Driftwood

AutumnLeaf

For a long time, images of trees have told me of my spiritual state. Years ago, when things weren’t as complicated, I had a strong mental picture of a green tree with fruits, growing by a river, a picture that seemed to come straight from Psalm I. During my confusing time at university, this turned into a bleak autumn tree whose leaves had been scattered around on a concrete ground.
I was therefore alarmed by the vision of a piece of wood that flared up in my mind yesterday evening, when I was sitting in a gaijin bar in Shibuya. A disrooted fragment, floating adrift in the sea. I looked around, looked at those foreigners and half-foreigners – what on earth are they all doing in this city – and wondered if I would ever again find a place that I could call “home”. I feel like a passer-by, observing but never involving, never belonging to somewhere. Aimless. Am I a fig tree without fruits? Am I an abandoned piece of plank, tossed around by the waves?

Has my love struck roots in your heart?

On Sunday mornig, a friend said that I might be from heaven, and though that is a nice thing to be told, it gives me a shiver down the spine. It means that I might have no home to return to until my body turns cold.

Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.

The last train was long gone. I decided to walk home. The night was cold. I recognized places I knew – Aoyama Itchô-me, near the Goethe Institute, and Tameikesannô where I went to church last year. The wind whirled up leaves and held a plastic bag in the air, kicked it around and pulled it under the wheels of angry cars. I froze as I watched it.

I thought of you in the cold streets. You are in every movement, every memory. When I pour in tea from the teapot, whose lid I can’t find, when I fill the rice bowl that you gave me with tap water, and when I brush my teeth in the evening it is as if you’re there, in the small moves, the procedures of everyday life that we shared. You are there when I eat and drink and sleep, but you are not here and I feel as if everything I do is only done halfway, incomplete, empty. A joyful moment is stale without sharing it with you. If I am the kite you are the string. Your love has struck roots in my heart.

After a two hours walk, I gave up and booked a cabin in one of the manga-internet cafés near Shinbashi station. Sleeping in a manga kissa is much cheaper than taking a taxi. It would have taken me another four kilometres to the Sakura House.

With each passing day in this monstrous city I feel as if I disintegrate into shadows of my real self. I cloak myself with new identities. I speak in tongues alien to me.

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