Are You Happy?
*NEW + EDITED Disclaimer and TW: for readers who have continued to read up till this chapter, please take not that the content relating to Makaira’s apparent eating disorder will continue to progress and you are asked to keep in mind that people’s experiences with eating disorders vary. The thoughts, characteristics, and behaviours which Makaira have are examples of what some people may have, or in fact may not have at all. Once again, if you feel that may be triggered by such content, please do not proceed. Otherwise, please enjoy this story, and do not be afraid to reach out to the people who you think may be having trouble with similar problems as Makaira!
“Koyanagi-chan!” Yuuto exclaims as he holds Makaira, who has now fallen unconscious.
This grabs the attention of other customers in the café and they immediately call for Hasegawa-san to help. She hurriedly walks over to the two.
“I don’t know. We were going to go back to the university for class and she fell when she stood up.”
“Come, bring her to the staff room.” Hasegawa-san says seriously, then turns towards her customers and bows, “Sorry for the inconvenience, but we’ll have to close the café for a while.”
The customers respond understandingly and head out the shop as Hasegawa-san flips the ‘open’ sign to ‘closed’ and locks the door.
Yuuto had carried Makaira to the staff room and laid her down on the bed which they very luckily have in there. He nudges Makaira gently and calls her name, and she lets out a small groan.
“Koyanagi-chan? Can you hear me?”
Yes, I can.
Makaira moves her head slightly and tries to pick her arm up.
I’m losing control of my body…
“Give her some space, Yuuto.” Hasegawa-san says as she walks into the staff room and puts down a glass of water on the table, “Get me the pillows, will you?”
Yuuto hurriedly carries the pillows over to his mother and watches her put them under Makaira’s legs.
“This helps when someone faints.” she says. “Go back to the university and tell your professor Koyanagi-chan won’t be able to make it to class.”
Yuuto contemplates for a moment before saying, “I want to stay here. I can message a friend to help me let the professor know.” he looks at his mother to see how she’d react.
She sighs, “Fine. She should feel a bit better soon, so just stay here with her. I’ll have to open the café back up.”
After a few minutes, Makaira is able to get up properly and Yuuto hands her the glass of water.
“Thank you.” she says, sipping on the water, “Sorry about that, I must’ve caused you so much trouble. And great, we’re missing a class on the first day of university.”
“It’s fine. I asked someone to let the professor know. More importantly, I’m worried. Does this happen often?”
“Any idea why you might’ve fainted?”
Makaira shakes her head and looks down. Although she doesn’t know for sure, her gut tells her that this has something to do with her restricting. Since she hasn’t eaten properly for days, her blood sugar must have crashed which could lead to losing consciousness. But seeing Yuuto so worried, she didn’t want to tell him.
“You should eat something, then go home and take a rest, okay? Take the rest of the day off, I’ll help you inform your professors.”
“No! Are you serious? I can’t miss the first day of my classes. I’m literally fine right now. I’m going to head to my next class.”
Yuuto is shocked at Makaira’s immediate response but proceeds to argue wit her unreasonableness.
“Am I serious? How about you ask yourself that question?! You just fainted and now you want ot head straight back to class not knowing whether you might faint again?”
Makaira is taken aback by Yuuto’s tone but thinks about what he said.
He has a point. If I faint again and I’m in class, I could be brought to the nurse and they might find out the reason and tell me to eat. That would severely hinder my diet.
“You’re right, sorry. I’ll just go home then.”
Hearing Makaira say that, Yuuto loosens up his tense expression, but into a worried one.
“No, you should eat something first. And, you know what? I’ll walk you home.”
Makaira shakes her head no, and says, “I’m not hungry, and I can walk home by myself.”
“Koyanagi-chan, it doesn’t matter whether you’re hungry or not. You need to eat or you’ll stress your body to the point where you’ll faint again. Listen to me and eat.”
Makaira lets out a sigh, “Fine.”
Without a choice, Makaira eats a proper lunch for once in a full week with Yuuto. Although she felt far better than she did before almost immediately, her mind was not convinced and all that was occupying her mind was the thought that she may have just ruined all her efforts to lose weight.
Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep!
At the very moment Makaira’s eyes open, she jumps out of her sheets and grabs the scale tucked under her bed. She gets out of her clothes for an accurate measurement and immediately steps on the scale.
Makaira blinks at the number on her scale, gets off, and gets on it once again.
Number… ? I… I lost weight?
She doesn’t believe her eyes and checks her weight record. Sure enough, she’s lost some weight from yesterday.
