Aki moved to the US in her late 20s and since then acquired the green card. A few years ago, she visited me when she had attended a conference in a nearby city. Since the last time we saw each other, both of us went through blessings and losses, but Aki remains fun and trustworthy friend. Eddy and I are, on the other hand, now friends only on social media.
Eddy returned to Japan after he finished college in the US and got a job at a corporation with the largest market capitalization. Within a few years, he got married and lived in the Kansai district for a while. He called me when he moved back to Tokyo, and we went out for a drink in Roppongi. Instead of going to a club, we only had dinner and a beer. He told me about his work and married life and said he’d never love anyone but his wife.
He called me a few years later, and this time we went dancing and had a blast like the old time. After that, he started to invite me out more often. I understood that couples often had separate hobbies, but at some point, I asked him if his wife would like to come out as well. He told me then that his wife cheated on him with a man in The Beatles tribute band. He recounted the story with disdain and pitied his wife. He could never love her again, he said. I asked him if he were considering a divorce, to which he said he would never do that because of the amount of labor it required. By the time he eventually divorced her, he had transformed.
He became even more jocular but in a crude way. He used to laugh at other boys’ uttering of obscenity for a cheap laugh but rarely did that himself. But now he could never converse without a variety of salacious expressions. Most of these occasions involved alcohol, so I obliged to laughter, lest I didn’t cool the atmosphere. He said, “I didn’t know I was cool until I met some of my colleagues, who gave me the confidence to be myself. I was way too serious before.” He became promiscuous as well, and even when he seemed to have a girlfriend, he “couldn’t stand those women who didn’t want their boyfriends to attend a Gokon (a social drink, the purpose of which is to find a date/hookup),” and urged me to sleep with as many men as I liked, because I could.
He seemed liberated and happy. Though I wasn’t impressed with his now-misogynistic humor, I still liked going dancing with him. But our clubbing days came to an end when, one night out at a club, when we were drinking beer and laughing, he grabbed my breast. I couldn’t remember how it happened, but I was stunned. He saw my facial expression, and quickly, he made it into humor that I needed to laugh out by saying, “don’t look like you are hurt!” and laughed away. I laughed just with my mouth and noticed an awkward expression in a girl standing next to him.
I still wanted to believe he was my friend who had the best interest in me. We had been friends for a long time, and I didn’t want to ruin what we had because of one incident. But after the night, I couldn’t get myself to face him again.
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