pages 37 and 38
On Robson Street.
Huricana blends in with the rest of the stores and restaurants in the plain buildings on the street, at least it often does in the cool uncommunicative days of autumn and winter. Summer however, with its high white skies and smashed, sun-bleached clouds, brings about the removal the street-facing wall (it’s more of a garage door) and the cedar interior is revealed to all who pass by. Inside, the reddish wood lines the wall in typical British Columbian style, less Japanese and more Coast Salish. Following the North American fascination with all things fusion, the translucent screens that divide many of the rooms, bordered in Black pine, depict images of tidal waves and proverbs written in Japanese characters to recollect an idea of the “old country.”
Our hostess is devastatingly beautiful as all Japanese descendant women I’ve seen are. She has thick, jet-black hair tied tightly behind her head and held there artistically by two black lacquered chopsticks (oh c’mon). She has no idea what a pore is (maybe an urban myth?) and wears only lip-gloss to further accentuate her already full and flawless mouth. I expect her to speak delicate Japanese, low and quiet to Jamus and he, the wealthy editor of a successful publishing house, would understand and reply without so much as a hint of an American accent. She doesn’t, but rather speaks better English than I do, and while she does so I catch small glimpses of a glistening mouthful of wire and elastic. She can’t be a day older than seventeen.
Listen young one, in first rule of Kung Fu, you must learn Or Tho Don Tic.
I chuckle at my own wit again.
Jamus and I are seated, shoeless (I say a prayer to a Shinto god to mask any foot odor I may have missed in the shower this morning) behind a particularly beautiful egg colored screen. He orders Sake and green tea—the snob. I have tea and water; the beer has been forgotten.
“You write.” The dice words tumble and clack clumsily across the table.
“I often am.” Jamus winks. The punning nature of our conversations needs to stop I decide—it’s no longer cute and it’s starting to just piss me off.
“It was a question: Do you write? You asked me the last time we met if I do and I’m bouncing the question back.”
“I used to. Dabbled a bit. Mostly I just like to read and think of things to write and tell other people that they can’t write. I never really do myself anymore, my ideas don’t…actualize, I suppose. I could think of a billion different things to write about, then write a billion different prologues or first chapters or outlines, then I’d quit.” I am starting to think that Jamus is talking less about his own writing history, and more about my own. A renegade tealeaf drifts aimlessly in the handle-less cup that arrived miraculously while Jamus was talking. I start to realize how hot it is in the restaurant and I can feel my always-shiny forehead start to push past the thick powder I dusted it with earlier. I feel like I have a coating of syrup on my face and become wickedly self conscious of how I must look to this very together gentleman that I happen to be talking to right now.