Wednesday, February 12, 2014


She takes my hand and her body springs to life. Impunity and mischief cross her mind and then her face as she jumps out of her chair. The table rocks and our porcelain cups treble until cold coffee spills over the edges and darkens the cotton tablecloth. Her hand squeezes mine and her eyebrows implore action so I rise too and we flee the bakery before other couples or tired servers can pass public or private judgment.

We sprint the Nakameguro streets. She turns unexpectedly block-to-block and my arms tense like rope but her grip only strengthens and never threatens to let me snap off into adjacent markets or business complexes. I can't breathe and my heart skips but she has enough oxygen and energy for two, as rolling, light laughter bubbles out of her and floats away and she appears to move faster as we ricochet against wet-lit thoroughfares and dark alleys, passing confused salarymen and nothing at all.

She kisses me and my back's arced against a cold stone stair but her lips are soft and warm and taste like bao fresh from the steamer. My hands are braced under me, against steep rubble steps with pebbles that jab my fingers, and hers cup my chin, framing my face for her lips. After each kiss she gasps, inaudible for the rest of the world but I hear it perfectly.

Then we are back on our feet, streaking through a train station, up narrow stairs and through men and women who clutch umbrellas and briefcases like she's clutching my hand while they stare at the ground until we're breezing past them in an explosion of limbs and laughs and sumimasens. My head is back on the stairs and my eyes are on her lips as she turns her head and forms words I can't hear.

We pass a convenience mart and she diverts inside. I buy beer and packaged sushi. She selects a one cup of sake which I also purchase. The clerk is a younger man with thick black hair dotted with early grey. His mouth is scrunched in a sour expression he doesn't spare for us. I return a shit-stupid broad grin that makes matters worse, so we explode from there, food and drink in-hand, like bullets from a gun. We run until she plows us until a narrow building that shoots too high above for me to understand where it ends.

In an elevator ride that never stops she kisses me again, tangling her hands around my back and pushing me against the back panel. The plastic bag slips from my hand and hits the floor, causing her to look down at it and then up at me with an incredulous expression. I laugh and she does too and she kisses me more, hands back on my chin, pulling my face forward like we can't connect quickly enough.

When the elevator opens we're many stories up, looking out on a roof that overlooks Tokyo. She takes the bag in one hand and walks head, leaving me alone in the elevator. A sliver moon rises over Nakameguro, lit and forced up by millions of lights across the cityscape that shimmer like a second universe of stars.

"Are you coming or what?" her voice picks at me as the elevator doors try to slip shut. I grin, force them open, and join her on the roof.

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