Friday, March 25, 2015

Leilani’s POV

Being carless in the countryside where public transportation is less convenient turns what would be a 30-minute drive to Narita International Airport into an hour and a half train commute.

At the station, I run into a friend of a friend who’s on his way to drink in Chiba. He’s pleasant company, an intelligent young man who doesn’t pry or anything like that. Because he’s so pleasant, I bring out my box of chocolate almonds to share. I would normally save them for myself. We part when I transfer at Sakura Station. 

Around the Narita Station stop, a tall black man with fancy dress shoes asks around about the stop for Terminal 1.

Passengers, some Japanese and others I overhear are visiting from China, shy away. One couple moves towards the edge of the car and a man sitting next to me looks down at his phone. I’m angered by these responses and feel inclined to do something.

“I’m headed there,” I wave a hand at him. “It’s the last stop.”

The man says thank you, sits across from me, and asks about my life. I tell him in short replies, because I suddenly get this feeling he’s going to hit on me. His legs are wide open, rubbing his chin, and showcasing a mischievous smile. Normal. Harmless. He then stares quite obviously at where my black socks hit my mid-thigh. I tell myself that I’m assuming too much and shake off the nerves.

In a five-minute window, he asks about my dating life and tells me he’d like to see me again sometime. Go into town, have a drink, and be with someone who’s here, him, instead of that “boyfriend” of mine who lives in America. I don’t correct him. I don’t tell him that my boyfriend is actually my girlfriend, because I believe honesty is something you offer to those you care for. He insists we’re destined to meet again. I let the sounds of the train drown out his words as we head through a tunnel and close my eyes.

No, I correct myself, it’s important to be honest. Always. For others as well as for yourself.

When I open my eyes, I tell the man that I’m extremely happy with my relationship and am not interested in spending time with anyone else in that way. Really, he tilts his head, you don’t get lonely? I make my response loud and clear.

Yes, really. No, my partner makes sure I never feel lonely.

He pauses, nods, says he respects that, and scrolls through his phone.

After we step off the train, I wish him good luck, put a little spring in my step, and head up the escalators. I feel kind of cool for being able to navigate through an airport of lost people. Like I’m a local. But I’m not. Not really. I wait at Arrivals for Amy.

Four months. It’s been four months since we’ve last seen, touched, and been in the same time zone as one another. I’ve been practicing expressing my feelings more accurately. There’s always been a disconnect between the way I feel and the way I appear to feel in high pressure situations. I often wear a silly expression, one that makes people believe I’m easygoing and happy, and I don’t know how to unwear it. I can’t look thoughtful or serious, even when I felt that way inside. 

But I try. I don’t want her thinking I’m making light of her visit.

I exhale, tap my shoes repeatedly on the glossy floor, and scan the announcement board obsessively. The status shows that she’s in customs.

Hurry up, hurry up. I jump up and down, but only on the inside.

An older man near the barrier is videotaping each passenger that exits. It strikes me as odd but I think that maybe he’s waiting for someone like I am and simply wants to capture the moment on camera. I think that as hard as I can, but ultimately cannot believe it.

I smile when she finally shows up. Is it a good smile? I’m not sure. She looks handsome despite the long flight. Her black hair is freshly cut, just like she told me it would be over the phone, and I run my hands through it when she’s close enough. I don’t look into her eyes, not yet, because I’m too shy to.

We head into Asakusa, admire how peaceful the area is near the famous Kaminarimon Gate, usually a bustling tourist spot, and check into The Gate Hotel a few minutes away. After unloading our things, we roll around on the beds, compliment the bathroom amenities - there’s always more than we need - and head to a chain tempura restaurant. Once we’re finished, we head to the restaurant bar at the hotel that we mistake for the exclusive bar open only to registered guests. To be honest, I had a hunch that it wasn’t the right bar because there were too many seats. The bar we planned on visiting seats only seven. I figure that it’s probably upstairs, but I don’t say anything anything. It isn’t time to be fussy.

I order a sparkling wine and Amy has her usual, a fuzzy navel. She nods as she sips her drink and smiles before telling me it’s good. By nightfall, I’m able to look at her the way I want to. It’s a sexy bar and a sexy hotel, just the sort of scene you would want to expedite things. A little fast-forwarding is just what we need.

The next morning, I discover I’m right about the bar.

placestwosee asked:

Hi! Just wanted to say thanks for a great LDR blog. It's very inspiring. My girlfriend and I are currently in a LDR (I'm in California and she moved to Japan to work for a few years). We have this tumblr together and it's definitely helpful for us to stay in touch with each other. We also made fun music videos of us on my current 2 week visit around Japan. It's been a great project and it'll be helpful to have those memories when we are away from each other again :) Thanks again for your blog.

Thank you so much this made my day!!!!

This blog would be nothing without wonderful people like you two lovely ladies :) Japan sounds so exciting! I’m glad you two get to spend some time together. The videos will definitely help later on, even if it is just to hear her voice. 

You two are gorgeous and adorable!

Thank you so much again :) This really is the highlight of my day. I hope you have a wonderful remainder of your trip!