A Time For Love 3 of 3 Adult, 2,400


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  1. #1
    Member hvysmker's Avatar
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    Exclamation A Time For Love 3 of 3 Adult, 2,400

    An Immortal can't seem to win his gal.
    Synopsis: At the age of 80, Johnny Adams will die, only to rise again in his own 10 year old body. Each time, he strives to win his lost love, left long before on a tiny Pacific island. Each time, he strives, yearns, for her eternal affection, coming close but no cigar. He's now on his fourth cycle. Arriving on the island, this time at the age of 18, he's set to try once again. Currently, he's waiting anxiously at the window of a rented house in the village, waiting for her at 13-years-old to walk past him on her way home from school. He hasn't seen her in 48 years....
    ------------------------

    I've tried many other methods, in the process learning the language, customs, even once adopting the Shinto religion. Finally, in this life I've given up drinking except for a few occasions, such as with Kenji. Maybe that will make a difference? I'll do anything to show my eternal devotion. I've spent endless hours studying her preferences and have changed my image more than once.

    This time, I can only hope I'll succeed. I've had a lot of time to ready myself for another attempt, better spending those long -- endlessly long -- early years studying than in pining my life away.

    Now, I can only wipe tears as I watch that gorgeous eminently desirable young girl strolling unconcernedly down a narrow dirt lane. As I see her stop to pick a foot-long chunk of cut sugarcane from a pile in a nearby field, sucking the nectar as she passes my hut, I wonder if I am in my own personal brand of hell. Am I doomed to reach out for her love, in vain, throughout eternity?

    The next day, I have a talk with Miss Yoshiko at the store. For a few dollars, she agrees to introduce me to Mr. Akio Yoshiro, Amiko's father. The reason is for a possible business deal that may interest him.

    ***

    "So, Mr. Yoshiro, sir," I explain while we sit on the edge of his porch. I can hear Amiko and her mother inside the house, arguing over something, "I came to the island to invest. I think this island has a great potential in the fishing industry." I lie like a pro. "I've paid for studies that show that since the war aquatic animals and fish are proliferating far offshore, gradually spreading nearer to this island. I'm here to check that matter out and think I might want to invest in a boat.

    "Because of current and projected International laws, along with limitations on foreign investment due to postwar agreements," blah, blah, blah, I continue, "the craft would be in your name, with me as a silent partner." I lay it on thick.

    Of course, it's exactly what he wants to hear. "You don't have to pay me anything up front. You have only to repay me, with slight interest of course, from your profits. As far as anyone else knows, you're the boss."

    While he's considering the offer, one he can hardly refuse, I see lovely young Amiko peering from the window, dark eyes observing us. It takes all my reserve effort not to stare back. Sweating profusely, I force myself to look over and smile, secretly taking a mental snapshot for posterity.

    "Whe ... When would ... will this begin, Mr. Adams?" he asks.

    "Immediately," I answer. "You can quit your job right away, if you prefer. If you take my offer, I'll write you a check right now, today. You can start the ordering process tomorrow and pay when the check clears. I'd like a brand new and large vessel, but only if you think that best?"

    Although he tries to hold to oriental inscrutability, it's a lost cause. I see in his face that he's picturing all his dreams coming true. We shake hands and I write him a check, huge by his standards -- but chicken feed from my point of view.

    Of course, Mr. Yoshiro has to take me inside and introduce me to his family, Michiko his wife and, of course, the beautiful Amiko.

    The four of us squat at a low polished-wood table and drink tea that Michiko brews. I have almost forgotten how delicious real Japanese green-tea tastes. In the US, we get a pale imitation.
    Maybe I clasp Amiko's hand too long, I don't know, but she jerks it away. I can see some sort of emotion in her young eyes. After all, at thirteen, a tall good-looking boy of eighteen might well interest her. I sincerely hope so. God, how I hope so.

    I'm happy -- hell, elated -- as I walk home at the dusky end of a good day.

    ***

    Returning to the almost-empty rented house, I realize I have to go to town in the morning. I came here directly from the airport and Grandma -- excuse me -- Miss. Yoshiko's store carries very few items. No furniture at all.

    The next morning, after sleeping on bare tatami mats, comforted by pleasant dreams, I step into the store.

    "Mornin', Mr. Adams." She hurries around the counter to greet me with a smile.

    I have to shake my head slightly. A really nice-looking and friendly middle-aged woman, she presents a pretty picture -- hardly a grandmotherly image as in the last cycle, when I was, myself, in my fifties.

    It doesn't take long for word to get around that a rich American lives here. The entire village will know by now. I imagine that when she first saw me she thought I was only another GI -- one that would purchase only beer and snacks, then return to base.

    I grin back. "Good morning, Miss. Yoshiko. Can you call me a taxi, please?" Hers was the only phone in the village.

