Day 155: Friday, August 12, 2011
I just woke up and the first thing I think of is her… Tonight she will be taking a few hours off work so she can go with me to the frame shop to prepare for the Canon exhibition/competition. I decided that after we are done with business and when we’re walking back to the station, I’m going to confront her finally about my feelings because I can’t take it anymore and just want to know where I stand. I’m going to take her aside and say:
“Can I talk to you?”
And she will hesitantly reply, “Yes…”
And I will say nervously, “I realized recently that I’m not over you… I know that you are in a relationship and I respect that… I just want to ask you one thing…”
And she will say, “Yeah…?”
“Should I give up?”
If she says yes, I will be able to move on… and if she says no, I’ll have something to hope for. Lying in bed, I ask myself if I win the competition would I give up the desperately needed prize money to be with her and without a thought, I answer yes.
After meeting some clients, I’m walking to Shibuya station practicing in my head how to talk to her… I try it in English first and then in Japanese, but they both don’t come out right…
Since I arrive 30 minutes early at our meeting spot in Nakameguro station, I sit down on the platform bench and read over what I wrote this morning in my notebook about what I am going to say to her. When I am done, I look at the time and notice I still have another 8 minutes to kill. I look down and I notice that I am unconsciously playing with my mechanical pen… I stop, and then I begin to be insecure about my breath, so I find an old piece of gum in the depths of my bag, and after I pop it in my mouth, my breath is suddenly fresher, but now I feel a headache coming on, which I’ve been getting a lot recently… I look back at the clock. She should be here in 3 minutes now… Two minutes later I remember that when I was in the bathroom earlier, I forgot to check if I had any eye wax because I usually have a big blob of it by now at this time of day, but since my hands are dirty, I give up on trying to get rid of it and then begin massaging my temples in an attempt to prevent my headache from getting worse…
It’s time. Her train arrives on schedule as well as the one we are supposed to get on at the other side of the track, but I don’t see her because it is rush hour and there are way too many people flooding out from one train to the other. With only one minute left to board, I call her. She answers and says she has arrived but can’t find me because of all the people, so I tell her to just jump on before the door closes and we will meet at our next transfer point. I hang up and shove myself onto the train, doing my best to protect my portfolio and my camera from being smashed… I’m in hell, and I imagine that if she were here with me, this would actually be fun since we could laugh at our shared misery together, but we are not.
At the next transfer point, I see her… and we both smile.
We arrive at the frame maker’s atelier 20 minutes early, so we have to wait while he serves a customer. I heard before that he is the best, so standing there in the middle of a room looking at his wall, which is covered with fliers of exhibitions by artists that he has worked with like Araki, Daido, and Kawauchi Rinko, it feels like I’m staring at photo history.
We tell him our plan, which is to make one really big photo to exhibit, but after we do several calculations, we realize that the frame itself is still already going to be over our budget that Canon has given us, so we have to rethink our idea. After the meeting, I am exhausted and feeling frustrated, and while we walk towards the station, it doesn’t feel right to talk to her just then about what I have been waiting for all day. When we get to the station she calls her boss to see if she has to go back to work, and to both of our surprise, he says that it’s okay. We are both delighted, so we decide to go to Shibuya to eat.
On the train, she kept saying how cool the frame maker was, which adds to my suspicion that she likes older men. When we transfer onto another train, I see my friend Hannah, who is the girlfriend of Cameron from the Writer’s Club, so I sneak up to her and scare her. I introduce the girl to Hannah and while they are talking, I realize that this is my first time hearing her speak English.
When we arrive in Shibuya, we say goodbye to Hannah, and then try to figure out where to eat… Since we are at a loss, she mentions that maybe we should just go back to Hatagaya for dinner (which is where we always hang out whenever we meet), but immediately we both agree that we should find something here because it’s a nice change to our routine.
Since she hasn’t been in Shibuya for 3 months because she is so busy, everything is fresh for her again; and while we are walking, I watch her gazing around at all the bright signs and people like a tourist, and I’m no longer tired anymore because I am enjoying just being there with her. She mentions that she wants to visit Taiwan one day soon, which gives me an idea, so I decide to take her to a Taiwanese restaurant I know.
I tell her after we sit down at our table that we should try talking in English over dinner since we are switching things up tonight, and to my surprise she happily says okay. It’s a little difficult at first, but then we eventually get used to it… and in a way, our interaction changes as well because for the first time, she opens up and tells me about her boyfriend, who I originally assumed lived in Korea, but found out was mistaken. Since she is so busy she only sees him about 3 times a month, and she jokes that she sees me more than him because it is true. And as we continue to talk about her boyfriend and other things, I realize that this is what I wanted the whole time, which was for her to be open and honest to me… and I know now that I no longer need to ask her my question anymore.
During dinner I get a text from Ian saying that my friend from Taiwan has just showed up at our house, and I realize that I had completely forgotten that I was supposed to meet her tonight because I am having a good time with the girl and I can tell she is too, so unfortunately we have to call it an early night. While we are waiting at the bus station, the sound of motors grows and grows to the point where it drowns out all the noise in Shibuya. Suddenly a motorcycle gang with flashy neon lights rumbles by and they keep riding around in circles in front of us. Eventually our bus comes and we get on and walk to the back to look for an empty seat… There are some, but on each row there is someone there, so we can’t sit next to each other, but in the very back, there is just enough space for two but it looks so small that it doesn’t look feasible or comfortable at all… and just when I was about to say let’s sit separately, to my surprise she says let’s sit in the back, so we do…
It turns out we took the wrong bus, but like the crowded train earlier, it is fun to share experiences even when they are bad. When we get off, we realize it is close enough to walk home, so we do… Even though I am going to now be an hour late to meet my Taiwanese friend, I am glad to have the excuse to spend more time with the girl. After we part ways, I am even more clueless now then I was in the morning about what she is thinking and about our developing relationship, but I’m beginning to realize that maybe- like the Beatles’ song- I should just let things be…