Wishful Talking

Natsumi Sakai
24th November 2022

The stage comes alight with lively music, and the host introduces the guest. The guest stumbles onto the stage and begins speaking even before sitting down completely.

I own a bunch of unopened letters. I haven’t seen them, so I don’t know how many exactly. But they are under my name. I’ve never seen them, because the sender - my father - did not know my address due to court decisions, and he sent it to my grandparents’ address. So my grandmother is keeping them for me, for the day I ask her to show them to me. So that’s the course of events, of how I have those unopened letters.

How my father does not know my address - well that’s the court trial. Basically, my parents’ divorce became a court trial that lasted four years. Through that, some decisions were made, such as that I must be always registered at the same address as my mother, and that my father cannot know our address. I was never a good material for the judge, I suppose, apparently, I have missing memory. I’m not conscious of it, but I’m told that I don’t remember the important things - probably the brain’s shutting down from overstress. So, an imagined emptiness.

It’s like a fluorescent lamp.

There is one memory though. It’s just that it’s like rotting meat of a small animal, with stuff dripping, and so I have to keep it afloat. It has to be afloat in the air, or else, connecting dots is just too terrifying to think of. It’s that kind of memory. A narratological explanation will bring it into real existence, so it's just best to keep it in the air. This one’s a conscious secret.

Well, I suppose that’s a good introduction to my job - three different types. My job. What I’m brought here for. In short, it’s a job that classifies blockage. A contradictory job, really. It’s even funnier that such a topic is on a talk show. Talk talk talk…okay, let’s go on.

This is a job that falls under the bigger category of jobs for classifications and categorizations. Generally, renowned jobs, as you must know. Very important in day-to-day communications. Communications are important.

To give an example. You might hear sobbing and two people talking in the studios. Not too surprising for art school, but people’s voices also tend to be on the loud side. So you hear something about the driver’s license exam, a grandmother’s funeral, ancient men, et cetera, and the repeated phrase “this will help.” That’s what the importance of talking is. To be incorporated into the story of the place means that the dots also connect within you.

For my part, the classification of blockages came along when someone noticed a bug in this whole thing about communication. There were things not being communicated, and then it was said “that’s bad.” After all, un-communicated things don’t enter society. So, then, people thought, how to deal with this solid opaque mass? Take it apart! If it’s taken apart, it can be inspected. And so, this job was created - the classification of blockages. That’s a very brief history.

I had some part-time jobs before I got into this profession. One of the first was a waitress at a “romantic cafe.” That’s what it was called, a cafe that plays romantic music in a semi-dark room. Vinyls. It was a cafe with a talking room and a listening room. The owner was quite strict about the details, especially concerning sound. Always shouting when something wasn’t right. I got fired after two days.

Another one was sorting mosses. Have you ever sorted mosses? This was quite important, as it helped me get into this field. You’re given a pile of moss and you have to separate them into two groups - darker and lighter. It’s simple but requires concentration. But at least you get to do it on your own. I was only hired for the busiest month, too bad I couldn’t stay longer.

Anyways, when I had to stop being a student, our paths collided. The job and my life that is. Blockages are easier than mosses because the rule isn’t so simple. There’s a lot to consider and so the labeling comes more or less naturally. The tools are a bit dull, but they work alright.

There are some things to keep in mind about the procedures. Blockages tend to be sensitive to natural light, so the whole job takes place in rooms without windows. You can’t bring in much either, so there’s a sanitized suit, shoes, mask, and hat to wear. Basically a factory. The building’s pretty much white. No point in decorations, after all, they make cleaning difficult.

The pay is good, I mind you. You may start before sunrise and end after sunset, in a white room without windows, but the pay is good. You’re selling time after all. Probably above the minimum wage.

Well, what is next? I had a day off the other day and went to a pancake cafe. It’s one of those Instagram-friendly places. I was sitting there and then three or four women in casual clothing entered, all in their forties or fifties. It was midday on a weekday, so probably housewives. It was just us in the shop, and so I could hear their discussions. They would say, “I am swarmed by fear and I just cannot sleep at night” “You know, what about the inheritance of children?” “And my cousin taking care of her father in a retirement home” “consider religion, not to actually believe, but” “Hmm… this pancake is nice.” The pancake was nice after all.

My colleague seems tired recently. Although that itself is not peculiar, they are all people with reasons for getting into such a profession. When one has to look into the face of words in the way that our profession does, one gets tired. There’s a lake in the area we work. It’s a popular place among colleagues but no one goes there together. Well, why would anyone? Nature doesn’t ‘speak,’ that’s the good thing.

What do you think is there?

I actually collect things from my workplace. Bits and pieces that won’t get noticed even if they’re gone. The place doesn’t have airport security. Of course, it’s not allowed. But no longer, is such a thing important.

(whispers to the host) I don’t want to be in a story