The composer, Mr. Fuji, lives in Setagaya-ku near the entrance to a winding river-path, an undulating, discreet spot for migratory birds.
He beckons S. and me into his sturdy house with the jumping green fish splashing sunnily amidst the terra cotta roof tiles. S. teaches Italian to opera students at the same storied university featuring Mr. Fuji and his international prizes. Inside, he shows us his symphonies, indexed by date and color and tries to get us to catch up with his drinking. Wine for me, Scotch and water for them.
There on the table are five jacks and a ball, a wooden bowl with bananas, a hammer with nail, and most surprising, a black, staring cat. Things are arranged, like this, with companions. The hammer has the nail. The bowl has three bananas. An hour passes and the composer starts yelling at his unseen wife in an adjacent room, calling her a dog and instructing her to bring snacks.
This was my one visit to Mr. Fuji’s studio, the only look I had at his life
That day we never reach the river, or meet our egret, who sometimes talks with me, her by the halfway, functional bridge. And we don’t imagine our future home, or think about having a child, or about what to call said child: Margaret, Hazel, Jackrabbit, Saverio.
In silence, the staring cat walks off.
Valerie Fox's work has appeared in Reflex, Ellipsis Zine, The Cafe Irreal, Across the Margin, MacQueen's Quinterly, Juked, Cleaver, New Flash Fiction Review, Hanging Loose, and other journals. A story she wrote is included in The Group of Seven Reimagined: Contemporary Stories on Historic Canadian Paintings. Much interested in collaboration, she published The Real Sky, with Jacklynn Niemiec, a handmade artist's book in an edition of 26, combining her stories and Jacklynn’s art.
The Ekphrastic Review
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