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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Noboko And Andrew: Cry-mes Of Passion

Continuing where we left off, I have just successfully completed yet another evening at Noboko's parent's house… specifically her father.

This time we got drunk together, he sang Japanese dirges and I applauded his stunning vocal range - all was lovey-dovey when I left..

And yet, when I awoke back at Colin's apartment next afternoon, the first thing I asked was if Noboko had called.

"Nope," he said.

Hmmm… Noboko hadn't had anything to drink - or if she had, it wasn't much. So no hangover there.

No hangover for me either, by the way. I might get drunk, have the spins, but when I wake up, I am always fully cognizant of my actions and never have a hangover. Even that time I woke up in a locked taxidermist forest exhibit at a hotel.

I might not recall breaking in, but I do recall the attempt. Forty-seven glasses of sake will do that to me (and Arakawa-san)… I went dancing, and he inexplicably went to a meeting. When we met the next morning, he couldn't believe how geniki (energetic) I was, while he said his loud breathing hurt his head.

Anyhow… Noboko… how come she hasn't called yet…

Ding-Dong! Okay, I no longer recall what Colin's doorbell sounded like, but I doubt it was as simple as 'ding-dong'…

Colin peeks through the eyehole: "It's for you," he says.

That can only mean Noboko… He steps aside so I can open the door - perhaps hoping to see if the bright light will trigger that hangover.

"Hi-iiii," I croon.

"Hi-iiii," Noboko warbles back.

It's Colin, so she's unashamed to give me a brief kiss on the lips in front of him. Modesty amongst friends is not required, and obviously she now counts Colin in that regard.

I know... it doesn't SEEM like a big deal - that kiss, but for the Japanese it CAN be a big deal.

"I just got up," I say obviously, as I yawn.

"I could tell from your breath," she points out.

Apologizing profusely, I exit to brush my teeth and scrape the coat off my tongue.

I have NO idea how people wake up from a sleep and have sex - let alone kiss.

Every woman I've ever been with that I have snuggled with in the morn, has had breath as bad as mine - think Godzilla-like - and has usually only offered up a peck on the lips or cheek before demurely excusing themselves to provide a clean palate… and then it's my turn to brush. No… I have never snuck out of an apartment in the middle of the night. Andrew likes his sleep.

Breath issue resolved, I ask her how her father was.

"He seems fine. He was up early as usual… probably won't admit that his head hurts," Noboko says, adding that her mom knows how stubborn he is and makes a mean hangover cure for him - strangely most I've ever seen involve something that goes plop-plop-fizz-fizz.

"Did he talk about us?" I ask.

"You and him? No."

She's smiling, so I get that she's joking, but having her father accept me and be okay with her spending her life with me as my wife—I think that's a serious topic.

I know… look at me being all frickin' serious. Usually Noboko has to slap me on the back of the head to make me stop making faces at small children staring at me at wherever.

I make nice faces… I'm trying to be entertaining - not rude.

Often the mother will see me, and apologize for her kid's staring, but it's cool… I tell them it's okay, and really just want the kid to know that gaijin aren't scary.

That was the plan, but who knows how any kid takes the monkeyshines…

Even though I'm feeling a little Ricky Ricardo to Noboko's Lucy, I don't wantta smack her, except maybe on her butt, I grin at her and wait…

"Actually, he didn't say anything about you, except he wanted to know when I was going out today.

"I guess that means he wanted to know when I was seeing you."

"I wonder why that was important?" I add.

"I'm sure it wasn't," Noboko says.

"My father, despite his high education, is a simple man," begins Noboko.  "He knows he has to get up and go to work. He knows he has to make sure he brings in enough money to look after the family, even if he doesn't have much to physically do with the day-to-day activities."

"Mom,"  I interject.

"Mm," nods Noboko.

"I know he loves me in his own way," says Noboko looking down.

Before I can even react, Colin pulls out some Kleenex and hands them to her. Good man, that Colin.

