Today Mieko you died

I never took the time to learn your last name


Every time we met
You trimmed a few layers of comfortable ignorance
We let ourselves in into each other’s life
Not as dirty as it sounds of course
Just two different souls
Two different people
Born at different times
On different continents
Half way across the world

Yet we met, by kismet or by chance
By destiny or by coincidence
In that beloved shop of yours
Surrounded by metastatic modernity
Slowly crushed by malignant high rises

Each time we met we shared
Stories of our lives
Anecdotes on our latest vacations
What our kids were up to
How cancer impacted both of us
In violent and unexpected ways
Robbing us of years of happiness

I complimented you on your latest wig
You smiled and laughed
Even though we both knew what it really meant
You told me you were winning the fight
The disease was going into remission
I believed you
Why was I uncharacteristically naive
Did I want a happy ever after story for once
Did I want to believe you no matter what you told me
Even if you didn’t believe it yourself
Because trusting you meant I could trust mankind

I got sicker and I stopped visiting you
You got sicker and you stopped breathing
You died

Today I walked into your shop
Selfishly expecting a hair cut
Your smile and your stories
I asked the stranger there where you were
He shattered my blissful ignorance
With a handful of fateful words

The stranger
realized how hard his words hit
He gave me some time
Time for me to remember I needed another breath
Time for me to sit down in an all too familiar chair

Then he stripped down a first layer of comfortable ignorance
He let me in a bit in his life
I let him some into mine
We swapped a story or two
Exchanged an anecdote or two

When I left, he knew my name, and I knew his

I even asked him for his last name

I will continue to visit your shop
As long as it stands
As long as I stand
As long as I remember you
As long as your smile remembers me
As long as two strangers
Can enjoy each other’s company without motive

Today I am writing you

Today Mieko you died

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