Photo by Corinne Kaufmann
We had two crowded airports ahead of us, certainly two handicaps for Luz.
I did not know how to manage the dog and the backpack together.
It was Saturday, departure was planned for Sunday at 1 pm. I had a friend who lived not too far from the airport. He was a serial suitor, magnetic eyes, a real man who can hold a dog in his arms. He could have been the ideal one.
I called him. He had just left his last girl, so my timing was perfect.
He waited at the highway exit and he drove us to his home, an eccentric farm lost in the hills. At the entry door there was an acidic smell that made Luz sneeze several times. The wooden stairs which led to the living-room floor creaked. As I had imagined, he took Luz in his muscular arms and whispered as if he were singing a doggerel “You’re a beautiful puppy girl!” and he brought her upstairs.
I did not want to begin an intimate relationship and he was smart enough to know that a woman leaving for Japan could be very expensive.
We did not kiss and I tried to fall asleep in a little room, despite the strong smell coming from the shed below where two pigs lived.
In the morning I found the bathtub ready with warm water, he winked at me
“Don’t feel uncomfortable, it is just for you, I took mine several hours ago.”
We looked into each other’s eyes while eating, then we headed for the airport.
He went to an office near the check-in counter and got a pass that allowed him to come to the tarmac. I did not ask how he managed this, as those types of passes are only for security staff.
All considered, he turned out to be the perfect companion.
He waited with us very patiently, laughing, enjoying the traffic and the hot breeze.
As I had expected, when the flight attendant called, Luz refused to set her paw on the stairs. He held her in his arms and took her to the top. He kissed me on my lips and said
“The two of you make a good team.”
He was suggesting “We could be a good team.”
I said “So true.”
The majority of the passengers were Japanese, they quietly applauded our entry. The girls had prepared a blanket, a bowl of water and some biscuits.
She was wary, close to panicking.
But this trip began under a bright star. Just across the aisle, in the first row of seats, a Japanese mother was traveling with her child Hu, he might have been two years old.
As soon as the seatbelt light switched off, he slid to the floor and came to be on the blanket offering a yellow Totoro and a half-chewed cookie. Luz likes munching squishy things too. With this deal began their love until the end of the trip. The mother smiled, me too. I asked her if I could remove his little shoes to avoid hurting the snout of Luz, she nodded.
Little Mermaid by Andrea Lenny
For our arrival in Tokyo I had contacted a friend, we had met each other a couple of years earlier, in the backstage of a photography set. An over fifty model, he was a man of soul and with the right amount of hair on his arms and legs. He had asked me to model with him, though I never accepted, I did not feel up to it but I had fantasized about the two of us.
I had asked him to rent a good Jeep and wait for us upon arrival.
So far everything was OK, I felt like being in a state of grace.
After landing, Mr. Okamura’s welcome and girls caressing her fur “Bye bye sweetheart!”, we went down the stairs alone as if she had been doing it her whole life. Luz lightly opened her rear legs and let out a long river of water, poor girl.
What a good smell of Japan, everything I needed!
A young handler waited and accompanied us through a preferential hallway to the luggage claim.
For a small amount of yen he loaded my backpack and came to the exit.
There he was, curly silver crown, my goodness such hair. Long Keeper glasses attempted to hide salt and pepper eyebrows, when we kissed his arched nose bumped into mine, we had to tilt our heads like lovers.
“Tell me something, do you think I’m too old for you?”
He embraced Luz “You, glorious model.”
It was my turn to tremble, the sound of his voice pierced me, he snapped his tongue by pronouncing the “x”.
I said “Let’s go.”
He could have taken my backpack, but he didn’t. This was the only note out of tune.
All the rest was a perfect symphony. The Jeep was parked very near the exit, there was his backpack too. To spend some hours together and teach me about the local traffic rules, we would travel a few hundred kilometers up North, where he had a home.
He invited me to spend a night in his bed, wrong question, if he had asked to spend the first of many many others I would have answered yes.