Tatami comes to my place with an apology and a present. She never fails to bring either.
This time, as she is begging forgiveness for the impertinence of her unannounced visit, she pulls out some pastries and sweet rolls from an impractically frilly bag and places them on my coffee table. She also produces a bottle of mineral water, and some apple juice. Tatami's pedigree and upbringing ensured that no matter how physically unattractive a woman she may have become, she would still have the manners and grace to allow her to move among the most exclusive of Japanese social circles. In the presence of the bourgeoisie, I suspect, she is something of a curious anachronism, but among working class boors like myself, who have little use for the formalisms imposed by privilege, she seems to be adrift in the sea, weighed down by too much baggage.
Tatami sits down next to me on the sofa and tries for the next hour to engage me in conversation, by which I mean, several minutes of niceties followed by anodyne chit-chat.
There is something on her mind, something she seems to be eager to say, or something she wants me to do, but she won’t come out with it. It has always been that way with her: she expects me to read it in the subtle signals of her body language.
Sweet as Tatami is, she can be annoying as hell, and so I feign illiteracy.
When I’ve had my fill of her snacks and there is little left that her company can offer aside from irritation, I politely suggest that she leave.
She stands reluctantly and straightens her dress. She picks the frilly bag up and moves with reluctant steps towards the door where she takes her time putting her shoes on. Suddenly, she pulls me into me into those bony pale arms of hers, presses her face into my chest, and sighs, "I don't want to leave."
"Well, as a matter of fact I was rather busy when you ca..."
"J-just let me sit for a moment."
What can I do? I have little choice, but to say yes, just as I said yes when she had first asked me in the most pained and circumlocutory manner to sleep with her a week ago.
That, I realize, like so many things in life—far, far too late—was a grave mistake. My friend Shinobu had been right: the poor girl was indeed a virgin. A thirty year old virgin. I didn't think there were any left. Much like devout Christians back in the States, girls from good Japanese families tended to keep their pants on until marriage.
How Tatami had gone from insisting that, in spite of my intransigent lack of interest in her, she could never be my girlfriend to her insisting upon my popping that long neglected cherry of hers boggles the mind. I had merely been going with the flow, expecting and wanting nothing more than friendship, someone to talk to. How the devil did I end up becoming a debutante's boy-toy?
There had been no forewarning. None so ever.
Okay, so I had twice joked about taking her to a love hotel, but I had only been only joking, trying to get a bit of a rise out of the woman. I hadn't been serious about it at all, yet somehow those two jokes, mentioned off-handedly and soon forgotten by myself, had been crafty little seeds which would by and by germinate in her mind and grow into a verdant, lascivious fantasy.
On her thirty-first birthday, I took her to a Spanish restaurant where—surprise, surprise—I ended up having a bit too much to drink. It was then that Tatami asked me to have sex with her.
Not that she put it so directly. She could never have said, "Peador, I want you to fuck my brains out right this minute!" No, all she could do was offer some vague hints and hope they would be concrete enough for me to catch them.
“It’s my birthday, so I’d like you to do something special for me.”
“Oh? And what would that be?”
“I’ll give you two hints.”
“This a game?”
“Please listen,” she said. “The first hint: you said it when we were walking in Ôhori Park last month.”
“Last month in Ôhori Park?”
“Yes. We were near the Boat House and I asked you where you’d like to go and . . .”
Gulp! And I said, How’s about we pop into the Love Hotel over there?
The first hint was as concrete as the sidewalk leading all the way back to my place, as concrete as the steps we climbed to my fourth floor apartment, where for the third time in my life I spread the legs of a virgin, trembling with fear and excitement, and slowly violated her sanctity with the profanity of a semi-hard cock.
Let me tell you, I'll never understand why some men desire virgins. As far as I'm concerned, they're not worth the trouble.
Tatami manages to coax me back to the sofa, where she then pesters me until I embrace her. I put my arms around her and give her a cold, perfunctory hug. With my arms hanging loosely around her, she presses her cheek against my chest, and moves her thin fingers towards my crotch. Finding a half-enthusiastic bulge there, she grabs it softly. Then, ever so gingerly and cautiously, as if she was afraid of letting something feral out of its cage, she unzips my pants.
I’m not really in the mood, and can't get too worked up about doing it with her of all people, but what can you do when you’ve got a defiant boner? It’s high treason! Mutiny, I say! And, Tatami gleefully commandeers it. She slips her hands into the front of my pants, fumbles around as if she is searching for a pen in her handbag--an exceptionally large pen I might add—and, finding it, clamps onto it tightly in case it changes it's fickle mind.
Tatami then lets out a deep sigh. Is this what she has been after all along? Turning her face to mine and with her eyes closed, she parts her lips, inviting me to kiss her. As enthusiastic as my backstabbing little friend has become, I just can’t get fired up about kissing her. When I hesitate, she takes the initiative and starts kissing me. Big, sloppy, clumsy kisses. She puts her tongue down my throat and is now squeezing Lil' Paddy for all it’s worth. If she isn't going to pleasure the sperm out of me, then it appears that she is going to force it out of me the way you might get the last bits of toothpaste out of an old tube.
Though the effort will prove futile, it is nevertheless amusing to watch a woman give head for the first time.
Holding my cock in her thin, pale fingers, Tatami eyes it with caution and wonder. She lowers her head towards my erection, pauses for a moment as she deliberates whether or not to go through with it, and then, mustering all the courage her thin frame contains, gives Paddy a preliminary lick.
