There was something wrong with me. Some reason that she didn’t want me back. I really had no clue. What was I missing? Or was I missing anything at all? I wasn’t sure, I just knew I had to find out. I walked over to my closet and swung open the doors. Maybe I was wearing the wrong clothes. I scanned over the entire closet from left to right, top to bottom, examining each article of clothing I owned. Thermal undershirts, vintage pocket tees, skinny dark-wash jeans, slim-fit chinos, crisp button down shirts, skinny ties. Hmm…no Supreme flat-brim 5-panel cap. But my impressive collection of limited edition John Varvatos Converse’s should make up for that. They’re certainly more original than those hats, right? Must not be the clothes. I’ll keep looking. Next, I walked over to my desk, flipped open my laptop (Shit. I don’t have a Mac, just some shitty PC. That could be the issue.), and brought up my iTunes music library. I felt a bit pathetic as I scrolled through the artists using my scroll wheel mouse (It’s definitely no Mighty Mouse). Amos Lee, Brett Dennen, Dashboard Confessional (slightly embarrassing, but kind of essential), Deathcab for Cutie (old and new), Mason Jennings, The National…Fuck! No Oddfuture to speak of. Oh, but I do have Eminem’s Kim. Same thing. And, plus, I have an exhaustive collection of Charlie “Bird” Parker and Duke Ellington’s original Star Crossed Lovers. That’s got to be good for something. Well, no glaring problems here. Moving on. Wait. Since I’m here I might as well check my Facebook. My profile picture may just need some updating. I open up Mozilla Firefox and begin to type the address in the address bar, but stop myself short. Nevermind. That’s fucking stupid. Next, I went to check my bookshelf to see if I was reading the right books. I worked my way from left to right along the shelf as I fingered the spine of each book. Countless books on gambling, plenty of memoirs, seemingly every book ever written on Chinese culture, Lone Survivor, One Bullet Away. There are some definite holes in this collection. No Jack Kerouac, Chuck Palahniuk, or David Foster Wallace! I really fucked up on this one. Oh. Hold on. I almost forget my extensive collection of Haruki Murakami novels and short stories, three of which happened to make the Ultimate Hipster Reading List. Is that a good or bad thing? I don’t know. But I should be OK here, as well. Almost an hour had passed and I still had no idea what it is that I might be missing. I plopped down on my bed, still fully clothed, exhausted form another day of racking my brain. My thoughts wouldn’t settle. I was still trying to piece together this mystery I had created in my mind. Tomorrow I’ll take a closer look at my face, and my teeth. And maybe check the fridge for some clues if I have time. If there’s a problem, I’m going to fucking find it and fix it. I was going to fucking find it. And fix it.
I often look back on that day. It was the happiest one I can still remember. I woke up in a far off land. Somewhere in Asia, I think. The morning sun crept in through the open window and warmed my soul. I looked over at the beautiful girl sleeping by my side. The sun bore down on her tanned skin, highlighting its every imperfection. She wore nothing but black lace panties. The same color as the hair which fell over her face and shaded her eyes. She lay on her side with her arms covering her breasts. I had no recollection of the previous night. I didn’t know how we had ended up here and I couldn’t even recall the beautiful girl’s name. The room was a wide open loft apartment; small, cozy, and decorated mostly in white. The girl looked very familiar, maybe an ex-girlfriend from my youth.
I leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. She slowly opened her eyes and a slight smile came over her face. She caressed my cheek with the palm and fingertips of her left hand, like a mother caressing her child. Her hands were tiny and smooth. She rose from the bed, walked over to the corner and grabbed a white v-neck undershirt draped over a suede armchair. Under the white undershirt was a bright orange jumpsuit. One of us must have been wearing it the night before. I stared out the open window. It wasn’t completely open. There were vertical iron bars rising from the base of the window, blocking out some of the view. It reminded me of the times I would stare through the rails of the staircase banister as a child. There must be a problem with theft in this place, I thought. Outside, the sun was just beginning to rise over the karst peaks in the distance. At the base of the mountains, golden rays of sunshine reflected off the river’s flowing waters. Bits of trash and cans sparkled in the water. A small stone bridge in the distance reminded me of a scene from my distant memory. I closed my eyes and inhaled the fresh morning air. It smelled like a damp and moldy, unfinished basement. I was in the middle of a strange paradise.
