It's a beautiful day today. After a night of rain the sun is shining, and the air is laden with the promised humidity of summer and the sounds of children's voices and weed whackers (are there lawn mowers in Japan?)
I went for a destination-less walk around the neighborhood entering one little park and exiting it, moving around the oddly shaped blocks of houses and rice paddies, cutting through the angled intersections of the hardly traveled roads.
As I approached one of these intersections or roundabouts I noticed a little girl on a bike. She turned back to look at me and I noticed the handle bars of her bike turn in curiosity as well. I kept walking and then heard a little squeak behind me. It was fairly regular and moving very slowly, probably five to ten feet away. Squeak....squeak...........squeak......squeak.
I turned one direction and then another and still, squeak...........squeak........squeak.
I entered a slight larger though still very empty road. Silence. I kept walking. And then......squeak............squeak.
Several times she got back on the path, at one point going ahead of me. I thought that would be the end. She turned off and I noticed her looking back over her shoulder. I kept walking straight and then....squeak.....squeak............squeak.....squeak.
I wondered if she knew I had some clue to her presence. I slowly became so accustomed to her being there and even started to feel responsibility for her well-being, making sure that there were no cars, that she would have enough room to get through safely.
And like all things, there was an end. I turned off to return home and she squeaked in another direction. I wish I could have a recording of the slow squeak of her bike for the times when loneliness hits me.