|Blogs > saxyjazzman > Tokyo Nights|
We arrive at Starbucks at the same time. (Are you Mariko? Yes - are you Saxyjazzman?) She’s dressed all in black against the December cold, smaller than I, black hair falling outside her winter coat. We order hot drinks and make our way upstairs. I’m to be her English teacher, but it’s clear right away she’s perfectly fluent.
It’s probably about something else.
I like her immediately. She seems barely Japanese -- gesticulating, telling me how nervous she always is, how people think she’s crazy. She reads. She knows Goethe, Heidegger and more. All she wants to do is read, consume literature. Defensively, I mention a review of a new biography of “the British novelist, T. E. Lawrence.”
“You mean D.H. Lawrence?”
“Yes, of course, D.H., I meant D.H. Did you read ‘Sons and Lovers?’” (I haven’t.)
“Oh, I LOVE that!”
We both want to read, but she actually does.
After ten minutes, she exclaims, “I KNEW you were the right one!” She’d selected me from an Internet gallery of teachers, the first to call, three weeks after I’d registered. She’d seen my little B.A. in psychology and that I was a musician. Now it turns out I’m Jewish too. I am probably beginning to glow.
I know she is. She is an artist. Her father made jewelry and taught her to draw. Her mother loves English novels. But they were divorced, the women victims of an abandoning father. Uh-oh. Next September, Mariko is off to the U.S. to become a freshman in Literature. At 35. She works at an art gallery and hates it. No one talks there. She needs to talk, needs to laugh. And more, probably much more.
I demand to see one of her drawings, so she shows me a snapshot in her cell phone, a woman’s face, skillfully drawn, trapped in a gothic metal cage. But she hasn’t drawn a picture in three years. Several times she seems on the edge of tears, but her mood is mostly ebullient.
Meanwhile, I am exuding psychological insight and saxophone charisma. And I’m a writer! Then I ask, her poker-faced, "So, how many kids do you have?" and she falls back against her Starbucks easy chair, laughing.
“I love you!” she explodes.
“I love you too,” I mumble. The lesson is going really well.
I love her emotionalism, her obvious passion, her hatred of stupid corporate life. She keeps telling me she’s crazy, and a little voice tells me in fact it could be true, there’s a dark side, some irremediable sorrow. Don’t give your power away to unstable people, my best friend used to tell me. But I always do. Then I transfer it to another. Houdini escaping into an endless series of traps.
So much easier to be the romantic, a la Leonard Cohen:
Suzanne takes you down to her place by the river
You can watch the boats go by, you can spend the night forever
And you know that she’s half crazy and that’s why you want to be there
And she gives you tea and oranges that come all the way from China
And just when you want to tell her that you have no love to give her
She gets you on her wave length and let’s the river answer
That you’ve always been her lover
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you’ll trust her
For she’s touched your perfect body with her mind.
Well, not yet, but you never know. She was born three days after my last lover. If my luck holds, I can cancel AdultFriendFinder. After all, I’m out of work.