When the beautiful girl returned, she was carrying a cup of coffee. The sun shined brightly through the window behind her, and she transformed into a dark, sexy silhouette. The coffee in the cup looked thick, dark, and muddy. She placed the cup on the bedside table and knelt down on the bed, leaning in toward me. I closed my eyes, taking in the tranquility of the moment and awaiting her kiss.
I waited. And waited. The kiss never came. When I opened my eyes again, it was from a deep sleep. The beautiful girl was nowhere to be seen and there were no mountains outside. With the exception of those two things, not much was different. Bits of trash and cans were floating in a muddy ditch outside the barred window. The bright orange jumpsuit lay draped over a chair in the corner. A damp and moldy smell filled the room. And a cup of thick, dark, and muddy-looking coffee lay freshly delivered on the tray table. As I got up from bed and put on my bright orange jumpsuit, the dream lingered in my mind. That entire day, I smiled; from breakfast, through the workday, until lights out. Dreams like that are rare in a dark, lonely place such as this. Maybe I could have lived that life, but I made too many poor decisions along the way. I still have a whole lifetime to spend here.
The bus arrived almost twenty minutes late, but it didn’t bother me too much. I wasn’t on any strict schedule, just a little anxious. I was alone at the stop, but “In My Life” playing on repeat through my headphones helped to pass the time. I always liked to play music fitting of my current situation as if it were the soundtrack to my life. I felt it gave my life the appeal of classic movie where I was the main character. I try to live in a way that, if recorded in writing, would make a captivating story. That would explain a lot of the less than smart decisions I’ve made along the way.
I climbed the stairs of the bus, taking a quick look around to see that almost all of the seats were taken. It was just after 4 p.m., after all. Just about time for all the businessmen and office ladies to make their daily commute home. I spotted an empty aisle seat towards the back of the bus and made my way towards it, staring down at my feet as I walked. I feared that anyone who saw my eyes would be able to look straight into my past and see my every intention. Looking up quickly as I sat down, I momentarily locked eyes with the person in the adjacent seat. In an attempt to protect my easily penetrable eyes, I jerked my head back down so quickly that I felt the muscles in my neck tighten up. Even so, the image of her in that split-second glance stuck in my head like a fond memory. She was perfect. And young. The only other person on the bus that didn’t look to be over thirty. Maybe a year or two younger than I. Long, shiny black hair that reached the small of her back. Bright, unblemished skin that other girls would kill for. And small, pink lips, but with a sexy fullness to them. If I were sitting here under different circumstances, I would have probably thrown out some awkward comment about the weather in an attempt to start a conversation. It’s a little late to be starting any new relationships now. But there was something more than her striking beauty that made such a deep impression on me. Her eyes seemed strangely familiar. They reminded me of my own. It was as if I were looking into a mirror at my own eyes staring intently back at me. Her eyes conveyed a grave sadness and a deep understanding of her surroundings. One glance is all it took for her, I thought. She knows exactly what I intend to do. I can’t hide from her. By the look of her eyes, I’m guessing she may have even been in my shoes before. Maybe she’ll be the one to stop me. I have every intention to go through with this, but who doesn’t want to be saved. I have to stop dwelling on this. It’s going to fuck up all my plans.
I shift my focus to the space between my feet on the floor. I feel the stares of a hundred people bearing down on me. I do my best shroud myself in the lyrics of the same song playing through my headphones. They probably think it’s pretty strange that I’m staring at the ground with a smirk on my face. I can’t say I disagree. And they don’t even know the half of it. I don’t really know why it’s there. It could be that I find some comfort in this whole situation. I’m writing my final chapter. And while it can be sad to come to the end of a story, there’s also great solace in reaching the conclusion.
