Life is full of choices and consequently 'what ifs'. You can spend your whole life pondering about them or just choose one, as I did. Searching for a CD, I bumped into an enchanting stranger from Japan at a music store. Immediately captivated by his charismatic aura I did something out of the ordinary for me and accepted his invitation to have a drink; following him across Seattle to a little Italian restaurant. I could've said 'no' and walked away, but I chose not to. Looking back now, I wonder if he knew how his simple offer would change my life forever. If he had the slightest idea that he would shatter and challenge my ideas of love, relationships and intimacy to their very core.
My new friend seemed to know the area pretty well; he walked with a steady pace down 1st street, turned right, then took another right. I tried to match his quick strides and we both ended up in front of an Italian restaurant with a small fenced off area where one could relax in the shade of big colorful umbrellas. I would have preferred the air-conditioned inside, but he let himself fall into a chair by a table that was the furthest from the street; right by a little potted cypress tree. Since I was in no condition to argue I sat down opposite of him. Something as spontaneous as this I had never done before. Following a guy I just met and knew virtually nothing about—not even his name—through the streets of Seattle to a restaurant. Or anywhere for that matter. I was just about to ask his name when the waitress came over. She turned first to me and I ordered a Diet Coke with lime. My handsome stranger asked for beer. Afterwards he reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a cigarette. Placing it between his lips, he lit it. He inhaled the smoke and then let it out slowly, almost gently. He sighed once, obviously enjoying the smoke. Then he turned his attention back to me. “You like Manson, Vian? I love Manson,” he said with another little smile. He breathed in the smoke once more. I was about to correct him, telling him that my name was Vivian, not Vian, when our drinks arrived. He took a few sips of his beer and then casually flicked his ashes into the cypress planter. He isn’t allowed to do that, I thought, but nobody seemed to care. The server had disappeared inside where the majority of nicely cooled customers were dining. At the table behind us sat an elderly couple with a large shaggy looking dog, curled up under the table, sleeping. “I’m V i v i a n,” I pronounced slowly. “Hai, yes,” the stranger agreed, nodding. “Long name.” He smiled and took a few more sips of his beer. Then he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and pointed to himself. “I’m K e i,” he said in the same slow manner I had done. It was the most he had spoken since our short exchange of words in the music store and I clearly noticed a strong accent. “You’re not from here, are you?” I asked, taking a sip of my Coke. The dog under the table barked a couple times. Curiously I looked over to him, but he was still deep asleep, his paw twitching. Probably a bad dream. I shifted my focus from the dog back to our conversation. “I grew up in Germany, got married in LA, and moved to Seattle right after my divorce.” Kei’s face lit up with recognition. “Aw, Germany, Doitsu. Vivi’s from Germany. That’s very nice.” He finished his beer and cigarette, and flicked the butt into the cypress. “I’m from Japan,” he said, and as if to back up his statement he took off his sunglasses and rubbed his eyes while yawning. Indeed. I looked into a pair of gentle brown Asian eyes. That’s the accent I’ve been hearing the whole time and I didn’t make the connection. Way to go, ‘Vivi’! Before I could take another quick look at his eyes he slipped the shades back on his face. Th e waitress came outside, carrying a tray with pizza to the older couple’s table. As she made her way back in Kei whistled, catching her attention. “Another beer please,” he said, waving his empty glass at her. She gave a smile in response and disappeared inside. Turning his heavy gaze to me, he pulled out another cigarette. In a fl ash it was lit and between his lips. “Doitsu wa totemo suteki,” he said dreamily, taking a long drag on his cigarette. “Uh. . . I’m sorry, but I don’t speak Japanese,” I smiled apologetically. Inside, I was frantic. What did this gorgeous man just say? Dammit, why didn’t anybody ever teach me Japanese? “Germany is. . . beautiful,” Kei translated in his thick accent. He leaned over in his chair and flicked the ashes into the pot of the poor cypress tree. I nodded, not sure whether I was agreeing with his statement or the sound of his voice. I drained my soda in the hopes that it would cool me down. I was burning up; either from the scorching late afternoon sun or Kei’s unearthly charismatic aura.
In March 2014 Vivian Murakami started a new chapter in her life, moving from Seattle, Washington to Berlin, Germany. She gave up her position as President/CEO of NEON PROMOTIONS, INC. and decided to solely concentrate on her writing career. She still enjoys Rock/Pop/Punk music from Japan, as a matter of fact you might see her stroll through her new hometown with headphones on pursuing one of her other passions – photography. To this date she has published three books. “Tuskty and Solitary Cat” (in collaboration with Thai Artist “The Sw Eden”), “Eien No Ai – Eternal Love” and its sequel “Juryoku – Gravity”. Recently, Vivian began work on her fourth book. Its content is still a secret. She welcomes feedback and can be reached at email@example.com or various social networks like Facebook.