broken heart, broken glass, bye-bye lover boy

Once, in the midst of all the recklessness …

January 24 prompt, “A Writer’s Book of Days”

It’s not every American who gets to experience the back seat of a police car in Japan. Tokyo, to be precise.

It’s not the first time that Shige, my lover at the time, and I have had a massive row. Not the first time that he’s shown up at my traditional 6-mat apartment after a night of drinking and all inflamed. {A 6-mat apartment, for those unfamiliar, refers to the number of tatami mats comprising a room; 6 is traditional and small, maybe a 200-square-foot room if that.}

It’s hard not to fight with Shige when he barges in like he does. And he does time to time. Well, not on weekdays as much after our nights out in Shinjuku. I’m not going to explain the fabulous night culture that Japan can offer and specifically Shinjuku. It’s sufficient to write that it’s nothing like the puritanical American culture. In many many ways, people in Japan have many, many more liberties and freedoms than America’s counterparts. The culture there is so different and foreign to Westerners. I miss it.

Shige plunging into my tiny apartment at 6 a.m. Not the hour that’s problematic. In Tokyo, because many pubs stay open till 5 or 6 a.m., our nocturnal lifestyles are not out of the ordinary at all.

His mood IS the problem. His temper, the problem. At the time, I thought of him as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Never knew which I’d get after a night in Shinjuku.

The super sweet loving sexy long-haired (to his waist) motorcyclist creative artist intelligent interesting unconventional samurai-blooded man.

Or the asshole combative ill-tempered unrestrained and possibly inebriated wild man. He was a wild mustang. With a gorgeous mane of long thick black hair {sexxxxxxy!} coursing in the wind.

Our fights, when we fought — rather, when HE fought and I did my best to calm matters and instill reason, very hard if not impossible to do when someone else is out of control! — were legendary at least to the next-door neighbor. David. Also a gaijin (foreigner). All others in the building of about 8 were Japanese.

Who’s to say what set Shige off that night, just one of many reckless and often alcohol-fueled nights. Whiskey was his demon drink. He could handle sake, beer. But whiskey made him mean.

I don’t remember whether I heard the roar of his motorcycle pulling up announcing trouble on the way. If things got ugly at the pub or our outdoor drinking stand, I’d split and go home by myself; 8 out of 10 times he’d follow, eventually.

This night — rather, early morning — he showed up and wouldn’t leave. I wanted him to leave. I told him to go. He was in a bad way. HE was volatile. Again. The better days of our relationship, and extremely passionate it was, ours was a very, very intense connection, were increasingly behind us. Had he already fucked Kate behind my back by this time? I think he had.

Shige wouldn’t go so I called the cops. Keisatsu in Japanese. Or did I walk over there? Don’t recall. The major police station just happened to be a few blocks away. Remember, this is Japan. They don’t speak English there, not really! My Japanese, though sufficiently proficient for my life (of 10+ years) there, I hadn’t learned words like “intrusion” and “I’d like to file a restraining order.”

Eventually I did get those requests across and a restraining order — all in Japanese with, as I recollect, help from a station officer who knew some English? Restraining orders are not a common procedure in Japan like in America; domestic issues are handled so verrrrrrry differently there and typically do not involve authorities.

But that morning, the keisatsu showed up. I wanted Shige off my “property” and he adamantly refused to leave. Typical.

So, if memory serves, a couple cops arrived, took him aside, spoke to him calmed him down. They were probably more than surprised to come into our combination: a Japanese male and gaijin female. Usually it’s the other way around! Western men with Japanese women are a dime a dozen.

Meanwhile, I stood alone, fuming and determined. I was sick of the battleground that had become our relationship. Fed up. Yes, I’m also now pretty sure that I wanted nothing to do with him anymore after the betrayal of him fucking Kate behind my back. He had no right to bother me any longer, pursue me or even talk to me. It was over. Except in his mind.

I don’t know what was said between the cops and Shige. Doesn’t matter. He calmed down and we both ended up in the back of a patrol car en route to the station. We weren’t arrested or being cited or anything. He’d crossed the line too may times. I meant business now.

On one occasion, he’d shattered the window in my apartment. To smithereens. He’d paid for its replacement but still, not the point. He’d wrecked, torn up, destroyed things he’d given me, in front of me, watching. Things he’d made for me that I loved. He’d pushed and hit me more than once; I’m not gonna go into those details.

Not all responsibility for recklessness goes to him alone. Not by a long shot. I’m not stupid or unaware. I don’t heap blame on others for my actions. Makes me un-Amerian, I know!

I had deep family histories and abuse issues I was working through. I knew it back then as I know it today, some 20 years later. Fortunately, my strong inner awareness and introspective nature serve to keep me learning and moving forward rather than stay stuck in shitty places!

And my relationship with Shige had become one. A shitty place where I no longer wanted to be.

Hence it became that I sat in the back of that Japanese police car, Shige too, en route to the station where I filed the equivalent of a restraining order. (“equivalent,” ha!) Watered-down and atypical though it be, it was what I needed. A line drawn in the sand — or rather, the pavement upon which he parked his motorcycle, sometimes to my excitement and sometimes to my dread — that supported my efforts to move away from him, to keep him away from me.

Soon afterward, I simply moved to another apartment in Tokyo. Just upped and moved. Ultimately that’s always the only way to get out and abusive relationship. (Note: statistically, the most dangerous time for women leaving abusers is when there are signals she’s leaving and ending it once and for all.)

Move. Do it. Go somewhere: else. Do NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT inform the abuser or anyone in your common circles of where you’ve gone. Just up and go. Disappear. BE SMART. DO NOT LEAVE A TRAIL. (I could teach workshops on this, I truly could.) It’s the sole ticket to safety … after being in the midst of recklessness — and violence.