Orchestra Rehearsal

It was 14:20 in the afternoon; rehearsal started in forty minutes, Gianni was going to spend most of the time on the Romeo and Juliet Overture by Tchaikovsky. Joking with himself he thought,

“What else could I possibly rehearse the day after a day like yesterday?”

As he stood at the school entrance having his ice coffee bought from the vending machine and saw Kumiko walking down the street with her friend, the same one that had been with her the first time he saw her; he wondered if this friend, or anyone else at the school other than he knew about her The Designer Club life.

The girls approached and Gianni wondered what the situation would be. Can they know each other now or must they still play the same old charade. When they got close enough Gianni looked Kumiko in the eye and said konnichiwa. The girls stopped and both said konnichiwa Grosso sensei and Kumiko raised her shoulders and giggled. Gianni struggled with the moment; how could this be possible, how could yesterday be just ignored? Why did it have to be a secret and his biggest question of all, how long did this secret have to last? He remembered over and over again all the times Kumiko asked him to be patient. It was difficult.

Through the Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet, one of the most passionate works in the orchestra repertoire, Kumiko had her eyes glued to the music on her stand and did not once make eye contact with Gianni. It was a painful rehearsal.

The Real Designer Club

Rehearsal was over, Gianni walked to Sushi Koh, he took a seat in his usual spot and found he really wasn’t very hungry. He had his usual ikura, uni, Natto and a beer. He tried not to show it but he couldn’t hide the fact he was troubled. Sato san asked if he was well and if he could offer anything special but Gianni just thanked him, paid and left.

Back on the street Gianni was struck by the fact that he had no plan; he was on the street walking aimlessly. Something told him that it was not a good night to go to The Designer Club but he did not feel like going back to the Rihga Royal.

For the last weeks Gianni would simply go to The Designer Club, talk to Kumiko, laugh, tell jokes, play games but what was different about tonight, why was her secretive behavior at the rehearsal today so painful? Now he couldn’t make a decision whether or not to go and spend the evening with Kumiko, would she explain things so that he would understand or would he show his frustration. And what her future as a hostess, the biggest question of all, could he ever accept that? He had to see her, she would put his mind to rest, she always did.

Gianni didn’t like the way he was thinking at the moment and experience told him to wait another day before going to see Kumiko but a much stronger force told him to go, her smile would calm him. He needed that tonight. He turned and headed toward The Designer Club.

He could not remember when he wanted to see anyone as much as he wanted to see Kumiko and as he got closer he began to feel better, in five more minutes he would see the smile, hear the laughter and feel the touch of the most wonderful woman he had ever known, this was going to be a special evening, together with the woman he loved.

As he approached the door it opened as usual and the Kenji san greeted him. Then Miho san greeted him,

“Good evening Gianni san, you are earlier than usual tonight”

Entering the room he first saw Shuko and Ryoko at the bar. When they saw him they got up at the same second, came to him and welcomed him as they swept him to a seat at the bar between them. They were laughing and they asked Sato san to bring a cold sake for him. Their mood was enough to make anyone feel better and he found himself enjoying their company. Finally, he asked where Kumiko was then turned around and faced into the part of the room with the tables and chairs. There he saw Kumiko and experienced the longest and most painful few seconds he had ever known. At the same table where he and Kumiko had sat only a few days before, in the same seats, was Kumiko in an intense embrace with another man, her arms were around him and she was holding his head tightly against her shoulder. For about one second Kumiko looked up and looked Gianni straight in the eye and quickly returned her attention to the man she was with.

Gianni san, Gianni san please relax, Kumiko will be with you in a very short time. Shuko and Ryoko tried to get Gianni to turn around and have a glass of sake but Gianni was too stunned to respond, he just stared for a few more seconds and then did what everyone hoped he would not do.

“Now I understand, now I understand what this place really is and now I understand what you really are!”

Shuko and Ryoko were desperate trying to calm him, which only seemed to anger him further.

“I suppose you two are going to try and seduce me now to keep my mind off seeing Kumiko doing what she does for a living”

Shuko, was pleading,

“Gianni, Gianni you are wrong, stop now please.”

Sadayuki and the Kenji were both at his side and were begging him to be calm.

“I am not wrong, it’s all very clear to me now, how stupid I’ve been”

He knocked the pitcher of sake off the bar with all his force and headed for the door. Miho tried to stop him

“Gianni san, you are making a huge mistake please think a moment”

“And I understand your job too madam, Good night madam”

It was too much for him, on the street Gianni began to weep as he walked. He did not want anyone to notice him in this condition, Japanese men did not weep. He took out from his pocket one of the terrycloth half handkerchief half washcloths that most Japanese people always carry and held it over his face to hide and remove the tears streaming down his face. And they too wouldn’t stop.

He walked for what seemed like hours and finally when the tears subsided he went in to one of the old hostess bars he had been to before he discovered The Designer Club. He ordered a beer and one of the girls came and sat with him.

He remembered Izumi, she was a coarse, streetwise, husky voiced hostess who spoke a little English and had talked to him before.

She was, it seems, also wise.

“I remember you, you are emotional western man and I can see that now you in trouble. You need rest, drink beer here, go home and be alone, alone all day tomorrow, all day. Maybe is hard, alone all day. You think quiet, things get better. Go home now, go home.”

And she took him to the door and put him on the street. Somehow Gianni found his way back to the Rihga Royal.

The next day he took Izumi’s advice and stayed in his room. He ate the snacks in the minibar until they were gone then he called room service ordered a plate of sashimi.

By mid afternoon Gianni was feeling a little better so much so that he was trying to assess the damage he had caused.
It was bad, Kumiko, The Designer Club and all his friends there, but how was he going to deal with the reality of what he saw?

Suddenly there was a knock on the door of his room. The concierge handed him an envelope. He recognized the handwriting and opened it.

“Hello Maestro Grosso,

If you are reading this note I will know you received it. Please come to The Designer Club this afternoon at 17:00, I think we have something very important to discuss. I will be waiting for you.

Junichi Kamei”

Gianni thought it over, if the note had arrived a few hours sooner Gianni simply wouldn’t have responded but he was feeling better now and in light of the incredible gift he had given Kumiko and him two days earlier it seemed clear that Kamei san’s request deserved to be answered.

Gianni showered got dressed and headed for The Designer Club.

Continue to Section 12: Junichi Kamei

Copyright 2005. Design by Rose Schweikhart