Chapter 1:

Missed you!

Re Mari : I'll find you even if death did us apart!

“You sure you don’t need a day off tomorrow?” Chief let out a big sigh of disappointment. 

I was changing my clothes and he was standing outside the closed door. Someone was making a ruckus in the neighborhood and we had to go and check it out. Turned out it was some old couple fighting. Usually, the chief doesn’t go on the rounds but we were short on people.

“No! No! It’s fine. These days we don’t even get time to have dinner together. I think a surprise will just bother her.” I tried to decline politely. Even though it was our wedding anniversary the next day I was sure it would pass away the same way as usual.

“Well if you do change your mind let me know.” Chief’s footsteps started getting farther.

Miyazaki Police Station doesn’t have much manpower. We are always short-staffed. How can I take a day off just for my anniversary?

I started giving excuses to myself.

I sat down at my desk. All the old case files were overflowing from my drawers. The left side of the table-top was filled stationeries and a small plastic plant. My hand subconsciously reached towards the photo frame beside it. I felt suffocated as I stared at our carefree smiles of the past.

“You are with me tonight for the Ayota company case. Chief said that we can’t take our eyes off from their factory,” A face popped from behind my monitor. 

Juno Hayazaki was the name of that guy. He was one of the newest faces of Miyazaki station. He has been trying for a transfer since the day he joined. Capable kid, but a little too by the book if you ask me.

“Yes. And please don’t forget to bring your own neck pillow this time please.” I smiled at him while he was making a disappointed face.

“That was just one time you know.” He slipped behind as fast as he had appeared.

Should I go home and tell her that I’ll be on stakeout tonight or not? I was about to call my wife but the screen shone with her name.

It’s been 20 years of our marriage but I still have you as just Sakura-san. I felt sorry for my cowardly self.

“Hello? Hope I’m not bothering you.” She sounded a bit tired. But her voice was clear. Voice of a woman I love.

“No No! I have just finished the patrol. Say everything all right?” I stood up while grabbing my coat. I thought this was a sign. I should go home to grab my stuff and let her know that I’ll be out.

“Thank goodness. I was near your station and thought if we could walk home together.” This is surprising. She doesn’t usually go home from this route I wondered. I noticed her voice being merrier.

“Yes give me a minute I’m already finished for the day.” I pressed my thumb at the bio-metric attendance device they recently installed. I waved at the chief through his office glass wall. He was busy with calls and just waved back. Everyone else seemed busy in their work.

She was already there when I went out. Grocery bags on one side and her work purse on the other. She was a kindergarten teacher. 

We greeted each other. We haven’t always been like this. We used to be much closer and louder. We got married right when we started college. We thought that was it. Once you are married happiness is granted. Naive we were.

I took the grocery bag from her without saying anything. She just smiled warmly. I started to think today is no ordinary day. Even the evening sun was not stopping me from staring at my wife’s face.

“So why have we decided to walk home together?” I switched her side to the footpath side while I started walking on the outer side.

“I just thought we both were busy with the work. When you come home I’m already sleeping and I leave before you wake up. We haven’t gotten any time for ourselves.” She linked her arms with mine.

I was really confused, as for the past few years we just started drifting further and further away. I had given up on getting close to her. I thought she was still blaming me for not giving her enough time.

“Are you okay?” I stopped and stood right in front of her. I grabbed her shoulders. I wanted to see her face up close.

“Y-yes.” She was flustered as some kids walked by us.

“Can’t you wait until we reach home?” she got red and started walking ahead.

Wait I wasn’t going for a kiss! I wanted to say that it’s all a misunderstanding. But does that mean she doesn’t mind if we were at home? I was on cloud nine. It has been so long since. Today was rather windy but I could have ditched the coat. My face felt hot.

“Wait up.” I just wanted to get home soon now. I was still blaming myself for my past mistake. But it seems she has finally forgiven me.

“I’m home.” We both entered together.

“You should take your bath. I’ll prepare dinner in the meantime.” She smiled and ran away in the kitchen.

I was about to tease her but my call rang. It was from the station.

I could hear her humming in the kitchen. I was still in doubt if this was a dream. I looked at the family photo and clenched my fist. Who am I kidding? I need to make up for so many wrongs I have done.

“So you understand it right?” the chief finished his briefing.

I walked up to the living room while still on the call.

“Chief, can’t Hayazaki do this one alone? I’m already at home.” I really didn’t want to go on a stakeout. Our life has finally started to go back to normal. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Chief said quietly, “I’m thinking of giving you leave for this weekend starting tomorrow.” As if waiting for me to express my joy.

I contained my happiness. “You know that doesn’t sound that bad. I can take her to date right out of the station.”

My thoughts started piling up. What can I do to make an unforgettable day?

“That’s my ace! Also if you haven’t planned anything for dinner I can talk with a friend of mine who owns a very nice night-view restaurant. What do you say?” Chief never showed but he was pretty influential. His caring nature has given him many good friends.

“You have a deal chief!” We both burst out laughing.

“Who was it?” Sakura-san peeked from the corner with a ladle still in one hand.

“Something smells amazing. What are we having?” I walked past her towards the kitchen, trying my best to avoid her questions.

“It's work isn’t it?” I could feel her gaze towards my back. I have missed even this anger of yours.

I looked at the pot and the cinnamon aroma filled my nose. It seems she has started preparing the spices necessary for Curry. She knew I loved her curry. But for the last few years, I haven’t been able to eat it.

“You can’t keep running away.” Her strong hands firmed my shoulders. She can exert strength when she wants I thought while gasping.

“It’s you know.” I tried getting words out but my mouth was stitched by fear. How can I tell her I need to go to work when she is so happy to have dinner with me, I didn’t want to disappoint her.

“So it really was from work.” Her voice calmed down and her grip got weaker. She turned around without continuing it.

I’m such an idiot. She always shows her feelings but I just can’t say it. I resolved myself.

I grabbed her from behind wrapping my hands gently around her. I went close to her ear. “You know I don’t mind calling chief and declining it if we can continue this.” I looked at her flustered face and rested my chin on her shoulder. I wanted to hug her so many times in the past, But I always hesitated. Today I won’t hold back I thought.

“I get it. I get it. Stop rubbing your face.” She sounded very flustered.

“I know how important your job is. I won’t make you choose between us. But-” She turned around and kissed my cheek very lightly. “You better not keep me waiting tomorrow.” She looked straight into my eyes and smiled.

“Yes, Chief!” I blurted out that because of my excitement. She started giggling.

“I mean dear?” I paused and looked at her. I wanted to see her reaction.

“Yes, dear.” She smiled back. I am the happiest man alive I whispered.