I love you. You're great! You're wonderful! You were like a member of my family last summer. So I love you like a sister. To me you're an angel. You are a true friend.
But why are you getting drunk every night at the Bar Three Star in New Koza?
I had heard of New Koza's reputation for having many short-time bars. I had heard of their VD reputation, too. So, expecting the place to go "off limits" in the near future, and having two dollars in my pocket, and wanting to write about New Koza before it does go "off limits" tonight I went there at eleven o'clock.
I am stationed in Okinawa as an enlisted member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. I have been here nearly two years, absorbing experiences for a future writing endeavor. My themes are life, the local population, and the "Ugly Americans." I am one of the latter. My general off duty behavior is to seek pleasure and sexual gratification. "Experience" I call it. I need experience.
For a half hour I checked out the bars without buying a drink. I didn't have the money, but I would have bought one if I did. Finally I returned to the very first bar that I had arrived at by taxi a half hour earlier. I had passed it up at that time.
I looked in and a tiny and lively na-san was getting spanked by 3 GIs. Her face wore a bright smile. I could see no other girls in there that appealed to me so I turned and left. As I was walking to the next bar I heard her call to me. I turned and looked back at her. She was cute.
"Remember me?" she asked happily.
Thinking that she was drunk, I began to walk back. Maybe she wanted to take me home. And then I raised my arm to point to her and I smiled happily with surprise.
"I'm Juicie," she said.
"I know. I know," I replied. "What? What...? I can't believe it. I won't believe it. No, never happen. Juicie! How are you?"
I had always known her laughing voice, but tonight it was made terrific with the giggles and gurgles of alcohol. Tonight it was December 4th and I hadn't seen Juicie for three months. She was one of Sako's friends who I had met frequently when I shacked up with Sako last summer.
I walked into the bar and let it be known that I had no money. I was still too selfish to part with that two dollars.
"No sweat," she said. "Forget about money. Sit down." She bought me a whiskey sour and we talked like old strangers. She told the other na-sans about our past.
"I was big," she said as she held her hand above her belly and finished in Japanese. Juicie had been pregnant when I met her. She had her baby while I was in the states on leave. Her American boy friend had changed his mind about coming back to Okinawa. Then we talked and talked --happily learning something more about each other with every word.
As soon as my drink was finished, she told me to escort her to a cup of coffee. She led the way across the street to a restaurant crowded with stareing GIs. I realized then that I would fight them to keep them away from harming her. We sat down at a tiny table and both got coffee and continued to talk.
"I've never seen you drunk. You're a nut."
She asked about Sako. I told her about my last date with Sako to Naha City with Umeko's baby. We had gone to a movie the same night, "Suzie Wong." I told her a lot.
"The last time I saw you was at your house with Umeko and the two babies. That was the day I got back from the states. Remember?" We reminised like this for quite a while.
Suddenly she whispered in my ear, "I'm going to get a cigarette."
"Want me to buy some?" But already she was asking the boys at the table behind ours. And within another minute she wanted me to sit down with them. She dragged up an extra chair and although it was against my better judgement I joined the three of them. Juicie knew the name of each one despite the fact that she had only met two of them for the first time that night. She was as informal and familiar as if we were all in one family. She told how I had only known her when she was big with her baby. She said that I was her friend's old honey-wa.
Finally they left. We offered to buy food for each other, but refused each other's offer. Then she slowly collapsed her head to the table. I didn't touch her or speak to her. I realized the nausious feeling that was going through her. Afterwards we returned to the bar. Immediately she slumped onto a double chair. It was after twelve so I had to leave.
"I don't want to say 'Good night' to you." I was just too happy, but I left anyway. There were groups of GI animals on the street. I thought that I should watch to see that Juicie got away safely. I went down a back street to find the stairs to the restaurant rooftop. The building didn't have one, so I reappeared on the street. Immediately I was met by Foster and Gene, the two guys that I had just met.
"Give up, huh?" he asked me.
"No. I won't even try." I told him too much about her. Now I realize that I shouldn't have. But he told me that she got drunk a few days before because she got a letter from her boy friend in the states. (Last summer she got a letter from his mother reporting his death.) She had cried that day. She got the new letter and was drunk. I can possibly verify this new letter with Sako.
(December 30, 1977.)
Probably Benny's mother had told him to forget his own daughter, his own child. How could he? I wondered. And how can mothers exert that much influence? It was a situation which my mind continued to ponder off and on -- the absentee marine -- the boy in the grey flannel suit.
December 4, 1964.
His last question was, "Where did you leave her?"
"In the bar."
He entered it as I got into a taxi. He even knows where her house is in New Koza and where it used to be in New Koza. I still don't know where the child is.
Umeko and Sako were brought to the bar the other day. Chuck has dropped by once. I will return tomorrow to tell her not to trust Foster, a member of the 1st 503rd Airborne Batallion.
I returned to Nakanamachi to find Dick. I was unsuccessful, but I saw Hargrave, Evans, Uko (Hasnya), three boys from the Esquire, two MPs, Daiko, and last of all, Sochan and his wife Kimiko. And they showed me where they live. I took this as an honor when bestowed upon an American GI.
December 5, 1964.
I'm glad I don't have to work today.
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