My news is good. I have been offered a position as assistant professor of science at Louisiana State University in New Orleans. I am filled with excitement over the prospect of guiding the minds of young people. I know you are thinking of changing positions. Will you not consider applications to teach in the parish schools here? We - you and I - could learn to cook French food and tease each other's roof of our mouths as we discover new tastes for our tongue buds. Think about this please.
I am filled with joyous relief that you are almost well again. I miss you Emma.
As ever, I am
I have missed your letters and your presence in my life. I have been filled with a heaviness in my chest which is a surprise because my heart has been in Pittsburgh and there should be an empty place where it used to be. Your letter today has renewed my energy and I thanked my Gods who have been angry with me for weeks now. I think I do penance but am not sure why. Emma, I miss you.
When can I see you again? I want so much to talk with you and share laughter. I confess I went to the food shop and found the root of beer that I bought in large quantities and put in my refrigerator to drink while I remember our times together. I pack my few belongings to make the move to New Orleans in a few weeks. I do not know if it is permissible to cross state lines with the root of beer and I will drink much of it before I leave.
I will be teaching in English. I hope my Chinese mistakes will be few and that my students will understand me. I think my English is better now but those near to me do not correct my words out of fear of less politeness but I do not want to appear the buffoon with the large orange nose in the Ringling Circus show. You would tell me with gentleness if I make big mistakes wouldn't you Emma?
I am tired and when I am tired my English is much lower to the ground when I would have it soar high above my head.
Come back to me, Emma. I need your presence and your inspiration.
As ever, I am your
Dear dear Emma,
You called and talked to me as though we were at a great distance and I was fooled. And then you came by.
Oh Emma! The surprise of seeing you when I answered the knock at the door almost made me fall onto my back - my heart returned from Pittsburgh with a whoosh of wind and a heavy thump in my chest. I was undone and my parts frazzled and made me weak. I thought the Gods were playing tricks and my eyes saw what my heart wanted to see.
But it was you.
And you said what you have said before when we met. You said hold me, Kyou. And I did hold you - better words than hug me.
I put my arms around you - you have grown softer and sweeter in my arms - and I was a boy again, holding my father's hand as we watched the herons hatch - a wondrous thing. And I was again the boy filled with warm happiness eating my mother's special dim sum rolls - the kind she filled with sweet meats and chestnuts and a family secret sauce. She always let me eat until my stomach had its fill - a feeling of much satisfaction. But my sweet Emma. You in my arms was the feeling of the rebirth of our friendship and what might be more - your touch is very dear to me. You in my arms is more than happiness - it is joy.
I do not think you are eating as many hamburgers as you need. You are slimmer than the last time I saw you - still so beautiful - but you need to eat more. I was happy to see you drink 2 roots of beer and happier more when you put ice cream in them. That should put more flesh on you.
You lay your head on my shoulder as we watched the sun set. That is a wondrous thing too - every morn it rises gold in splendid glory and every night it sinks deep red and orange and purple onto the horizon - where land and sea end - and dips below to other lands and other seas. There is much beauty to be enjoyed if shared.
Thank you for staying the night with me. I confess I got up several times to look at you asleep in my bed. The couch was more comfortable than I thought it would be but seeing you in your home of sleep - in my bed - where I have wished you to be was sweeter than my imagination had seen. I sat on the side of the bed and held your hand for a while. Did you know your eyelashes rest on your cheeks? I tucked the covers under your chin and you said my name! Oh Emma! Was I in your home of sleep? Did you dream of you and me together? My heart pounded with delight and joy danced in my head and made me glad.
You made me smile in the morning. You were silent as I made traditional tea and thanked my Gods for you and you bowed your head and thanked them for me! I think they liked that. Do you always sit with crossed legs on the chair when you eat breakfast? And do you always read the words on the cereal box? I did not know that was the custom of Americans in their own home. You teach me new things all the time.
When you turned the radio on and music was playing - I was filled with laughter that you took hold of my body and made demands that we should dance. It was only 8 of the clock in the morning! You said it was a good way to start our day. You were right!
