Sitting on a concrete block on the side of the road, head thankfully buried in a book  that I borrowed from Mische. The sun beats on my neck with my head bent forward, so I pick up to seek some shade. I see MacFarlane sitting against a Hesco barrier; he must have come in on the bird last night. It’s the twenty-seventh, I haven’t seen him for a month. Not Since Tabada died.

I sit down next to him, and the conversation is at first unsteady and halting. He’s brought the guitar. He says that Tabada probably played it more than he did anyway. At first it was a question of selling it or burning it, to get rid of those memories. But he says he’s going to mail it back home, get one of Tabada’s drawings etched on the back. I like that idea more.

An ant crawls on me, carrying something. I pick it up to drop it on the ground, but it sticks to my hand. I shake it off, but it drops what it was carrying on my leg, and I look closer. Curled up, it is the dead body of another ant.

I tell MacFarlane about learning Japanese, and he tells me that he wanted to go ahead with the Japan trip to honor Tabada, but he just didn’t want to go alone. It was the same with me, even though I’m still preparing to go to Japan, I can’t stand the idea of going alone. Tabada was our mutual friend, we were both close to him but not quite close to each other. I want to ask, but not now. We can go, together. I suppose he at least needs to know that it’s an option.


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