Circle takes the square. The picture didn’t do this girl justice. I was staring at God’s perfection.
She smoothed out her plaid skirt and handed me her carry-on. “You are Ben, right?” I’ll take Whoopie to block.
“That would be me.” The carry-on only weighed four hundred pounds. My right hand dipped toward the floor.
“I could use some coffee.” And I could use somewhere I could reside besides the shallow end of my fantasy pool. I patiently waited for Amber to bitchslap me mentally at the two-foot mark.
“Right this way.” She walked on ahead of me until she spied a coffee shop. She walked in and sat down, awaiting my presence. A waitress came over and quickly brought over two cups of coffee. Rin started talking.
“Sara saved my life.” I could relate. She’d saved mine many a time.
“How so?” I poured cream into my coffee and five packets of sugar. Rin looked on in a look I would describe as a cross between horror and disgust.
“How much do you know about Japanese culture? I should say, about the subcultures over there?” She spoke wonderful, unaccented English.
“I know nothing. Sorry.”
“There is a subculture over there, because I don’t mean to paint all of them this way, that values the subservience of women. A throwback to the Geisha culture. There is a huge fetish culture in Japan. Remember back in the old days when postcards of naked women were a big deal?”
“I’m old, Rin, but not ancient.” I looked at her for some kind of confirmation and didn’t even get a shrug. I probably was ancient in her eyes. She looked to be the same age as Amber.
“Well, I got thrown into the life,” Rin said.
“I was kidnaped. Forced into it. I had to get out or I’d commit suicide. You can only be hogtied so many times.”
“I suppose.” Hogtied? I was way out of my element.
“The last time I was tied up and left for three days. Some people get their kicks in different ways. This guy was into massive pain. I was lucky to get out alive.” There are some things one can’t comment on in life. This was one. Knocking on clever’s door was a useless task during some monologues. For once, I decided to keep my mouth shut. The waitress came over and refilled our cups. I was in no hurry. Rin reached for her overnight bag. She unzipped a zipper and pulled out a large manila envelope. She unclasped the back of it and slid out five 8 x 10 glossy photographs. Rin was naked in all of them, tied up into impossible poses.
“This is what it was like,” she said. “You know, it goes all the way back to the middle ages. It was originally used as torture.” A guy came cruising past the back of our table and did a double take looking down at the photos. He looked at me. I felt as unclean as a four-year-old on a playground. Rin continued.
“They get girls over there as young as nine. I’m sure it happens over here also. In fact, I’m sure of it. Countless little girls kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery.” I took a sip of my coffee. She put one of the pictures in front of me. The rope was tied above and below Rin’s breasts in an elaborate pattern. “This is called Shinju.” This looked like none of the knots I learned at summer camp with the Boy Scouts.
“They have names for all this stuff? It looks like people just tie you up willy nilly.”
“Every single rope and truss has a meaning. This particular one makes the breasts and nipples very sensitive. Shinju. It means, the pearls.” Bondage 101 being taught to me by a twenty-year old.
“Rin, no offense, but why are you telling me all this?”“Because Sara thought you might be able to help me.”
. . .from the novel in progress. . .Permanent Declarations of a Temporary Love