    "Of course. You wish a soda? I have Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola and Nehi?" she asks. "How you knows my name?"

    "Maybe a Coca Cola? Oh, and I guess someone must'a told me. It fits you well. You look as though you've had your share of it." Yoshi means good luck.

    "Yes, Mr. Adams. Much of the luck for the war. To live, you know?"

    While I wait for the taxi, I do what shopping I can at the store. It's no doubt more expensive than in town, but good public relations. Finally the taxi arrives, another rebuilt and painted Jeep.

    "Thank you, Johnny. Don't worry for this," she says, pointing to my goods piled on a shelf. "I take to your home."

    While in the nearby and larger town of Tairabaru, I stop to buy my own vehicle, also a rebuilt Jeep. After purchasing necessities, such as a couple of sleeping futons, I drive myself home. On the way, I see Mr. Yoshiro in one of the open-fronted stores as I pass. He doesn't notice me, but looks to be very happy, gesturing and grinning at friends.

    After parking among bushes behind the thatched hut, I carry my purchases inside. It's much cooler there, with a breeze from open windows. In a semi-darkened corner of the bedroom, I see a vase I never noticed before. It contains three freshly-cut Higo Camellias, in different colors: red, white, and blue. Very distinctive. During my second cycle, I had become enamored of them after Amiko had brought me the same combination, inspired by the colors of the American flag....

    ***

    "Why, thanks, Darling," I told her, watching a smiling face as seen through colorful blossoms. "I'll always treasure the sight, along with their supplier, of course."

    "Like fairy tale, uh? We fuck with flowers." Unexpected by myself, she jumped my bones, dropping both of us to the floor amid flying stems and flowery petals.

    "Wait, hold it." I laughed while pretending to battle a raging banshee, one with six arms and an all encompassing mouth.

    "Wait, hell. Fuck now." She was all over me, tearing at my clothing....

    After a bout of crazy violent love while lying amid crushed but gratifyingly fragrant blossoms, there was nothing much left of them. While Amiko fixed a meal, I walked over to Grandma Yoshi's to buy another bouquet...

    ***
    .
    That period was perhaps the happiest in my many lives. Although we drank often, we rarely argued. Since I was a lieutenant that second time, we eventually did move to town. After my tour on the island, I'd been sent to Germany.

    Once again a civilian, I'd married an American woman and never did make it back. Not from lack of trying, it just never happened that way. With a wife and children to support, then divorce and child support, I never accumulated enough money to return....

    ***

    Now, after finding the flowers, I have to wonder? Can Amiko have been to my house while I was gone? It must be, since who else knows my favorites? But then, at the moment, how the hell does even she know? We've barely met in this life.

    Confused, my mind going in circles, I store away my purchases, both from town and the small village store. Miss. Yoshiko kept her promise and left them on a table.

    Desperately, I hope it was Amiko, and that she will return. The very thought keeps me awake most of the night, waiting. Nobody should know about that combination of flowering Higo Camellias. Nobody in this lifetime.

    ***

    Having forgotten bread, I walk to the little store the next morning, finding the front door closed and locked. Something might well be wrong, since Grandma ... Miss. Yoshiko is always open at this hour.

    Remembering that there has never been a lock on the back door, I stop my knocking and hurry around the building to make certain nothing's wrong. The original owner only feared thieves from out of town and kept losing keys, so the only lock he installed was inside the front door. The un-lockable back door is common knowledge in the village -- intra-village thievery being unknown.

    I find Miss. Yoshiko slumped on a stool, head and upper-torso sprawled across the counter. An empty whiskey bottle balances on its side at the outer edge of the surface. As I raise a hand to check her pulse, the bottle overbalances, dropping to the floor with a dull "clunk."

    It's hard to find her heartbeat with my own beating so fast. Her face is now uncovered and turned to the side. The mixed odors of Sun Tory whiskey and perfume reach my nostrils, quickly replaced by a sour smell as foul fluids gush from her mouth, over my hand and the counter. Obviously, the woman is alive.

    Looking around, I find a shallow pan for her to vomit in. After she finishes, I wipe her face with one of a display of dish towels. To my practiced eye, she's obviously only drunk, I decide, having been in that condition often enough myself.

    Since she can't sit up, and I don't want to lay her on the nasty-looking floor or cluttered counter, I hold her upright with one hand while pulling another stool over. I then sit, holding the woman erect in my arms to keep her from choking.

    I don't know why, but I'm worried about her. It's the first time I've known her to drink, in all these years. Grandma Yoshi has always been a stabilizing influence to us all.

    My face inches from the side of her head, she turns -- eyes glassy -- looks at me, and throws her arms around my neck, wiping tears onto my cheek.

    "Johnny! It is you, after all this time. You really are here again." She mumbles something else, incoherently, then kisses me full on the lips, forcing an alcoholic breath into my mouth.

