Tokyo Diamond

At the Nihonbashi Gate, you glance at the izakaya across the tracks and slip a hand into the side pocket of your yellow raincoat. Then, with the faintest of smiles, you slip it out again and place both hands together in tight fists on your lap. You seem lost in thought when suddenly, in a choreographed dance, your hands open like two fans, move apart, flutter down to your sides, where they rest an instant, your palms pressing against the smooth wood of the bench, before your fingers curl, taking hold of the edge.

A trio of Japanese ladies dressed in red Kimonos cross your path, laughing amongst themselves. Straight-faced, you lean forward and swing, as if in a playground: your legs straight out for the flight into the air, then bending beneath you again for the return. You repeat this action. Three times. Your shoes are white leather, with a low heel. The top of your foot is bare. They’re dancing shoes. When raised, they catch the light and shine.

You watch the ladies as they cross the bridge to the other side, laughing all the while. With a flash of red, they enter the izakaya through revolving glass doors, fitted with panels of crystal, like a polished diamond.

Again, you slip your hand into your pocket, only this time you keep it there. Until you stand up. The movement is so sudden, caused by some outward force, a desperate shout for help, a call to retreat or attack, the arrival of your train. But there is silence: no more trains will come tonight, and the laughter of the ladies in kimonos has by now taken a seat at the bar. You stand before me, like a ballerina on the tips of your toes, and then you move, taking the shape of the letter K: left side soldier straight, right arm up, right leg out.

I wait for you to see me. Let me see what you have in your pocket. Is it a coin? Will it be enough to pay for that soul saving cup of coffee, enough to make a call? Have you forgotten to say goodbye? You look away from where I am, and you stare hard and long down the tracks, in both directions, to the end, and then to the beginning.

Somehow, with nobody going in or out, the revolving doors of the izakaya begin to spin and out slips the distinct, inviting sound of a metal spoon set down on a ceramic saucer, like it’s being sent out to greet you personally. You pirouette, then stop, and, facing the izakaya, you stride forward, your dancing shoes tapping across the marble platform.

And I watch you vanish, into the laughter and warmth, through those revolving diamond doors.