A Man Who Couldn’t Speak


Jackson Adams, Writer


A man sat on a subway train, heading home after a long day. He sat in a seat, quietly writing in his journal. Sat across from him was a woman who seemed interested in the man. She wore a business suit and must have just gotten off work. She watched the man writing, slightly in a daze. She wanted to find a way to start a conversation, and with that thought came an idea. She took a book out of her bag and started reading, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. The subway train suddenly hit a slight bump, and she acted as if she had dropped her book onto the floor beside the man.  

“O-oh!” she cried out.  

The man looked up from his journal and saw the book on the ground. He reached out for it before the girl also reached out for it.  

“Oops, my apologies, sir.”   

He stared at the girl for a moment. He quickly grabbed it and returned it to her. She smiled.  

“Thank you…” she said.  

The man nodded.  

“M-my name is Sakoto.”  

He stared and then smiled. She awkwardly smiled back. Suddenly, he put his face back down into his journal once more. The girl seemed to be unenthused.  

“Rude.” She thought.  

“Hehe… what’s your name?” She asked.  

He stopped writing and looked back up. He stared silently for a moment, with a bit of worry on his face.  

“Uh… sir?”  

He nodded, then went back to writing in his book.  

“Forget it. He has no interest.” She thought and then sighed.  

She sat there in silence before looking back up and noticing the man turn his notebook over.  

“IM MARUKI” The journal read.  

Sakoto stared with a bit of a nervous feeling.  

“Is… he mentally well? Why is he communicating with me through a journal? Can he not just… talk?” She thought.  

The subway train started to slow. An announcer ran out over the subway’s intercom.  

“We are now stopping at Shibuya!”  

Maruki began to prepare his belongings. It seemed like this was his stop. The subway then slowed to a complete stop, and the doors opened. Maruki stood up and started walking toward the door. Sakoto started feeling a bit of panic. This wasn’t her stop, but she’d likely never see this man again, and Maruki had piqued her interest. She really wanted to get to know him.   

Maruki was now off the subway, and Sakoto still sat there.  

“…I can’t believe I’m about to do this…”  

She stood up with her belongings and quickly walked to the exit. The door shut behind her as soon as she stepped off the subway. She looked around for Maruki.  

“Maruki?” She yelled.  

Suddenly, in the corner of her eye, she spotted him going up the escalator. She ran to the escalators and followed.  

“H-hey! Maruki! Wait up!” She yelled once more.  

She finally reached the top of the escalators and found herself in an underground mall. Once again, she spotted Maruki walking around in a crowd. She ran after him once again.  


Her high heels tapped against the mall floor before suddenly, she ran straight into someone. She fell with the person, dropping all her things, and landed on the floor. She looked up at the woman she had run into.  

“Oh my gosh… I’m so sorry!”  

The woman got onto her feet and gave Sakoto the dirtiest look she’s ever received.  

“… It’s fine.” She snarled and walked off.  

Sakoto shook it off and sighed as she realized she had dropped everything on the floor. The papers from her bag were sprawled along the floor, along with her purse. She started gathering them quickly before someone stepped over to help. A man began to help her pick up her belongings.  

“Oh, thank y-”  

She looked up, and there Maruki was, kneeling to help her. She let out a sigh of relief, and her face glowed up.  

“There you are, Maruki! I was trying to catch up to you!”  

The man tilted his head as if he was confused.  

“N-never mind that right now. Let’s get this stuff off the floor.”  

Sakoto and Maruki spent a few minutes gathering her papers from the marble floor and putting them back in her bag. Shoppers walked around the two, confused about what had occurred for the documents to be sprawled everywhere. Finally, the two gathered everything and put them back in Sakoto’s bag.  

“Thank you, Maruki.” She said politely.  

Maruki nodded. He began walking once more, and Sakoto trailed beside him.  

“So, Maruki… I don’t mean to be nosy, but… what’s your story?” she asked.  

Maruki looked over with a grin and whipped out his notebook. He began writing in it.  

“Meet me at the Shibuya Café in two hours.” He wrote.  

Sakoto nodded excitedly.   

“O-oh my god! Is this like a date?!” She thought to herself.  

She was getting so excited that she dozed off from the world around her and ran straight into a trashcan. She finally came to her senses and noticed that Maruki was ahead of her. He waved and then went up a set of stairs to get to the city. Sakoto stood there and then smiled.  

“He’s so cute…”  

Suddenly, a wave of surprise hit Sakoto’s face.  


She hurried back to the subway station and arrived back at her apartment. Two hours later, she came to the Shibuya Café dressed to impress. Instead of a business suit, she wore a cozy sweater and skirt. She noticed that Maruki had already arrived and was sitting at a table alone. She quickly walked over and seated herself across from Maruki.  

Maruki wrote her a whole story in his notebook, explaining his story and why he couldn’t speak. When he was a kid, he got into an extreme accident and had to be taken to the hospital. He recovered fine, but the doctors and nurses discovered that no matter how hard Maruki tried, he couldn’t speak a single word. They couldn’t find out if Maruki had become mute or if his vocal cords had been damaged. Nonetheless, Maruki continued his life without speaking. He learned how to properly communicate without speaking, which is why he carries a large notebook and a pen everywhere he goes. Maruki believes that one day he’ll get the chance to speak again, but he doesn’t know when that day will come.  

Sakoto was surprised by this story and got a bit emotional. She thanked Maruki for telling her about it.  

“Maruki… I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize what was wrong at first. I’m glad that you’re pushing through it, though.”  

Maruki smiled and wrote, “Thank you.”  

“You know, it’s been a real joy being with you. I hope you’ve had a good time as well!” Sakoto said.  

“It has been a lovely time. By the way, I forgot to tell you, you look stunning tonight!” He wrote.  

Sakoto blushed.  

“Awe… well… you look good yourself!”  

She laughed and then sipped on some of the ordered tea.  

“You know, with all that writing you do, I got to ask, what’s your job?”  

“Oh, I actually am a writer. I do this for a living. It’s pretty easy.” He wrote.  

“Haha! That makes total sense. I work as a lawyer… but I used to want to be a writer myself.”  

He smiled.  

“Say, why don’t we exchange contact information and go out again sometime? This has been great.” He wrote.  

“WHAAAAAAT???? ME?!?! YES!!!!!” She thought.  

“Oh, of course! I would love to!” She said.  

She was a lot calmer on the outside compared to the inside.  

The two exchanged contact information and went their separate ways for the night. They continued meeting each other at the café, and it went from being once a week, to twice a week, to daily. They started dating, and they moved in together. Despite Maruki’s issues, they could still cooperate and live happily together. Eventually, they got engaged and began to prepare for a wedding. After a few months, it was finally the day of the wedding, and the two of them stood in front of everyone at the wedding venue. The notary began to deliver his speech.  

“Sakoto, do you take do you take this man to be your husband, to live together in union, to love him, to honor him, to comfort him, and to keep him in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, for as long as you both shall live?”  

Sakoto smiled.  

“I do.”  

“Maruki, do you take this woman to be your wife, to live together in union, to love her, to honor her, to comfort her, and to keep her in sickness and health, forsaking all others, for as long as you both shall live?”  

There was complete silence.  

Suddenly, Sakoto realized that Maruki didn’t have his notebook with him.  

“O-oh…” She muttered.  

Maruki looked her in the eyes. For a moment, the air was still, and the silence of the ceremony was the loudest silence that Sakoto had ever heard.  

Then, Maruki’s mouth opened.  

“I do.”