I take a brief glance outside the bus window. I have no idea how much time has passed, or how many times this song has played through, but the rural scenery tells me that I’m close. The bus is winding around narrow roads, leaving the city far off into the distance below us. Soon it will be merely an afterthought, along with the life I left behind there. As we come around the corner, I’m forced to look back down at my feet as the bus is flooded with blinding rays of sunlight. It’s getting late now and the sun hangs low in the sky. We go around another bend in the road, and shadows slowly creep back into the bus; a sign that it is safe to look up again. My left foot is tapping against the ground now. It’s a nervous tick I’ve had as long as I can remember. I’m anxiously awaiting my stop. The seconds feel like hours. I never imagined I’d be so nervous about this. This is far from the serene state that I expected. The bus brakes as it approaches a sharp curve in the road. It accelerates as it exits the curve and a beautiful picture emerges. It’s a picture familiar to anyone who’s watched the final scene of an old movie just before the credits begin to roll. Reeds and wildflowers grow between cracks on a rocky cliff in the foreground. A vast lake, unmoving, except for light ripples created by wind and the creatures beneath, emerges from the base of the cliff extending out into the distance. The backdrop is painted with a steep mountain chain, with white and gray peaks, and black birds flying together overhead. There is not a single cloud in the sky; only the brilliant sun slowly setting behind the safety of the mountains, where it will rest for the night. This is my stop. I’ve come here to rest, too.
The bus comes to an abrupt halt, and I jump to my feet, eager to escape the piercing stares of the other passengers. As I scurry towards the door, I’m startled by a sharp “Hey!” I whip my head around to look and am instantly reminded of the muscles I strained in my neck earlier. I wince in pain, but as I lock eyes with the beautiful girl once again, the pain fades and I feel at ease. I had completely forgotten about her. Her penetrating stare fills my body with a strange feeling; possibly a slight sense of relief. Time stops to allow me to process my thoughts. She’s known my plan since the first moment our eyes met. I knew there was something strange about her. She seemed so out of place among the middle-aged crowd of this bus. Now, I’m certain that she was sent here to stop me; to save me. Time moves again. She moves her lips in an attempt to tell me something, but all I can hear is the tune playing in my ear. I slide the headphones from my ears. She says nothing, just extends her hand out to me as if to pull me back from the fate I have resigned myself to.
Now she speaks again, “Your cell phone. It must have fallen out of your pocket.” She opens her extended hand to reveal my small, blue cell phone.
The smirk from earlier creeps back onto my face. It’s funny how delusional I can be sometimes. “That’s okay. I don’t need it,” I respond easily. I’m left feeling only slightly disappointed.
She crinkles her eyebrows in a puzzled look. Even still, she looks beautiful. She opens her mouth to say something else, but only lets out a single note before cutting herself short. It’s as if she’s come to a sudden realization. She stares at me for a second with her sad, compassionate eyes, and I stare back. And time comes to a halt again, this time for the both of us. We seem to have come to an agreement. But it’s more than that. It’s a deep mutual understanding. People must make their own way through life. Some people can’t be saved; some people aren’t meant to be saved. Fate will take its course. At this moment paused in time, we understood these things. We knew them to be the truth. And we accepted them.
Time moves again. The beautiful girl sits back down as if nothing happened. She grips my cell phone tightly between her thin fingers. I turn around, slide my headphones over my ears, and exit the bus. The bus pulls away, leaving me all alone at this scenic overlook. I take a deep breath, close my eyes, and exhale. Any reservations I had about following through with this plan left my body in that breath of air. I open my eyes and look out from the cliff at the overpowering sun hanging low in the sky before me. I walk forward, humming to the chorus that now plays through my headphones. I’m enveloped by the last remaining rays of the sun before they retreat behind the mountains, and I become lost in the glare. When the sun has disappeared to its place of rest, so too have I. The soundtrack only plays in my head. No credits roll.
Don’t apologize. You’ve made up your mind. And the damage has been done. I didn’t put myself out there for your sympathy. I laid my heart out before you in hopes that the improbable would occur. At this point, you’re well aware that I’m not afraid to put it all on the line. You’ve seen me do it over and over again; roll the die on a fucking pipe dream. So that’s all it was. I took a shot, and I missed. Just because you were the target doesn’t make it your fault.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have high hopes this time. I always felt like the odds were on my side when it came to you. I had some ridiculous story playing out in my head. I would just sit back, close my eyes and let it play on repeat. I’d spell out the details for you, but it seems so fucking stupid now. You’d probably laugh. I don’t mind being an object of your ridicule, but if he’s laughing with you, I might lose it.
So let’s make one final deal. Actually, let’s call it a compromise. You always loved bringing that word into the equation. On my end, I’ll stop with the pleas and the sad stories. I promise there won’t be any more calls, text messages, or impassioned letters. Although I feel that your judgment on the issue is suspect, I’ll let you go on without the weight of my existence dragging from your heels. What I ask for in return is very simple. Don’t apologize. Don’t ask me how I am, how my parents are, or how the babies are doing. Don’t congratulate me when I graduate or ask about the weather in Japan. Basically, I’m asking that you please vacate the space that you occupy in my mind. I need it back.
