7 May, Honobu Yonezawa

文字数 4,004文字

Thank You, Have Some Coffee


I straighten my tie in the mirror in the foyer and announce my departure, causing my wife to furrow her brow with concern.
  “Be careful out there.”
  “Don’t worry, I will.”
  “I’ll lock the door behind you.”
  I go out the front door and hear the heavy sound of the lock drop behind me. I head around to the back of the house.
  The terrace window facing the backyard is always left unlocked. Taking off my shoes, I step through the window, and I am inside a modest study. I turn on the computer on the low writing desk and boil some bottled water in an electric kettle. I pour myself some coffee—into my favorite one-of-a-kind mug, bought from the antique shop—draw a sip, and take a breath. Thus begins my workday.
  I’m a writer by trade, and the study is my workplace. Due to some complicated circumstances, I am unable to divulge to my wife what I do, so I’ve been pretending to go to work and sneaking back into my own home every day. My wife never enters the study, so I needn’t worry about being found out. Since she’s started working at home, the business of going to the toilet has been tricky, but the flushing noise doesn’t seem to reach my wife working upstairs.
  As the lengthening day draws closer to dusk, I hear the patter of rain. I notice the laundry hanging out to dry in the backyard. Because I have chapped hands, and though we both have jobs, my wife is the one who does the dishes and laundry. As luck would have it, she stepped out only moments ago.
  I set down the third cup of coffee of the day on the writing desk, and go and get an oversized towel from the bathroom. Going out into the yard, I cover the hanging laundry with the towel, and gaze up at the spring rain falling lightly from the sky. The rain falls as it will, and the seasons come and go as usual. The sounds of hurried footsteps approach the foyer. I fold up the towel and after returning from putting it away, I hear a relieved voice say, “Oh, good, they didn’t get too wet,” from the other side of the curtain.
  It’s about quitting time, so I change back into my suit, and after waiting for my wife to finish taking in the laundry, I go out into the backyard. When I open the front door, my wife comes shuffling to the foyer to greet me.
  “Welcome back. Did you get caught in the rain?”
  “Thanks, I’m okay. It looks like it’ll be clearing up soon.”
  Upstairs in the bedroom, I change out of the suit that I only just put on and into my loungewear, and go back downstairs. Once I am finished with the usual vacuuming duties, my wife brings me a cup of coffee.
  “Another day. Thank you for all that you do.”
  “And to you, too.”
  Saying this, I take a sip from my favorite mug. I steal a look at my wife’s profile, but nothing about her seems to indicate that she knows my secret. Though my wife has many good traits, she can also be a bit oblivious.
  Today the emergency declaration was extended. It seems this peculiar work-at-home arrangement under one roof will continue for a while longer.


Translated by Takami Nieda/Arranged by TranNet KK

Honobu Yonezawa
Born in Gifu Prefecture, 1978. Made his debut with

Hyōka

(Flavored ice) in 2001, for which he won an Encouragement Prize (Young Mystery & Horror) as part of the 5th Kadokawa School Novel Prize . Receiving critical acclaim for blending the charm of coming-of-age stories with the fun of solving mysteries, works including

Shunki

gentei

ichigo

taruto

jiken

(Spring-limited strawberry tart incident) cemented his status as a popular author. Won the 64th Mystery Writers of Japan Award in 2011 for

Oreta

ryūkotsu

(The broken keel), and the 27th Yamamoto Shūgorō Prize in 2014 for

Mangan

(Fulfilling the vow). His other works include

Sayonara

yōsei

(Goodbye fairy),

Inu

wa

dokoda

(Where is the dog),

Inshite

miru

(The incite mill),

Tsuisō

godanshō

(Five chapters of reminiscence), and

Rikāshiburu

(Recursible), among others.

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