LOVE LETTER

I suppose many girls dream of meeting their favorite movie star or singer, poet – they met, fall madly in love and live happily ever after.

But if you think about it someone has to give up something for this to work. Give up your privacy, become the object of other's jealousy or move to another country; no problem is the answer so very often but I found it to be the only problem.

You see, I met the man who owns my heart and this is my story...

I work in a shop at the top end of Kloof Street; it is a lovely little shop and the walk from the train station is really pleasant. I have two paths I can chose to walk – one takes me through the Gardens and past the museum but I seldom take this path as it means being harassed by various people for various things. They are jarring when walking under the trees where you can't hear the city and you can imagine you are not in one. The other path, however, is rather nice even though I am walking along a main road. Walking up Long street at that hour has a very European feel as all the café's are opening up, setting out tables; regulars having their morning coffee and chat before starting the day. As I walked I would greet people that I see everyday, I don't know their names or where they came from and they knew nothing about me but a passing wave was a great way to start the day.

One summer day it was very hot and stuffy so I decided to walk through the cool shade of the Gardens. The path was quite busy as many people had had the same idea. I can't exactly remember where but I was about halfway up the path when I saw him.

I should tell you a bit about him first. He name is Genji and he's a rather famous singer in Japan. I've been fascinated with Asia for as long as I can remember and in my general interest I hit upon Japan and it appealed to me more than all the others. So much so that I ordered music by bands I hardly knew and devoured any article that featured Japan.

But there was a very special singer for me – Genji. I was soon captivated by the passion of his voice and the music he wrote. I didn't understand the words he sang but I felt the meaning in my heart.

Seeing him sitting on a Garden bench at first seemed very surreal and I suppose I hadn't truly woken up yet. He spotted me looking at him and seeing I recognised him, lifted his hand in greeting. I casually returned the gesture, a little embarrassed about being caught staring, and quickly walked away.

Here I have to say that while most people would have rushed over and asked for an autograph, I was very uncomfortable with the idea. I had built up such an image in my head I didn't want to be disillusioned and realise he was just a person.

However, his curiosity got the better of him and he followed me.

I arrived at work, I felt I should tell someone but who? He was barely known outside Japan. My sister knew who he was as I had told her and made her listen to my whole collection, pointing out all the piano bits that I felt had the most feeling or where his voice was so... passionate.

I didn't end up telling anyone and felt rather pleased with how I had handled myself.

That is until he walked into the shop. I may have stumbled, possibly dropped something. He took this all in his stride but he was famous, girls did this around him all the time.

"Hi," I said.

"Hello," he said in his voice that I knew so well.

"Er," I said to clear my throat, "are you happy to browse or are you looking for something in particular?"

"I think I found what I'm looking for."

He was looking right at me when he said it.

"Oh," I squeaked, I could feel my face going red.

"Can I take you out for coffee?" he asked, I don't think he even once looked at the wares that lined the shop walls.

His English was good if heavily accented but I found that so charming.

When you work with friends – so many rules get bent. So when I looked over at my friend, with her hidden smile, and asked if she minded she shook her head and said,

"Take the day off if you want."

Half of me went yes! And the other half no! As I have previously said I didn't want to find out he was just a person. I wanted him to remain the illusion I had created in my mind, to be who I wanted and not real at all.

I would like to say otherwise but it was awkward. His English was not that extensive and I knew no Japanese; added to that I don't drink coffee. Not drinking coffee left like a big thing at the time; how silly.

After a long pause he said,

"I was surprised to see a fan here; in Cape Town."

"Oh, you have many fans. Whole websites devoted to you, not just in Japanese," I said. I had done lots of research, spending hours looking for all his songs. Conversation did pick up from there. And coffee turned into lunch.

What I remember most about that week that followed was how relaxed and content I became. I soon forgot my ideals and the real man was so interesting compared to the flat image I had carried with me for so long.

I had not fallen in love with him in the movie way of things. But I enjoyed his company so much and sometimes just his presents was enough. Sitting together in a park, showing him the sights of Cape Town, the places I liked most. Sitting in the lounge while I requested song after song on the piano. I was floating in bliss.

Then he had to go home. The night before he flew we went to my favorite Chinese restaurant.

"Come back with me," he said suddenly as the evening was coming to close.

I was surprised.

"Go back with you?" I repeated.

"I don't want to leave you behind," he said looking at me.

"Why go?" I asked, "stay."

He chuckled.

"It's not that easy," he said leaning back in his chair.

"No, it's not," I agreed.

We looked at each other for a long time.

"So who has to give up their home?" I asked quietly.

"Make a new one with me – in Japan," he said. "I'll look after you, teach you the language."

I smiled, it sounded so easy when he said it. Could I give up my home for a public lifestyle in Japan? It was so far away, so different.

"Can't you make a home here?" I asked.

"I have responsibilities," he said.

"And I don't?" I was irrationally angry, disappointed. Why had he asked me? I did want to go but could one man I had know a week replace a lifetime of friends and family? I wanted to follow with all my heart but I just couldn't see it working.

We didn't speak for the rest of the evening but he asked me to accompany him to the airport the next day and I said I would.

Standing at that boarding gate is possibly the moment when I felt true heartache; my love made solid and pulled from my chest. We had yet to say anything to each other.

"Are we going to part in silence?" he asked.

"Words seem hollow," I said. I wanted to cry but I also wanted to be brave for as much as I wanted to be with him and he with me, we came from different world and they were so far apart; and there was no bridge to span the distance.

"Here," he said handing me an envelope. It had my name on the front.

"What is it?" I asked fingering the edge.

"Don't open it now," he said, there was a catch to his voice. I looked up and our eyes met, he leaned forward and gently kissed me on the forehead. And I couldn't be brave anymore.

He boarded the plane and I made my slow way to the car, I read the note when I got home. I never saw him again but I still listen to all that he sings.

A moment in time

Spend with you

Is worth the

Heartache of parting

And the loneliness to follow

Genji