Mouichido. Mouikkai. One more time, once more. I boarded a plane for the past; but I should have known better.
Our short liaison was exactly like the two trips I had taken during my divorce and shortly thereafter. There was this intense intoxicating feeling when I first saw him but quickly the mood would change. Late on the second day, I lost all sense of time and place. I slipped into the bathroom and drew a hot bath.
I sat in the water until it grew cold. After a while Ya-chan came to see what had become of me. Whiskey in hand he sat next to the tub. He watched me for awhile without saying anything. Finally he placed his open hand on top of my head and pushed me under the water.
I didn’t fight. Finally Ya-chan pulled me up by my hair. I gasped and sputtered. He parted my hair and looked me the eyes.
“Ya-chan seeing you is always hard,” I said, “but somehow I always want to see you.”
He took a swig then grabbed my chin firmly.
“Stacy. What is in your head about us is unrealistic. This is Japan. Japanese have expectations of their sons. From the day you came back into my life I told you that. Everyday people around me tell me to find a girl. They tell me to get married and make a baby. I’m thirty seven years old right? I have to do it soon or I will not have peace with my parents. It is the way it is.”
“Is there a girl now?” I asked.
Ya-chan looked at me with wide eyes. “There might be. It is very selfish of you to ask after everything.”
I admitted that. It was absolutely jibun katte.
Ya-chan rattled the ice in his glass. “All I can do is keep you in my heart as someone who was significant in my life. You live with me like that. I will not forget all of this! Isn’t this enough?”
I splashed water on my face then looked at Ya-chan and said, “I was your toy.” This was something he’d heard from me before. I knew it would get him.
“You of all people should not be saying that! I wrote you more than 100 letters after we met and you didn’t trust me! After 14 years you contacted me and then you left again! Finally after you move here we start to relax and enjoy. Again you left!”
He spoke the truth and I couldn’t say anything more.
Tweaking the end of my nose Ya-chan smiled. “Hey…just forget about it. Dry off and come into my arms.”
Ever since I’d been flying to Japan on Northwest the meal just before landing at either Detroit or Narita had been a choice between an omelet or soba. I had always taken the buckwheat noodles. This time I opted for the western fare. I knew then that I’d never go back to Japan again. I was finally sick of it all.
Over the next few months my Japanese karaoke music and poetry books gathered dust. I forgot Ya-chan’s phone number and address. In fact, whenever I went to a Japanese grocery to buy ingredients for dishes I still prepared at my son’s request, I felt uncomfortable. Japanese men creeped me out, and the women seemed like enablers. I was obviously stereotyping, but it was good for me to keep my distance. I was ready to quit my horrible habit completely.