Part Seven


The sun is just sinking when I wake up, I see the last rays filtering in through the blinds, slats of gold on wooden floorboards. The sight of a setting sun makes me want to cry.

I had been dreaming, I remember, though it recedes now into the haze of my unconscious. I'd been dreaming of... summer. Blue skies and white clouds, skateboarding down the sidewalk and sitting on a park bench in my flower print dress, eating strawberry-flavored ice cream and wishing for winter so I could feel the taste of snow on my tongue.

Have you ever felt so empty it's as if there's a hole in you and everything just keeps leaking out? I feel empty when I wake up. My limbs are tangled in the sheets and I catch a glimpse of a hardcover book sprawled on the floor. I remember it slipping from my fingers as I fell into dreams. The story talks of loneliness in artistic terms. I can't think in art. To me, loneliness is the lump in the throat that just won't go away.

But there is another kind of loneliness, when you stay awake in the middle of the night and the entire world seems a universe away and unconcerned with you, and there is just you and the silence. I wish for that loneliness sometimes, because everything seems so much easier to deal with when there is just me and nobody else.

The sun has disappeared and twilight creeps across the city. It comes into my room. Depressing it is, twilight, bringing the promise of tomorrow. I lie in bed, watching the blinds and wishing to fall back into dreaming, my beautiful blue dream of summer. What is it about childhood that haunts us so? I hadn't been entirely happy as a child, yet I ache as I think of my childhood, I ache as I think of sharing a candy bar with Yuusuke, cool wind lifting strands of my hair.

I don't know what to do. There is a hole I'm falling into and there is no wonderland at the end of it, no fantastical never-never land in which everybody can fly even when they don't have wings. Mine is a whirlpool that sucks me in and I scream and scream and scream but there is nobody there to hear me except myself.

I wish... I wish I could cry. I feel as if I had to, there is something just at the back of my throat, but it comes out as dry, choked sobs, and there are no tears and my eyeballs ache terribly. I wish I was back in my kaasan's lap, the security of my world and her hand my lifeline which would never let go. I wish I would die.

There is once when I stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom and I thought of smashing the glass, picking up a shard and plunging it into my arm. The thought came and went. I wish I would die, but I'm too afraid to do it. I just want to go to sleep and not wake up in the morning. That's all.

I'm so tired.

And the horror, the horror, my mind keeps thinking, is that nobody knows of my nightmares. In the commuter I stare at the bored, indifferent faces and I wonder how they could not hear me screaming. In my white, sterile office I sink deeper and deeper into my quicksand and I smile and laugh with my colleagues, talking of the inconsequential things of day-to-day life.

Once, when Kenji and I had still been together, I went alone to the red light district of Tokyo and I sat in a bar and talked to a middle-aged salaryman whose hair had started to recede and whose belly had started to protrude. I don't remember what we talked about. I remember only the pounding music, as if it originated somewhere in my stomach and not outside of me. And later, as he thrusted inside me in a motel room filled with yellow light, there were a few precious moments that I had actually not thought about anything at all. It was incredible, this feeling, this lifeline that I needed. But it was over all too soon, and as I lay there staring at the cracked plaster ceiling, it came to me that nothing could ever really take me away from myself.

Coldness encircles my chest.

I had felt that way before, as a child, on still, windless afternoons where there was no sound at all. It was as if the whole world was holding its breath, waiting for some monumental event to occur. It isn't a nice feeling. I hate that feeling. The coldness and the slight ache and the lump in my throat. Darkness is a place we are in.

When I was younger, I could look at clouds wreathed around a skyscraper at night and thought it was a celestial dragon come down to earth. Now I only see clouds and I only see skyscraper. And it's not enough, it's not enough.


And in my naivete I still wish for something to take me away from me. I still wish to die in my sleep. And in the meantime, I go on, I look at people's faces as I pass them by in the streets, I wonder, are they happy? The woman with the ample girth dragging behind her two crying children, is she happy? The man laying pavement in the hot sun, is he happy?

There is no answer and there is no meaning.

And no matter how far and high we fly, we have to come down to earth in the end.

The room is slowly paling into the light of day. I don't want the sun to come up.

Part Eight

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