I see the Japanese Man again. I know he is Japanese as he always reads his book backwards and he looks Japanese. And the book he is reading has Japanese characters on the cover. Fair enough to say he is Japanese. I feel like asking him if he’s ever eaten avocado sashimi or if he can count to ten for me (I always get stuck on seven).
There’s a hint of surprise, or unease, every time he catches me admiring. I find him beautifully soft to look at, like a sheet billowing in a Mediterranean windowsill. There is no frank way to describe something seeming soft to look at without making it painfully corny: the inside of a peach; rolls of fat on an infant’s hand; the dimmed headlights of an oncoming 18 wheeler. I’m not sure he’d mind. Perhaps the nuance would be lost on him.
It does make me wonder if he thinks I find him beautiful. I wonder if he is surprised that I am looking for this reason, or apprehensive that I am a sadistic racist. The latter seems most likely when he changes seats to obscure himself from my stare. He’s done this before as we’ve ridden home together, this Japanese Man.
The Duffel Coat Girl gets on just after the Crown Casino. She’s Duffel Coat Girl in the winter and Light Tartan Jacket or Singlet Top Girl in summer. Either way she has built up a reputation in my head. A reputation as a beauty; someone to fall in love with for 21 minutes. Her hair is unruly, face simply put together and I wonder how she’s garnered such a grand reputation. It seems a fleeting reputation, or one made up by someone, forced by isolation and boredrom to give it attention. Like a motel with 4 stars, but a muddied bath, leaking toilet and non-existent stereo. She represents a motel I would stay in for 21 minutes a day, but would never go to on my honeymoon.