You Are Very Beautiful

It was raining with a chilly draft, and the ghastly gray sky was above me when I arrived at LAX Airport. The dreadful weather discouraged me and gave me a vague premonition for hot potato. “It’s not a good beginning. Try to get done the chief errand first and brood later,” I thought and nodded. The main purpose of my sojourn in Los Angeles was to regain my equilibrium. The Japanese agency was established at Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown; therefore, I decided to go straight to the downtown to get it done immediately. I hopped on a shuttle bus.

Everything went smoothly despite my foreboding. The shuttle bus took me to the entrance of the hotel directly, and it took me just for forty-five minutes to get the emergency card. Now what I had to do was – find a place to stay for three nights. I was ready to enjoy the excursion with full equipment. However, I was not a dumdum enough for daring to have an idea to stay at Westin Bonaventure Hotel, since I knew that I could not afford such extravagance. When I came down to the lobby, something got my full attention. Despite my resolution to find a cheap hotel, I was striding to the reception as if I was magnetized by an irresistible power – my eyes happened upon a ravishing receptionist. She said with a charming smile, “How may I help you, sir?”

“What a beautiful smile you have, woman!” I cried out.

Pause.

“You have a seraphic smile on your face. Would you like to have a dinner with me tonight?”

She was abashed and replied coquettishly, “Yes, I would love to, but you know, I have a night shift tonight. Besides, I have a boyfriend.”

“Pardon me for asking you out impetuously. In the first place, I am a total stranger to you, so I admit my impromptu action caused you embarrassment. I beg your pardon for my peculiar behavior. Please let me explain you what made me conduct myself in this impromptu fashion. Miss, when I saw your beautiful face, I simply couldn’t control myself from breezing into asking you out. Just because your angelic face bewitched me. Besides, I thought I’m staying in Los Angeles only for three nights, so I thought I had nothing to lose if I let my heart open up to you frankly. And then I thought – why don’t I let you know I think you’re very beautiful?”

Pause.

She was laughing amusingly and beaming, “It’s so sweet of you to say that. It is shame that you’re able to stay here only three days, because if you could stay more, maybe, I would probably show you around downtown, and we might become a good acquaintances. What’s your name?”

“Shogo,” I offered my hand to shake hands.

“I’m Jennifer. It’s always pleasant to meet a handsome man.”

“Likewise, it’s a wonderful feeling to have a chat with such a beautiful woman like you. I am still dazzled by your unearthly beauty though. How much is the cost for one night?”

“Let’ me see. It’ll be one hundred ninety-five dollars plus tax, my friend.”

“What? Why is it so expensive?”

“Yesterday’s price was one hundred twenty dollars plus tax.”

“Why is the huge difference?”
“Because the price is changed by the occupancy rate.”

“Anyway, thank you very much, my beautiful Jennifer. Hm… it’s not so bad. Okay, I’ll buy something first, and then come back. See you very soon!”

“Bye, Shogo. I’ll be waiting for you.”

Bon Voyage!

I was stirred deeply by his affectionate words and tried to prevent tears from gushing down. And a brief silence, I stammered, “Yes, yes. You’re right about… everything, my friend. Despite everything, I want to go back to Vancouver…which I can’t explain to you correctly. But I’ll consider your suggestion with pleasure.”

He opened the drawer in his desk, fished out some cash, and said, “I almost forgot the main reason for making you to come to the office. I always enjoy talking with you enormously, so I’m inclined to forget everything and become engrossed in talking with you. Shogo, here I have three hundred Canadian dollars. Do you know why I didn’t reply to your message last night? – Because I promised to lend some money for your trip, but I actually didn’t have enough money in my bank account. I asked my mam and Javier, but they didn’t have enough money to spare either because they need some money for their own business. I was so worried about it till this morning. However, I suddenly remembered I have Heather’s money, since she left her Canadian dollars at my house the last time she came. I found only three hundred Canadian dollars, and I am little worried if it is enough for your entire trip. I am really sorry for not helping you abundantly this time; however, this is all I can do for you right now. I hope it’ll help you a bit.”

