Boy

Station151:Boy

The boy tilts his head as I emerge from the sea. I shrug off the scuba tank.

“I saw you on TV,” he says.

“Already?” I say, lifting my mask.

He stares at me, his eyes wide, curious. “Yes.”

“What are they saying?”

“Bad things.”

Water pours from my upended flippers. “Thanks for the heads up.”

“There aren’t many of you left,” he says.

The wet-suit comes off and sags against a stone under the pier. I’m down to my T-shirt and jeans. Soaking. No shoes. “Many of who?”

Gaijin.”

I pause, blowing into my cupped hands… “Yeah.”

The boy holds a small red ball. He squeezes it. LEDs flicker inside.

We both stare at the lights until they stop.

The boy raises his head. “There’s a bathroom with showers in the park.” He points. Not too far.

“Thanks, kid.” I reach out to ruffle his hair. My hand passes through him.

Right. The English should have tipped me off.

I won’t fight them anymore.

I gather the scuba gear and find a dark place under the pier. Wait for night.