You spoil my arms Emma. They tingle when I hold you in our dancing and they gladden when I hold you when we sit near each other and I am content with you in my embrace. Your thigh touched my thigh and I had visions of more but do not have the words in English to express my heart to yours. If you were mine I would lay with you. I would love you so strong and bold and the Gods of my country would see that I have need to keep you safe within my arms and we would have strong sons and beautiful daughters. In China there are few daughters these days but here in America fathers and mothers can have them without fear. That is a wonderful thing as you are wonder and wonderful in my arms. I say no more because I would not bring the sting of blush to your face unless I was sure it was welcome. If I have said words that I should not have said or made you feel less the lady that you are I send pardons and apology and hope you will not think less of me.
Our 2 days and several more hours went by as monsoons - swift winds and time gone like a tempest - hours passing as if the seconds hand on my watch was a speeding hare. We spoke of many things - your family, my own and the path we are taking to meet our dreams full face. Emma! I have read your number 2 novel and it is wondrous. Your make believe characters are alive as I read them. You have written them as if they live in my building. I feel I know them well and what is more than that, I feel I want to know more about them even though I have come to the very last page. I await with my chest puffed with pride to see your number 1 novel come to my bookstore. I promise not to tell anyone I know how the last page reads. I am proud of the long hours you spent in writing. I think also - I hope this is permissible to say - your novel number 2 is so much better. By the time you write novel number 3 and 4 and more, you will be a famous person that all will want to know.
I alone - will hold to myself - the memory of your laughter as we sat in that little hamburger place and ate many pickles and hamburgers and drank much roots of beer.
Come to New Orleans Emma. Please.
I send many "hold me" embraces and deep affection.
Phone calls are wonderful. I love the sound of your voice in my ear but I miss your words on parchment. I fear my mind does not remember every word you say but my eyes can read your letters again and again and they do.
New Orleans is an exciting piece of this part of America. The university is a micro piece of a greater community. The Garden District is old French and Arcadian and great houses on narrow strips of land. It is not less intelligent than the university section but I think it may be more expensive. The French Quarter is for the visitors touring the area and eating a lot of food and listening to the American jazz music. That is a kind of music that was born in this country but you probably know that. The blues too I think - so soft and breaking of the heart - so much emotion and many sighs of the soul. It is wrenching a bit to listen to it but wears well in my ear.
My apartment is in the university district to make it convenient to get to my classes on the stroke of the clock. It would not make a good impression if the illustrious professor - that is me! - was tardy to my own classes.
Emma, there are beautiful places to visit here and I would love to show them to you. There are good places to eat and I even admit there is a Chinese restaurant that is worthy of a palate that yearns for good sweet and sour pork, dim sum, stir-fry vegetables and decent wonton. I miss my mother's cooking.
I rethink my words and I do not want to give you a falsehood impression. New Orleans is not a paradise. It is a large flat city covering much land adjacent to Lake Ponchatrain and Mississippi River. That is the river the black people sang about in Foster's time. He wrote songs about the black people and the mighty river but I think he was a Caucasian like you. I also tell you that the people here are excessively biased toward having parades, festivities and horse races.
If you come to visit me - I will be positive - WHEN you come to visit me, we will seek out hamburgers and pickles and the root of beer places. That is a promise, sweet Emma. Is that not enough to lure you back in my life? I long to hold you again.
As ever, I am
Where are you? I called your place and you did not answer. You need one of those machines that will listen to my words and let you know that I am thinking of you. I wanted so to hear your voice even if your words are to leave a message at the beep. It is truth I speak when I say that I am thinking of you a lot. Did I tell you I am taking dance lessons?
There is a place that is called Arthur Murray and there is a place that is called Fred Astair and in both places very pretty ladies help you learn to dance or in my case, learn to dance better. I went to both for a free lesson to see if one was better than another - the cost of lessons is the same. I chose the Fred Astair place for one reason only. The lady with all the steps to teach me reminds me of you. She has dark hair and brown eyes and her eyes twinkle like yours do. She has a nice smile but oh Emma! Her laughter is a lot like yours. She is attractive and funny and it is nice to be in her company. I wish it was you.
Please come to New Orleans and meet your double. Please come to New Orleans and I will take you to many fine places to eat. One of those places is a little Chinese kitchen where you can have all the dim sum you can eat and I can watch you and enjoy the look on your face when you fill your mouth with the richness of the food from my country.
Come to New Orleans so that I may see your smile and hear your laughter again.
My heart remains in Pittsburgh for now. It tried Topeka which was satisfactory only for a short visit. Bring my heart back please.