I was again profoundly touched by his goodness and replied with moistened eyes, “Thank you very much, Jorgito. I don’t know what to say because I am quite speechless right now. I just want you to know it’s more than I need, because as soon as I get the emergency card, I’ll ask my parents to deposit the money into its account. Thus, I’ll have money with me in few days. Thanks for everything again, Jorgito. I’ll enjoy this unexpected adventure to the fullest for you, ha-ha-ha.”

“I’m so delighted to be able to help you this time, my friend. You are so excited, I see. I don’t like Los Angeles, but maybe, you’ll like it there. Who knows? At last, I am mollified thoroughly, for I can help you, and you’ve become yourself again. I have to finish some work here, so it’s always ambrosia to talk with you. By the same token, you have to promise me – after the trip, you must write every day and complete your book as soon as possible because I am dying to read your book. I am pretty sure that you’re writing a magnum opus, and it’ll be a best seller, ha-ha-ha. Have a good trip, Shogo. Bon voyage!”

You Have Everything Here

I was laughing from ecstasy, “Yes, I can’t believe what a wonderful life God has prepared for me. I’m looking forward to having a new adventure in Los Angeles.”

“I’m very sure that you’ll have extraordinary experiences there, because unbelievable things always happen around you. You have something to attract them, or maybe, you were born to be a writer – that’s why so many extraordinary events have frequently happened in your life. Anyway, how is your book? Should I start finding a publisher in Mexico?”

I smiled at his keenness and replied, “Please calm down, Jorgito. You’re too fast thinking about finding a publisher, because I’ve just written only half of the book and have no idea how long I’m going to take more to finish writing the rest of chapters. Anyway, thank you very much. When the time comes, I’ll happily ask you to do me a huge favor and find a publisher. Also, as you know, I trust you with all my heart.”

“Of course, I’ll do everything for you to find a publisher. I have a strong hunch that you’ll be a very successful writer. It’s actually become stronger and stronger, day by day. Anyway, it’s not so bad idea for me to check some publishers early, so that we can prepare for the critical day, eh?”

“Ha-ha-ha…. Hope the day will be coming soon.”

Pause.

“Are you still planning to go back to Vancouver? Do you still want to live there, Shogo?”

I was surprised at his sudden question and blathered, “Why in the heaven’s name are you asking me about it? Of course, I want to go back to Vancouver someday. It’s one of my dreams, you know.”

“I’m just thinking why you want to go back to Vancouver because you have everything here. I’ve been wondering if you have good friends there who always help you when you are in troubles.”

“I have some friends there, but of course, not like you, Gerardo, and Ramon. They are more like acquaintances.”

“I thought so, I thought so,” he nodded thoughtfully. “Shogo, just consider what I’m going to say, okay?”

I nodded and said, “Fire it away!”

“You know, Shogo, as I told you, you have everything here in Mexico. You have good friends to spend wonderful times with, you have the office to write, have the apartment to sleep, have the nice climate to enjoy the sun, and have a number of cafés near your apartment to read books, etc. YOU HAVE EVERYTHING HERE, Shogo! Why do you want to go back to Vancouver? Do you have good friends there who help you when you’re in a dire predicament? Here you have Ramon, Gerardo, and me. We always help you when you are in trouble, every possible way we can. Also, I really think Andrea, Luis, Eric, Gabriel, and Daniel will help you when you have problems. Even stupid Leticia will help you.”

Your Eyes Are Sparkling More Than Ever

The happy smile appeared on his face, and he uttered jubilantly, “Welcome back, Shogo. Now you’ve become yourself again. It is a nice feeling to have old Shogo back again!”

His animated expression made me smile, and I said emotionally, “Thank you very much for everything, Jorgito. I don’t mean only this occasion, but the whole things you’ve done for me. I really appreciate for your kindness, and I am lucky to have you as a best friend.”

