In the last light of one of the year’s last days, we lie on her futon and stare at the peaks of Hong Kong Island. They are capped in pinks and golds, wreathed by the light of the sun that has itself sunk from sight. It’s a beautiful view, one of the world’s best, as far as cities go. The lights are coming on across the city, and the sky up top is starting to settle into the truly dark blue of space. The air, blown back in from the ocean all day, is soupy, the petrochemical mass perfect for refraction. Like LA, sometimes Hong Kong has the most beautiful smog-driven sunsets.
For five whole minutes she lies on top of me utterly still. On my back, my view is of the sky down to the building tops. Her weight, held upright by my right arm, is scant enough that I do not grow stiff. Her view is perpendicular to the ground, facing the island. She can not see the scrolling lights of the ICC. It’s not dark enough for them to dominate the skyline anyway. The purples slowly drip down into the golds, until the hilltops are ringed mostly in a deep rose. It’s subtle, the matter of a few minutes. Perfect for a post-nap six-month-old’s attention span. I’ve never held her this still and not asleep.
I watch the shadows of the hills against the skyline, reflected in her eyes. It’s a strange feeling, seeing someone so clearly a blend of our families take shape. The square jaw and face shape is so familiar; I’ve been waking beside it for fifteen years.
Her room smells perfect. It smells like vacation, and memory. The tatami is brand new, and the scent of fresh straw permeates everything. The room smells like our onsen in Gero. It smells like the hotel in Osaka where she laughed and rolled for hours. On top of the tatami, the single futon folds perfectly in thirds exactly as mine did twenty years ago in Saitama. Though a single, it is big enough for two or three of us, at least for a while yet. I’m still trying to introduce the cat to it. He loves the one in our room, which is thicker, a solid mass of cotton. This one, softer and more malleable, will take him time. Or maybe that’s the occupant, who he’s fascinated by and annoyed with in alternating measures.
Either way, lying here in the afternoon light looking out over the harbor and peaks feels like a new phase. She has her own room with it’s own scents and objects, a new person and a new story being written. At the end of the year, that’s the biggest change, the thing I’ll remember most.