• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 06
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The Voice Inside His Head

The voice in his head wasn't actually a voice. It was a complete, fully-formed, living human being. A woman, to be precise. Her name was Osaka, she was 34, and she was originally from Tokyo, although now she lived with him in San Francisco.

Well, "with" him was not quite right. You could say that he lived with her, but she didn't live with him so much as inside of him, at all hours of the day, except when he was asleep. But then sometimes — quite often, in fact — she appeared as a character in his dreams, so she was probably living inside his head at nighttime, too.

What was it like to live with another person inside your head? Not just a voice, or even a conscience, but an architectural design major from Berkeley whose parents moved to the Bay Area from Tokyo when she was five, sent to her all the best schools, insisted she do her homework, and scrupulously taught her right from wrong, so that she grew into a confident, ambitious, sensitive woman, an accomplished artist, and a professional success?

On the worst days, it was perplexing. Why him? Why was he so special that such a wonderful woman would crawl into his ear — or however she had done it — and keep going until she found a space to stretch out her legs and arms and make herself at home?

On most days, however, it was fine. Osaka was easy going, they shared the same tastes, and she only rarely made demands. And even when she did, her demands were reasonable. Sure, they fought sometimes, but when the voice inside your head belongs to an actual woman, and one who can sometimes be quite headstrong, who doesn't expect the occasional argument?

The only problem was that he dared not tell his friends or family, for fear of what they might think. It would be one thing to confess that he heard voices. But to report that they belonged to a 34-year-old former architect from Berkeley, who could entertain him for hours with her companionship, and had remarkably well-informed opinions on art and history? Out of the question.

So he could never explain why, when friends asked him to dinner, or if he had plans for the weekend, or his family asked how he had been, he closed his eyes, dropped his arms, and and his whole body relaxed, as if he had entered a trance. And why, minutes later — sometimes as long as twenty minutes later — he emerged with his answer, which sometimes — not often, but sometimes— amounted to a hasty and implausible excuse, the kind of painfully obvious lie that embarrasses everyone.

Luckily, his friends and family never pried. They just accepted his odd behavior as eccentric, and forgave him.

Which only reassured him that he and Osaka were meant for one another, that she was his one true love.