Every Saturday night brings something different.
It’s not all bad in Thailand. There are some good days here. I lay back on my bed and looked up at the ceiling. When was the last time it was quiet with people in the city like this? I have to pinch my cheeks to see if I am dreaming.
“No, it’s real,” my master said. I turned to him, frowning.
“Stop doing that!” I complained.
“Sorry,” he said. “That’s how I am. You know that, right?”
“Yeah, yeah,” I muttered. He’s probably going to go out again tonight. I still don’t have a clue what he does in the night. I gave up on asking. But, there’s something different in his eyes. Like he’s found a new goal to work towards.
“Mikado-san,” I said. My master glanced up at me.
“Hm?” he asked.
“Did something happen?” I asked. “You seem… different.”
“Different?” Mikado asked. I nodded.
“Heh,” he said.
“Yes. Were you expecting something else?”
“No.” I turned over onto my side. He sure knows how to kill a decent moment.
A little while back I wondered where we would go next. South Korea was off the table.
“It’s too dangerous,” my master said. That was one of the few times I didn’t argue with him. Conditions for the Japanese living there grew worse. There had been reports of violence against anyone from Japan, native or not. If they were a woman, sexual assault was high for them.
“But where can we go?” I asked.
“I haven’t figured that one out yet,” Mikado said. “The plague will be coming for Thailand soon as well.”
“You can’t be serious!”
“I’m afraid I am.”
“The plague’s just that complex.” He clenched his fists at his side. His voice trembled as he spoke.
“Mikado-san?” I asked. When he turned his head, he had a fire in his eyes. But, I couldn’t see any emotion on his face.
I decided to drop it from there.
Mikado sat on his bed, smiling at me.
“What?” I asked.
“You know who you remind me of?” he asked.
“What?” I asked. He leaned forward with his smile.
“There was a blonde Russian assassin named Vorona,” my master said. “She followed around Ikebukuro’s strongest man.”
“Ikebukuro’s strongest man?” I asked. He started to go into stories about Ikebukuro in the old days. I saw a little spark in his eyes as he talked. He talked about his school, his friends, all the people he met, and all the things that went on. I propped my head up and smiled.
“It’s funny,” I said.
“What?” he asked.
“You’re opening up to me again,” I said. “It feels nice.”
“What’s the matter?”
“That’s not good for me.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know what I am, right?”
My master rubbed his forehead. “You can’t keep staying with me like this.”
“You are all I have.”
“That’s the problem.” He threw back his head and sighed. “No, I do not hate you. But you just can’t stay with me forever.”
“Why is that?” I asked.
“You will eventually die.”
“I know.” I sat up on my bed. “I don’t care about that.” I saw the puzzled look on his face. “What? What did I say to make you look so shocked like that?” My master did not answer. He just got up and walked out of the room.
“Mikado-san?” I asked. The door slammed shut. Okay then…
I won’t give up my quest on him. What is he going to do? He can’t really get rid of me. Where will I go? I have no money left. I can’t speak Thai. I don’t know my way around Bangkok too well. I’m just sunk here. My master is my only hope for survival. He knows it too. I’m not the only one who wants to stay.
Akira-kun crawled into my lap. I patted him on the head. He’s always smiling. I wonder if he knows the gravity of the world around him. It’s hard to tell with him sometimes. Right now, he looked up at me.
“Your papa is a confusing man at times,” I said. Akira-kun shook his head.
“No?” I asked.
“He’s just really sad,” he said.
“Is that right?” I asked. The little boy nodded his head in my lap.
“Could’ve fooled me,” I muttered. I looked out the window. Sometimes, it annoys that I have to rely on others to survive. I did it with Josh and now I am doing it with my master. When did I turn this weak?
“You’re not weak,” Akira-kun said. I couldn’t help but smile.
“You are a really sweet kid,” I said. I wanted to believe him. But, I am not that helpless sixteen-year-old girl anymore. I will be twenty-three soon. I can’t keep living like a weak little girl like this.
“Would you like for your papa to get you something sweet next time he goes out?” I asked.
“Yay!” Akira-kun cheered. I giggled at how happy he sounded. Must be nice to be a kid.
There are times where my master will prove that he has a heart.
I looked up when I heard a knock on the door.
“Who is it?” I asked.
“Only me,” my master said. I watched the door open. My master stood in the doorway with his cigarette hanging out of his mouth.
“Yo,” I said.
