What follows is a very rough draft and may be radically different from the finished story.
by Alan Loewen
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Kelly nodded at the real estate agent who held the front door open for her. Carefully removing her shoes as was the Japanese custom, she wrinkled her nose at the the smell of an old house unused. Underneath the aroma of mold, came the smell of something else, like a faulty sewer line.
The Japanese real estate agent was a bubbly personality and immediately launched into her spiel. “The house has been on the market for some time,” she said, “but I think it would be perfect for you.”
Suddenly, as if on cue, the house vibrated with the roar overhead of a jet engine as it came in low over the roof. The agent smiled nervously. “It is located closely to the Narita International Airport so you won’t have to travel far when you revisit the United States, yes?”
Kelly smiled back. “I lived under the flight path of the Charlotteville-Albermarle Airport,” she said calmly. “It will be just like home.” Kelly kept her face expressionless, wanting to laugh at the sudden look of relief on the agent’s face. “And the Metro?”
Once again, the agent slipped into her programmed sales pitch. “Just eight minutes away with a brisk walk,” she said. “The Tozai line will connect you to the Chiyoda line and you can walk to the University from either the Nezu or Yoshima stations.”
The agent gracefully slid open a door to show a large, furnished living room. “There is also an eat-in kitchen, a combination bedroom and study and the bathroom has a shower.” She wrinkled her nose. “With a little airing out it will be perfect for you and at 70,000 yen a month, it’s very affordable.”
Kelly looked around the spacious room. It was not that she was going to be spending a lot of her time here. Her responsibilities at the University as well as her studies basically meant she just needed a place to sleep and eat breakfast and dinner. “Is the upstairs apartment rented? Are there neighbors?”
“No, the upstairs needs to be refurbished, but the workmen only come during the day when you will most likely be at school.” The smile never left the agent’s face. “Motoyawata is a quiet neighborhood.”
Again, the house shook as a jet soared overhead.