My boyfriend scoops me up in the Jeep and sends us down the road to Vegas. The windows are
open and the air sounds like tissue paper. And there's no music playing. There's no song or talk.
My boyfriend tells me to relax, but I can't relax. I hold onto the car door. I'm holding on as hard
as I can. The casino lunges at us from out of nowhere and I tell it to take my last dime. You take
it, I'm too dizzy. My boyfriend pulls the lever for me and three cherries roll into a line on the slot
machine. Fifty bucks! He kisses my forehead, laughing. We're laughing now. It's alright now,
we're laughing. He holds my hips when we wait in line for I don't know what. He puts
something in my hand and I lose it I don't know when. There are no clocks here, just music.
There's music now. There's glitter on my legs from somewhere. There's vomit in the bathroom
from me. I help my boyfriend hide chips up his sleeve. Shit, they're coming, I say, and then I'm
running. We're both running. He's wet as a rag and asking what the fuck did I do? I tell him it's
his turn to relax, and then I show him how it's done. I throw our chips into the air because what's
money? I scream into the desert because they'll never find us here. I tell my boyfriend, We've never looked so good! But he's not laughing now. He's just sitting. We're both sitting and trying to figure out what's not funny. And then the sun rises. I point to it and say, I'll be dead when that hits its zenith. Because that means the night is done. The party's over. We have to go home. And you're not coming with me, are you? My boyfriend tells me life'll work out in the end. Try to stop crying, he says. I explain again that I'll be dead pretty soon, and now we're both crying. But then, death is different than I expected. There's a library and a transit line and a community garden, and I learn to keep my head down. I practice Japanese in the mirror and watch my mouth take on the new shapes. I move to Japan and marry a 67-year-old samurai—widowed, and he still loves her, and I'll never compare, but at least we're not alone anymore. We're on the floor. He offers me saké and I decline. Sumimasen. Osake ga nomenai desu. It makes me talk too much, I explain. I'd rather be quiet. He touches my shoulder and we don't exchange another word for the rest of his life. We only make love, only when I'm asleep. And it's not rape, I just like it that way. And after he dies, I stay awake for a week. I give his swords to a schoolgirl and then find out that wasn't right. I can't seem to do what's right. The neighbors weigh in and tell me to be honorable, do what's right. I kneel before the river with a bamboo sword and prepare to do what's right. I close my eyes and apologize once more. I open my eyes and my old boyfriend's running toward me, dressed like a soldier. He tosses the bamboo into the river and takes my hand. I was fighting in the war, he explains, but it's over now. We skip through the tall grass, words streaming. He says, Remember when we went to Vegas? I say, Let's have our wedding there! We stop skipping and he looks at me. He looks away and says, I'm sorry. That's not what I meant. He pulls his tiny wife out of his pocket as explanation and her long hair tumbles down his fingers. She's so beautiful and I die right there for the second and final time.