Bet you all forgot I had this, didn't you?
"I know you from somewhere."
He could barely see her eyes narrow behind her dark sunglasses. Ryu shrugged. "I travel quite a bit. It's entirely possible we've met before." And he did, travel that is. Business, pleasure - he'd been around the world quite a few times in the last ten years.
Next to him Thomas was sipping his iced tea and reading through his lecture. "Monique is a hometown girl, Ryu."
He controlled his wince. That was Thomas, well-meaning but nearly clueless about social cues. "That doesn't mean anything, Thomas. We could have gone to a cocktail party when I was in grad school."
"No," she blurted. "That's not it."
Ryu shrugged and leaned back in his chair, trying to find a comfortable position on the unyielding plastic. He put on his own sunglasses as the sun came out from behind the clouds, hitting him square in the face. He shifted again, resting his elbow on the empty chair next to him and his chin on his hand. At least the lectures were interesting.
"Maxim." She kept tapping her finger against her front teeth.
He raised an eyebrow and shook his head. Make her earn it, he thought wickedly.
"No, wait. Vogue. Italian Vogue."
He grinned. "I had to pay for school somehow. You have a good memory. That was a decade ago - and I had a lot less clothes on."
She had the grace to blush.
Nathaniel twisted his quarterstaff in a tight figure-eight over and over until he could hear the air whistling then he planted it onto the hard wooden floor with a thunk. He grinned as Joshua winced. “Now if only you’d let me carry this in public.”
“Then someone would be dumb enough to take you on and then we’d all be sued out of the business.” Joshua’s smile was sly. “But it’d be damn fun in the meantime.”
“Exactly.” Nathaniel started again, this time facing the mirrors that covered the far wall. He passed the staff behind him and into his weaker hand, forcing his body to keep up with the exercise, spinning the long oaken pole out from his body like the weapon it was.
The world vanished. It became his body against the impossible measure of perfection. Sweat dripped into his eyes, the faint sting telling him that time was passing but that too faded into the precise movements that he required of himself.
Up. Over. Around. He closed his eyes, trusting the empty space around him as the staff kept cutting the air. Bare feet against the floor kept him tied to this place, toes pressing down into the hardwood that felt warm. In places it was slick from his own sweat but that was part of the exercise.
Alive. Here. Now.
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Tonight I was reminded by the wind. It's cool out and the wind is blowing in gusts that make the trees shiver and blow. You can see them moving, even in the dark, blotting out the clouds and the moon as they sway. It brought back night upon night where I would sit outside with my closest friend at the time and we would talk for hours. Him smoking and me shredding whatever tiny stick I could find within reach.
We'd take off after a late dinner with his family, driving around until we came to one of our haunts. School playground, an empty parking lot next to the river, a dock, the back porch of his parents' house. Solving the universe's problems.
Mostly tonight though, I'm just taking in the sounds of the trees and the wind talking to each other. There is a particular smell to night time wind. A chill to it that feels like little else, even when you are sitting in the house with a plain old light bulb next to you, burning off watts of electricity. The wind cancels that out easily, taking me back eighteen years to that concrete retaining wall, the slap of water and the view of that old fish resturant rotting into the river on its failing pontoons. The smell of icy cold wind, freshened by the water it was skating across. Robert's black russian cigarette smoke that seemed to find me regardless of where I sat. The crunch of gravel as my boots shifted it.
The light came from the other end of the lot where the two story resturant had lights on the back door. Once in a while that door would bang open as someone carried trash down the narrow stairs to the dumpster. Often by the time we would get there the place would be closed already and we'd have the lot to ourselves. The big Lincoln's engine ticking softly as the metal cooled.
Back then I had a long black trenchcoat made of wool that mostly kept my butt warm, even sitting on that concrete. I was skinnier then and it was forever cold out there, even in the summer. Once in a while we'd walk to the other end of the little town, eternally talking in quiet voices and just spending time together, really.
Tonight the wind brought all of that back to me. I will sleep now and perhaps have more innocent dreams than I have had in a long time.
It's not on the schedule yet but I'll be doing a chat on the 22nd at TP's website about culture clashes and cross culture relationships. It's a subtle marketing setup for Kim (oncidium_muses) and I's novella that is coming out at the end of the month, Emerald.
Emerald is about a half-Japanese business man, Ryu, and his very New England professor, Thomas going on vacation to Bali. Beautiful settings, hot sex, snappy dialogue.
Chat is from 5-6pm Pacific, 8-9pm Eastern, Monday May 22.
Ryu let his eyes drift closed. He could hear the sounds of the ocean in front of him, and the palm trees behind. In the distance the hiss and crackle of his mother's radio blended in with the parrots, insects and crashing surf.
He was home.
Indigo is the color everyone forgets in the rainbow. That rich blue that isn't purple yet and one of my favorite colors to wear as a highlight, partially because I want to see what the 'casters call it the next day in their reviews. Were they really paying attention? Because if they watched the show remotely, it's always described as black or purple. The color just doesn't translate well over the lowres.
If they say it matches my eyes? I really know they didn't show up. That one always makes me snicker and mentally remove the reviewer from my list of people to follow. They were watching me all right, so closely they were blinded from the green flood and it washed out their vision.
Nah, the word indigo always shows up in the fan reviews, I think they are beginning to make a game of it. 'Where is he wearing it tonight?' Maybe next time I'll find a gemstone the right color and make it part of my earring. Ah, the games I play to keep myself entertained as we travel endlessly.
It all goes back to this one guitar. It had a line of indigo running alongside the fret. It just made the whole thing - sexy. Not that I ever used it, that was before I had money and I was the guy up front with the microphone and I was trying to find a guitarist that didn't totally suck. The guitar vanished from the shop months and months before I got picked up and turned into a corporate slave. I haven't looked for it, haven't asked for it, don't want it for itself. I wanted it then for what it represented, that glossy detail that gets you noticed.
And yeah, I am that guitar now. Watch me be coy, watch me shine, play me until your fingertips bleed and I'll still be there, the finesse from the other side of the glass.
Growing up on an island really impresses upon your psyche how small you are versus the scale of the world. That a strong storm could make you vanish and no one would know. The right volcanic eruption and you get more land but at what cost?
What I remember mostly is the endless blue. The sky and the ocean merging with a thin horizon line the only thing that separates them. It took conscious effort on my part, the first time I went to the mainland, to remember that I couldn't get to the ocean in twenty minutes from anywhere. The sky is a different color too. I miss that.
Don't miss the endless salt rot though.