Ikigai... and the rest of life

Submitted into Contest #30 in response to: Write a story about someone who loses their cat.... view prompt



 It is the end of another autumn day. Artemas Brown has been on this Earth for 25 years and this is the first time he decides to see a scribe or writer, as they are commonly known now, to have his fate rewritten. The reason for this is or course love.

I lost her, Artemas looks in her direction, and notices how her lips touch another man’s; the delicacy but also the intensity, and his heart shrivels in his chest. It all started with Ingrid’s birthday, Ingrid the girl he was in love with for most of his life, had chosen for him to sit next to her in the booth.

She laughs in glee as two chocolate cakes are presented to her, and Artemas notices her lips once again as she purses them to blow out the candles, and the arch of her neck as she does this. Then she throws her arms around him and plants a kiss on his cheek, and he wants to tell her of his feelings, right there and then.

But I lost her. I took too long in telling her how I feel.

Can fate, if it is that, be rewritten?








The writer looks at him and scowls. This is her 200th client this month that has come begging for a rewrite. For love. But for the writer, her only love is her cat, which took her last breath the same morning.

“I believe in magic and second and third lives” She can feel the tears freely falling down her cheeks, as she takes her seat next to the cat’s little body buried beneath blankets. She strokes the cat’s head.

“Come back, and find a space in someone else’s heart, mend it, fix it, fill it. Like a wolf, like a tiger, as a lion, like a dog, I don’t care. But come back, my angel”.

The writer rubs her head, as she listens to the young man’s soppy love story. For the writer, there is only one love, and she lost it this morning.

“I am sorry, but you seem bored”

I actually don’t give a shit.

“No I am listening, but for this partnership to take effect you’ll need to sign this agreement”.


“You’ll have to agree to the allotted time of the rewrite, and that in the case of a disagreement between scribes and clients there are no rewrites, you get what you get in a period of 4 weeks”.

“No rewrites?”

The scribe looks up from the papers on her desk. Her face is young, Artemas notes, with invisible lines under her eyes; her eyes are wide and searching, maybe a little solemn.

“Mr Brown, you came to me because you want to change your fate, yes?”


A thin-lipped smile. “That is your rewrite. You get what you get”.

“Thank you”.

The scribe gets busy, and as Artemas settles himself on the wooden chair opposite, and his eyes travel to the bookshelves that rise from the floor and touch the ceiling. It’s not a very big room, but the scribe has let her window open a bit, and the sweet and gentle breeze helps him breathe.

“Her name is Ingrid, and we’ve known each other since we were 17. Um… she has this laugh…”

“I am not looking for that Mr Brown. I just want to know about the incident that needs the rewrite. The piece of your fate that you need changing”.

Artemas closes his eyes and brings Ingrid in front of him. She leans down and takes his face in her hands, and her lips. A piece is not enough.

“From the time I was 17 until now”.


“Yes. I can give you more details”

“No. It’s alright, that won’t be necessary. I have somewhere I need to be actually”.

 She looks at her wall clock. “I’d like to reschedule our appointment for tomorrow same time”.

“But, don’t you want more information?”

“It’s alright, Mr Brown. I read it”.



What did she mean when she said she read it? Artemas thinks to himself as he hitches the collar of his coat higher around his neck. The light drizzle from the morning has left a misty dew aura in the air and when he sees her standing on the opposite side of the street his whole body comes to a halt. Ingrid.


The next day.  “She is in love with someone else”

The scribe leans back in her chair. “Ah”

“It’s just that she’s… my ikigai”

Oh, dear!

“Did you hear me?”

“Yes. I am aware of what ikigai is. It’s Japanese and it means “a reason for being”.

Artemas stops pacing back and forth and takes a seat to control his racing heart.

“So you know what I mean?”

“Yes. Everyone has an ikigai”

“Well, Ingrid is my ikigai”

The scribe puts on her spectacles. “Alright. Let’s start with that idea and let’s work from there”.


Ikigai. The word stays in his mind and echoes in his footsteps back home. He smiles, feeling confident that Ingrid right now is at home, all alone, thinking about him. And he looks up to the sky he sees her face; she winks at him with a coy, red smile.


The writer taps on her keypad. Her blank computer screen stares back at her. Similar cases such as Artemas’ case of love have troubled her in the past, but what is more troubling about Artemas’ specific case is that he fails to understand that sometimes your ikigai/ reason for being is different than what you think it is; the Universe doesn’t always give us what we want.

But what do I need? I’ve been doing this for 20 something years… Her eyes linger on the frame of her cat near the computer, and suddenly she knows what she must do. You cannot rewrite fate. You get what you get.


The next day Artemas goes to the immense library that covers a big stretch of land, where all the scribes work, to see his particular scribe. He climbs the marble staircase to the second floor to the scribe’s office. He stops at the first door and leans against the open door frame. There is no one there, an empty space stares back at him. He is about to turn away when his eyes see something on the desk. It is a folded piece of paper.

Mr Brown, it was very nice meeting you. I am sorry to have to breach our agreement. I am off to find my long-overdue ikigai. I suggest you do the same. The girl you say is NOT it for you. Maybe we’ll meet again…

Your scribe, M

February 27, 2020 16:53

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Afrin A
15:33 Mar 29, 2020

The best part is the subtle things your character notices like the nape of her neck, I think thats a very underrated line so yeah that. I liked the honest "I don't give a shit" xD. Then this line I found pretty heartfelt " Ikigai. The word stays in his mind and echoes in his footsteps back home." And of course the unexpected end. That was the best.


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Afrin A
16:40 Mar 28, 2020

This is brilliant. Great read, I was wondering if you could give my entry a read and give a review of what you felt? Thanks


Metaxia Tzimouli
13:48 Mar 29, 2020

Thank you! Will do. So, which part of my story did you like the best?


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