4 months ago
“No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”
A guy chatted with Akemi on a website connected with her art work- she was kindly, couldn’t turn him down- and got serious.
It was okay if their communication remained online only, but he sent her snail mail- somehow had her address; well, contact info was on the art cooperative web page- and that was a step too far.
Akemi showed me what had arrived, an envelope containing letter pages sharp with feeling, and photos of him and finally the really troubling part, within the paper envelope another small-scale one, sealed plastic pouch. I took the thing.
“Don’t touch it. I’ll open it.”
Inside was a piece of cheesecloth or medical gauze folded flat, wet. Somehow I wasn’t surprise.
“His semen,” I said to Akemi, plainly with a slightly admonishing tone. She shouldn’t have let the situation get that far.
Akemi’s eyes remained open, unblinking, flat on mine, dark. “Men get crazy,” they acknowledged.
The guy expected things from her, clearly hadn’t finished with this one over-the-top gesture, had made a project of his infatuation for Akemi, saw in her kindness a burden of responsibility, as if in accepting his aggressive overtures, not rebuffing him at the start she’d taken on obligations.
“No act of kindness goes unpunished.” I told Akemi the American saying. She smiled painfully, was contrite, and I laughed to lighten the moment so she wouldn’t feel too dismayed- I might have as much as or more than her.
“What are we gonna do?”
Akemi is usually pretty calm about things, doesn’t get exercised as I do, but this circumstance seemed to have cracked open a howling maw of uncertainty.
“Was he ever threatening?”
Akemi thought for a moment.
I stopped short of striking my fist against my forehead.
I looked at Akemi. She looked so good, so appealing it was easy to imagine some guy getting carried away on just a fantasy, especially someone unstable as that guy had now shown himself to be.
Akemi’s character showed in her face, and it was easy to imagine a shared happiness. Beauty like hers is limitless, always changing, beyond your grasp- scratch that; not changing but revealing, from each angle showing a new facet of beauty, infinite permutations. In case you haven’t noticed, I also fell for her.
I read some of the letter, only scanned- there weren’t many pages but a lot of writing.
It went from fawningly sentimental- he thought they were fated for each other, felt he’d met her at an early time in his life, when he was still young enough to start fresh, but hadn’t been able to get together with her; he’d missed his opportunity then and was glad to have another now, meant to make the most of it-
-to graphically sexual, crude. He wrote that he wanted to sodomize her, “to open her asshole like the hole in a donut”-
-to just weird. He’d sent her a video clip of a ****, he said, “just a simulation, but doesn’t it turn you on too?”
Akemi confirmed she’d received the thing. She hadn’t realized what it was and after looking moved it from her inbox to the trash. She didn’t want that on her drive, she said, though she knew deleting the file wouldn’t remove it permanently.
The letter ended with a return to his fantasies. He imagined riding a commuter train with her at rush hour (the one he used every day?), the crowd building around them; he’d “ravage” her amid the crush of people.
“I think he means ‘ravish,’ I said.
It continued. “Asians are submissive, right?” he wrote, didn’t distinguish her as Japanese, as having any specific nationality, saw her as “oriental,” a stereotype. He wasn’t alone in this, of course. Lots of people fit her and others into a category.
Akemi laughed a little as I read that last part out loud- despite her tension, apprehension about my response. She’d shown me the letter and the rest because she was worried, to get my opinion, advice and reassurance, if any were possible.
“Why’d you get into this?” Controlling my voice barely.
“He said he liked my paintings.”
“He said he liked- Well, I’m sure he did at first.”
“You’re saying this is my fault?”
“No. It’s his fault for being an idiot, but-”
Akemi was guilt of nothing but being- yes, a kind person, who happened to be that beautifully appealing.
The guy expected a continued give-and-take between them that would break past any limits, might have already on his side.
She conceded she’d sent him photos of herself he’d insisted on- “In a nice way. He was really nice.”
“Well, there’s nice,” I said, “And then there’s really nice.”
The guy had arranged the content of the envelope fastidiously, giving special care to the smooth white plastic packet (like a condom container, come to think of it), as if it and its disgusting contents were something sacred, a gift she’d cherish.
“It’s sticky,” Akemi said, gazing at the napkin with a combination of distaste and fascination. Her eyes also asked, “How can you touch it?”
“It’s soaked through,” I said, in my frank tone reminding her that none of this was my fault- at least not that I knew of (Had I failed as husband? No. Relations with an unknown person online had yielded some damage. That happened. It could be repaired, I tried to say with my eyes, to believe.
Like those wet wipes you’re given before meals in some- all Japanese-restaurants.
Akemi’s frown made her all the more beautiful. The lines in her face showed her character.
I quickly went and washed my hands thoroughly- in retrospect, it also seems like a harbinger of the pandemic; I wanted to get every last bit off at the sink, as if it might infect me.
I returned to Akemi with a smile on my face, trying to ease her alarm, my own as well. The guy was American- dark haired, long sideburned, lantern jawed in the photos- and presumably I’d know better than she what to expect. I didn’t, though.
His eyes, which looked darker than hers, really black, beamed with love- a distorted version of it, totally misplaced- he hardly knew Akemi; they’d never met in the flesh- and a strong determination that looked like it could turn murderous. A character from a Dostoyevsky novel. He had set all his feeling, all his hope- if not quite all, a lot- on the fictitious relationship with Akemi. The envelope and its contents felt heavy with the weight of another person’s wild hopes and demands, his will.
You felt both scared and sorry for him.
We’d have to wean him from her, I said to Akemi, and she agreed. She couldn’t cut off their correspondence immediately, had better let him down easy, slowly, explain.
“Remind him you’re marred. He’d have to understand.”
It won’t seem a personal rebuke, less likely to trigger rage his passion thwarted could turn into.
He hoped it would work. There was no guarantee this wouldn’t blow up in Akemi’s face. The letter might be just the beginning of that man and his cum moving from cyberspace to impinge on Akemi’s day to day existence. His spattering cum. I can’t forget Akemi’s face, her look, her recoil, when she saw it, suddenly- like me- recognizing what it was in that flattened neat mesh square, wet gauze.
That guy was a stranger but could as easily, I realized, have been someone I knew, a friend who had met Akemi.
At least it wasn’t Sten, the real other man in her life.
My belief, based on conjecture Akemi hadn’t denied outright- was that she’d gone down on that Scandinavian hero figure (that’s how she saw the math teacher!) for them to get intimacy, pleasure without going all the way to fucking. And I wanted her to go down on me now, to give her my cum, loads of it, like that letter writer had. Was I so different from him in Akemi’s eyes?