Like a Christmas cake

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  • Published 20040601
  • ISBN: 9780733314339
  • Extent: 268 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

SHE WAKES IN darkness, shivering, a sudden chill on her back like the breath of a ghost. She lies still, eyes closed in a pretence of sleep, as he slides from beneath the kake-buton to rise and pad across the tatami flooring to the bathroom. Fragile walls mute the sibilant sputter of the shower and the rubbery squeak of bare feet.

She reaches under her pillow to retrieve a small mobile phone. Drawing the kake-buton up over her head, she glances at a graphic of an analogue clock glowing on the keitai‘s colour screen – 5.11am. In exactly 39 minutes, he will catch the subway to his office in Shinagawa. She replaces the keitai under the pillow and turns on her side, folding her legs up almost to her chest, like a foetus within a dark cotton womb. Within a few shallow breaths, she is at the edge of unconsciousness. She does not hear him leave.

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