Let’s work on the poetry assignment, Issei had told her. Renée had agreed. After all, it was about poetry. Who would refuse?
Poetry was the perfect reason, Issei thought. For poetry succeeds in extracting beauty from an entity like no other literary form or structure. And then of course the fact that it would be all about translation of a poem: a Dutch girl and a Japanese boy together in room in a secluded corner of Paris, translating poems from one language to another – could there be anything more perfect to grasp the essence of the night?
Issei arranged the cutlery, changed the angles at which the knives and forks were pointed, turned the wine glasses a bit, and then adjusted the knives and forks once again. He walked to the kitchen and examined the meat. It smelt delicious, although Issei wasn’t satisfied with it. But then he never liked chicken so much. Issei sighed and sat on the counter, right next to the roast chicken.
It had been a sunny day. He had walked to the university to get his library books reissued. Had met one of his professor, had a healthy twenty minute chat before walking back to his apartment. All in all an uneventful day so far, he thought, even as he glanced at his watch.
Now he was thinking that he had misunderstood the conversation he had with Renée. “U-huh” had been her response on the phone, and he was quick to assume affirmation. Perhaps he shouldn’t have, Issei thought. Perhaps he should have asked her what she would like to eat instead of going ahead with roast chicken – perhaps he should have asked her for her choice of wine. Issei cringed as he thought all of this. She was so beautiful, Issei thought; he could have at least tried harder to convince her. Why would she want to have dinner with him – a five foot, hardly handsome, prematurely born Japanese man? Plus she was at least six years younger than him.
It would be a miracle if she did show up, Issei thought. And almost immediately Issei shook off the dreary thought. She will come, he told himself. He stood up and paced around the apartment, every now and then stopping to examine the bottle of wine, or if the window was shut, or if the chicken was getting too cold.
How would he do this? Would they eat dinner, and then go on to read the poem? Or would they translate the poem and then go ahead with the dinner? Would they read the poem at all? Would they have dinner at all? Issei’s stomach grumbled at the thought of dinner. Patience, he told himself. He knew what to do. He will ask her to read the poem first. Get her comfortable. Rest would happen as it should.
Three minutes later, Issei’s heart stopped for a second as the doorbell rang.
See the complete project here.