But… How is that possible? I ate a whole meal yesterday!
To answer her questions, she hurriedly does some research before getting ready for her morning class.
I see… So, eating very little can lead to a slowed down metabolism and in order to burn more calories and lose more weight, I have to make sure my metabolism doesn’t completely crash! That’s why eating more yesterday actually helped me to lose more weight than if I just stuck to very little.
That afternoon, Makaira returns to Hasegawa-san’s café as usual, and orders her usual iced Americano.
“Make sure you eat well, dear.” Hasegawa-san says as she settles Makaira ’s drink, “You have to take care of your health. Don’t overwork yourself.
The woman smiles. But unlike the other times, Makaira can see a little worry in her eyes.
“Don’t worry, Hasegawa-san. I eat well.” says the girl, putting on such a sweet smile that reassures the older woman about her concerns.
Back at home after lessons, she cuts an apple for dinner.
The next day, Makaira does the same — one iced Americano for lunch, and an apple for dinner.
Sure enough, it’s the same meal plan the next day, and the next, and the next…
Until the seventh day, a week after the fainting incident, Makaira plans a full day of eating to speed up her metabolism.
For breakfast, she has an apple, and although reluctant, she orders a little something more than an iced Americano at Hasegawa-san’s café for lunch.
“One iced Americano as usual?” Hasegawa-san asks, flashing her usual smile.
“Yes,” Makaira smiles, “and a croissant, please.”
Hasegawa-san’s eyes light up in an instant and she takes the order with a wide smile.
“Coming right up, dear! Go sit down.”
Makaira sits in her usual corner and takes her laptop and earphones out, ready to do some schoolwork.
Once her order arrives, she slowly enjoys her croissant and iced coffee while typing away her essay for a class.
A period of time passes when a pair of green sneakers show up next to Makaira’s table. Yuuto sits down opposite of Makaira and watches her as she is so distracted by her essay that she didn’t even notice him sitting down.
When the girl finally looks up, she lets out a little gasp.
“You scared me.” She mutters.
Yuuto chuckles lightly, “I see you’re having lunch. How have you been?”
Makaira puts down her earphones and says, “I’ve been good. You? I haven’t seen you around much.”
“Yea, I’ve been busy.” he says, “But I’ll be more free from now on. How are classes for you?”
“Great. I’ve been able to stay ahead of everything, and I’ve gotten to straight A grades for all my assignments and quizzes already.” Makaira says with a smile.
Yuuto smiles at the girl, “That’s great, Koyanagi-chan.”
The two decide to do some schoolwork for a bit before going back to class.
After a while, Yuuto glances up from his screen to look at Makaira. He admires her long and luscious lashes as her eyes are looking down, glued to her screen. Her beautiful jet black hair flows to her shoulders, always so effortlessly neat. Her face, although looking unhealthily thin, showing her very contoured cheekbones, is undeniably attractive.
All of a sudden, she glances up, meeting Yuuto right in the eyes. The boy panics and looks away immediately, blushing profusely. Makaira takes out of her earphones.
“Did you say something?” she asks.
Yuuto says nothing but shakes his head.
Nothing happens after this awkward encounter, and not long later, the weekend comes.
As per usual, Makaira studies at the café in her usual corner. For the first time, she sees Yuuto come to work on time and Hasegawa-san has taken a day off.
Later in the evening when the café has fewer customers, Yuuto takes his apron off and walks over to Makaira, who is, unsurprisingly, still studying, even though she’s been there since morning.
Makaira notices Yuuto’s green sneakers immediately this time, and takes off one side of her earphones.
“Taking a break?” she asks.
“Yep. What have you been studying for for so long?”
“Just reading my law textbooks to be ahead of the class. (There’s) A lot of content.”
“I see.” Yuuto nods, peering over Makaira’s shoulder to take a look at what she’s reading.
“Maybe this sounds like a stupid question but why do you like being so far ahead? You’re quick-witted, so I doubt you’d fall behind often, so why go through these lengths?”
“Well, it helps to do your pre-reading and to just know your stuff before the professor teaches it so they know you’re actually interested in the subject and are actively improving your knowledge about it.”
“Wouldn’t pre-reading consistently show that already?”
Makaira shrugs and says, “I guess I am a bit of an overachiever. No harm in getting ahead.”
“‘A bit’ is an understatement. How does she do this? Doing so much but still nail everything and make it all look so easy when it’s obvious it isn’t’?” Yuuto thinks.
“Are you happy?”