seeing him taking our random date seriously reddened my cheeks. I might beat him in the falling-in-love race I’d set for us.

“You okay?” Hasemi asked. “You smell of grapes, and your cheeks are like tomatoes.”

“Oh.” I held my heated face. “I kept some grapes for months in my fridge, and they fermented. Who would’ve thought? You can get tipsy with fruits!”

To my relief, Hasemi laughed at my tasteless joke. “This will sound like a cliché, but you’re different from most women I’ve met.”

I managed a weak smile. “More different than you think.”

Our groaning stomachs told us to go to the izakaya. Inside, we sat at the corner of the bar — the only available seat in this packed place — where I ordered salmon roe, shrimp roe, and flying fish eggs sushi from the chef.

“Whoa.” Hasemi put down the flask and cups of sake. “Are you planning to build an aquarium in your stomach?”

“Not at all.”

“A fish farm?”

“Sorry, I’m not in the mood for these type of jokes.” I shut my eyes to avoid seeing how I’d ruined the mood between us.

Right, who was I fooling? I’d never form a family in only one night. A relationship took months to build, a marriage years to plan. And that was if you found the right person. How would I do that when I stopped being a worthy candidate? When I stopped being able to produce life? Should I end mine?

“Apologies.” Hasemi faced me and bowed forty-five degrees. “No more fish jokes, I promise.”

I sighed. “Sorry, the problem isn’t you. I’m not having my best days.”

“Maybe I can share some positive energy with you,” Hasemi said. “I’ve been having nice days. Especially today.”

My lips curled up against my will. “How come you’re not dating anyone? You seem to be good with women. And children.”

“I’m on a date right now.” Hasemi poured a cup of sake for me and him. With such grace, he could be a host in a club. “By the way, you seem to be good with children too.”

I blinked at him. “Where did you see that?”

“When you were with Toshiko. You’re one of the few people who’s managed to stand her for more than five minutes — without wanting to slap her.”

I chuckled. “She’s a real a case, isn’t she?”

“A really complicated one.”

“Do you mind telling me about her?”

He stared at his sake like someone developing photos in a darkroom. “Long story short, Toshiko was born from an adult mother who still wanted to be a teenager. She gave birth to Toshiko in the public toilet of a park — and tried to flush her down. As if Toshiko were feces.”

I flinched, unable to continue eating my roe sushi. Bizarre. While I was killing myself to give life to a baby, others were killing babies so they could enjoy their lives.

“Did the father find out about this?” I asked. “Oh wait, you said you knew him.”

“That’s right. But I ended our friendship — when he told me he wished his girlfriend had succeeded in disposing of Toshiko.” Hasemi rocked his sake as if to erase the images he saw on its surface. “You know, people think it’s a blessing to bring babies into the world. But maybe we’re inviting them to hell.”

“It’s not true,” I said, “you gave Toshiko a little heaven.”

Hasemi shot me a sad smile. “Not sure if I’ve given her enough, though.”

“She’ll decide that after she grows into a healthy, happy woman.”

“That’s my dream.” He gazed at the red paper lantern orbiting above us. “What’s yours?”

My hopes with Hasemi returned after he’d shared his story — somehow, he convinced me that we could write one together. So I resolved to reveal my plan.

But I needed to test him first. “Can we talk about this in a more private place? Like my apartment?”

Hasemi’s huge eyes enlarged even more. “You’re really a daring darling, aren’t you?”

“It’s not courage. It’s impatience.”

“What’s making you impatient? Your sensitive matter?”

“Be patient. I’ll tell you about it when I’m ready.”

He scratched the back of his head. “Okay, I have all the time in the world.”

Still 18 eggs left.

I sat side by side with Hasemi on my single bed, our eyes locked on our feet like two inexperienced teenagers.

“So what’s the test?” he asked.

I didn’t fail him on it because he’d accepted to come to my apartment. Why? I enjoyed my time with him. And most importantly, I didn’t have more time.

