A small private park that Akiko has transformed into a scene from The Tale of Genji extends beyond the house; it has a broad path that leads to the public trails, thickets, a wetland, a lake.
I run from our house into the public land in the mornings, often alone, in the early light. I can run for over an hour without hearing the hum of city traffic. This early in the day, there is something more than royal about this domain: it is mythical. I run toward the past—not my own past, mind you, but a distant, primal past. A past in which my own infancy, or the current lousy state of affairs, or even the great city beyond the bluff—is unimaginable. Today when I return to the house, I see the lights are on in Akiko’s studio. This means I will find a thermos of fresh green tea waiting for me on the kitchen counter. A sweet gesture, considering how evasive I am with her. Akiko has come to confuse my evasiveness with a retiring nature. In her words, I am “the silent type.” My silence conceals a wealth of worlds best left undisclosed. We have been together ten years. Long enough for my idiosyncrasies to have faded into invisibility. Akiko, too, has faded. She is the white noise I have come to depend upon and possibly cannot live without. Akiko is witchy, clairvoyant. Her astonishing dreams are astute, surgical. They keep me on my toes. This marriage of ours puts us both at risk. She is in danger because I lie incessantly and the habit of these lies has blunted her gift and confused her. Love has caused her to distrust her own intuitions. Yet I am in danger also, because I cannot help but offer her clues. It is inevitable that sooner or later I will falter, offer one clue too many and in this way bring us both down. When I fall, she will fall with me. Perhaps this is a comfort of a kind.