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Shimeko's last Valentine
I never thought I would know love so deep

February 14, 2002
The Iranian

It rained during the night. She was nineteen. The world was cracking up. She finished eating the pear and drank green tea under a persimmon tree. The canary in the tiny cage that hung in the California patio had a broken wing.

A string of smoke-like clouds pressed down on Mount Diablo in the rain. The trees had white blossoms in new February moon.

Within a month of her death Farhad had married his geisha. In later years the only thing that would interest Farhad about Shimeko was the son she bore him to his frustation.

The red heart valentine festival was hung with red and white lanterns and helium heart balloons. Red valentine cards were in the shops under LOVE, I LOVE YOU, NEW LOVE, ROMANTIC, LOVE THROUGH THE YEARS, HUSBAND, WIFE, DREAMERS.

Shimeko walked several paces behind him, looking at his back and sobbing. It was the end of life. A calligraphy on the wall, a kimono stand and a television without a coinbox. A broken cup cannot be mended. A thin blue ribbon of smoke rose up into the night.

Valentine you give me that loving feeling. Of course sometimes you give me that "I want to kick you in the butt" feeling, but let's not dwell on that. Happy Valentine's Day.

A black lacquer box with cherry blossoms and a gold ring inside was on the table. A gift from Farhad when they first met in a ryokan. The rim of a dish of soy sauce with the tip of his chopstick in the soft noodles inside a blue bowl. He burnt his finger on his cigarette as she strolled in.

Forever and ever. I never thought I would feel like this. I never thought I would know love so deep. I could use the word "forever" and have it seem true but I did find that kind of love. I found the one in this world I was made for... I found you. Happy Valentine's Day.

Ubasutekan (Inn Where Old Women Are Abandoned To Die) was her fate in the Shayokan (Inn Of The Setting Sun). Not lucky, happy or prosperous she searched for the right Valentine card from a woman of a formerly prosperous family now faced with insecurity, lost love in a sushi-shop with pink curtains made of pale, braided cords surrounded by a fading sea.

Sex, Sex, Sex. That's all you think about - THANKS! Happy Valentine's Day.

Like a dog that has bitten his master and forfeited all claim to his love, Shimeko knew she had been unfaithful and would never again see the cherry trees in Shangri-la along the little teahouse.

From a hidden shrine high on a hillside came the faint broken sound of a drum. Overcast clouds floated over squid in the sea black and chalky. It was the old rites of a very old carved Buddah sitting by the side of the road.

Beautiful roses in a vase on the front of the card. Inside is written Love is the most beautiful gift two people can give each other. Happy Valentine's Day.

It was a cold day. Farhad brought the tray to the table pulled up a cushion and poured himself a cup of tea. He showed Shimeko a matchbox of his own design, featuring a young prince who died in the war and was eaten by crows.

Sometimes I just want to hug you till you pop! Other times I just want to pop you! Happy Valentine's Day.

Shimeko sat in the hot tub and watched the sun go down through the cracks in the ceiling of woven bamboo. She lowered herself under the water holding specially printed chopstick covers which she had stolen from the noodle shop which said: Just the two of us together holding the lantern as we cross the hanging bridge. Ah, happiness complete.

........You send me places I could
..............only dream of........
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