“Get dressed,” he said. “We’re going out tonight.” I gave him a strange look.
“Why?” I asked.
“I made a promise, didn’t I?” he asked. “I’m taking you out on the city tonight. It’s a bit too late for dinner. But, I will make up dinner with you in another place.” I covered my mouth as I gasped.
“Are you serious?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said.
“Wow,” I mouthed. I looked up at my master again. “Uh… Okay. We can do that. I will go change clothes.” I walked over to towards the closet and paused.
“I don’t have anything nice to wear,” I said.
“Look in the closet,” he said. Mikado put up his hand as I began to speak. “Just do it.” I walked over to the closet and opened the doors. A long single red dress hung in plastic on a wooden hanger. My jaw dropped.
“When… When did you get this?” I asked.
“A couple of days ago,” he said. “Go on, try it on.” I stared at him for a second before reaching for the dress. I disappeared into the bathroom with it. He got this dress for me? That stuns me. It looks pretty, though. I guess I could humor him. I changed out of my shorts and tank top. Wow, this dress really looks great on me. I love the red satin. I turned around in the mirror.
“How is it?” my master asked. I stepped out of the bathroom.
“It fits,” I said.
“You’re so pretty!” Akira-kun said. Mikado whistled.
“When did you get my measurements?” I asked.
“I didn’t,” he said. I just stared at him.
“You’re joking,” I said.
“No,” he said. I took a step back.
“I didn’t hear your thoughts this time,” my master said. “Everything about you is in my head.” The color drained from my face.
“That’s just how I am,” he said. “I did not want this for myself. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, not even my worse enemy.” I shuffled my feet at bit.
“Are you leaving Akira-kun with Hikira again?” I asked.
“Of course,” he said. Hikira materialized before my eyes. She turned to my master.
“Stay and watch over Akira-kun for us,” Mikado said in a low voice.
“Yes, sir,” he said. She bowed her head and walked over to Akira-kun sitting on my bed. Mikado turned to his son.
“Now behave yourself, okay?” he asked.
“Yes!” the little boy said. My master kissed him on the forehead. He turned his focus on me.
“Ready to go?” he asked. I stood up straight.
“Yes,” I said.
“Let’s go,” my master said. He and I headed out of the room.
Bangkok at night. I will never get tired of it. I wish every night would be like this.
“It almost shocks me too,” my master admitted as we walked around the streets of Bangkok. I looked over at him.
“Is that right?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he muttered.
“So, where are we going?” I asked.
“Just walking around the city,” my master said. I nodded with a little smile. That actually sounded… rather nice.
“We didn’t money with us,” I said.
“Money?” Mikado asked.
“You know, for if we want to buy treats and snacks. Maybe a couple drinks.”
“Don’t worry, I will handle it.”
“I will handle it.”
I grabbed onto my right wrist. “Okay…” My master rubbed on my back.
“Trust me with tonight,” he said. I forced myself to smile. That’s all I can do. I almost want to kick myself for that.
“You are not weak,” he said. I turned my head.
“Huh?” I asked. He put his hand on my shoulder.
“Just because you rely on someone don’t mean that you are not weak,” he told me. “You’ve managed to survive this long. That says something.” I pressed my lips together and shrugged. Part of me wanted to believe him. Still, I didn’t want to feel like a burden to him.
“You aren’t a burden,” Mikado said. I looked at him, frowning.
“Mikado-san, can you not listen to my thoughts for one night?” I asked.
“I told you that I can’t,” he said. “But I will keep it to myself.”
“Thank you,” I said. I looked at the bright lights overhead. It’s like watching a magic trick with them. It took me back to be six years old again. My master chuckled to himself.
We just walked around the city. The sound of traffic delighted. My master and I disappeared into the crowd. Japan’s been so empty for so long. I should be used to this by now.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” my master asked.
“Yeah,” I said. I let out a low whistle. The vendors were still at work. The smell of food teased my nose. I had to swallow back my drool. My master chuckled to himself. I sheepishly lowered my head.
“It’s okay,” he said. “I understand you. The smell is overpowering to me, actually.” Mikado closed his eyes and took a smell.
“It’s makes my eyes water a bit,” he said.
“It isn’t that bad,” I said.
“Well, you don’t have heightened senses like I do.”
My master shoved his hands into his pockets. “Let’s buy some treats for Akira-kun.”
“Yeah,” I said. “What do you think he’ll like?”
