Monday, July 10, 2006

Before Sunrise

The loss of sleep really began on Friday night. MatsuMiki had joined my yoga class and afterward, we sat on the big stone Kamogawa turtles. Triangle park was full of Kyodai students, playing djembe and lighting fireworks. This entire section of river was smoke-filled, and with the drumming, I was reminded of that surreal scene in Apocalypse Now, with the young people playing war, not yet realizing that there was nobody leading them. Through the smoke, the Imadegawa bridge looked a bit like Pont Neuf, low and lit, lovers strolling across. Being Tanabata, MatsuMiki and I floated our bamboo branches down the current, which was running fast after a day of rain. Then we sat and ate dango, sometimes laying flat across the turtle's back, our heads dangling close to the water. Below the horizon curve of sky, all was smoke and neon.

The next night saw a farewell party of sorts. It was my second sayonara party, and like my previous one nine years ago, I wasn't actually leaving. (Although, last time, I hadn't yet known that.) It was a small gathering of a dozen close friends, with pizza and wine and lots of World Cup talk, P-chan's hands gesturing wildly, still pissed at England's early exit. Later, we joined up with Jenn's gang for her own farewell bash, moving bar to bar into the night. Each place grew more surreal than the last, from the cowboy-less neon-lit loft of Nashville Rooms to Guinness-fuelled karaoke in a surf bar to the final night of Missile, where the 'Nog's freak scene was well represented. Time seemed to stand as still as the air on this hot, windless summer night. While in conversation with a friend, I suddenly noticed the hands of her wristwatch indicating 4:45, and I walked out seconds later, leaving her in mid-sentence. The sky outside was an innocent-looking blue, indicating a new day of possibility. I pedaled home smiling at the metaphor, pleased that I'd partied 'til dawn on this, my last big night out in the 'Nog.

Sunday was of course a wash, stewing in my house on what was the year's first real summerlike day, yet too exhausted to get to the beach. Instead, hooked up with Local Legends Tim and Zack for a Dylan DVD over tempeh and brown rice. Purge, purge the demons of last night! Saw the sun set over Nakaumi, then rise again while watching the World Cup final with Cian and Gray and a handful of hopeful Frenchmen, Michael yelling out "Ah! Patente!"with greater and greater emotion as the match dragged on. The sun's slow ascent over the paper factory created a race with the events happening in Germany, where full light would make it impossible to see the projected image of the match on the wall. After a quick set up in another room, we caught Zidane's already famous head-butt, his subsequent walk past the Cup trophy, under a sun already setting on Germany and the hopes of the French team.

On the turntable: Soul Flower Union, "Ghost Hits 93-96"

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