With your understanding that this is a work-in-progress, I present you Arisugawa Park 2.5 - Shudder, Part Four.
Revisions since pub: Seven.* (Are you counting literary gods? It's me, Damon).
Eve appreciated her role of observer and guest, in a country of surface homogeneity and internal contrarianism. It was not boredom that impelled her to Tokyo, not only attraction to Lise––there was something about rural Japan she very much admired. Cycling all afternoon across patchwork family farms, up forested hills with shrines, taking in the sheer beauty traditional life here offered. It was longstanding joke among teachers who had completed a competitive application process that they got paid simply to be themselves. Her grandmother applauded the fact that she was following in her footsteps, teaching––albeit halfway around the globe.
Had Eve been settled in her life, Lise’s smile and expression––even their casual touch as they leaned against the tree, seeking cool breeze through shared flap of fan, would have passed in an instant. If she had been in Tokyo a week longer it would have simply been one of thousands of daily human interactions.
There was another impetus––a small thing she could not quite shake. Her looks marked her as exotic in her small town, she felt unwanted attention on a daily basis. Something in men's smiles... but it was manageable, nothing overt. A month ago her underwear had disappeared from the well-secured balcony.... she thought at first it had fallen onto the balcony below, but the old woman smiled bemusedly and shook her head. Then a favorite lucky panda disappeared from her bicycle handlebar when she stopped at the picnic area next to the reservoir and lay back in the grass with a book for an hour, watching patterns in clouds. She thought at first it had fallen off but no, she remembered distinctly glancing at it as she set the kickstand firm in the dirt. There was no question in her mind she needed to leave town sooner than later.
Lise offered a firm, pre-built structure of support in the center of Tokyo, where debt pushed many hungry-for-experience women toward precarious lives, gradations of servitude. For the first few weeks after moving in she saw Lise as a radiant goddess who could do no wrong. And yet time had not stood still after that first night. Eve had quickly confronted the limitations of her new environs, the gilt Ebisu penthouse in which she was allowed to spread her wings. Lise went through girlfriends, she freely admitted, like clockwork. She had her collection of handbags and well... that came first. This rampant materialism was the financial aspect of their relationship, which ultimately made everything come undone.
That was where Trump got things wrong, she thought––often those who ventured far from family, sought out opportunity where it presented itself, were at the vanguard of new ways of thinking. In today’s globalized world, viva la difference, as long as people were mindful and working to immerse themselves in a new reality. Subvert old paradigms that only made sense among those craving money–– anything but, it seemed, the welfare of the planet. Those who traveled executive to luxury boutique, timeshare resorts––shuttled between all-inclusive beaches and casinos––were they doing anything at all except spreading cultural malaise?