What Are Men Good For?

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What are men even good for?– Ayako Matsuzaki thought vehemently as her apartment key scratched in the lock and she flung open her front door– besides opening jars, moving furniture, and killing bugs?

Kicking off her heels and dropping her purse, Ayako immediately set to erasing the face of the man who had successfully ruined one of her very few Saturdays off. He had been the son of one of the nurses who worked the night shift with Ayako at The University Of Tokyo Hospital. Ayako had gone into the arrangement with more hope than she probably should have after two other failed dates just that month...

So much for that.

Looking to cool her temper a bit, Ayako began rummaging around her small kitchen. Locating a glass, she closed her cabinet with a bang. Opening the fridge, she closed it with a slam. Ayako stood at her kitchen counter taking angry swallows of cold Brita water. Then with a slight pang of guilt, it occurred to her she might have been a bit too loud for it being midnight.

But the sudden sound of a running shower put her mind at ease.

That's right. Rocker Monk is always up at this time.

Ayako had never actually crossed paths with Rocker Monk. He had moved into the unit directly next to her about a month ago. What Ayako had learned about her neighbor had all come through the wall. That he was in fact a he was made certain after hearing him sing (loudly) in the shower (which was inconveniently located next to her kitchen), and...the chanting. When Ayako first heard it, frankly it had kind of weirded her out. She had considered calling apartment management...but after week, she (grudgingly) found it somewhat soothing. It wasn't hurting anyone, so she let it be.

Ayako attributed her passing curiosity in him (after having never given a second though to her previous neighbors in that unit) to them keeping similar schedules. Ayako worked graveyard shifts at the hospital. She assumed she was the only person in her building sleeping until four in the afternoon, whose work day didn't start until eleven-thirty at night. But then came Rocker Monk. Who was silent as a ghost all day, and only active at night. Between ten and eleven Ayako could always count on the shower kicking on, and then he was out the door, off to...whatever his job was. After hearing him regularly practicing bass guitar, Ayako began the amusing idea that he was in a rock band.

He's late tonight, Ayako thought as Rocker Monk began singing.

He wasn't half bad and Ayako decided listen in while finishing the dishes left in her sink. Afterward, she found herself going to bed in a relatively good mood.

The next night, Ayako was back to slamming cabinets again. She was in a flustered mood, running behind. She had taken the world's quickest shower, and with her hair still wet, she was attempting to cobble together a decent breakfast. She was about to work a double and she wanted something decent in her stomach. But the damn jam just wouldn't open.

Cursing in frustration, Ayako was considering just chucking the thing...when she heard the shower turn on next door. She stared down at the offending jar in her hand.

What are men even good for?

Ayako gave it fifteen minutes. She busied herself blow drying her hair, touching up her makeup, throwing on her scrubs. Then, putting two pieces of bread in the toaster, she grabbed the jar of jam, and left her apartment.

A moment later, Ayako was standing in front of Rocker Monk's door, knocking firmly. It took a good bit of knocking (clearly he didn't have guests often), but then the lock slid over and there stood a tall man in the doorway. Ayako took him in in a blink– his long blonde hair pulled back in a low ponytail, his broad shoulders, the black long sleeve v-neck sweater he was wearing– and then she was thrusting the jar of jam into his hands.

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