Tokyo, rush hour, everybody is trying to get home after a long day’s work. With hundreds of other travelers I am pushed inside a subway train and end up squeezed tightly against a young Japanese woman. I feel anxious, not being able to move, I wait for claustrophobia to set in like it does every day in such situations. But then, suddenly, I feel calm, the soft noise of the train, its vibrations, people talking around me, everything disappears and there is only, you! Your body pressed tightly against me; I can feel every button on your jacket, your hip bones against my upper thighs, your small breasts against my lower ribcage, even your heartbeat, fast but steady. I glance down to see your perfectly combed black hair, even after a full day of work. Your head is turned sideways to avoid, what can only be the offensive smell of this “gaijin”, pressed so tightly against you, you feel nauseated. I on the other hand, feel elated. I get a whiff of your aroma. You still smell of soap and exotic perfume and just the slightest bit of sweat. The train stops, people leave and others are pushed in. NO, NO, please don’t push her away!
The train starts up again, you are still here, but I am behind you now. I feel the round of your behind and the sharp edges of you scapulae. Was I mistaken earlier, was the odour a mixture of all the smells of the other people around me? No, there is no doubt in my mind; my nostrils are filled with that heady aroma wafting up from your body. Your frame against me, your perfume, I am in a trance. My mind has left my body and I see myself floating above the crowd, uniting with you we drift aimlessly, two spirits free of any constraints…until suddenly the train stops again and you extricate yourself, moving through the other bodies towards the doors and then out onto the platform. I have to scramble to follow you, run after you toward the exit. I finally catch up just as you reach the stairs.
“Konbanwa” I say in my strong foreign accent. You barely look at me, try to get away, the expression on your face is of horror and fear.
“Watashi no namae wa P desu” I shout as you move away hastening your step.
I stand there a while, bumped by passersby as they rush past me, then I walk slowly back to the platform to catch the next train. As I ride along I am again pressed against other people but I hardly notice them, in my mind I can still feel you, I still see your black hair and smell your soft fragrance. Will Fukurokuju smile on me and unite our path once more? If I am at the same station at the same time tomorrow, will you be there again? Where are you going now, home to your husband or to an empty apartment, longing for the touch of another human being to share your hopes and dreams with?
The next day, I am at the station 15 minutes ahead of time, scouring the crowd for a glimpse of her, staying 15 minutes later, just in case. But I didn’t see her. I kept this up for a full month, but I never saw the woman, who has had such a profound impact on me, again. The only good thing I noticed was that the later train was not as crowded so I could actually sit down and feel less claustrophobic.
Over time, the memory faded and eventually I left Japan. But never did I completely forget her and these moments of total elation I had experienced.
Posted by thejanus 2 years ago Views: