[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 072
Chapter 15 (9 of 11): Lovers
“Try to be Japanese and think of a butterfly. Why is it so exquisite? Not merely because of its fragility and beauty, but because that beauty emerges from the dull and dreary ugliness of the pupa. It is the transformation that counts. And then its life is ephemeral, only a few days or weeks in the case of some species. And it nurtures itself on decay: vegetation that is just beyond ripeness, almost in decay, even rotting fruit – these are the sources of sustenance for that evanescent life of beauty. It is a kind of irony that nature plays on herself, all that energy and work, and then the ultimate metamorphosis, and death. Do you understand what I am talking about? Do you have any inkling, Mazarine? Only a Japanese can truly understand this.”
Mazarine did not register her strong disagreement. In retrospect, maybe she should have.
“You’re telling me we’re through, is that it?”
“Oh, God!” Yukiko said in exasperation, throwing her arms high above her head. “You see what I mean?”
“No, Yukiko, I really don’t see what you mean.” They walked along smartly without speaking.
“Sometimes you are just too infuriating for words. I simply can’t deal with you any more, Mazarine,” Yukiko finally said. She stopped short and pulled Mazarine around by her forearm to face her. “You’re too … too Western!” And then Yukiko turned around and walked back in the direction they had just come, leaving Mazarine agape on the windy sidewalks, leaves teasing her shoes, her mind numb, trying to get some token purchase on what had just happened.
She resisted the impulse to run after Yukiko.
It was difficult not to infer that, for whatever reason, things were pretty much over between them. Mazarine realized she was having to work too hard to hold it all together, and the wild unpredictability of erratic outbursts compounded by irrational segues exhausted her mentally and emotionally. She was not going to recapitulate the unhappy history of the Malaysian woman, Su Lien, for whom Yukiko had, by her own harsh admission, ended up having nothing but contempt.
Mazarine continued slowly in the direction she’d been walking. The tears in her eyes could as well have come from lashing of the cold wind. She really did not understand what had possessed Yukiko, and it saddened her. She loved Yukiko. Or she had thought she loved her. Maybe their kind of arrangement was by its very nature as fragile and fleeting as Yukiko appeared to believe, destined for an ignominious end. Mazarine was wounded. But she certainly appreciated with sufficient clarity that it had nothing to do with any alleged incapacity of anybody but a Japanese person to understand a Japanese person. She loathed that kind of short-circuiting ghetto-think — the last craven refuge of racist scoundrels. And she knew Yukiko had expressed similar notions on a number of occasions. It was ultimately all so tedious and uninteresting.
Mazarine walked for hours that Sunday afternoon, and when she finally got home she jumped into bed and read some Ovid for a short while, perhaps in some inchoate way thinking that his explorations of the pathology of love might give her some insight into Yukiko. But even if he could, so what? What could she do with it? So she just read for the sheer pleasure of the language and the tales, and, done in by the day’s events and the previous night’s marathon chatter session, soon drifted off into dreamless sleep.
Tuesday and Wednesday she had several appointments set up for her by Michelle. They were all with clients she had seen before and liked well enough. She decided to spend the Thanksgiving weekend coming up in a few days at her parents’ place in Akers Pond, and her mother was delighted when she called to inform her. She was informed that Craig and Lucinda would also be there, along with the little dictator, but decided to go anyway. She needed to get away from the city and latest craziness, not have to think about it.
There was some initial awkwardness with Craig and his wife about the disastrous dinner of the previous weekend, but once that had been negotiated by tacit agreement not to bring it up again, the rest of the weekend went off rather well. The child was by and large well behaved, much to everybody’s surprise, not least that of his mother, who seemed to relax at her in-laws’ place and defuse some of the tension that seemed to torque her every time Mazarine had met her. It snowed on Saturday, and they all piled out for a tromp through the drifts in the field. They built a pathetic snowman on the front lawn that Mazarine’s nephew found utterly engrossing. In the evenings they drank moderately and played five-man Scrabble, a game which Mazarine usually won.
She had taken the train up Wednesday, but was going to get a ride back to the city with her brother and his family on Sunday afternoon in his big Mercedes.
Around one o’clock that day there was a phone call for her.
“Mazarine?” a soft, small voice said, a voice that, in spite of all Mazarine’s steeling of herself, shot an all too familiar jolt of electricity through her. Oh, God, she thought!
“Yes,” she answered in a neutral, non-committal tone.
“This is Yukiko,” came the chastened explanation.
“How are you, Yukiko?”
“Did you have a nice Thanksgiving with your family?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact I did. It was very relaxing and unstressful.”
There was a silence on the line. “I know,” Yukiko acquiesced, “I understand.” More silence. “Are you coming back to the city soon?”
“Probably later tonight. My brother is giving me a ride.”
“I see.” She cleared her throat. “Do you want to see me?” She sounded so pitiable.
“I … I don’t know, Yukiko. You scare me.”
“I know. But please. Can we just meet for coffee, in public, just to talk a little. There is someone I want you to meet.”
Mazarine was far from over her entanglement with Yukiko, and this bit of news admittedly piqued her interest. In public? What did she have to lose? Truth be known, she had not been able to stop thinking about Yukiko since the abrupt disengagement a week ago. Yukiko was like some kind of psychological virus that had inserted itself into the cellular machinery of her emotional life and, hijacking the coding sequences, scrambled the instruction sets.
“Please?” Yukiko pleaded, interpreting Mazarine’s silent reflection as the sign of an unwillingness to grant her request.
“All right, Yukiko,” she said, letting out a whoosh of air. “How about Tuesday?” She checked the calendar from some pharmaceutical company that her mother had pinned next to the phone in the kitchen. “That’s the second of December. Around two o’clock?’
“Great,” Yukiko said, the relief palpable across the line. “Thanks, Mazarine. I really appreciate it. I was beastly to you, beyond beastly, and I’m sorry. I really am. Where shall we meet?”
“How about that coffee house up by the university where we’ve gone before?”
“Perfect,” Yukiko said. “Perfect. Tuesday around two.” She paused. “I love you, Mazarine.”
Mazarine could not help herself. “I love you too, Yukiko. I do.” She sighed, and was not sure if it was prompted by weariness or excitement.
And they hung up.
TO BE CONTINUED