There is a man who plays the saxophone under the Meguro Line bridge.
I see him at night when I go out of the house to smoke a cigarette. I take walks so that my empty living room doesn’t judge me for that occasional smoke.
The man who plays the saxophone under the Meguro Line bridge, he doesn’t judge. He doesn’t talk either, not with all the saxophone-playing that he does.
Maybe he thinks: Who is this person wearing toilet slippers in the middle of December? Maybe he doesn’t notice the slippers, but they’re bright orange, and maybe he knows they’re toilet slippers because he has the same pair at home.
Maybe he thinks of the time he bought his pair of slippers. Maybe it was before his first trip to India. Maybe he had thought they’d do a decent job at keeping his feet ventilated and somewhat clear from the dirt and rain and mud, but maybe he didn’t know anything and just bought the first pair that was on display in that mountaineering shop on his way home. Maybe it was a Saturday morning. Maybe he went out to buy groceries; milk, avocados, and toilet slippers on the way back.
I take walks to smoke a cigarette out of the house so that I don’t have to live with the idea that I smoke from time to time. I try to go far so that this idea and I are not even neighbours. If I go far enough, I manage to forget to actually smoke the cigarette.
The man who plays the saxophone under the Meguro Line bridge, he doesn’t know I am out for a smoke. He doesn’t see the cigarette that is in the breast pocket of my dressing gown.
Maybe he smells cold tobacco. Maybe the smell comes from his left hand — the one closer to his face, yet quite far. He takes regular breaths as he moves his fingers to produce sounds for my brain to assemble as Coltrane’s I’m Old Fashioned, so maybe he can smell tar, but maybe he doesn’t, not with the musty river that overpowers everything.
Maybe he sees a person standing in a dressing gown and orange toilet slippers, but maybe he doesn’t, not with all the eye-closing that he does.
Cigarettes are exactly like my astrologer. They are soothing and they help me think, but I wouldn’t want to bring her home nor inhale her. Music has very similar effects, but I am more enclined to make tea and invite home the man who plays the saxophone under the Meguro Line bridge.
Maybe he would like that. Maybe he has been out all day, or maybe he just came out at night to play the saxophone under the Meguro Line bridge. Maybe he lives in a Japanese building where playing an instrument at 1am is frowned upon. Maybe he walked out of his house this late because he had an argument with his lover. Maybe he doesn’t understand what happened and why, and maybe he just grabbed his saxophone to go vent his frustration. Maybe his lover is no longer his lover, not with all the attention that he requires for playing the saxophone under the Meguro Line bridge like a man who seeks a lot of attention. A lot of attention. Maybe it all ended a while ago, but maybe he started acknowledging it only recently.
These days, I sleep like a baby whose teeth are growing. The Full Cold Moon doesn’t help. The high tide is flooding on my face, and I can’t see properly; maybe there isn’t anybody under the Meguro Line bridge.
Maybe there is.
Maybe I am the man who plays the saxophone under the Meguro Line bridge.
Who the fuck knows.