‍    I got lucky. After boot camp I got orders to Japan. It was mysterious, enchanting, and life changing. I had plans. WE had plans. That all ended in year 4. The Vietnam war was not to be denied. More on that later.

‍on the street of that modern city

‍neon lights flash on wet pavement

‍on the street of that ancient city

‍flames flicker on wet cobblestones

‍her alabaster face and crimson lips

‍glance back at me

‍but just for a moment ...

‍we both understand

‍such a thing would bring her ruin

‍a first love...

‍one rainy night in Japan

‍his friend saw the two of them walking in the rain

‍with their umbrellas.

‍his friend thought the tall girl cute,

‍he insisted on following them.

‍they knew they were being followed but were not afraid,

‍they knew they were being flirted with.

‍they went into a coffee shop,

‍we followed.

‍his friend asked if we could join them,

‍they giggled but said yes.

‍his friend went home with the tall girl.

‍he stayed with the other in the coffee shop and they talked until

‍5 in the morning.

‍they were together for nearly three years.

‍she bore him a son.

‍he had to leave, to go off to war.

‍there was nothing to be done about it.

‍he pledged to return for her.

‍they wrote letters of longing and loneliness.

‍hers on colored and scented paper,

‍beautiful paper from Japan.

‍she wrote how she missed his gentle touch on her back.

‍he wrote how he missed her smile and her soft white skin.

‍then abruptly her letters stopped.

‍he did not know what happened.

‍no way to communicate, he was in a panic.

‍he was at war.

‍there was nothing to be done about it.

‍one month two months three months four months


‍the letter.

‍not from her, but from an officer that knew them both.

‍a terrible terrible tragedy.

‍monstrous and unfathomable.

‍both dead.

‍killed in a jealous rage,

‍racial and sexual fears

‍of the Gaijin.

‍obsession that knew no bounds.

‍he could not go see them.

‍there was nothing to be done about it.

a lost love...

‍by love obsessed.

‍Proustian in its suffering.

‍a last declaration of love, in a book on intellectual history.

‍a handkerchief, so gentle.

‍lost time, lost love, lost art.

‍the bittersweet fruit of trust betrayed,

‍of devotion lost.

‍to walk down that path again... turn the corner again...

‍cry, again.

‍the first time, he could blame the gods.

a last love...

‍the girl-woman, a muse.

‍he would be her mentor.

‍full circle. the irony is not lost on him.

‍now far away,

‍but this time,

‍not forever

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