Our Paradise (Practice Text 1)

Just a simple practice piece to do with how Setsuko and Maiko interact.

Maiko is in her bedroom watching a movie with Setsuko. The playing of the Samurai-warrior epic, “The Sword and its Master” is approximately thirty-four minutes inThe two young women are watching in silence, the light emanating from the TV screen bring the only light in the room, with the curtains drawn tightly shut. Maiko is mouthing the words of the perennial traitor, Lord Tetsuzaemon, having seen the movie at least twelve times. Setsuko, however, is completely still; watching the violent movie with a displaced expression.

“Here’s when that Shizo gets his head cut off!” Maiko says ecstatically, nudging the despondent Setsuko with her shoulder.

On any other day she would totally flip her lid at hearing that! Maiko thinks, growing concerned of her friend’s odd behavior. She had made several attempts throughout the viewing to provoke a familiar behavior out of Setsuko, but to no avail; she remained odd.

Rain can be heard pounding nonstop against the tin roofing of the house. What had started as a light shower that morning was now a heavy downpour. A shame too, thought Maiko, seeing as it was what had kept them indoors in the first place.

“What’s bothering you, Setsu?” Maiko decides to ask directly, undistracted by the pained screams emitting from the television speakers.

Setsuko merely shakes her head, and ducks her head forward, as if to hide her mouth into the pillow.

You can’t fool me, sexy-chan!” Maiko says, and the use of the nickname causes Setsuko’s face to flush red immediately.

“Oh, don’t call me that…” She can be heard mumbling into the pillow. “And nothing’s wrong with me, I promise.”

Sure, thought Maiko. You haven’t so much as winced for the entire first quarter of one of the most violent movies in existence – and you expect me to believe that you’re feeling just peachy?

“Tell me the truth, now.” Maiko refused to give up.

“Okay, maybe there is something…” Setsuko begins to say, but then trails off, unsure of whether to continue. Realizing this, Maiko puts the loud movie on pause, and offers a knowing grin. It appears to work, as Setsuko then draws her face from out of the pillow to be heard clearly, and continues:

“Well, I met somebody interesting today…”

“And it’s a guy ‘somebody interesting’?”

There is a scratching heard at the room door, before Setsuko can answer. The two look toward it sharply, but a meow is soon heard as well, so they are reassured. Maiko bounds to open it, and let her cat inside. “You scared me half to death, Milo!” She says to it, as she returns back to the bed and sits; cross-legged. The chubby grey feline follows her despite its scolding, and situates itself unto her lap.

“Okay, so his name is Takao.” Setsuko says while stroking the cat’s neck, now sitting upright like Maiko. “He’s in my Human Anatomy class. He came over to me suddenly, yesterday, saying that we should work on the assignment together.” She has her mouth open as if to say something else, but abruptly shuts it, to Maiko, a sign of her becoming shy again at the last minute.

“Something tells me you plan to do more than study on weekends with this Takao.” Maiko says, wrapping her arm around Setsuko and tossing her hair playfully.

“Oh Mai, you are so nasty sometimes!” Setsuko says, gently nudging her away. “But maybe he is kind of cute. And smart. And, and…”

She’s so adorable. Maiko thinks, whenever a guy talks to her out of the blue, it’s as though she falls completely in love with him!

Setsuko falls back unto the bed, pulling a pillow over her face, sighing loudly. The cat on Maiko’s lap, Milo, jumps up; startled by the sudden movement. He leaps down unto the floor again and then proceeds to make like a cat and clean himself.

No longer restrained by Milo, Maiko lies down next to Setsuko. They share a moment of silence, and so, a number of beheadings flash by on the television screen before Maiko finally says something.

“I hope you know that you scared Milo away with your shenanigans.”

“I’m sorry.” Setsuko says, half laughing and peeking over the pillow. “Please forgive me, Maiko!”

“No.” Maiko says, and stops to think for a while. “Just for that, you can’t be lab partners with Takao.” Setsuko’s face explodes in shock and she attacks Maiko with the pillow.

From there, the two grapple for a while. Afterward, they begin to talk about their lives: about what happened on the subway or at work the other day, about a new food they tried last week, or their most recent purchase. Time flies like this, and the rain eventually lets up. LordTetsuzaemon is finally killed, and by then, the sun is beginning to set. After sharing a hug goodbye, Setsuko gets up to change in the other room, about to leave for her place. Not long after, Maiko can hear the front door open then close and at that point, knows she is alone again.

Maiko beckons for Milo to be at her side, on the bed. There is a lone samurai warrior walking into a sunset – one much like the sunset dazzling the world outside of Maiko’s personal cave. It was the dazzled world that would take Setsuko away from her for a month until they could meet, in person, like this again.

“How about we watch some Fist of the Lotus, Milo?” Maiko says, appraising the cat with a pet and a half-hearted smile. The cat meows lazily and stretches, then coils up to go to sleep. Maiko smiles sadly.

The end monologue of the movie begins, “Until warrior and sword are reunited again…” And a shrieking Enka track begins to play, but Maiko stops the DVD there, having seen the same ending so many times before.

The End

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