Not a romance
Most customers came to see mama, and they had known her for many years. Mama set certain boundaries with them. She’d ban them from Kubo if they misbehaved or made unwanted advances on her staff. Mama was once in a relationship with a married IT company executive, but I was never sure if it was romantic. Some of the staff were involved with customers, but they tended to keep it discreet, and I wouldn’t have known about them unless they told me in sotto voce.
I was once strangely attracted to a new customer who came in one rainy evening. He was in his early 30s, tall and stocky. He said he was an actor, and before acting, he had been trained as a sumo wrestler. He was indeed an actor, as I saw him a few days later playing the role of a doctor who informed a patient of cancer. He had only one line. He called me to ask me out, and I said yes. But as soon as I hang up, I got scared. I realized my attraction for him was nothing but a sexual curiosity. It was before I met Chris, and I was 19. He was too old for me, and we had nothing in common. I was increasingly freaking out as the date approached, so it was a relief when he canceled it at the last minute.
Also, there was an occasion I accidentally flirted with a married man who took it seriously. I was quite drunk, so drunk that mama had to slap my arm. I must have said something inviting to him. Sometime later, he came to see me alone to make a proposition. After apologizing for getting him a wrong idea, I asked him why he thought he could be unfaithful to his wife, who had just had his baby. He gulped the whiskey and said this was separate from his family life. He left, looking embarrassed and hurt and never came back.
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