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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Noboko And Andrew: That Long-Distance Feeling

Back home in Toronto in October of 1993 - and with no immediate plans to go back to Japan to fight for the woman I love - the first thing I do after greeting the family, talking with friends and sleeping, is, when the time-difference allows it, is call Noboko.

It's a long talk… a talk about how much she misses me, and I her… there's plenty of silence… which I have come to learn isn't awkward, but just the way some people are.

I still find the silence on a phone or even in person to be deafening… it's like I've killed the conversation somehow - good ol' paranoia, I suppose… but considering that three years earlier I had only really ever had one girlfriend… and a summer romance at that with plenty of romance and none of the sex I would say I had maintained a lot of emotional scarring.

At least with Noboko… when she's quiet, she doesn't mind me filling the dead air with my big voice.

I have learned that others when they go quiet don't NEED the air to be filled, even if they do enjoy THE VOICE.

Do I like the sound of my own voice - hell, yeah, I do! Don't you like your voice? I know I have a decent radio voice, plus I know I can come up with something interesting to discuss…

But… sometimes, as I was taught - fairly recently, in fact, that sometimes silence speaks volumes - and not only in a negative manner.

Noboko said she liked knowing that when she pressed her cheek against her phone, she could hear and feel my breath across the hemispheres as my cheek was only a mere two centimeters away from her. Close enough to stick my tongue out and give her cheek a light flick.

It's a nice thought… a great thought, in fact.

We don't talk about anything of the past or the future of herself, of myself or even of us… but I can hear her sigh in her breath.

I want to reach through the phone and pull her close to me and just hold her one more time… just one more time.

It's too soon to pressure her, but I can't resist and say: "You should come and visit me here."

You could hear the oiled gears turning swiftly… "Mm," she nods in that terse Japanese way, that is so obviously a very emphatic affirmative. Note that I can't see her, but I know exactly what she is doing.

It's midnight in Kuroiso, Tochigi-ken, Japan. Her parents are asleep. She is in her room—no idea what she is wearing, but I assume it's something light and casual—and she's lying on her stomach, pillow under her chest, left arm propping up that mess of hair, right hand holding the phone.

Old TV commercial (a couple on the phone):

"What do you have on?" he asks.
"The lights," she purrs.

That's what I want to imagine… but it's Noboko… and while I am in love with her and she with me… instead of naked and playing with herself, I imagine she has a half-empty box of Kleenax, with wadded up sorta balls of tissue on her bed as she dabs away the tears I now cause when she hears my voice.

I want her to be sad. I do. She better be sad. I'm sad.

I want her to be sad so that the dull ache inside her breast causes her to lose focus on everything but the thought of us.

I need her to think that she is going to lose the only man in her life who loves her the way she never thought a man could love a woman. With his soul.

I want her to realize she has made a mistake in ceding to her father's demands…

That'll work, right?

Fug… I don't know. I don't know what I can do that I haven't already tried. You'd think flying half-way across the world would impress her father.. and it probably did, but the Japanese tradition of male work triumphing over family is strong.

We talk and breath in each other's ear for over an hour. I'm not afraid of the long-distance costs, but I feel that she should get some sleep because it's late.

"I'll call you later," I explain.

"Good-bye, An-do-ryu-kun," she says and wails loudly as she crashes the phone down onto her headset.

Ewww… did she mean good night or good-bye forever.

I suppose I'll know in a few days when she picks up my late night call or if she doesn't.

Somewhere my cheek is wet with her tears,
Andrew Joseph

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