Unable to land
He hardly registered, there or anywhere. He was a blur, a pastel smudge. The impression he made upon meeting was of a peripheral concave in the fabric of space, a subtle and unfocused muddling of light, but little more. Unless he spilled a drink on someone or backed into a car in the parking lot, he wouldn’t be remembered long, if even then. He had come to accept this, even embracing the concept of his translucency. The limpid man. At twenty-two he was soft and insecure and hobbled with a stunted predatory instinct. He had a deficit of enthusiasm, a backlog of intentions. He could never have been mistaken for an ambitious and lecherous expat prowling the Roppongi nightspots. Yet there he was, shadowing an attractive woman in the Japanese market in Arlington Heights. Did he go there hoping something carnal would follow? If he had any hopes, he couldn’t possibly have imagined what they were. And so he milled about the dross of a foreign culture, buffering his memories and reaffirming his worrisome lack of purpose. He had gone to Japan an empty vessel. A pimply, pale, and underdeveloped grub on a foreign exchange program. He joined a long line of misfits pouring into an island nation where all foreigners are misfits. For the first time in his life, he fit right in.
Read the full story in the
Volume 18 (2015)
Founded in 1998, Water~Stone Review is published annually
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