It has been nearly month since someone last fellatiated me. Not long for most men, I suppose, but long enough to make Paddy stand at stiff attention, as if he’s been defibrillated back to life.
Tatami flinches and jerks quickly away, worried, I can only guess, that overwhelmed with ecstasy I might ejaculate right then and there. She lowers her head again, my cock twitches. She hesitates. But once she is reassured that I won't spontaneously blow the contents of my viscera all over her face, she takes the head into her mouth and waits again. She hasn't yet figured out that fellatio is something to be performed, not something which is going to just happen all by itself. I guide her head down until she nearly chocks on it, and let her come up gasping. I shove my cock back into her mouth, then guide it in gradually. Only then does she begin to understand that some movement is required.
She works at it for about thirty minutes, up and down, up and down, and yet never quite getting me to the station on time, always missing the train. After a while, I've had enough. I pull my cock out of her mouth, holster it, and zip up my pants.
Tatami protests at first, insists on her wanting to make me “feel good”, but I just wave her off. All I want is for her to leave so that I can have some Q.T. with a girlie magazine and the “lascivious hand” and go to bed.
She lies on the floor at my feet. Her blouse is half open, revealing an elaborate pink brassier. She raises her white, boney arms towards me and beckons me to join her. I’m not interested. When she raises her dress and spreads her legs invitingly, I turn and look out the window into the dark night.
"Who is the most important person in your life?" she asks from the floor.
I know what she is playing at, so I decide to have a bit of fun. "That's tough,” I say. “Maybe one of my closer friends—André, Dave, Brad, Geoff, Rowland. I don't know."
"And then?" Disappointment rises in her voice.
"My brother. Yeah, probably my brother . . ."
"What about me?" she whines. “What about Tatami?”
From the depths of my generous heart, I reply: “Tatami, don't whine. It drives me up the feckin’ wall."
"But what about me," she asks again.
"Look, Tatami, I like you. Like you. I have always liked you, but I have never loved you."
"Why not?" This tickles me up and it is all I can do to restrain myself, to keep from laughing at her.
"I want to be your girlfriend!"
"Why? Mie was your girlfriend. Why can't you love me?"
That simple question threatens to dredge up a wealth of memories and emotions. I don’t really want to get into it. Not with Tatami. She wouldn't understand.
"Why can't you love me?"
Why can’t I? Why couldn't I love Yumi? Why couldn't I love Aya or even Reina for that matter? Why couldn't I love any of the women I’ve met over the past seven months? Is my heart no longer capable of love? Was my love only meant for one person, and now that she is gone I am no longer able to love anyone again? I don't want to believe it. I still have faith, however tarnished it may have become, that I will meet someone I can love, but as far as I can tell this woman who is half naked at my feet with her pale arms reaching out for me will never be the one. She will never be the more I have been searching for. She will never be the enough that Philip Roth wrote about in The Professor of Desire. She isn't anything to me but another regret at the end of a long string of regrets. And, all I want from her now is to watch the wiggling of her bony little arse as she pads out the door and down the steps.
"Why can't you love me?" she asks for the third time.
"I'm sorry, Tatami, but you're not my type."
"Hidoi", she whimpers. "You're terrible!"
A genuine tear collects at the base of her right eye, such a small tear, so cute, so her, that it makes me smile. Whenever Yumi cried, the Self Defense Forces were put on alert, ready with bulldozers to act in case any innocent bystanders got caught up in the relentless flow of gunk that would ran down those heavily concealed cheeks of hers. But Tatami's tear, that solitary tear clinging to the lower edge of her eyelid, grows slowly in size, then rolls like a drop of mercury down her soft white cheek.
When the tear falls, I giggle at the novelty of it. I've never seen someone cry this way, so controlled. I laugh again, but not out of cruelty, for I don’t mean to be cruel. I laugh at the silliness of life. Sometimes that's all you can do is laugh to help you forget how much pain you’re in.
Tatami reiterates her low opinion of me, but rather than decide that she is wasting her time, she chooses to try endearing herself to me by lunging for my cock. When that fails, she starts swinging at me, pitiful punches that fail to connect and serve only to frustrate her further. When I wonder aloud if she was taught these tactics at finishing school, she kicks me.
It is just too much and I start roaring with laughter.
With great difficulty, I finally manage to push her towards the front door. She kicks and screams, her arms flail about wildly, and then just when I’ve got her halfway out the door, she tells me that she is pregnant.
"Yeah, right!" I scoff and give her a final push out of the door.
As I am shutting the door on her, she threatens to quit the school and to tell everyone that I am the father of her child. She threatens to follow me to America.
It is pathetic and ugly. It is opera, very, very bad opera.
Realizing that her threats are having little impact, Tatami changes her tone and says, "What would you do if I died?" Tears are now steaming down her cheeks. "What would you do if I died?"
"Well, for one, I'd probably get to bed sooner."
"Hidoi!" she screams and runs down the stairs. I can hear her steps grow distant, followed by the angry slam of the gate downstairs.
The above was edited out of a longer version of my second novel, A Woman's Nails, the first several chapters from which can be read for free here. I am debating whether or not to reintroduce the chapter into the novel. If you have read the novel in its entirety, your imput would be greatly appreciated.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
A Woman's Nails is now available on Amazon's Kindle.