He shouted her name. “Laetitia, Laetitia.” His voice grew hoarser by the second as his yell resonated from wall to wall. Inside the tavern, he laid. Alone. Emptied beer bottles mourned with him.
“Laetitia, Laetitia, Laetitia, Laetitia,” he repeated. His head spun from left to right—round and round even. She was gone. She was really gone. Finally.
“Where are you?” Questions raged inside his strewed mind. “Where did you go?”
He crawled tentatively until he was able to roll to and fro the pub’s entrance door. The sun’s burning rays kissed his forehead. He was disgusted. He felt abused and taken advantage of. He felt harassed.
He cried her name out again. “Laetitia, Laetitia, Laetitia, Laetitia.” His voice was getting louder and louder despite the pain he felt from the screeching staccato of his tongue gliding on his mouth. The weather was hot—scorching even.
“Who are you looking for?” A man in his 20s asked him. “Are you lost, mister?” Ishiguro saw, from where he was slouching at, the face of the young boy—a young Japanese boy. He looked like him. The boy’s face was still supple—this he knew or could have thought of. Envy the young boy, he did.
“None,” he responded disinterestedly. “None.” He crawled again. Not a minute has passed when a pair of thumping feet inched at his sweaty and sullied face. It occurred to him that the boy wouldn’t give up—and so wouldn’t he.
He pressed his right palm on the sun-dried asphalt. This time with tenfold of force. The surface felt unbearably hot. It rubbed profusely against his callous palm. “Just two more blocks, Laetitia. Two more blocks,” he painfully muttered.
“Who is Laetitia?” The boy asked. “Why are you looking for her?”
He canned his impatience and tried hard to casually look up. The blinding rays of the sun hurt his bleeding eyes. He could not clearly see the lad’s face. A glinting mirage of youth that has long escaped his essence was the only thing he witnessed.
“Laetitia, Laetitia is gone.” His voice quivered. “Laetitia is my wife. Have you seen her?” He asked like a deranged man. “Young man, have you seen my wife?”
The salty droplets of tears brushed his chapped lips. He tasted them. Each droplet tasting saltier than the others. He savored them. “My wife! Laetitia has left me,” he bawled. “She left me!”
The young man squatted and took Ishiguro’s marred and muddled hands. “No, your wife has not left you! No, Laetitia is not your wife! Minori is your wife. Minori is my mother! And I’m your son.”
Instead of heeding from his quest, Ishiguro set forth and readied himself. Now, with a greater ounce of force and overbearing effort, he called her name out once more. “Laetitia, Laetitia, Laetitia, Laetitia.” His cry has become louder. Shout at the top of his lungs, he did—with much anguish and drained of any strain of culpa.
** I don’t own the photo **