They say acceptance and hope are the final stages of moving on from a loss.

This time it was all or nothing for Mr. Sato. A man on the brink of complete disillusionment with DoCoMo, his mobile service provider of 15 years, Mr. Sato had just about given up waiting in line for days to become the first owner of an iPhone X in Japan after being burnt badly by the telecom giant.

However, the release of the iPhone X promised to be something special; a new step in the technology he held dear was sure to come with great fanfare in the form of a star-studded celebration.

So he waited one last time.

This was to be his most challenging wait too, as the iPhone X was launched later in the year than any other model. As a result, the weather was especially cold and windy, particularly in the middle of the night.

To make matters worse, in the early morning of launch day, 3 November, a cold rain fell. Mr. Sato began to seriously reconsider his decision.

However, as he huddled under a narrow band of dryness beneath the DoCoMo sign, watching his belongings get soaked as they held his coveted first place in line, Mr. Sato remembered the launch events of days past and all the fun he had. That alone was enough to make him smile a little through the suffering.

Eventually the rain subsided and the usual ceremony time of eight o’clock was fast approaching. Normally at this time there would be carpenters setting up a stage for the event, but this time there was nothing going on.

Mr. Sato tried to sleep until eight, clinging to what faith he had that DoCoMo would pull through in the end this time. Exhausted of patience and energy, faith was all he had left.

After waking, Mr. Sato checked his Apple watch. It’s was only minutes before eight, but there was nothing happening in or around the DoCoMo store. “This should not be,” thought Mr. Sato, “This is not how the iPhone X is supposed to be released!”

Then the clock struck eight o’clock…

Nothing happened. No ceremony…

No phone that he had pre-ordered… Nothing.

Mr. Sato looked over at a nearby electronics store and saw the staff, eager about the day’s huge business opportunity, hurrying to open and setting up their iPhone X display.

Then he looked back at DoCoMo, and sensed nothing but the cold November wind…

Suddenly, Mr. Sato head someone shout, “Hey Dude!!!”

It was Butch who had been waiting first in line at the SoftBank in Omotesando. Although still fueled by his eternal supply of optimism, he told Mr. Sato that he could not get an iPhone X because he had made his pre-order too late.

Butch was effervescent as always but there was something different about his laugh this time. It reminded Mr. Sato of the laugh someone might give after an elephant just sat on their car – a laugh one would give because it was the only thing to keep them from crying.

Mr. Sato could neither laugh nor cry, however. He just felt numb, and looking at the situation with cold logic, there was simply nothing there for him to do anymore.

It was time to go home.

He would, however, like to thank the other writers who helped him by saving his spot while he visited Butch and used the little boy’s room: Seiji, Ahiruneko, and Ryo, who had passed away of boredom while waiting on the second night.

As Mr. Sato gathered his belongings outside the closed DoCoMo shop on that overcast late autumn morning, he took one last look back on his relationship with his mobile service provider.

Mr. Sato: “I have been your customer for 15 years. Jeeze, that’s a long time, isn’t it…”

“It was you who gave me my first iPhone. I could remember my excitement that day like it was yesterday.”

“And all the times after…meeting your president. It was so happy. Every time I got an iPhone it was like when you would get a new sword in a role-playing game. It was so fun and exciting because of the new possibilities that you had given me.”

“People kept telling me that iPhones were no good, that you were too expensive, and that I should get a Samsung or whatnot. But actually, it wasn’t even about the phones; it was about the thrill of the moment. I know that now, but I wonder if you do. I wonder if there is any sense of passion left in you at all.”

“I have to feel that excitement again, but it won’t happen with you…”

“Today was a loss, but next time I will win.”

“I have to keep moving forward, but I will carry the good memories you and I had to help me search for new joys in life.”

“I sure hope these clouds will break tomorrow.”

Mr. Sato carried his heavy thoughts with him as he made the long and cold journey home. His pocket felt empty without the iPhone X, and his heart was a little broken after having to face DoCoMo’s closed doors, but knowing Mr. Sato, it won’t be long before he’s back to his normal crazy self, cheekily pooping in the office and pole-dancing like a champion.

Photos: SoraNews24
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