Chapter 1 — The boundary line, the marriage between a girl and a wolf. Part 9
I wasn’t much of a reader nor did I really feel like studying, but in the end I chose to read the book that I had borrowed from the library a couple days ago.
Albert Camus, “L’Etranger” (The Outsider). It wasn’t a bad novel. There, I found a world where people spoke the same language but were unable to communicate their ideas.
“Now that I think about it, I skipped dinner,” I murmured, as if in sudden remembrance while reaching the part where an Arab man was killed by the glare of the sun. At the same time, I heard muted and slightly hesitant knocks on my door.
It had to be my step-father. I took some time before I opened the door. It was just like any other day.
“I’m sorry, Saki-san. Rikko-san is still…you know…like that.”
Once again, he started spouting his usual excuses together with that forced smile of his.
As a completely regular man with no special traits, I even wondered why my mother chose him to be her second husband. He was as ordinary as one could get –––maybe she chose him for that exact reason––– Still, I couldn’t even start to like him.
An ordinary face, an ordinary office worker, an average person wearing a suit that no one would turn around to look at again when walking through the street.
“I don’t mind it much.” I shook my head a bit and made space for him to enter my room.
After all, if worse came to worst and my mother found us talking, it would create quite the mess. But in the first place, the fact that my step-father was here meant that my mother was already asleep, so sometimes I thought that we were being far too careful.
In the end, maybe there wasn’t that much of a reason to get this nervous.
But he always insisted on going inside my room.
Inside my room that could be locked from the inside.
I was also already used to pretending that I didn’t notice his gaze trailing like a snake down my naked legs and over my collarbones that were sticking out from beneath the bathrobe.
“Oh, it’s nothing. I was just wondering if it had perhaps bothered you a bit.”
It didn’t bother me one bit. I didn’t even feel the need to be bothered by her.
“Thanks for worrying, father,” I answered, merely out of formality.
We didn’t have much to tell each other, so we had nothing more to talk about before long.
It soon became awkward, and as though trying to break free from it, he scratched his head and took his wallet out, at which point he then withdrew two notes from it.
“I’m sorry you always have to eat by yourself.”
“Don’t mind it, there’s nothing that can be done about it.” As I spoke, I held the food money between my index and middle finger like tweezers.
His eyes were fixated on my fingertips and his face was that of guilt mixed with flirtation, a disgusting expression reminiscent of a reptile. The word ‘prostitution’ surfaced in my mind.
Doing it with his step-daughter, yet it was still immoral.
Repulsiveness was hidden behind his monotone self, but that was also a part of being ordinary, simply pitiful. He was someone that I could find no interest in whatsoever.
Silence filled the room again and, still not wanting to go away, he placed his hand on my shoulder. He was acting far too familiar now.
“In any case, you have grown quite a bit, Saki-san.”
I could see his rotten eyes trying to peek at my chest from above my bathrobe. He was so disgusting, I really wanted to puke.
“Are we done talking yet?” I ignored it and asked bluntly. “I really want to go take a bath now.”
Bewilderment filled his face, then a hint of anger flickered for an instant, but then he returned to his forced timid smile and nodded, understanding.
“Alright then, good night.”
He walked out, shooting quick glances at my face all the while.
I maintained my deadpan stare without looking away, but didn’t answer back.
As soon as I couldn’t see him anymore, I locked the door again and threw the money away.
I found it disgusting to even touch it when I thought about how I had received it from him, and in all honesty, I’d prefer to shred it to pieces and throw it into the trash. But if I didn’t keep it, I would be completely helpless as I was still a young girl who couldn’t fend for herself.
I grinded my teeth in frustration and vexation.
I felt so defeated!
I was disgusted by myself, the me who couldn’t live without the help of a man who was more like a pig.