It was with utmost sarcasm that I wrote “Atomic Girl,” but underneath its layer of drunken belligerence beat a genuine heart. The song is at once a scathing indictment of the manipulative, self-destructive S and an admission of my own part in creating the terrible situation from which I’d been forced to escape. It’s a step-by-step dissection of a habit I’d developed in my life of being enticed by half-heartedly suicidal girls, allowing them to pull me into their terrible worlds instead of pulling them out. I was protesting the atomic bomb with my finger on the button, and it took a situation as exaggerated as this one to finally allow me to see the caricature I’d become.
At roughly midnight, we arrived back at my apartment. My Kiwi friend decided to stay the night at my place to avoid a cumbersome walk home. Just before he went to take a shower, I received a phone call. It was S.
“Did you really. . . believe my story?” She spoke in Japanese. Her voice wavered.
“Well yeah, why wouldn’t I?”
On the other end of the phone, S let out a terrible wail. She wasn’t just crying–she was bawling.
“Where are you?” I asked.
A wise or more occupied man would have stopped frequenting the BL at this point. But roughly two weeks later, I went back, for lack of a better idea. I’m proud to say that it was not in forbidden anticipation of once again encountering S, but rather in spite of the possibility of. I’m pretty sure.
The day was the vernal equinox, I believe, which in Japan is a national holiday. My Kiwi friend and I were out drinking “bears,” as he called them, at a gaudy but hidden burger joint called Honey’s Diner. It was one of the few places open on the holiday, but two drinks in, they were closing shop.
“Could sure go for another round,” my friend said. “Any places around here gonna be open?”
“Eh, I guess there is this one place, but. . . if we run into any familiar faces, I’m counting on you to bail me out of a situation.”
The next time I went to BL, she was there. She perked up as I entered and explained that she’d been waiting for me to show up. She was alone again. Again it was mango juice. I’ll admit that I’d half expected all this. I’ll also admit that I was struck by a faint flashback to about five different late-’80s and early-’90s Hollywood thrillers that I never saw. Was S to be my own personal Glenn Close? Surely she wasn’t far off. Dahaha. A little Glenn Close humor for you.
I returned to my home in the unremarkable town of Tajimi with a newfound love for beautiful, traumatized Hiroshima and a disgust for something I couldn’t quite name. Not for a specific person or government, but for something as simple and abstract as the concept of enmity itself. Naturally for the Bomb as well. I could still see the logic in why they chose to drop it and then drop it again, but could no longer see that logic as “justification”. How could you justify the mass cooking of a city filled with civilians? I love civilians. And the ones in Hiroshima, among other things, make the world’s best okonomiyaki. Also they deserve to live.