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All the Angels Come - Chapter 7


Masuyo Leaves

Masuyo shivers in her sleep on this hot summer day, unconsciously tightening her red coat, while the neighborhood regulars know a show is about to begin. The patrons in the sushi cafe sitting at the window, check the time on their phones, anticipating the hourly leap. The servers know that customers who witness the spectacle tip better. On the hour, Masuyo awakens and executes an Olympian jump off the sushi café ledge. The patrons clap from behind the glass.


“Massy!” they cheer.


Masuyo pays no attention to the onlookers as she scans the leaves, her eyes darting back and forth so quickly you can almost hear the swoosh, like in a Kung Fu movie. Surprised by what she sees, Masuyo gets rigid. Her shoulders up to her ears, her eyebrows tight around the bridge of her nose. Her leaves have been rearranged and stacked in a pile.


Two boys in tank tops, hide around the brick corner whispering, with rakes in their hand, trying to silence their laugh. Masuyo is disconcerted; patterns and messages missing. She loosens, shaking the tension down her arms. In one graceful leap, and with cat-like precision, Masuyo lands square on the top of the mound without scattering a single leaf.


Her facial scars reappear, so she pulls her hoodie back over her head. Masuyo leaves her striped socks in her pocket and remains still on her throne. In the café window patrons are laughing.


“Fix the leaves Massy!” they say.


She sits on the pile, eyes closed. The sushi café patrons assume the glass muffles their slings, but Masuyo hears everything.


“Fix the fucking leaves!” yell the boys on the corner. Loud and clear.


Her nose begins bleeding over the bruises, fading in on her upper lip.  Tears move around her high cheeks and mix with the blood. Today it’s too much, but it serves to recreate old connections. The scars of a hard life connect in her scattered, but agile mind. As quick to think as she is to jump, her mind leaps from one memory to the next. She tucks her hoodie closer to her face and remembers what she has worked hard to forget.


“Stack the fucking dishes,” her husband" Masato yells, drunk from his flight. He taps his fingers on the counter.


Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap.


Masuyo sits on the kitchen floor, unmoving except for the tears. She doesn’t remember why she fell in love with this man she has known since she was a little girl, and the first to touch her. Why she can’t imagine life without him. Masato inhales deeply from his fresh cigar. His golf tee patterned tie in a perfect St. Andrew Knot.


“Stack - the - fucking – dishes – Ma-su-yo,” he screams, shoving her bungeed textbooks from the kitchen table. They hit the tile, open and scatter. Masuyo knows she is next.


Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap.


Masuyo remains as Masato swings a fist from above and behind, breaking her nose. He’s proud at his precision swing, left arm straight, so not to rob power from the shot. Then one more drive to the back of her head. The short but powerful little man has things to prove. He heads down the hall grabbing his bottle of Shochu on the way. Masuyo falls slowly to the floor trying to hang on to consciousness.


Masato likes all the forks and knives facing the same way. He wants the couch pillows straight and the curtains pulled. He wants Masuyo’s diplomas and modeling photos face down. He is as particular about his trophies being perfectly aligned on the shelf as he is about his golf swing. That includes the swing that met Masuyo’s head.


Masuyo ignores the warm blood on her face, it is trivial, because this week she reads a book for school about the holocaust. It’s on the floor, open to the page, and she reads it as she regains consciousness.


“Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander,” Yehuda Bauer writes.


Today she is keeping two of those commandments. The other would have to wait. From a swift jump to her feet, she walks down the hall, bungee cord in hand, shaking and loosening her arms at her side. Standing above the couch, red highlights in her black hair, she faces Masato.


“Fuck you bitch,” he says, disturbing the smoke curling from the ashtray.


He barely gets the words out when Masuyo has him on his feet by his balls. Swinging the bungee cord around his neck, she pulls him to the front door facing Riverside Avenue straight across from the sushi café. With a swift kick, he is on the sidewalk stumbling.


“You will never change Masato,” she states.


“You’re a fucking bitch,” he laughs stumbling over the curb. “That,” he declares at the top of his lungs, “will never change.”


These are Masato’s last words as he falls in the path of a car going fifty mph in thirty-five mph zone. He flies over the windshield and lands by the tree. By the time rescue gets there he is covered in leaves and his heart is still. Masuyo watches from behind the curtain.


“There you go Masato, you got change.”


“Par,” she declares.


Bringing his still smoldering cigar to her mouth, she takes a deep hit then snuffs it out. She walks back to the kitchen; her heart is also still. The heart of a murderer, she thinks. Masuyo the perpetrator, unaware of her brain injury, stacks and restacks dishes until dawn.


As the sun rises opposite the moon, Masuyo leaves her apartment, crosses the street, sits by the tree, and sleeps like she did when she was a little girl. Before Masato touched her.


The sushi cafe patrons are tapping incessantly on the window attempting to stir Masuyo from her trance. 


Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap.


Her eyes open, waking with more clarity than she’s had in a long time,


Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap.


She bounces up and moves so fast it seems like she disappears from her throne of leaves, and reappears by the café window. 


“You-will-never-change,” she shrieks through the glass, scaring the patrons.


The two boys, rakes in hand, run north on Riverside Avenue. Masuyo dismantles her luggage cart, leaving all but the bungee strapped suitcase, sitting in the leaves. She looks at the curb in front of her old apartment on the opposite side of the avenue and she remembers.


“Thou shalt not be a victim,” she says. “Thou shalt not be a bystander.”


Suitcase in hand, she runs in leaps just minutes behind the boys. The leaves scatter around her abandoned belongings as Masayo the perpetrator closes in on them, heading toward the river.


One of the sushi café patrons calls 911. Soon thereafter, Lieutenant Sharon Holmquist’s radio wakes up again, interrupting Skye, who is scattering the pile of mail still on the living room floor. His legs are straight and hind quarters up, eyes darting back and forth waiting for Sharon, who has her own scars to think about but escapes them in her sleep.


Original images by D Sharon Pruitt

Vangelis Bagiatis Photography
Eternal Return To Uncertainty

by Vangelis Bagiatis

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