Tell you the truth, she's not that good looking, she doesn't stand out in any way. Her clothes are nothing special. The back of her hair is still bent out of shape from sleep. She isn't young either - must be near 30, not even close to a "girl," properly speaking. But still, I know from fifty yards away: she's the 100% perfect girl for me. The moment I see her there's a numbing in my chest and my mouth is as dry as a desert.
Maybe you have your own particular favourite type of girl - one with slim ankles, say, or big eyes or graceful fingers, or you're drawn for no good reason to girls who take their time with every meal. I have my own preferences of course. Sometimes in a restaurant I'll catch myself staring at the girl at the table next to mine because I like the shape of her nose.
But no one can insist that his 100% perfect girl corresponds to some preconceived type, much as I like noses, I can't recall the shape of hers or even if she had one. All I can remember for sure is that she was no great beauty. It's weird.
"Yesterday on the street I passed the 100% perfect girl", I tell someone.
"Yeah?" he says, "Good looking?"
"Your favourite type, then?"
"I don't know, I can't seem to remember anything about her - the shape of her eyes or the size of her breasts."
"So anyhow," he says, already bored, "What did you do? Talk to her? Follow her?"
"Nah. just passed her on the street."
She's walking east to west, and I west to east. It's a really nice April morning.
Wish I could talk to her. Half an hour would be plenty: just to ask her about herself, tell her about myself, and - what I'd really like to do - explain about the complexities of fate that have led to our passing each other on a side street in Harajuka on a beautiful April morning in 1981. This was something sure to be crammed full of warm secrets, like an alarm clock built when peace filled the world.
After talking, we'd have lunch somewhere, maybe see a Woody Allen movie, stop by a hotel bar for cocktails. With any kind of luck we might end up in bed.
Potential knocks on the door of my heart. Now the distance between us has narrowed to fifteen yards. How can I approach her? What should I say? "Good morning, miss. Do you think you could spare half an hour for a little conversation?"
Ridiculous. I'd sound like an insurance salesman. "Pardon me, but would you happen to know if there is an all-night cleaner in the neighbourhood?"
No, this is just as ridiculous. I'm not carrying any laundry for one thing. Who's going to buy a thing like that?
Maybe the simple truth would do. "Good morning. You are the 100% perfect girl for me."
No, she wouldn't believe it. Or even if she did she might not want to talk to me. "Sorry," she could say, "I might be the 100% perfect girl for you, but you're not the 100% perfect boy for me." It could happen. And if I found myself in that situation, I'd probably go to pieces. I'd never recover from the shock. I'm thirty two and that's what growing old is all about.
We pass in front of a flower shop. A small, warm air mass touches my skin. The asphalt is damp, and I catch the scent of roses. I can't bring myself to speak to her. She wears a white sweater, and in her right hand she holds a crisp white envolope lacking only a stamp. So: She's written somebody a letter, maybe spent the whole night writing, to judge from the sleepy look in her eyes. The envolope could contain every secret she's ever had.
I take a few more strides and turn: she's lost in the crowd.
Now, of course I know exactly what I should have said to her. It would have been a long speech, though, far too long for me to have delivered it properly. The ideas I come up with are never very practical.
Oh well, it would have started:
"Once upon a time" and ended "A sad story, don't you think?"
Once upon a time, there lived a boy and a girl. The boy was eighteen and the girl sixteen. He was not unusually handsome and she was not especially beutiful. They were just an ordinary lonely boy and an ordinary lonely girl, like all the others, but they but they believed with their whole hearts that somewhere in the world there lived the 100% perfect boy and the 100% perfect girl for them, yes, they believed in a miracle, and the miracle actually happened.
One day the two came upon each other on the corner of the street.
"This is amazing" he said, "I've been looking for you all my life. You may not believe this, but you're the 100% perfect girl for me".
"And you," she said to him, "are the 100% perfect boy for me, exactly as I'd pictured you in every detail. It's like a dream." They sat on a park bench, held hands, and told each other their stories hour after hour. They were not lonely anymore.
They had found and been found by their 100% perfect other. What a wonderful thing it is to fing and he found by your 100% perfect other, it is a cosmic miracle, a tiny, tiny sliver of doubt took root in their hearts: was it really all right for one's dreams to come true so easily?
And so, when their came a momentary lull in their conversation. the boy said to the girl, "Let's test ourselves - just once. If we really are each other's 100% perfect lovers, then sometime, somewhere, we will meet again without fail. And when that happens, and we know that we are the 100% perfect ones we'll marry then and there. What do you think?"
"Yes", she said "That is exactly what we should do." And so they parted, she to the east, he to the west.
The test they had agreed to, however was utterly unneccersary. They should never have undertaken it, because they were truly each other's perfect lovers and it was a miracle that they had ever met. But it was impossible for them to know this, young as they were. The cold indifferent waves of fate proceeded to toss them unmercifully.
One winter, both the boy and girl came down with the season's terrible influenza, and after drifting for weeks between life and death they lost all memory of their early years. When they spoke, their heads were as empty as the young D.H. Lawrence's piggy bank.
They were two bright, determined young people, however, and through efforts they were able to aquire once again the knowledge and feeling that qualified them to return as full-fledged members of society. Heaven be praised, they became upstanding citizens who knew how to transfer from one subway line to another, who were fully caperble of sending a special-delivery letter at the post office. Indeed, they even experienced love again, sometimes as much as 75% or even 85% love.
Time passed with shocking swiftness, and soon the boy was thirty-two, the girl thirty.
One beautiful April morning, in search of a cup of coffee to start the day, the boy was walking from west to east to east, while the girl, intending to send a special delivery letter, was walking from east to west both along the same narrow street in the Harajuka neighbourhood of Tokyo, they passed each other in the very center of the street. The faintest gleam of their lost memories glimmered for the briefest moment in their hearts. Each briefest moment in their hearts. Each felt a rumbling in their chest. And they knew: She is the 100% perfect girl for me. He is the 100% perfect boy for me.
But the glow of their memories was for too weak, and their thoughts no longer had the clarity of fourteen years earlier. Without a word, they passed each other, disappearing into the crowd. Forever.
A sad story don't you think?
YES : THAT'S IT. That is what I should have said to her.