Jun 01 2010
Nagasaki Mon Amour
There are moments when things become clear. A night, the Pacific Ocean was,
as its name, calm; I sat on deck and listened to the heartbeat of the ship,
which seemed to beat faster when one of the engineers opened the door and
came out on deck. I heard laughter from the mess-room they were playing
cards but I knew I would never be one of them, I had tried, the swagger and
the misogyny, living in a world where women were either whores or mothers.
The ship was bound for Nagasaki, which for the young crew meant little, but
I had been here before and visited a graveyard where Portuguese sailors had
died long time ago when Japan was an unknown land. At sixty I was a relic
and accepted that. Berthed. Walking down the gangway, I didn’t bother to look
back, didn’t shake anyone’s hand- it was dinner time anyway. Before flying back
to Europe I tried to find the Portuguese cemetery, it wasn’t there anymore;
another relic gone.