Chapter 6:


Are You Happy?

*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!

It’s been a good week since Yuuto and Makaira had talked that day, but ever since then, they have been hanging out with each other much more often. Yuuto’s also volunteered to help out his mother more often despite having to go to college – in all honesty, he just wanted an excuse to see Makaira more often. The two had grown much closer than previously and Makaira is slowly opening up more to Yuuto about her childhood and personal problems. There was, however, a topic which she seems to have consistently avoided — food and eating.

There isn’t a single doubt in Yuuto’s mind about Makaira’s eating disorder at this point, but he’s chosen to respect Makaira’s privacy and not talk about it until she actually says something about it. But slowly, he’s become more aware of how restrictive she is in terms of eating.

“Is she unaware? Or is she consciouly hiding it and avoiding the topic?” he thinks.

For the next couple of weeks, Yuuto works on getting Makaira out of her shell. This is not only because he is considering about bringing up the topic of eating, but also because he doesn’t want her to be burying herself in books every time he sees her. It also seemed like she didn’t have a life outside of studying. She never mentions any friends or even going out to have fun alone.

On a Sunday morning, Yuuto is wiping some coffee mugs when he thinks of a great idea. He walks out of the counter to peer at Makaira who is sitting in her now reserved corner of the café. He smiles at his genius idea before putting the mug away and getting ready to serve the day’s customers.

A few hours later, the café is almost at full capacity and Yuuto uses this time to walk away for a moment since he doesn’t expect there to be any more incoming customers.

Makaira sips on her iced Americano as she flips a page of her book. She notices the very familiar green sneakers that showed up much like the first time she met Yuuto. Unconsciously smiling, she puts down her book and looks up to meet the boy’s eyes.

“Hey.” he greets her.

“Hello there.” Makaira greets back, then peering over the boy to see the full café. “Taking a break?”

Yuuto nods and gestures to ask whether he could sit down. The girl nods and organizes some of her belongings on the table just for the sake of tidiness.

“So, I’ve got plans for us. Next Sunday, 10 am.” Yuuto says.

Makaira throws him a puzzled look and chuckles softly, saying, “Do I get to say no?”

“Nope, you’re coming. I know you won’t have any plans other than to study and read.”

Makaira sighs but nods, “Guess I don’t have a choice. What are we going to do anyway?”

“You’ll see.” Yuuto says, smiling at Makaira’s curious look. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to make you do anything remotely life-changing like bungee jumping.”

“Well, I wasn’t worried, but now I feel like I should be.”

The two laugh.

And sure enough, on the next Sunday at 10 am, Yuuto and Makaira meet in front of the café. Yuuto has asked his mother to watch the café for the day.

“Stay safe, you two. Have a nice date!” Hasegawa-san says, winking at them.

“Mom!” Yuuto says, blushing, but he glances at Makaira to see how she reacted.

Makaira is blushing, but she shakes it off rather quickly and asks Yuuto where they’re going now.

“You’ll see.” he says.

They get on a train and start their trip. Yuuto watches Makaira who appears to be very focused on the scenery they passed by on the train.

“Have you ever been around Tokyo?”

“Once, when I was very little. My parents had to bring me with them on a business trip.”

“Wait, so since then until now, even though you’ve been going to university here, you haven’t walked around here at all?”

Makaira turns to Yuuto and shakes her head. Yuuto shakes his head at her.

“Well, I’m glad I get to be your tour guide today.” he says, then looks at something outside the window and points to it, eyes open wide, “A bird’s flying right by us!”

Makaira immediately turns towards and window and gasps. Seconds later, the bird had flown away and Makaira turns back around to face Yuuto but doesn’t realize how close he got to look at the bird as well. Their faces flush red and Yuuto turns away immediateley.

At that moment, the train doors are about the close at a stop and that’s when Yuuto realizes they’re almost about to miss their stop.

“It’s our stop!” he says, grabbing Makaira’s wrist and pulling her with him as they run out of the train.

They laugh and pant as the train leaves the station.

“Well, this has been quite an eventful morning.” Yuuto says, “Come on, let’s go.”

After just a few minutes of walking, they’re at the destination.

“We’re here.”

“A themep ark?”

“Yep. I figured you need some fun and excitement to get out of your safe zone.” Yuuto says, smiling. “Excited?”

Makaira smiles widely and nods. “I’ve never been to a theme park but I’ve always wanted to go one.”

Yuuto smiles at Makaira’s excitement, but feels slightly sad thinking about how she must’ve been so alone and neglected as a child to have never been to a theme park before.

Yuuto buys their tickets, then asks if Makaira wants to have something to eat first. Unsurprisingly, she declines, but Yuuto shrugs it off for now and they proceed to go on all the roller coaster rides in the park.

Later in the afternoon, the theme park starts getting crowded so they decide to take a break from roller coasters and play something else.

“How about the haunted hotel?” Yuuto suggests, curious about how Makaira does with horror.

Although reluctant, Makaira nods.

At the entrance of the haunted hotel, they are greeted by a hotel worker.

