I don’t think it needs an introduction anymore.
I walk past the security guards to get into the VIP area backstage. I can recognize a few faces and I have people I can call friends here but I’m a stranger here, I’m not even supposed to be in the back. But it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. I’ll just head to the lounge and pregame with the rockstars and punks and rappers and managers.
What I don’t talk about is the stories I’ve been hearing, the people I’ve been meeting. I turned 19 in June and it’s November now and there is so much to process already because I always bite off more than I can chew.
I sat down with Jake last week. Big scary rapper, dad of two. I watched him eat his bento as he told me about where he grew up and stuff. He told me 19 is the best age, that I’m young and that I’ll be going through a lot of shit from now on. At first I didn’t really bother because I promised myself bad stuff won’t ever happen to me ever again. But that’s only because I blame myself for cruel things that have been done to me. Jake, tough shit will happen to me and I’m okay with it. I don’t talk about the worst things that happened to me and the PTSD that keeps me frozen sometimes but Jake, you’re right. And it’ll be fine. I turned out alright after all. Not dead at 15.
Teru tells me he’s been on Warped Tour a few times in the last decade. I had to Google it when I got home because it’s hard to believe when all you know is 405 Express. Sent him a message of recognition. But what does a fag like me got to do with a 36 year old rockstar like that? I don’t know. I just hope I can latch onto people with a name so I can do myself better.
My cousin says she’s not worried for me. She’s right. And my boyfriend says that I should take it easy.
The night sky is so big and all the buildings with their red lights watching over me. Mizuki is just so cool, I swear, she’s just a really cool person. Hideyoshi. Congratulations on being such a genius. You made me feel so godly. When I’ll turn 24, I hope I can make my friends feel godly too.
My mama didn’t raise a bitch so I won’t be taking the taxi home. Anyways, it’ll cost like 7000 yen and I only have a few bills left hidden under my mattress. But get home safe! Shaka and Keigo promise me that we’ll party again. I’ll be around for a long time so I know that’s for sure. And I lost my Suica, and I’m losing my sense of direction. I’ll stop a few more times on the way to the train station to make new friends and wrap it up for the night. I go home and find out my new friends are printed on billboards around the city. I didn’t think I’d see them on GQ Japan’s YouTube channel. Silly little Mizuki.
Mizuki all you do is party recently. Of course, it’s strategic. It’s going just like I envisioned it. I’m just kidding, it’s going way too fast.
It’s every night. Now it’s just house music, it’s giggling in the Famima, it’s taking the long way home in the morning because you took the wrong train. Now it’s just trying to remember everyone’s name because I’m really trying to be strategic. I have somewhere to be in a few years.
Suddenly it’s 2am and I’m lying to the bouncer.
Suddenly it’s 3am and your friends don’t recognize me.
Suddenly it’s 4am and we’re jogging on the track at Yoyogi.
Suddenly it’s 5am and piggy back ride under the sheer sky of Shibuya.
Suddenly it’s 6am and I have no more lipstick.
Suddenly it’s 7am and you don’t remember getting off the train.
Suddenly it’s 8am and my grandma’s calling.
Suddenly it’s 9am and today feels like tomorrow in your arms.
Hikaru, I like being with you. I write dozens of pages about you and it’s all the little things. When I offered you a clementine, you refused because once you ate so many you got sick. I’d be lying if I said that your tenderness didn’t make me ache. You make me want to live forever.
I like watching you skate. Ueno park after dark, you hold my hand, you call me in the morning just to remind me that I’m loved to bits, and I tell you every time that it’s so good it feels like a dream and you agree. You agree. Mostly, I don’t feel like I’m losing to you. Failed kisses, you watch me and see a nice future. You ask me often, is it okay to have something this good? I say yes, yes, yes, if it’s you, it’s okay. You’re the best and even if you weren’t, I wouldn’t want anyone else.
Tokyo is a big city. I find friends everywhere I go. It feels like I never existed anywhere else. It’s hard to not get lost but you let me build a home in you and I don’t know how to thank you.
Now it’s just park benches, now it’s just Yamanote line, it’s not leaving the house this week because I need to write and draw and console myself. Now it’s Ride by Lana Del Rey, it’s wondering who will find out that I only do Exit Number Five so I can have a full fridge because having salami makes me the happiest.
Now it’s just talking about how literally all of y’all have a criminal record and it makes it easier for me to forgive the monsters in my basement in Beaconsfield. Now it’s just you letting me sob in your arms at 2 am, you telling me you’ll make me forget about all the evil I had to swallow as a teen.
You’re all so famous and cool. And that’s alright. But when it’ll be my time, will I remember you? Will I remember you when I’m famous and cool too? Will my Wikipedia page talk about how I feel cursed because I’ll never be anything more than human?
Sometimes I’m helpless. For no apparent reason. And I prayed to Elaine that it wouldn’t happen but I saw Kamui at the club. I think he saw me happy. I hope he’s still wary of me.
I only feel nervous because it doesn’t feel like I have a past. It doesn’t feel like I have a mom, or a dad, or Kana or Marie or Izzy. I forget about my tattoos. It’s easy to forget who I am and I have to remind myself a few times a day.
I wouldn’t change that though. This morning when we were leaving Shibuya, I told Mutsuki and Sein about the Yoshinoya that had me glued to my seat on my first day, full of dread for what’s coming next.
It gets easier. People are happy to see me. People are starting to talk about me. I have somewhere to lay my head on when I drink too much and pockets big enough for me to carry around a permanent marker.
I am so far from where I used to be. And I used to be so unhappy.
It’s starting to feel like I get to have my cake and eat it all, too.