Although she’s always resembled a girl more than she has a woman, as she sits upon the long, beckoning branch alongside Hachikō, I see her not as my lover, but as the child I once wished was my sister. Life as an only child never bothered me much, but there were times when I would dream of having someone to share the madness with. Someone to take me by the hand and lead the way to imagined places surreal enough to rival those of my own. I wished for a familiar, but she never came, so alone I roamed for what felt like an eternity. Well, until our paths finally crossed when we began working in the same clothing store. I’m glad our paths did eventually collide, but still, the absence of her in my life before we met is a loss I can never seem to shake even though I know it makes no sense at all. She wasn’t too far away, either. Only ten miles down the road as it happens. I would pass through her town on the bus from time to time on my way to visit family, not knowing that baby Meeko was beginning her life as I had done nearly a decade before. It’s a peculiar thing to think that the woman I fuck was only a baby when I was ten and that when I was busy losing my virginity, she was a schoolgirl whose age wasn’t yet in double digits. She tells me now that it doesn’t matter, but whenever we fight, she promptly uses it against me. Calls me a sick fuck—a paedo. Smiling down at me, she grabs a handful of dead leaves and throws them. Spinning through the air, they land upon my messy head of hair like a crown of thorns.