By Kris Hartrum - Jun 28, 2018
Yuki always refused to tell me her age. She was twenty-eight sometimes, but the veins on her hands made her look forty or forty-five. “What do you want to do?” I asked her.
“You choose,” she said. “You choose. I don’t know.”
“So you want to go to a hotel?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” she said. “You choose. You choose.”
We stood outside a restaurant in West Shinjuku. It had been raining, and the electric signs were visible above us and in the puddles along the street.
“What about your husband?” I asked.
“I’m not married,” she said.
“I thought you said you have a husband.”
“He doesn’t care,” she said. She laughed and hugged me around the waist. She closed her eyes and hugged me tighter.
We walked for a while and came to a love hotel called Magic Soft. The exterior was made to look like a cartoon castle. Yuki led me by the the hand through tall glass doors which opened into the lobby—a dark, jungle scene. We looked at illuminated pictures of different rooms on an automated control panel. I pressed a button.
SOFT SIMPLE: “YOU ARE IN THE SEA…”
The room was long and narrow, lit purple. The walls were decorated with colorful fish swimming through coral and a huge squid whose tentacles extended the length of two walls. A slot machine in the corner near the bathroom blinked on and off, green and red.
I took two beers out of the small refrigerator and sat on the bed. Yuki drank from her can very quickly and fell back on the bed beside me. She was flushed and humming something. I fell back on the bed next to her.
Yuki played with the buttons on the headboard behind us. I heard them click, click, click, as she continued to hum. The lights faded and tiny stars appeared on the ceiling then spun slowly through the room. Yuki kneeled and straddled me on the bed. She waved her arms slowly above her in a circle like a ghost and made noises. The tiny star lights moved across the glow-in-the-dark ocean life on the walls. Then they turned into little moons. Then they moved across us too.