    As the words penetrate my mind, I go into shock. All this time? Really here AGAIN?

    "What are you talking about? What do you mean?" I shake her, gently.

    "I ... I ... I don't know, Johnny ... my Johnny. I died. I died, and came back, as a little girl," she tells me. "I don't understand. I ... I died. Always, I die."

    I'm frozen, literally frozen between drunken sobs and both our flowing tears. I can't fully understand sudden feelings of fear, weariness, relief -- so damned many emotions and all together -- as she continues.

    "I fell in love with you ... many years ... many times ago. But you only want the young girl, that Amiko. Never look at me. You won't look. You wouldn't look. Then I did. I died and came back, why? Why does God do this? This horrible thing.

    "Now, take it easy, Yoshiko. I'm here. Take it easy. Please. I ... I must think. What is happening, what ... what to ... think." If anyone were watching, we would have been one hell of a sight.

    "Why? I hate God. I hate Him, do this to me. Now how He be so heartless. Now you back, still chase that same girl. Lemme have 'nother 'wisky. The ... the same girl, the SAME DAMNED GIRL."

    Jerking forward, she pounds both fists on the counter, splashing vomit around the room. Head twisting, dark hair and tears flying as in a violent rainstorm, she stops abruptly and collapses into my arms -- asleep.

    I hold her for hours as she nods and whimpers in drunken slumber. My mind is in a muddle, until, until that illusionary light-bulb flashes. I finally understand.

    I now know why, though still not how. The ways of the Lord are strange and often beyond our understanding. I remember that she's also in the photo. For that matter, front and center.

    A week later, I sign my share of the boat over to Akio and, holding Amiko tightly for the last time, kiss the little girl on the forehead. Yoshiko and I have to hurry to catch a boat. She wants to be married in Japan. Maybe this will be the last time around for both of us? But then, that's up to the Supreme Being, not I.

    The End.
    Charlie

  2. #2
    I found myself, again, wanting to read to the end. Easy reading?

    Nice twist.

    My complaint would be no motivation for the ending -- why did he all of a sudden decide to marry Yoshiko (middle-aged woman) when he had "loved" Amiko for 180 years. I know, that isn't an easy problem to solve. He understands that she has been repeating, then...? Maybe if in the last flashback he had gotten some realization how shallow Amiko is? Maybe a 3/4 could have more for liking Yoshiko, and more mysteries like the flowers?

    Small things. Yoshiko and Yoshi were too close. I didn't immediately understand that the flashback was a flashback, and that foul fluids was vomit.

    Thanks.
    English is a good language for people who like to be creative and expressive, not for people who want words to fit into boxes and stay there.

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  3. #3
    Member hvysmker's Avatar
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    Thankee, Emma.

    Yoshi is an informal way of saying Yoshiko. The Japanese language can be frustrating at times. One time, when new there, my mother wanted an authentic futon. For weeks, I went around asking where I could buy a, I think I said, futan. People would smile and shake their heads. later I found I was really asking to buy a pig. After that, I eventually learned enough to get by and have forgotten most of what I did know. I've always been bad with languages. Some people pick them up quickly, not me.

    To answer your question, Johnny found Yoshiko had also been cycling back and forth like he had. Also, that SHE was also in the unexplained picture, right in front. Finally, Yoshiko also understood he liked that particular flower arrangement.

    He realized that he'd been spending all that time chasing the wrong person. That the Supreme Being intended him and Yoshiko to join, not fickle little Amiko. It seems you misunderstood the last part about Yoshiko being drunk as a flashback. It wasn't. I'll have to go in and fix that.

    Young, Middle-Aged, Old? What's the difference when you go back and forth like that? She probably had ten or eleven years on him was all. I thought I mentioned that point in passing. It might have been lost in the editing.

    Charlie

  4. #4
    Hi Charile. No, believe it or not, I missed that the sex with Amiko scene was a flashback. Obviously, I figured it out, I think just after the flashback. I think it just had less warning than the other flashbacks.

    So it was something like, "The reason I've been unhappy all these lives is that I was trying for the wrong goal, and I'm supposed to be with Yoshiko, that's the way I'll be happy."

    Maybe I was confusing Yoshiko and Yoshiro. The advice I head, which I find annoying but which might be correct, is that two characters should not start with the same letter. (When I tried to write a scene with Siamese twins names Yvonne and Yvette, I couldn't even begin to keep them straight! I changed the names to Abby and Zelda.)
    English is a good language for people who like to be creative and expressive, not for people who want words to fit into boxes and stay there.

    Hidden Content -- Hidden Content

  5. #5
    Member hvysmker's Avatar
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    You're right, Emma. I was picturing people I've known with those names and shouldn't have named them so similarly.

    Charlie

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