I’m guessing this letter will come as a great relief to you. It’s what you’ve been asking for for over two years now. It’s going to be a little bit more difficult for me, but I promise to hold up my end up the bargain. If this agreement does not sit well with you, just let me know. Revisions can be made to satisfy both parties.
I know relationships such as ours are not traditionally dealt with contractually, but please bear with me. It’s the only method I could think of. I’m hoping that the sheer embarrassment of violating my own contractual obligations will bolster my weak-willed heart.
Let’s not look back. Kapeesh?
February 7th, 2011
To my dearest friend,
Here is the best way I know how to start (although it is certainly not original):
I’m writing you a letter. That’s right—a good old-fashioned letter. It’s a lost art, really. Like hand jobs.
It’s funny how I see so many parallels between us and things I watch on TV or read in books. Everything I see, I immediately compare it to a moment we shared or something we said. It’s as if those directors and authors out there are working specifically to relate to us. I know it’s not true, but I think that’s just the way my mind works. I want my life to be noteworthy; a life that, if transcribed onto paper, would inspire and excite its readers. But I am certainly not Hank Moody, and you are not Karen van der Beek, and this is not LA. The very fact that I wish we were some ethnic version of them just shows how delusional my views on life can be. No sane couple would ever aspire to possess the tortured love they share. I have to admit, even when I am thinking somewhat clearly, I feel like we do share a few more things in common with that fictional couple other than just a name. I’m probably alone on this (I hope not), but I feel like we recognize each other as the “right” person, and still there seems to be some impenetrable boundary between us that keeps us apart. I’ll drop the comparison now. It’s starting to wear thin, even in my ever-dreaming mind.
Having typed up to 263 words at this point in this letter, I am still quite uncertain as to why I am writing it. It’s getting late and there’s plenty of schoolwork that I should be doing. I know you’re overtly aware that schoolwork has never been a priority in my life, so I’m not sure why I mentioned it. I could be writing to fend off boredom and depression. Or maybe I thought it would make a bigger impression on you than another annoying email or text message. I’d like to say I’m writing solely for your affection, but honestly, I think I am writing just as much for myself as I am for you. Since I started composing letters for you recently, I’ve found that it may have positive effects on my own life. That reminds me of a passage in a book that I just finished reading. It read:
I wrote letters in the classroom, I wrote letters at my desk at home with Seagull in my lap, I wrote letters at empty tables during my breaks at the Italian restaurant. It was as if I were writing letters to hold together the pieces of my crumbling life.
I felt that this passage perfectly represented my situation, and that the author maybe had written it with me in mind. But, other than a form of personal therapy, I’m still not sure what I want this letter to be. Meaningful, sincere, funny, emotional, honest, memorable. Hopefully, in the end, it embodies all of those words; but still, what is it? A ‘thinking of you’ letter, a personal letter between friends, a love letter, a goodbye letter? Maybe it is none of those things. Maybe it is so purely original that it can not possibly be put into one of these classifications. On second thought, that’s very unlikely. If I had the talent or creativity to conceive something of that magnificence, I’d surely have you back in my life by now. So perceive this letter as you wish, because I am thinking of you, and I do consider you a friend, and I definitely love you. And if it is a goodbye letter that you’ve been waiting to receive from me, you may think of it that way, too. Because if a letter such as this, stained by poured out emotions, does not induce any sort of reaction from you, I will cease to be a distraction in your life. Although you probably can’t tell, that is the last thing I want to be. I’ve just been taught to never give up on my dreams.
You’ve often asked me why I continue to love you after you’ve tried so hard to push me away. How can I keep pursuing you even after being ignored and mistreated so many times? Well, I do it because you’ve left me wanting. I want to know what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling, and I want to understand the reasons behind those thoughts and feelings. Again, as I write this I’m reminded of something I read that I felt defined me and us. More and more, as the world outside becomes increasingly lonely, I find myself living through the books I read and shows I watch…
Toru: Both of us have a lot of feelings we need to get out in the open. So if you want to take those feelings and smash somebody with them, smash me. Then we can understand each other better.
Naoko: So if you understand me better, what then?