“Ooh, lovebirds. Our hotel loves those.” he says, smiling sinisterly but innocently at the same time.

Yuuto and Makaira look at each other, absolutely too weirded out to even correct the worker’s assumption that they’re a couple.

“Thank you. Do we just enter in this entrance?” Yuuto asks.

“If you’re curious, you could search for other entrances.” the hotel worker says, showing the same smile again. “Make sure to leave your phones at the front desk.”

Yuuto smiles awkwardly then looks at Makaira. He’s about to gesture for her to go first, but realizes that he should be the one in front in this environment.

They decide to enter through the apparent entrance of the hotel and are greeted by, although small, a very grand-looking lobby. They leave their phones at the empty front desk as instructed to and looks around.

“So, where should we explore first?” Yuuto asks.

Makaira mutters an “I don’t know” and so they decide to go upstairs first.

There is a long hall of hotel rooms, presumably. Yuuto tries the doors but they’re all locked, until they reach the last room. The door lock clicks open and Yuuto pushes the door gently.

“Ready?” he whispers.

Makaira nods and they walk into the room. The door slams shut and Yuuto shrugs. He had expected that to happen. The two quickly realize how dark the room is and Yuuto tries to find a light switch somewhere or a lamp even though he didn’t think there’d be one.

Bang! Bang! Bang!

Something is hitting on a surface. Makaira flinches and tries to find Yuuto.

Yuuto is surprised when he feels Makaira’s small, cold hands on his arm.

“It’s you, right?” he asked just to make sure it wasn’t some actor in the hotel.

“Yes.” Makaira answers, but she’s trembling and Yuuto gets worried.

“Are you okay?” Yuuto asks, holding Makaira by the sides of her arms. “You’re shaking.”

“I’m afraid of the dark.” she says quietly.

Yuuto’s eyes open wide, “Why didn’t she say so earlier?” he thinks.

“Let’s get out of here then.” he suggests.

“No, continue. I’m fine.” she says stepping back and letting go of Yuuto.

They stand in silence for a few seconds when the banging happens again.

Bang! Bang! Bang!

Now that their eyes have adjusted to the dark, Makaira grabs onto Yuuto’s shirt easily.

“Here.” Yuuto says, extending his arm for Makaira to hold. “Hold onto me if you’re scared. Let’s find a way out as quickly as possible.”

Makaira nods ands holds onto Yuuto tightly, making him blush slightly, but he immediately shifts his focus on getting out of the room.

Eventually, the two make it out of the haunted hotel after several jump scares, and are greeted by a different hotel worker with their phones.

The two decide to take a break and Yuuto gets a hotdog for himself. After more roller coaster rides, the night has fallen and Yuuto asks if Makaira wants to get some ice cream.

I haven’t eaten all day and ice cream sounds nice…

Hence, they go to the ice cream shop and got small cups of ice cream and bring them to a garden area of the theme park, away from the crowd waiting for the firework show to start.

“There’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you about, Koyanagi-chan.” Yuuto says, “It’s a sensitive topic but… I honestly care too much about you to ignore it, and I want you to know that you can talk to me about it.”

Makaira looks at him, confused. He rambles on about about the topic, but Makaira is too consumed by her own thoughts to continue listening.

Could it be…? Has he been watching me this whole time? Did he realize? No way. He can’t get my hopes up like that. There’s no way he–

“… Going to ask it straight.” Yuuto takes a deep breath, “Do you have an eating disorder?”

Makaira stares at him, eyes open wide, and mouth opening slightly in shock.

He knows.

“Is she mad? Should I say something? Or does she just need some more time?” Yuuto thinks, not sure of what to do now.

Slowly, Makaira’s eyes tear up and she starts crying quietly. But eventually, the quiet crying turns into a complete meltdown, and Yuuto puts his cup of ice cream down to comfort the girl. He takes her ice cream off of her hand and settles it beside them and pulls her into a hug.

“It’s okay. I’m here for you. You don’t have to pretend anymore, alright?” Yuuto says, rubbing Makaira’s back.

Makaira nods against his chest before gently pushing away to meet his eyes and says, “Thank you.” She wipes her tears but continues to cry and chuckles softly at herself because she can’t stop crying. “I’m okay, really. I was just surprised someone noticed.”

Yuuto smiles and pats her head. “Let’s finish our ice cream and you can talk about it when you feel ready.”

After Yuuto and Makaira have finished their ice cream, they walk around the garden as they talk.

“I’ve been to therapy a few times until my parents pulled me out.”

“What? Why?”

“They didn’t believe it was that big of an issue. Even now, they don’t really understand what having an eating disorder is all about. I guess they realized I handle things pretty well and figured an eating disorder wouldn’t be much harder than everything else.” Makaira says, shrugging.

“I assume it got worse?”

Makaira nods sadly, “Many people don’t realize how invading an eating disorder is to someone’s life. It’s not just about how you eat or how much you eat.” she stops and looks at Yuuto, who looks genuinely attentive to what she’s saying. “It’s an obsession with, and at the same time, a fear, of food.”