I refrained from replying to S’s inexplicably light-hearted text message. But the next day, I received a follow-up message: “You’re not mad, by any chance, are you?”

I decided I should refrain from speaking to her ever again, reasoning that her safety was at stake but actually more concerned for my own. As evening fell, I received a direct call to my cellular. I glanced reluctantly at the screen. It displayed a giant Japanese equivalent of an S, the rest of her name following like the proverbial stalker following the proverbial me.

“Uggh,” I shuddered, hurling the phone into the garbage bin. I stared at the bin until the ringing stopped.

I immediately second-guessed my rash action on account of the phone not being burnable waste. You have to understand that the town of Tajimi, Japan had very stringent waste disposal regulations, as dictated by the iron-fisted town mascot, the Unagappain a massive, forty-four-page PDF document.

Fifteen ways to divide your trash, not counting all the ways that don’t have bins.

Rescuing my phone from the garbage, I looked at the screen once again. Five o’clock and one missed call. Pfft, more like five o’clock and not missed girl. I chuckled to myself and put the incident behind me.

It was only a brief honeymoon before my phone rang again. I looked at the screen. Exactly 5:20. “Not gonna answer,” I said and let it ring out.

At exactly 5:40, she called again. The sun was beginning to set, and with it, my peaceful state of mind. I decided to flee to the city so as not to find myself alone in the darkened countryside near forests and rivers and any number of other places where one could easily dispose of my puncture wound-riddled corpse.

At 6:00, 6:20, 6:40, and 7:00, S called me again as I boarded, rode, and exited the train. I realized that I would have to create some sort of closure or the calling would never cease, so the following evening I wrote her one last time to tell her it was the last time we’d talk. She wrote back:

“It was fun up ’til now. Farewell.”

A bit dramatic, but the worst was behind me now.

An hour later-an hour to the dot later–she wrote me again, professing her deep hurt and anger, even attacking me for being “irresponsible.”

“Irresponsible?” I said. “This is the first responsible thing I’ve done in two weeks.” I shoved my phone back into my pocket and went out for sushi. It was my final daring escape from a rut I’d been trapped in for a lot longer than two weeks.