Toru: You don’t get it, do you? It’s not a question of ‘what then.’ Some people get a kick out of reading railroad timetables and that’s all they do all day. Some people make huge model boats out of matchsticks. So what’s wrong if there happens to be one guy in the world who enjoys trying to understand you?
Naoko: Kind of like a hobby?
Toru: Sure, I guess you could call it a hobby. Most normal people would call it friendship or love or something, but if you want to call it a hobby, that’s O.K., too.
Obviously, here I see myself as a less clever, less Japanese version of Toru, and you as a less naïve, more callous version of Naoko. Our rendition probably would have gone more along these lines…
Me: I really think you should try to be more open about your feelings. I want to understand how you feel about me.
You: So if you understand me better, what then? You should fuckin’ know how I feel. If you don’t know at this point, then you don’t deserve to know.
Me: You don’t get it, do you? All I want is for you to let me back in your life, but you just keep shutting me out. My favorite thing in the world is learning more and more about you.
You: So am I a fucking hobby to you? Fuck off.
Me: I’m sorry. I love you. [scratches his face in order to hide his watery eyes]
Rereading what I just wrote, it actually seems pretty inaccurate. At least, I hope I don’t seem like that big of a pussy. At times, I may actually be the more callous one. Oh well. I’m too lazy to rewrite it.
After all of this, I still have yet to establish any theme or purpose for this letter. I don’t even recall asking a single question. My eyelids have become heavy now, so I better establish some semblance of a point. Here goes something…
I’m not writing this to beg you to come back. I’ve given up on that for the most part. The world where you and I are still together only exists in my dreams now. I was given my chance. There can only ever be one first meeting. I spent that one getting high and struggling through a couple songs on the guitar for you. Those first few days were exciting, although, I can’t say I’m sure what you saw in me; a stupid kid with a lot of wasted potential. Not a whole lot has changed since then, mostly my circumstances.
However, my inspiration to put something down on paper mostly came from our recent dealings, so what better way to utilize that inspiration than to write you a letter. The last time I physically wrote you a letter was during the summer of 2007. It wasn’t my choice method of communication; it was the only way I was able to reach you at that time. I had just taken a life changing step in my life, which later revealed itself to be a major reason for the situation we now find ourselves in. Those days, I’d write to you about how I wish I could be back at home, spending the days together with you, most times doing absolutely nothing. You’d write back telling me you miss me and explain to me how sushi, thai food, bubble tea, and crepes were just not the same without me. You loved getting those letters, and I looked forward to getting yours each day. The days when none came were the worst days of that long summer.
I finally understand why I am writing this letter to you. I’m about to take the next life changing step in my life, and I’m scared. You’re the one constant in my life that I don’t want to let go of. I’ve dragged you along this far, but now it’s different. I can’t take you with me this time. You’d never agree to it. I’m going halfway around the world, and it’s just too far. You’ve got your own life, your own friends, and a new man. I have little to offer you now, and I refuse to make promises that I can’t keep. I can only say that I’ll always look back on our time together fondly. At this point, it certainly wouldn’t make sense to say hello, and I refuse to say goodbye, so I’ll leave it at this…
You look like you’d be cool to chill with. I wish I could still be a part of your life. I miss you.
And the answer finally came. Not the one I wished for, but the one I expected. And still, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It expelled the air from my lungs and the tears from my eyes. I lay on my bed, unmoving. My eyes wide open, fixed on the ceiling that hangs over my head along with my regret. I try with all my remaining will to keep them open. Each time they close, the words flash in my mind…
I’m sorry I thought you would of gave up by now. I got your letter. I’m sorry you’re right we cant be together…I know your heart is broken and I can’t fix it…If I could, I would. You know that, I know that.
