The sun is setting for me here in Japan. Again.
I've came, I saw, I conquered, I came many more times, I continued to see and conquer without cankering, I saw the unclimbable mountain and climbed it anyway only to discover that nothing is real… that The House of The Rising Son has gambled and lost.
Noboko arrives at Colin's place early in the AM… I hug Colin good-bye, promising to write, but I'm unsure if HE ever did… she drives us to the Nasu-shiobara shinkansen train station, parks, and I shovel out the money to buy two tickets to Tokyo.
We arrive, move to the Narita airport train station, I purchase us two tickets… and we glide noisily without a word to Narita Airport.
I hold her hand as I roll my suitcase and carry my backpack on my shoulders… everything feels like a millstone… pushing me down… down… breaking me into little pieces…
We arrive at the airport… we go to the gate and I let my luggage go through… this is it…
I look at Noboko… who is staring at my feet… she can't look at me… I understand… I'm sad, too.
She hands me a small envelope and begs me not to open it until I am on the plane.
If you were me, would you wait until you got on the plane, or would you smile lightly and open it up in front of her.
You're not me, so I opened it up immediately.
I should have waited until I got on the damn plane and flown all the way back to Toronto.
But no… I read it. It's a mini fan with a hand-written message on the back. The front of the fan is the image at the top.
You'll pardon me for obscuring her name on the card… I have changed her name in this blog to spare her any grief should she ever Google herself… though if she ever Googled me… she'd discover a world of pain…
With tears falling down my face, I hug Noboko who has tears falling down hers… no one glances at us, and I wouldn't care of they did, because I am sure similar scenes such as this are played out at airports all over the world… it's just that it never happened to me before.
One last kiss… a long, lingering one.
Okay… maybe one more… another…
Time is only relevant to the observer.
She stops, pushes me away… perhaps because being on tippy-toe for so long was painful… she smiles… I smile…
I turn and without looking back, I turn the corner to get my plane back to Canada.
Then I stop… I turn around… I walk back to that entrance… Noboko is still standing there, but with her back to me.
"Noboko," I shout to all the international ears to hear. "I love you, Noboko!"
She waves. I bow.
She smiles, I smile.
This time for sure. It's off to wait for my plane.
Somewhere still smiling,
PS: Obviously I still have this message... I am a sentimental romantic, after all.