“It’ll start now.” Without giving regret a chance to act, I shoved Hasemi into the middle of the bed and plopped myself on his lap. “Ready?”

His Adam’s apple bobbed up and down. “I don’t have a choice, do I?”

“Excellent. Question one: do you like girls?”

When his hard-on poked my buttocks, he said, “Does that count as an answer?”

“As evidence,” I replied. “Question two: do you have a girlfriend?”

“If I had one, I wouldn’t be here.”

“Correct answer. Am I your type of girl?”

“If you weren’t, I wouldn’t be here.”

“Last and most important question — would you like to love me?”

With a mellow smile, Hasemi cupped my cheeks and parted my lips with the tip of his tongue. With his forehead pressed against mine, he said, “There. More evidence that I’m interested in you.”

I beamed at him. “My turn to show interest.” I dimmed the ceiling lights, unbuckled his leather belt, and let it fall on the bed. His chinos, shirt, and blazer joined it. And my red dress.

“Sure this isn’t too fast?” Hasemi asked.

“You said time is precious. It’s even more precious to me.” I pulled off my strapless bra and lace thong, followed by his boxers. With sweaty hands, I grabbed his erection firmly and slid it inside me, squeezing out a gasp from him.

“Did it hurt?” I inquired.

He shook his head. “How about you?”

“No pain.” Our little foreplay had readied me enough.

“That’s good, but no condom isn’t.” He fished a shiny, silver square from his jeans and left it next to his arm.

I smirked at him. “You were sure you’d take me to bed, huh?”

“No, but I had to take precautions. You know, in case I was lucky enough.”

I lifted Hasemi — without detaching our lower halves — and cradled him in my arms like a baby. My tenderness, however, faded when I remembered the use of contraceptives.

Panic rushing through me, I pushed Hasemi on his back and my hips against him. “We don’t need condoms. I’m safe today.” Actually, since I’d lost track of my cycle, I regarded my attempts at getting pregnant as pulling slot machines.

“How about other dangers?” Hasemi asked with a moan.

“I’ve been STI-free all my life.”

“The perfect conditions.”

Gripping his body and starting moving, whispered into his ear, “So you can come inside me. Would you like that?”

“I …”

“Would you like to fill me up?”

“I … I …”

“Until my womb becomes bloated?”

“I … I’m coming.”

With my head pressed against his chest, I thrust and thrust and thrust. No one could stop this. Hasemi and I would bring a child into this world. Would she suffer as Toshiko did? No, I would keep her safe at all cost. Pull her out of any toilet, any sewer, any swamp. I would —

Before I could finish the thought, Hasemi grunted and pulsated inside me. I released a long sigh. Finally. I achieved my ultimate goal.

I was wrong.

When I sat to his side, I spotted pearls of sperm sprinkled on Hasemi’s abs and hands.

“It can’t be,” I uttered.

“I’m surprised too,” he said, still short of breath. “Dunno where I got the superhuman strength to hold on long enough. I almost failed.”

“I mean, why did you do it?”

“I know you’re safe today. But you never know. Besides, we just met, so we should follow a zero risk policy.”

“No, no.” I shook my head. “I didn’t know if I was safe.”

Scowling, he wiped his six-pack with a tissue and tossed it into the trash can. “You wanted to trick me?”

“I …” I started but trailed off.

“Into getting you pregnant?”

“I … you said you would like to love me. We’d have had nine months for that.”

“You are different indeed.” With a somber silence, Hasemi put on his boxers, chinos, shirt, and blazer. “But not in a good way.”

“I know I did something bad. And that you’re mad at me.”

“Honestly, I’m too shocked to be angry.”

“I’m sorry. Let me explain.”

Hasemi waved his palm. “No need. It was my fault too. I shouldn’t have accepted to have sex with you without protection — but don’t worry, it won’t happen again. See you soon.” With a weak wave of the hand, he exited the front door and locked it behind him.

