It's 3:22 in the morning. I can't sleep, because that would involve relaxing, which I can't do because letting myself go slack makes my as-if-mosquitobit uvula bounce off my postnasal drip, jarring me into a manic coughing fit. So instead of trembling next to my Wife and keeping her awake the day before she has to teach class, I'm in the office thinking about Maison Ikkoku.
Maison Ikkoku is a manga by Rumiko Takahashi, the artist responsible for the comic fantasies Ranma 1/2 and Inu-Yasha. Ikkoku, by contrast, is a more or less reality-based romantic comedy. I was obsessed with it post-college. I identified with the clueless underambitious male lead, and I was enamored of a woman who strongly resembled the comic's female lead. Since my doltish efforts to woo the real woman were all abject flops, I turned to the comic for comfort. It seemed like a more hopeful retelling of my misadventures. Every month I bought the new issue and depended on it for pretty much all the pleasure I ever got out of this thwarted-love dynamic.
Obviously I got over this unrequited relationship, but the other day I reread the last issue of Maison Ikkoku, totally out of context. It's (spoiler warning, I guess) the big wedding between the protagonists. As with most real weddings, one's emotional response is likely to be tied to one's emotional attachment to the people involved. Reading it now was like attending the marriage of someone I vaguely remembered from school.