“He’s not really particular. If it’s sweet, he’ll eat it.”
I threw back my head and laughed. “That is true. I wonder what’s still open tonight.” We came across a small candy shop downtown. Nobody but the clerk was still inside. Speaking of which, said clerk didn’t even look up at us as they read their magazine.
“Get what you think he’ll like,” my master whispered.
“Right,” I said. We started scouring the aisles. Hm… There seems to be mostly coffee candy here. I’m not sure if the kid will like it. Some of them look good. I picked up a bag of cappuccino candy. I turned it over and looked at the back. Still can’t read Thai, but it looks good. I will have to see. I put the bag into the little basket. After about ten minutes, my master and I met up near the front counter.
“What did you get?” I asked.
“Some chocolates, wafer bars, and some spicy candies,” he said. My master looked into my basket. “Coffee candies, I see.” I shrugged my shoulders.
“Figured why not,” I said.
“Good enough,” he said. We walked up to the cashier. My master did all of the talking and made the purchases. He and clerk bowed before we left.
“How do you do it?” I asked as we walked out of the store.
“I just talk to him and give him the money,” Mikado said. He put up his hand as I opened my mouth.
“Don’t ask anymore questions,” he said. I closed my mouth.
“Thank you,” he said. My master walked ahead of me. There he goes again.
“Are you coming?” he asked.
“Oh! Hang on!” I shouted. I ran to check up with him. My stomach started to growl in the middle of our walk. I nervously laughed as he looked at me.
“You want something to eat?” he asked.
“Yeah…” I mumbled. We ended up a small noodle booth. The spicy peanut sauce made my mouth water. Stars filled my eyes as I took my seat. The cook looked up from the pot that he was drying.
“Welcome to my booth,” he said. “What can I help you with tonight?” His English rather surprised me. Most of the vendors didn’t even want to talk anyone Japanese at all.
“What would you recommend tonight?” Mikado asked in equally good English. The cook took a moment to think.
“Well, there is pad Thai,” he said. “I also have drunken noodle, boat noodles, stir-fried glass noodles, and basil fried rice.”
“Hm… do you have that noodle dish in that green curry and chicken?” my master asked. I looked between him and the cook. The latter perked up.
“Oh, you mean the Khanom chin kaeng khiao wan kai?” he asked.
“Yes, that one is really good,” Mikado said. “Can I have that?”
“Sure,” the cook said. He turned his attention to me. “And what would you like?”
“Drunken noodle, please,” I said.
“Coming up,” the cook said. He got right to work. I turned to my master.
“He seems nice,” I said.
“Yes,” Mikado said. He muttered something under his breath to the cook. The other man glanced up and nodded. I looked between them with a confused look on my face.
“Do not ask,” my master said under his breath. I closed my mouth and lowered my eyes. Minutes later, the cook came back with our food.
“Here you go,” he said.
“Thank you,” Mikado said, bowing. He and I began to eat. I had to admit, my drunken noodles were pretty good. To my surprise, my master was eating for a change. My jaw dropped as I watched him chewing. He lowered his chopsticks.
“Yes, I do eat sometimes,” my master said. “Most of the time I don’t because I don’t need to.”
“Is it because of your powers?” I whispered.
“Yes,” he said.
“Wow,” I mouthed. I returned to eat with shock. In the middle of our late night meal, I noticed my master talking to the cook in a hushed tone. The latter reached under the counter and pulled out a piece of folded up paper. My master shoved it into his jeans pocket. He cut a cold glare out of the corner of his eye. I looked down at my bowl and didn’t say a word. My master paid for everything when we finished eating.
“Have a good night,” the cook said as we left. My master bowed his head before we were gone. Mikado and I ended up staying out until about three in the morning. To be honest, I enjoyed that Saturday night with us walking around in Thailand.
“We have again,” my master said when we returned to the room. I looked up at him.
“Where are we going now?” I asked. “Is the plague coming?” He shook his head.
“She’s not here,” he said.
“Itori-san?” I asked. “Where is now?” My master walked into the room.
“Where are we going now?” I asked.
“I do not know,” he said. I watched as he walked over to the bathroom. Okay then. I sat down on my bed and lied down next to a sleeping Akira-kun. Thailand was starting to lose its appeal anyway. I closed eyes my eyes and drifted off to sleep.
Within three days’ time, my master, Akira-kun, and I left Thailand.