How could she be so fucking cruel? She left me here, all alone, to drown in the depths of my misery. Better question…How could I be so deeply in love with someone who has wronged me again and again? What a pathetic excuse for a man I am. Hours pass and my sights remain plastered on the ceiling. It’s obvious now that sleep will not take me anytime soon. I rise from my bed and amble over to my desk. I sit down and let my head fall into my hands. My eyes are dry now, but I can still feel the salt left by the tears that streaked across my face and dropped onto my pillow. There’s got to be more to life; some other reason to go on. Maybe I just need to change my outlook and focus on the things I want to accomplish in my life. I pull open my desk drawer and hastily grab the pad of paper that sits on top. I slide out the pen, tucked between textbook pages which I intended to read. At the top of the pad, I scribble “Things I want to do before I die” and underline it. Next, I write the number “1” followed by a period to begin my list. I hold the pen at ready and brace for the flood of ideas that will soon spill from my mind in the form of ink from my pen. I wait. But the ink seems to have hardened in my pen, and nothing ever comes out. It’s as if my mind has been invaded, and all of my aspirations stolen. I stare at the blank lines of the paper for an unknown time. I feel a million emotions rush through me all at once like a wave of electricity. It starts in my mind and rushes downward taking over my entire being; a surge of anger, resentment, despair, desperation, hopelessness, and so many more indescribables. When it reaches my feet, I spring up out of my chair and run towards the door. I grab the handle and rip it open. Then, I stop, and stand frozen in the doorway. The wave passed completely through my body and a dose of sanity returned. Where the fuck do I think I’m going? What exactly is it that I think I’m going to do out there? It’s three-thirty in the morning and 17 degrees outside. As much as I’d love to end this miserable existence, I know I could never do it. God hates me too much to let me slip away that easily. I gently close the door and retreat to my bed defeated. I pick up where I left off, staring at the ceiling, and think to myself, “This is going to be one long, meaningless life.”
The afterlife. Life after death. Not the conventional interpretation of death. The death of the soul. The numbing of the heart. The end of hope. But still breathing. Passing the days.
There’s plenty of us. And we all hang out together. The blind follow us. Many want to be us. The life we live. From the outside it looks like every man’s dream. The parties, the clubs, the drugs, the alcohol, the women, the money. We live extravagantly. Penthouse suites, luxury cars, platinum watches, designer clothes. The things you fantasize about are daily occurrences in our lives. We look like we’re living the good life.
Look closer. It’s all a façade. Well constructed and quite deceiving. But if you run your fingers across it, you can feel the cracks. And like any painted surface too long exposed to the elements, we’re chipping away. We’re well aware of that fact. We’re not stupid. But we’re living in the moment. And although reality is happening upon us ominously, we live with no regard to the future. We fend it off with the whiskey and cocaine that shades our eyes from the truth, shining brightly and piercing through the cracks as we slip closer to the fire. We’ve gone too far to turn back now. The cracks have widened and the illusion is bound to fracture any moment now.
Then, we will no longer be able to hide from reality. The debt is real and they want their money back. The drugs are taking their toll and our bodies are wasting away. Reality is coming. When it arrives, there’s going to be no one to there to save us. Any safety net we ever had has long since been torn to shreds. And we’ve alienated ourselves from any people that ever gave a fuck about us. Parents, girlfriends, wives, real friends, God. You could say we have each other, but casting a group of people who can’t swim out into the ocean together will only make them drown faster. We drag each other under as we selfishly tend to our own needs. Fuck you, we say. We’ve been saying it for awhile now. That’s how we found ourselves all alone. Even together, we’re still alone.
“How did we get here?” we ask. We used to be O.K. All the things we wish we could have back are locked away in our pasts. Everything that ever carried meaning. Our friends, our families, our hope, and our happiness. We can’t even remember where we went astray. It was much too long ago. There’s no point in even looking back now. It doesn’t matter. We’ll just keep walking towards the fire, passing the days.
literally: alcohol, sex, avarice, and temper” —
Silence never brought me much optimism. I can tolerate it, and most times I enjoy it. Silence offers me the clarity I need to focus my thoughts; but my thoughts rarely offer an optimistic view of life. Despite my natural tendency for pessimism, I still find comfort in silence. At night, when I close my eyes and can only hear the steady breathing of my sleeping roommates, I feel at ease. The problems and annoyances of life don’t rise in times of silence. The arguments, confrontations, gossip, and haste all cease to exist. They are eliminated when I throw the blanket over my head each night.
This time is different. Still no optimism, but the feeling is not the same. The comfort and feeling of ease have been erased. Your silence is torture. My blanket no longer promises comfort and safety, and I’m left with nowhere to go. I’m not sure which is better, the quandaries of the outside world or the agony of your silence. I have to look forward now. Your silence provided me with the answer I have been waiting so impatiently for. It’s not the one that my heart had been longing for, but it is an answer, after all. You’ve given me everything I asked for, and more than I deserve.
