Short Story – this is a piece of fiction. I have never been to Tokyo and I am not married at this time.
I met Niko, my wife, on a trip to Tokyo. I had recently found myself single and had spent many years exploring SE Asia but had never been to Japan despite a keen interest in their culture.
I arrived downtown and went to my hotel. A small narrow place with even smaller rooms. Feeling a bit sad and lonely and claustrophobic, I went for a walk. The lights flashed everywhere. Some selling me things I knew. Some selling products of a foreign land.
I like walking in cities. The sites and energy are ever changing no matter which city I have walked and the best people watching happens there too. From rags to riches and all levels inbetween.
I found a bar with outdoor seating and decided on a drink. A gin and tonic. And while I sat sipping it, I continued to people and then, plop, a woman sat next to me.
“How’s it going stranger?”
“Fine,” I answered.
“My name’s Niko. What’s yours?”
“Dylan,” I answered.
“Would you like to buy me a drink?”
“Sure. Why not,” I answered.
She made a motion to the bartender and spoke a few words of Japanese and a moment later two more cocktails arrived at our table.
“I hope it’s okay. I ordered whatever you are having and got another for you. Yours is almost finished.”
“Just so you know, I am a bargirl.”
“I figured as much. I’ve been known to be lucky but not this lucky.”
We both laughed and I finally noticed her. Niko is small. So am I. So we fit together well. It’s her eyes that are big. They are a little too big for her face which makes her all the more attractive to me and in her eyes I can always see the truth. Hers and mine.
We decided to skip the next round of drinks and opted for a walk back to the hotel and a short tour of Tokyo. We had a coffee sitting in a park. A bowl of ramen at her favorite noodle shop and then made it back to the hotel.
“Does it sound strange that I don’t want to invite you in?”
Niko and I climbed the stairs to my room and entered.
“This room is small even by Tokyo’s standards.”
“I didn’t expect company.”
“Well here I am,” Niko said and then plopped down on the bed.
I poured each of us a glass of water and we sipped it in silence for a while and then kissed. Neither of us remember our first kiss being anything special. It was just a kiss. And neither of us remember the sex being anything extraordinary. It was just sex. What we both remember was the following: sleeping and waking up in the morning.
“That was the best sleep I have had in years.”
“Me too,” she responded.
I wiped gook out of my eyes and prepared coffee.
“What are your plans today?”
“My parents and kid sister and brother are coming for a visit today. Want to join us?”
“Me? After, you know, how we met? Wouldn’t that be weird?”
“Hadn’t really thought about it.”
“Do your parents know what you do?”
“They know I am a woman who supports myself in the big city with little education.”
I decided I would go with Niko. I couldn’t shake the feeling that if I didn’t, I was going to miss an important moment in my life like a premonition.
We had another coffee and dressed to go. Before leaving the small room, Niko took my hand, stood on her toes, and kissed my cheek. I felt butterflies.
I met her parents and siblings who were much younger than Niko. I wondered if maybe the siblings were Niko’s in fact. They were not. When I asked, Niko explained that she sent money back to her parents monthly and that extra income had allowed them more time and with that, more children. Niko’s brother was 7 and sister was 3. The girl had been adopted by Niko’s parents about a year ago.
I immediately got on well with her parents like we had been old friends from long ago. They told me stories, in broken English, of their lives and I vollied back stories of my own.
As the day started to wane and the first hints of evening started to change the color of the sky, her parents and siblings left to head back to their home. After the goodbyes, I sat on the floor while Niko made tea.
“What happens now?” I asked as Niko started to ready herself for work.
“I go to work I suppose.”
Neither of us remember exactly word for word the next exchange or who said what.
“Do you like your work?”
“I like earning money. I don’t like the work.”
“Everyone needs to earn money.”
“Would you like to see me again?”
“I would like to see you everyday again and again.”
“You heard me.”
“I know nothing.”
“You know something.”
“Are you sure?”
“Then what do you know?”
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
And that was that. The rest of the week was spent with Niko figuring out how to get her out from under her job, seeing her parents again, asking her father for his daughter’s hand, and planning a small wedding. Then we were wed.
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