Tokyo Sketch (II)

Tokyo Sketch 2 Jamie

The fantasy continues...

The Matter of Words Mr. Davenfield


10/1/98 A very long day. We are now flying in the faint velvety sky, above the barely visible cloud patches. Flying towards the dawn, a fuzzy red line in the distance, where the sky is blue. A few stars are visible from my little window. They seem quiet and lonely. I am always ashamed that I do not know their names.

1.
"Will you spend the night?" Jamie looked up at Dave, expectantly. While he was contemplating his answer, she added, "Please do. We can have brunch at the Americans Club if you want. Jimmy got another invitation from his client."
Dave patted her on the cheek, "You know how much I love that place, don't you?"
"Ha, I know you can't say no to the Club." She laughed ironically, "You Americans!"
“Hey! What is that about? Aren’t you American, too?” Dave protested.
“I don’t know what I am. Chinese American, American Chinese, ” Jamie laughed, “but I am definitely not your kind of American!”
"Where is my lovely brother anyway? I thought he needed this car tonight." Jamie suddenly remembered.
"We had dinner in Akasaka, then he left with some woman. He asked me to tell you that he probably won't be home tonight."
"Is she Asian?"
"Probably. I did not get a close look at her. Why? Do you think you know her?"
"I doubt it." She shrugged. Then added cynically, "I bet it was an expensive car, though."
"A Mercedes Benz SL500." Dave sighed longingly, stretching his right arm across the seat. "A very nice car indeed."
"I bet my brother knows the car better than does her." Jamie smiled.
"Well, you know your brother founded our Classic car club while we were in Princeton, don‘t you?"
"Yeah, and you were the co-founder." Jamie reached over and caressed the back of his neck.
Dave tensed when Jamie's left hand touched his skin. The ring was cold. He pulled her hand in front of him, fingered the diamond absentmindedly, without looking away from the road. The silence wrapped the small space inside the car for the rest of the ride.


The sky is brightening up. Clouds look really lovely, like soft snow, or sugar.

Dave parked the car in the drive way. They walked up to the door holding each other at the waist. The garden was especially fragrance in the early dawn. Jamie picked up a piece of leave. It smelled like orange, she crashed it in her hand.

Now it is completely day light. I can see another layer of clouds above the thicker one. It is like a sea of smoke frozen while rising up from below, light and thin. beautiful.


2.
Jamie was waken up by the day light around 9am. She always slept with the curtain open. Dave was sleeping soundly beside her, head buried in the pillows. She carefully got off the bed, put on a dressing gown, surveyed the small bookshelf on the night stand, and picked up Hemingway's "Farewell to the Arms". She went downstairs to the living room, brushed her teeth in the guest washroom and took a shower. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, and noticed the dark lines under her eyes. Unconsciously, she touched her image in the mirror. "My little panda." She heard Jonathan's voice in her head. The thought of him pained her. Guilt slid across the surface of her heart like a skate on ice on a cold winter day, leaving a white and sharp mark.

She poured herself a glass of orange juice, lied down on the large sofa by the window, and started reading the last chapter where he was rowing franticly towards Switzerland. The last chapter always fascinated her. It seemed too thin and too focused. It lacked the clatters and chaos a real world generated. A world that was born from imagination often seemed like a Japanese painting, pure but extreme. The woman died during childbirth. Jamie closed the book, lay it on her chest, and fastened her gaze on the fragrant bushes outside the window. Hemingway wrote the book ten years after it happened between him and Angie. He was still not able to forgive her. Ten years was still not enough. Jamie thought to herself, "how long will it take Jonathan to forgive me?" The thought startled her. She stood up abruptly, the book fell to the floor, and the empty glass fell down from the coffee table, and made a crisp clink on the marble floor. Ignoring the mess she left behind, she walked to the window and stared at the gloomy sky outside, fingering her ring impatiently.

"Morning, sis!" A happy voice came down from the hallway, along with some cool morning air from the opening door.
Jimmy was a handsome young man with dark skin tone. The six-foot height made him stand out in an Asian crowd. In a dark blue polo shirt, black Levis's jeans, and a pair of tennis shoes, he was whistling the theme song from the Phantom of the Opera. His large round eyes held a smile.
"Looks like the knight had a good evening of hunting!" Jamie smiled. "How did you get home? I didn't hear any engine sound."
"Taxi. The driver didn’t want to deal with our one-lane dead-end street. I asked him to stop at the intersection instead." Jimmy took a banana from the fruit bowl on the kitchen counter, and looked at Jamie up and down. "You look tired. Didn't you meet Dave last night? Had too much fun?" He winked.
"Yes." Jamie waved her hand, "Is brunch in the Tokyo Americans Club still on this morning?"
"Yeah, I think so. George is going to bring his family there after church, 11:30am I think. You are coming? I thought you don't like that place."
"Dave wants to go." Jamie came over, picked up an apple from the fruit bowl, "You know how much he loves that place. Who was the lucky woman last night? Dave said she drove a nice Benz."
"Kyoko. You've never met her." Jimmy threw the banana skin into the trash can by the sink, "Score! Three points!" He announced loudly, then poured himself a bowl of cereal, and sat down at the dinning table. "The car was a graduation present from her father."
"I see, a rich family." Jamie sat down across from Jimmy, giving him a sinister smile.
"And powerful." Ignoring Jamie's tease, Jimmy smiled. "I might marry her."
"You can't be serious!"
"Why not? It will help my business. She belongs to the Yamonote family. Her father is the head of the family's financial institutions. And the best of all," Jimmy stopped momentarily, making sure he had Jamie's full attention, "She is the only child."
"Pleeeease! Which century are you living in?"
"That is still the way the Japanese work. Family is important." Jimmy finished his cereal. Leaned back on the chair, relaxed and comfortable. His smile was full of tease. "Haven't you always wanted me to settle down? I am heeding your advice. You got engaged to Jonathan, now it is my turn. Byt the way, have you two decided on a date yet? Ma called yesterday morning and she asked again."
Jamie looked down at her hand, started to play with her ring again. "There might not be a wedding at all."
"What's wrong." Jimmy became cautious, "You two fought?"
"I am no longer sure he is the one I want to spend the rest of my life with." Jamie stood up, did not look at Jimmy, went to the garden door.
Jimmy followed her. "Dave?" He whispered.
"Do you remember Dionysus from Greek mythology?"
"Dionysus. Ah, yes, the wine and party God!" Jimmy laughed a light laugh, "He used to be my favorite god!"
"He is not a very useful God. He is the dangerous temptation looming on the edge of your normal world. One day you can no longer resist the temptation, you give up everything, dash into the jungle, following his voice. Everything you build will be no longer important." Unknowingly, Jamie recited the paragraph from her senior dissertation.
"Ma will never let me hear the end of this!" Jimmy threw his hands up in the air, “’Jamie just went to visit you for one summer, and she turned her world upside down!’”
“Well, “ Jamie cast her eyes to the floor. "You are always the rational one in the family. With your ambition and your thriving business senses. I am always the strange one."
“Have you told Jonathan?”
“I sent him a letter yesterday, he should receive it by the time I leave Japan.”
“Chicken! You are not going to call him? or even email him?” Jimmy was frowning. “Wait! You are leaving Japan? I thought you would register at the University and finish your thesis.”
"Dave said he had decided to quit his job in a few weeks. Then he is going to South America for a year." Jamie said longingly. "I am going with him."

“You are?” Dave was standing at the top of the stairway.

The sister and brother turned around in unison. Jimmy had a blank expression on his face, not sure how to react to this series of new events. Jamie was simply annoyed since she planed to tell Dave her decision after brunch.

“Morning.” Jamie walked up the stair, meeting Dave half way. They kissed briefly. “I’m going to change. It is time for brunch.”

3.
It was drizzling. The sticky kind of rain that made the air feel thick and heavy. All three of them were silent in the taxi. Dave had a hint of a smile on his face. Jamie looked out of the window at passing cars and pedestrians. Her mind seemed to be far away. Jimmy sat in the front seat, impatiently drumming his fingers on the handle bar, frowning.

The American Club was one block away from the Tokyo Tower, the steel giant always seemed to be in mourning during day time. As the taxi approached the Tower, the neighborhood became quieter and less crowded. Occasional blonde young mommies could be seen with their toddlers along the sidewalk, under the maple trees.

“A home away from home for the Americans.” Jamie thought. “Would I be longing for a place like this under the southern cross? Which one would be my home? China? America? Japan?!”