Raining in the morning, forced to walk in the street to avoid the crowds of umbrella-wielding elementary school students dominating the sidewalk. The news of a knifing rampage in Yokohama came at the end of second period, the teachers called to the vice principal’s desk. School children had been attacked, we must be vigilant, bracing ourselves for copycats. I remembered the incident in Tomio, a girl taken after school by her mother’s long-term stalker, her body found in a ditch the next morning. Back then there were no school gates, just open entrances. There were no ID badges, no security cameras. Just openness and trust that no one would want to hurt children.

I was too busy yesterday to eat lunch and then, at the end of the day, a phone call that my daughter had suffered from heat exhaustion and I had to go to the school to pick her up from the nurse’s room. It was not hot and I knew my daughter had been in a shitty mood in the morning, resisting school, so I said, well, I had to walk today so it will take me thirty minutes to get there, thinking that they would just send her home since it was already 4:30. Okay, they said, we’ll see you at 5 then.

My coworker and I continued to discuss his condition or rather what he considers my condition. I have not even begun to describe the full extent of my visualization capacity; I have never told anyone what my mind can do and so to tell him would seem braggadocios, in light of his handicap. We did discuss hallucinations and he, my straight-laced Canadian coworkers with his fondness for peanut butter and banana bagel sandwiches and bad puns, said he would be willing to experiment with substances just to see if they would allow him to see pictures in his head. Not that it would ever happen and definitely never happen here in Japan but I like the fact that he is willing.

I did end up writing to my estranged friend who is no longer a friend. I wish I could give up on him, think of him as a corpse, rotting in the graveyard of my life, unreachable, unattainable, but then I had a dream of him, intoxicated and stumbling around the streets. It does not bother me if he never replies but it does bother me if he feels like everyone has forsaken him, that he can just sink into his false persona without witnesses, without anyone reaching out with a strong arm and open hand, ready to help if he wants it.