"But I think he doesn't know how to love."

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

That's pretty heavy stuff regardless of the language.

She had mentioned to me in a previous letter that she didn't think her parents were in love - that they were just a pair of parents… conveying to me that since her parents were the only example she had, she didn't think a man and a woman could really fall in love.

It's why she was so confused by me… me chasing her, professing my love to her in poetry and foreign words, coming back to Japan just for her… she apparently never had a guy willing to travel half-way around the world for her and then do karaoke battle with her father.

While I knew I had no issue declaring my love for her, I wasn't sure if she could do the same for me.

Why wasn't she fighting for us with the same fervor I was?

The 2015 me knows that you should never judge people by same standards you judge yourself.

How the hell was Noboko supposed to act? It's not like anyone has a book on how to act when your boyfriend is a guy your father doesn't want you to marry… okay… maybe Romeo & Juliet…  but they died at the end. Sorry… spoiler alert.

I have to admit that when I wasn't with Noboko, she was all I thought about, and could get easily frustrated when I though too much about our 'situation'.

With her, everything was peaches and cream and I hardly thought anything negative about anything. Everything was fantastic. Everyone smelled great. Love life.

This man requires the emotional support only a woman can fake.

I have my arm around Noboko and pull her close to my chest, and let her snuffle.

Admitting you aren't sure one's father knows how to love is kind of sucky.

After a few minutes of pathetic whimpering (and trust me it is), she excuses her self and uses the facilities… loud nose blowing ensues, for which I am surprised that that tiny body can make such a racket (of that sort)… and she emerges none the apparent worse for wear.

"You okay?" I ask.

"Mm," she nods.

Even if she isn't, I'd rather not make this Colin's concern, even if he will ask me when I come back…

I guide her to the front door, where she has somehow magically arranged her shoes and mine in the proper order - never saw her bend down to do it.

Telling Colin I'd see him later, Noboko and I walk down the stairs quietly and to her car…

Inside, I ask "Do you want to talk?"


Ignoring what she wants I ask aloud: "Why do you put yourself through this? Do what you want for yourself. Not for me. Not for your father. For yourself."

"That's how much I love you, Noboko. I want you to be happy."

"Can you make me happy?" she asks.

I have no idea why I am so freaking honest, but I am.

"I don't know. I like to think I can. I'll try my best to make you happy."

I have no idea if what I said is good enough when translated into Japanese. I'm talking about the Japanese language as well as Japanese society. If there is a difference, I hope Noboko knows there is one.

Fug! I have no idea what the hell I am even talking about anymore!

It's not like I'm so experienced with women or love… I sure as hell don't know much about Japan, or Japanese women… all I know is what I know… I don't want to lose her.

"I don't want to lose you, Noboko."

Tears! Thank goodness we've already parked somewhere, because she buries that sweet-smelling hair in under my face again and cries and cries and cries.

Being a guy, I have no idea what I'm supposed to do, so I just hold her tight and stroke her hair, occasionally squeezing my lips onto her head of hair.

Being the type of guy who finds awkward lulls in conversation to be awkward, I break and ask: "So… tears of sadness or tears of joy?"

"I'm… happy," she says looking up at me and smiling.

She's a mess… but she's my mess.

Despite my shirt being damp, we go to a small restaurant and have a nice meal where she allows me to have some eel - fully aware that Japanese tradition holds that a man eating eel is going to get a fantastic boner.

Wow… like I need to eat eel for that!

Still… it's Sunday… and I have no idea where we could go for some 'hide-the-eel', and besides… she was crying… I'll screw her brains out tomorrow morning after Colin goes to work.

It's funny… when I'm with Noboko, I pretty much feel the eel all the time.

She even asks if I am - you know, horny… and when I answer 'yes', she laughs and says I should take take of things myself. So I do. But not in the restaurant.

Apparently that's one thing I'm good at doing by myself. 

Somewhere unafraid to ask for help,
Andrew Joseph

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