Ron takes the Shinkansen to Tokyo to see Kana. He knows her from California. They were classmates, studying how to teach English as a foreign language. They had a fling. One of a couple of flings she had with American men. One of a couple of affairs he had with foreign women. Kana from Japan. Natalya from Russia.
Ron lives in Japan now. He’s been there a few years. He has a Japanese girlfriend in Hiroshima. He has broken up with his American girlfriend in California. Kana does not have a boyfriend. There was a man from Canada who was interested in her, but he wasn’t her type. Ron wants to hear what happened. Kana tells him the story.
Come to my apartment this Friday evening after work and I will cook you an Italian dinner, the Canadian man had said to Kana. When she arrived dinner wasn’t ready. He wanted to talk. Would you like to have some wine, he asked her. How is work? How do you like this music? Have you ever tried sex with a foreigner? She answered the questions in turn: Yes, please. It is fine, thank you. It is a little noisy. Yes, I did, with two Americans, in California.
The Canadian man was very interested in this last answer. He stood there holding the wine bottle and a glass, but he didn’t pour. Who were the men, he wanted to know. Kana told him, One was my teacher and one was my classmate. We were studying to be English teachers. He poured Kana a glass of wine and handed it to her. She thanked him, but he didn’t seem to hear. They were both American, he asked. She took a sip of wine. The men you had sex with? They were both American, she said. My teacher was from California, my classmate was from Connecticut. Though she had taken just a small sip, the Canadian man poured more wine into Kana’s glass. He drank down half his glass and sat still for what seemed to Kana to be a very long time. Finally he said, You should try having sex with a Canadian. Kana was not surprised. She was not interested in the man. She had practiced her answer in the event something like this happened. I just want to be friends, she said. The Canadian man became angry. He took the wine glass from her and made her leave his apartment.
I think if I have sex with him, she tells Ron, he will give me a meal. That’s awful, Ron says.
Ron and Kana are eating dinner in Kana’s favorite café, near Shibuya Station. They don’t drink alcohol or get dessert. They split the check and take the train back to Chiba, where Kana lives with her family. They sit at the Western-style dining table and eat apple slices her mother has peeled and sprinkled with salt.
After everyone has gone to bed, Kana comes to Ron in loose-fitting sweats and nothing more. He had told himself he would not have sex with her because of his girlfriend, but he lets Kana seduce him on a single futon her mother has prepared on the tatami of the living room floor. Though he has a condom in his bag, he doesn’t use it, and comes inside Kana without a care. Kana returns to her bedroom. In the morning Ron takes the Shinkansen back to Hiroshima.
A few years later, Ron is going to a conference in Tokyo. He has married his girlfriend in Hiroshima and they have a daughter. He emails Kana. I will be in Tokyo on these days, he writes. I have a hotel in Shibuya. I would really like to see you. Ron is hopeful. He very much wants to see Kana, but she does not reply.
Jeff Nazzaro grew up in New England, lived in Japan for twelve years, and now lives in Southern California where he writes fiction and poetry. His flash fiction has appeared in several literary magazines, including Talking Soup, Fear of Monkeys and Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine.