Osake Wo Isshou Ni Nomo (Sake for Two)
Stories from The Beautiful Impossible by guidomaria...
It was the early 70s and I was a graduating grade school transferee. My family had just uprooted ourselves from the busy streets of Tokyo to the countryside of Sapporo. Fascinating, magical and quite comforting that it remained almost the same through the years. Every time I’ve gone for a visit, the sweet scent of foliage, dew and rich earth brings me back to him.
I enjoyed his company from the get-go. Dorky as he walked up during recess with mainly silly talk. I loved the attention. But It wasn’t just him. Everyone wanted a piece of me like I was some giant candy. I guess coming from Tokyo instantly makes you popular this side of town.
Walking back from school, our afternoons were spent goofing innocently. Clouds changed while looking at the sky, comfortably laying on the grass beside the riverbed. We chased dragonflies until we gasped, and marveled at fireflies that lit the road to our homes after sunset. We waved goodbyes knowing we would see each other again in the morning. How convenient that he lived only a couple of houses down the road.
It was mid-schoolyear we last spoke. He told me something that caught me off-guard. My expression told him two things concrete. I didn’t believe whatever he said, like a very offensive joke, and I would never want to speak to him again. Just like that, I eluded him every time he reached out. And with a mean demeanor, I wanted him to just stop.
A month ago, out of the blue, he reached out. It has been decades long. Long enough that it makes things interesting. His curiosity is inviting. Maybe it’s that nothing is happening in my world for the past year. What are we to do these days anyway? Right? We decided to meet at the bar I frequented in Osaka. I welcome the four hour drive.
Last night was amazing. Amidst the rustling and bustling of bar life, at the corner table, we drank sake from an ochoko poured from a water heated tokkuri. He wasn’t bothered that we were in the heart of Doyama-chō. The loudest person there was a blogging millennial.
The night went on as the conversation kept going, from trips around the world, to relationships and having kids, to fond memories of Sapporo. At some point I didn’t know how drunk we were that our lips moved in auto mode, laughing and talking. Peering through him, His eyes however told me of a different story.
The last time I saw him was after graduation. He got wind I was moving away and for a long time. I remember him calling my name in front of the house that afternoon. I caught glimpse from the corner of my eye through the front window. I know he saw me that he kept calling out, over and over and over until it was quite annoying and pathetic to hear his pleading voice. I never bothered to look though. For reasons I’ve forgotten, I don't know why. Maybe I was just busy and didn’t want to be bothered. Maybe? It wasn’t my intention but I can feel him hurting walking home. I didn’t feel sorry or should be. What was I to know then? He sent me a message this morning asking about the day he stood at my house. He asked me why. Why? I would’ve answered something if he only asked last night over sake. I might have brushed it off amidst the laughter too. For reasons unknown to him, I don’t feel like messaging back anytime soon... Listen to the full Album: