Chapter 8 Fatigue

After that encounter, we went back to Hayato’s apartment where Tadao said hi to his brother. Hayato was quite surprised when he saw us together, but let it go and made us both drinks and brought us towels. Kida hadn’t seen Tadao for a while, and they were engrossed in some kind of gaming topic. Meanwhile, I took a quick shower and changed into my nightgown, sitting down in front of the TV with Hayato and the two brothers.

“Hey, why don’t you just stay over tonight? It’s already half past ten, mum will be fine with it,” Kida suggested. I bit my lip and stared straight at the TV.

Hayato laughed. “Yeah, that won’t be a problem. I’ll sleep on the sofa and you guys can share the bedroom!

I thought they were joking, but Tadao was actually going to stay with us. Without trying to panic too much, I headed to my room after around fifteen minutes and shut the door. I checked my phone and found a text message from Misato: Hi Risa, can you come for a shoot at 9am tomorrow? Sorry about short notice, we’ve only just found out too. If you can’t make it at 9am, come as soon as you can! M x

I replied saying I could make it and switched the light off, clambering into bed. A few minutes passed before I dozed off, into slumberland.

“Risa, there’s a text from Tadao-kun, do you want to reply? He sounds as if you haven’t talked to him in ages! Aren’t you keeping in touch?” mum questions when I get home from school.

“L-let me see…” I say, taking the phone from her. ‘Risa, please talk to me, I am very confused right now.’ I flip the phone closed and give it back to her. “It’s okay, I think it’s cause I told him a joke last week and he doesn’t get it!” I fake. Mum looks at me intently for a few seconds, then shrugs and goes into the kitchen to carry on making dinner.

“Oh Risa, the plastic surgeon will see you next Saturday morning. Will you be in good shape for then? Two operations in a week isn’t very healthy – I can change it for you if you’d prefer.”

“No that’s okay. I’d rather get it over and done with. Okay I’m going upstairs now,” I reply, hurrying up the stairs and escaping the awkwardness. Of course I haven’t been talking to Tadao; it would pain me too much. I didn’t want to make out that everything was okay, because it isn’t. School isn’t the best thing in the world, because I can hardly speak English. The actual lessons are fun though, it’s very relaxed and people are friendly.

~

My first operation is over now, the one for my lungs. There’s a scar just under my breast that makes it look like I had a breast implant – but hopefully when someone sees it in the future, it’ll have softened a little. The doctor gave me a strong sleeping pill and some anaesthetic and then I fell asleep. When I woke up, everything was over and happy faces were staring down at me. My face isn’t perfect yet, but my lungs are. Next month, when I come out of the hospital, all my excess fat will be gone, my eyes will be aligned and prettier, my nose will be sharper and my lips will be straight. My jaw won’t jut out so much and my cheeks will have shape. I am very excited, but also scared.

~

I huff and puff on the hospital treadmill, red cheeked and sweating. I haven’t seen my face yet – I have been running with bandages on that leave gaps for my eyes, nose and mouth. “You’re doing great Risa, keep going! One more kilometre, then you can stop,” my therapist, Dr Harries encourages. I smile at her and realise that it’s quite painful. My skin feels stretched, but maybe that’s just my bandages. The gym is quite full, with patients exercising for various reasons.

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