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“So, how does it feel to be married a second time?”
It was a tough decision all things considered. Their respective divorces had proven tough on both their relationship and their wallets. This thing about taking a trip to Japan seemed like it wasn’t going to happen. His kids from the previous marriage boycotted the wedding and her husband forbade hers from going lest they get their college tuition cut off. At the end of it all, they figured that the best thing to do with burning bridges would be to fly over them. Perhaps more than just over, but fly away from them.
As they entered the Hasedera temple, she had a lone tear come to her face. It crept up quietly but darted out quickly like some soap bubble. She had done her damnedest to keep it inside, but the guilt of it all needed some outlet. At middle-age, breaking off a near two decade-long relationship and going off with her lover of two years to get married a year later. Their respective spouses didn’t even know about the affair. All they knew were the divorce papers and that their beds had gotten a lot more movement to room not long after.
It was okay though. For now, they could have some refuge. At least for a week while their phones couldn’t operate outside of the country and they could be free from phone calls, work and, most important, former family.
They could finally be alone. That didn’t mean that they had to be lonely.
“I love you.”
I can’t say I didn’t expect him to say those words, but they still hit with a raw force. I had let him chase me, after all. I had let him find me, after all. You’d think that time would make things calmer, but it time amplifies as much as it adds perspective. I could see in his eyes that he knew how foolish it was to say these things to me. I had a life outside of here after all. I had just been proposed to in Korea. He’s a good guy, working out in Pyongyang at Lenovo’s branch. He was waiting for me at the hotel. He knew he was being a fool, yet he decided to be as foolish as he could be.
He put his arm around and took a deep breath. I could feel him trembling still from the weight of those words. Such an odd word to use on a man: trembling. So full of vulnerability and weakness from this guy who’s standing a whole head taller than me. Yet, trembling is the only word that comes to mind for how his body shakes. Can’t be the train either.
I said nothing. What could I say?
God, such an awkward spot to make a confession. A train. Going for broke is something best done with intent and not in a spontaneous burst of emotion. Well, it was our only chance alone and how often could he have a chance to say it? He already knew I could say nothing yet he said something for the both of us.
“I love you.” He said again. “You don’t have to say it, just hear it.” Thank god.
Okay, I’ll admit, it was kind of sweet on his part to go all this way just for a girl like me. But they say it’s bad to break a heart. They say it’s worse yet to instill hope where there is none. There was none here. I’d be going to my hotel in Asakusa and then be on a plane bound for Pyongyang the next day. That was where I was needed more. I’d would be there and he would be here. That’d be fine for now.
As his eyes were closed in a silent agony and the train doors slid open, I nuzzled my head against his chest and squeezed his hand one last time.
Listen you little twerp, you don’t know what it was like back in the day. We had to work hard for our things back in my day. You say that you can’t ride your titanium bicycle that your old man – my own son – worked with his hands to earn for your crybaby to school!!? Why, in my day, we didn’t have global wireless internet. NO! We had copper fiber and we had to pay good money for it instead of just the government giving it to us.
One day, my son, your dad here wanted to go to stay at a friend’s house. Your great-grandmother didn’t pamper me, no. No, she made me take my suitcase and I had to drag it for half-an-hour through the bloody snow to get it to Shinkansen. Yeah, you remember that one dontcha? None of this insta-teleport maglev stuff. Just me, luggage half my size and twice my weight riding along some rails with just a cell phone on a slow 3G line. In my day, we thought we’d never see the day we saw a bullet train going from Hokkaido, nevermind the absolute miracles you have around you!
Jack was always good to his best customers and few were better than Ernesto. He never thought about the irony of always ordering gin lime from Jack. Life was too short to ponder too hard. Just down it and keep the demons at bay. It’s drink from the sweat of your brow and make it to the next one.
What’s the score?
Nothin’ to Nothin’. Figures.
She’s calling again.
Maybe she’s waiting?
Maybe she was, but she could wait. She’d still be there in that bed waiting for him as soon as finished this one. She’d be waiting and when he arrived, she would strip off her clothes for him and he could have something to remind him of feeling. The gas had long given out but at least it could still spark up. The spark hadn’t turned into a fire since they last had a government that could stay in place for more than two minutes.
Life was too short too think about that.
You know, you’re right Ernie. This all is just a pile of bull anyways. We got better things to do with our time right? Gotta push on to keep on. Tell ya what, the next one’s on the house.
Thanks. Good to have something to look forward to.
Thank you all for looking at what this site is starting to become. I expect to see you all in the following weeks and months.