Takahashi lazily glanced around his dark room. The neon glowing digits on his alarm clock beamed 8:00 pm. He got up from his futon and glanced around. Half eaten open packet of chips, a bottle of Asahi, unwashed clothes strewn around and a partially finished plate of ramen. Nothing out of the place for a hikkikomori.

He got up and dressed. For hacker, Takahashi was remarkably normal. Current circumstances dictated that he shun all human relationships, not that he was particular adept at them. He got out and made his way to Akihabara. Once the hub for electronic goods in Tokyo, modern akiba was more of a mecca for otaku; a haven for anime and manga. He stopped in front of a seedy looking building.

Jun would be waiting for him. He could not understand why it had to be one of these places. He made his way to room 401 and knocked.

The door opened. Jun was a 32 year old woman, a real Japanese beauty with skin that was as white as porcelain. She was petite was exceedingly demure. One of her teeth was slightly crooked, but that only accentuated her charm.

“Okaerinasai !! Takahashi Sama !!” She was always unfailingly polite. Probably part of her job. He said down on the bed beside her. “You know, it feels strange, to be here, even though I’ve done it multiple times”. She merely smiled. It was her 10th client of the day and she was exhausted. The lights dimmed and she hugged him. She ruffled his head affectionately and whispered sweet nothings to him.

She had seen him 5 times before and found him instantly like able. He was a quiet man, polite and always paid on time. He looked intelligent as well. If only he were……She checked herself in time.

“Stop. Never get personal. It eventually gets messy and never ends well”. She hugged him even tighter. The client had to leave happy. That was the motto. She looked carefully at him. He had closed his eyes and seemed peaceful. Contented. The lights dimmed even further. And they both drifted into a world, that was theirs alone.

An hour later and Takahashi was downstairs at the reception. He paid the manager. 10,000 Yen. Nemasu-ya was not cheap. Walking out of the motel, Takahashi mused on their recent encounter. Jun had seemed lost in her thoughts. He liked her. Probably his only human contact in the last 30 days. Her fragrance was etched deep in his memory. Her soft, soothing words were echoing in his mind. She was…

A phone call rudely jolted him out of his thoughts. He picked it up. The first few words made him pale. He cut the call and rushed back. There was no point in going back to the apartment.He rushed to the train station. Flight was second nature to him. He would get out of tokyo, probably move to Osaka or someplace quieter.

He got into the train. He had barely made it on time. The train began to move and objects and lights whizzed past him with increasing speed. As the glowing lights of the metropolis receded, Takahashi’s thoughts darted towards Jun again. He could no longer come back. He would really miss her. Jun, the Hug therapist.

Author: CV Raman

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