Yoko and I have been together for ten years now. The anniversary of that night in Septemberwe agreed or decided to be a couple, walking towards the Sea of Japan, when I spoke English out of the blue to her. We sat on the beach that night and looked out into the darkness. I put my arm behind her and she rested back on it. That place where the Agano River came out into the Sea. What was this really: just two people smiling at each other and joking about my bad Japanese. This will be fun, at least for a little while.
Then, ten years later: I am trying to iron my shirt this morning and the breaker keeps blowing. The washing machine has stopped — I know, I know, Jesus Christ. I wait outside the toilet door as Mei finishes. I rush through the shower, the baby pigeon that Yoko is nursing back to health looking at me with disdain. Naomi's Korean friend — Korean by way of Germany, —comes in the morning now and we all go to school together. It's a rush, 8:25, we have to go now, ladies, now, and I kiss Yoko and Naomi hugs and kisses Yoko and we all rush out, up the hill, towards St Peter's, politely, smiles, greeting all the women dropping off the kids.
And then it starts raining. The real autumn has come now. I'm in London again.