i mourn at the sushi bar.
these days, i prefer the reality game-shows from japan to the movies and the contests of physical strength, of obvious endurance, of clear failure or success. no subtitles.
the woman in the center of the shot is casting about for someone to hug - she seems to want to pogo up and down, with her shattering smiles, for someone to celebrate with her, while the confetti faints down.
the audience shrieks, and the band plays with practiced relish.
a row of judges look on, each one a delicate, anime-faced doll.
i know that i am meant to envy them, to want to emulate their painless optimality, and i do.
their beauty is their reason to be there, and nothing more is required of them.
when i ask the waitress:
"what did she win?" the girl, she explains to me that she's just learned she will be married to the show's handsome bachelor of the week, that he is her prize.
in the audience, the camera finds a man who must be her father.
he looks like he wants to flee, perhaps to the restroom, but also he looks like someone for whom something painful has already been passed.
the groom extends a hand to his bride, who is trying to prevent herself from hiding her smile behind her hands, or behind a long scarf that winds and winds around her neck, as if she senses that when she sees this moment later, it will be a poison to her, a humiliation:
her shaming joy in this moment, with this man.
and still, what an expression as he takes her hand.
her face conveys a radioactive, superluminal, primal hope.
a moment's belief in this momentary dream. the confetti and the smiling judge-dolls, the handsome man who will pretend to be hers for a moment or two, or maybe not ever at all. it's a dream set in a nightmare, and it is hers to relive, to repeat over and over, captured by the audience, the viewers at home, maybe even her own television, set to auto-record.
i am sick for her plain joy, a memento mori to love, for all to see.
anyway, i eat alone, and i don't speak Japanese.
maybe the waitresses only want to fuck with me.
maybe there's something else to it that would stop me wanting to cover my face with my hands
right here at the sushi bar,
to rock forward and forward, like a drowner moving in time with with the waves,
walking out to sea.
isn't there always something?
if not, i think maybe there should be.
goodbye, martin macdonald. rest in peace.