The sun is just setting as the pair are crossing (entirely unnecessarily) over the Morrison bridge. Saito rests his head in his hand and stares out the passenger window. He had been in town for maybe thirty minutes and already he spied two dozen things that caught his eye. He contemplates getting Haru to stop the truck? but Haru is still speaking, no doubt telling Saito all he needed to know to make use of the public transportation or maybe some kind of history lesson. Saito doesn’t care. He is here to escape the turmoil at home, and as the bridge passes underneath them, and the water appears lit by sparkeles from a low sun, he truly feels the first sense of relief in a long, long time. He had a week in Portland no intention of missing a second. But for tonight, he just nneds to soak in the novelty, and get some well-deserved rest.

As the sun disappears, he thinks about how it was already arriving in Tokyo, as if Tokyo were merely on the other side of the horizon, as if just over a hill and not across an ocean that swallowed horizons for snacks. He knew that Miko would have already read the note. Did she sigh, did she cry? Without him there to witness it, did a wry sense of relief stretch a smile across her beautiful face? Maybe she thought he was a coward for running away, and he knew there was some cowardice in it, but he also knew that his mind was buckling under—drowning in—even, some kind of pressure. For a moment, he looks at Haru who has a look of anticipation on his face, like he had just finished a joke, so Saito laughs and nodded.

It was good. With no one to speak to, with no one able to speak to him, he would have true isolation; a laboratory in which to experiment with the loneliness that he felt when there was everyone around talking and talking and talking. Haru was talking of course, but to Saito—he smiles to himself at the thought—listening to Haru is no different than listening to a rare bird’s song. And a rare bird Haru is, Saito thinks. He’d certainly seen nothing like Haru on American television. He was dressed in a suit yes, but it looked to be second-hand. His tie was comically large. Saito liked his hat though. Perhaps Haru would help him procure one just like it.

Without further ado, the truck? groans up to an old house in front of a small traffic circle. Saito can see the address numbers on the door, so at least he knew that he had arrived; not that he cared. He reaches into his new Columbia windbreaker and removes a very large wad of cash. Haru immediately enacts some kind of fit. He seems upset. Was he insulted somehow? Haru takes the cash roll from him and divides it up into smaller rolls and gestures at Saito’s leg and then his shoes? Saito can’t follow and slowly shakes his head at Haru, who, clearly disappointed, hands all the money back. Saito thinks it must be a kind of negotiation. He removes two crisp 20 dollar bills and holds them out to Haru. And Haru refuses? Saito offers $60 and again Haru waves him off. So, Saito puts the money back in his jacket and folds his hands and bows and says, “Domo arigato, Haru dese.”