The future is more uncertain than ever. You will bear the fruits of your decision, whether they be fresh and bursting with life or hopelessly spoiled. I can’t say for sure, but your strength and perseverance will surely serve you well. I will continue the endless search for a suitable replacement of my missing piece; however, I’m skeptical that even many centurys’ advancement in science and technology will give rise to an adequate composite. The artificial joys of life should suffice to slow the crumbling of my weakening body for at least the next couple years. Sex, drugs, money. The usual thrills. Not so different than the average man making his way through life. I’ll cover my eyes and stumble around with the ignorance of a man blind since birth, forgetting that there is more to life than the four cardinal vices. A meaningful existence is not a requirement for living, only a precursor to happiness and contentment. I can deal with that. This is optimism, isn’t it?
- Midori: Do all the guys in here masturbate, rud-a-dub-dub?
- Toru: Probably.
- Midori: Do guys think about girls when they do that?
- Toru: I guess so. I kinda doubt that anybody thinks about the stock market or verb conjugations or the Suez Canal when they masturbate. Nah, I'm pretty sure just about everybody thinks about girls.
- Midori: The Suez Canal?
- Toru: For example, I mean.
- Midori: So I guess they think about particular girls, right?
- Toru: Shouldn't you be asking your boyfriend about that? Why should I have to explain stuff like that to you on a Sunday morning?
- Midori: I was just curious. Besides, he'd get mad if I asked him about stuff like that. He'd say girls aren't supposed to ask all those questions.
- Toru: A perfectly normal point of view, I'd say.
- Midori: But I want to know. This is pure curiosity. Do guys think about particular girls when they masturbate?
- Toru: Well, I do, at least. I don't know about anybody else.
- Midori: Have you ever thought about me when you were doing it? Tell me the truth. I won't get mad.
- Toru: No, I haven't, to tell you the truth.
- Midori: Why not? Aren't I attractive enough?
- Toru: Oh, you're plenty attractive, all right? You're cute, and sexy outfits look good on you.
- Midori: So why don't you think about me?
- Toru: Well, first of all, I think of you as a friend, so I don't want to get you involved in my sexual fantasies, and second---.
- Midori: You've got somebody else you're supposed to be thinking about.
- Toru: That's about the size of it.
- Midori: You have good manners even when it comes to something like this. That's what I like about you. Still, couldn't you allow me just one brief appearance? I want to be in one of your sexual fantasies or daydreams or whatever you call them. I'm asking you because we're friends. Who else can I ask for something like that? I can't just walk up to anyone and say, "When you masturbate tonight, will you please think of me for a second?" It's because I think of you as a friend that I'm asking. And I want you to tell me later what it was like. You know, what you did and stuff.
- Toru: [sighs]
- Midori: You can't put it in, though. 'Cause we're just friends. Right? As long as you don't put it in, you can do anything you like, think anything you want.
- Toru: I don't know, I've never done it with so many restrictions before.
- Midori: Will you just think about me?
- Toru: All right, I'll think about you.
- Midori: You know, Watanabe, I don't want you to get the wrong impression---that I'm a nymphomanic or frustrated or a tease or anything. I'm just interested in that stuff. I want to know about it. I grew up surrounded by nothing but girls in a girls' school, you know that. I want to find out what guys are thinking and how their bodies are put together. And not just from pullout sections in the women's magazines but in actual case studies.
- Toru: Case studies?
- Midori: But my boyfriend doesn't like it when I want to know things or try things. He gets mad, calls me a nympho or crazy. He won't even let me give him a blow job. Now, that's one thing I'm dying to study.
- Toru: Uh-huh.
- Midori: Do you hate getting blow jobs?
- Toru: No, not really, I don't hate it.
- Midori: Would you say you like it?
- Toru: Yeah, I'd say that. But can we talk about this next time? Here it is, a really nice Sunday morning, and I don't want to ruin it talking about masturbation and blow jobs. Let's talk about something else. Is your boyfriend in the same university with us?
- Midori: Nope, he goes to another one, of course. We met in high school during a club activity. I was in a girls' school, and he was in a boys' school, and you know how they do those things, joint concerts and stuff. We got serious after graduation, though. Hey, Watanabe.
- Toru: What?
- Midori: You only have to do it once. Just think about me, O.K.?
- Toru: O.K., I'll give it a try, next time.