I sat on the edge of my bed, squinting at Hasemi’s dried seed in the trash can. What had I been thinking? I almost made someone a father without his consent. A husband without a wife he loved.

Laying back, I glanced at the wall clock. Midnight. My last 18 eggs would die anytime. Together with my dream.

Wait, it had already died. But a new one had been born.

0 eggs left.

Matsuyama Park looked livelier than I remembered. The blue, yellow, and red of the slide and swings sparkled. The ginkgo trees seemed greener and thicker. Had I been wearing invisible sunglasses the other day?

The only detail bleaching these colors was Hasemi and Toshiko’s absence. Where were they? My phone displayed twenty past five. They should have been here by now.

Or maybe they abstained from coming today? Like silently saying, “Stay away from us?” That must be it. They had abandoned me.

Slipping my phone back into my jean’s pocket, I buried my face in my knees to hide my tears from no one. Why did all my dreams run away from me? Was I frightening? Embarrassing?

“Are you crying?” asked a familiar voice.

I peered down. At the exit of the slide stood Toshiko. I could recognize her lengthy black hair and mini red dress despite my blurred eyes.

“I played too long with the slide,” I said. “Now I’m sweating through my eyes.”

“You are lying. Chika is a crybaby.”

“How come you know my name?” I didn’t remember having mentioned it to her.

“Papa told me a lot about you. You like to eat fish eggs and behave crazy like a snake.”

Hasemi had put me on familiar terms with Toshiko. Did that mean I still had a chance with him?

“Where is Papa?” I asked.

Before she could answer, he showed up at her side, dressed in the same jeans, turtleneck sweater, and blazer he wore the first time we met.

“Hasemi!” I lifted to my feet.

He held Toshiko’s hand. “Let’s go. You’ve played enough.” They walked away, their backs becoming tinier and tinier.

“I’m really sorry,” I yelled.

“I told you, it was my fault too,” Hasemi said, without a single glance around. “So no need for apologies. Or discussion.”

“At least let me share my sensitive issue with you.”

He halted with Toshiko to look over his shoulder. “I’ve been thinking about that one.”

I told Hasemi about my disease and dream, as I should have done from the beginning.

“Your situation sounds insane,” he said. “But I can understand why it made you go cuckoo.”

I lowered my eyes to my yellow dress. “Guess desperation messed up my senses.”

“And your senses almost messed up my life.”

“I know. Would you forgive me? I promise to never trick you into getting me pregnant again — not that you could if you wanted to.”

“You’re a determined darling, aren’t you?” Hasemi said, determined darling in English.

I raised my head, my cheeks heated up. “That’s because I would like to love you.”

Hasemi scanned me with his round eyes for what could’ve been an eternity. When that infinity ended, he faced to the front and carried on with his path. “You have two options: find somebody else.”

I should have guessed earlier. It was too late.

“Or accept my punishment.”

My heart jumped like a frog. “What is it? Sitting in the seiza position for 10 hours? Being whipped 1000 times with a bamboo stick? Paying a fine of 100,000 yens? I’ll do anything.”

“None of the above.” Hasemi rested his hand on Toshiko’s ball-shaped head. “You have to make a fishtail braid for Toshiko. As you proposed to her last time.”

I gawked at Hasemi’s beaming face, dumbstruck. No, I had no reason to be startled. He was a forgiving god, one that would rule my private heaven. Well, Toshiko’s and mine.

She dashed over to the slide. “You will tie my hair. Right, right?”

I blinked at her. “You’ll let me touch you? You don’t see me as a stranger anymore?”

“You are not a stranger. You are Big Sister.” She flashed me a row of pearly teeth.

With fake sweat returning to my eyes — but with a genuine smile — I told Toshiko to sit on the slide and rode down, making her giggle when I crushed behind her. Once our laughter subsided, I grabbed her silky hair and began weaving locks. Together with my dream.

Writer of fictional words. Admirer of Haruki Murakami. To be notified of his upcoming novel, click here: https://mailchi.mp/6b5f800d7eb0/alexandrochen

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