“Oh, Shogo, you don’t need to thank me because you are my friend. It’s my great pleasure to help you all the time. By the way, everyone tells me that you’re looking better, day by day, and your eyes are sparkling more than ever,” he nodded pleasingly.

“Who said that?”

“Everyone, my parents, my friends, including Betty, who is my housemaid, you know.  Every time someone asks me why you look intoxicated and elated, I feel so happy because I know about the secret of your euphoric state. Every time someone asks me about your radiant face, I nod to myself contentedly and talk to myself under my breath, ‘I know why Shogo is happy every day – because he is free! He doesn’t need to take a job his heart refuses, he’s started writing, he is living in his dear life on his own sweet way, he isn’t in Japan; his is in Mexico, he is doing every day what his heart desires, and so on and so forth.”

Here I couldn’t refrain myself from uttering, “Because of you, my friend. You’ve made me come here and given me the opportunity to find my true self. Without your help, I couldn’t get started. You must know your friendship made me start and made my crucial dream realize.”

He blushed and replied embarrassedly, “Oh, Shogo, you’re very welcome. I am just happy to hear that you are happy and enjoy your life here in Mexico. You know what I’m thinking about? I’ve been thinking about your past three months’ life. You came to Mexico City, visited Playa Del Carmen, and now you’re going to Los Angeles! You are the happiest Japanese bird under the vast firmament, my friend. Can you believe that the new adventure lined up for you again? Isn’t it incredible, is it?”

Are You Going to Los Angeles Tomorrow?

My nightmare turned into a new adventure. I decided to go to Los Angeles to get the emergency card, which I can use only for a month. Gerardo suggested to me that he knows that I am dying to resume my work, but I should use this opportunity to have a new experience; I should not rush to come back here to continue writing. Besides, I haven’t taken any day offs since I got started, so I should take a short vacation, at least a couple of days, so that I can get to know about Los Angeles, can recoup my strength, and can start over writing with renewed energy. I totally agreed with his point of view and decided to stay there for three days.

One day before my departure for Los Angeles, I went to the office, since I had an appointment with Jorgito. When I entered the office, he was calculating the expense of material for his next project. He said, “Hey Shogo, how are you? I was waiting for you. Sorry for asking you to come to the office, because I know you are busy with writing, but I want to talk with you before you fly to Los Angeles.”

“Please sit down here, Shogo. Give me five minutes to finish this,” he offered me the chair.

“No problem, take your time, my friend,” I lit a cigarette and looked at the outside below to watch happy passersby in the sun from the window.

“Shogo, I’m done. Are you going to Los Angeles tomorrow?”

“Yes, my friend. I’m looking forward to embarking on a new adventure.”

“I’m so relieved by your final decision. It’s much better for you to fly to Los Angeles than fly to Japan. And it’s much cheaper. Still you have to pay some expenses for this errand though.”

He was looking at the outside for a while with pensive face and confessed, “You know, Shogo, the other day when you told me that you would go back to Japan because of the stupid problem, I was so mad at you. I thought, why did you have to go back to Japan? You’re halfway through your mission, and everything is getting better for you. Also, I was so mad at the fucking Japanese. Why don’t they want to let you know about your pin number over the phone? You’re living in Mexico and doing the most important thing for your life, but they don’t want to help you; they obstinately make you go back to Japan to have the proper proceedings. Is the bank’s regulation is important than one’s destiny? I really don’t think so. I don’t understand Japanese sometimes. Why don’t they just make an exception on this special occasion? Why don’t they want to help their fellow man who is trying to realize his dream? Why do they heartlessly try to hinder their fellow man who perseveres to follow his own destiny? I don’t comprehend Japanese bastards!”

“I know you were very angry with me the other day. I am sorry because I wasn’t quite myself, and my mental state was shaking. Anyway, forget about Japanese, because talking about incurable cold-hearted creatures is a waste of our precious time completely. Let’s talk about something more cheerful, my friend.”