An Island Meets The Prairies

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The fluorescent lights in the library provided scant illumination in the waning hours of the Oklahoma day. In fact, although it was only 6 pm in November, Fumiko could barely see the print on the fluid dynamics textbook in front of her. For all it was worth, the book was like a useless stone slab. She had been using her cell phone to provide some manual lighting, but it had become extremely tiresome, and with her extremely shy demeanor Fumiko was self-conscious of the fact that maybe the people at neighboring tables were being distracted by her.

She raised her head from the book and blinked several times, before rubbing the blurriness from her eyes. She scanned the surrounding table stations to the right, seeing the faces of others trying to read their own texts, type, or work out math equations. One was a heavyset linebacker reading an organic chemistry book. Sitting across from him were two preppie looking law majors who were squabbling over the order of papers in their brief. Fumiko seemed conscious of the fact that although others might be accomplishing something, in this dim light she had absolutely no chance of progressing with her fluid dynamics text. On the other hand, as she glanced to the left she noticed that occupying one of those desks was someone she’d seen on other occasions there.

Typing vigorously on a laptop was a girl in her early twenties, maybe even Fumiko’s own age, 21. Fumiko, tall for most Japanese women at 5’9″, could see that this girl was maybe an inch taller. But there the physical resemblance became further. Whereas Fumiko had very light skin complexion and hair of varying shades of brown, the girl had a very dark brown skin color, and solid black straight hair. Her body was full curvy and athletic, like a sprinter’s. Fumiko’s was extremely thin, and if not for her height she would have looked a lot younger. The girl had on a green print sundress and a dark brown corduroy jacket.

With the useless learning conditions, Fumiko had an urge to close all of her notebooks and the text, yet for some reason she plodded on. She was essentially wasting her own time since her concentration was already off. In fact, she was increasingly casting furtive glances in the direction of the girl with the laptop. At some point she looked at her watch and realized that it was now 6:35 and her ride was due. She gathered her things up and walked briskly out of the glass double doors that adjoined the checkout area and into the parking lot. A light drizzle had begun to pour down, and Fumiko retreated to a bench sheltered by an overhang.

For five minutes she loitered around the bench, idly kicking an aluminum can and other debris on the ground in front of the library. She contemplated the path she’d taken that had brought her from the beachcombing life of her native Okinawa to the bare plains of Stillwater, Oklahoma. On her island the sea was visible from so many places, that it was like an old companion that was taken for granted. Here in Stillwater, she would scan a horizon for miles and see endless prairies. However, the life here had less friction than at home to a certain degree. On Okinawa her family were considered Japanese mainlanders, even though her father had moved over to the island to join her uncle’s business in the sixties. Although they were to a foreigner virtually the same, the islanders and Japanese were different in many ways. For one thing an islander tended to have darker skin. There was resentment among islanders toward the domination of the island by the Japanese and the American soldiers and sailors allowed by Tokyo to be there. Going to mainland Japan was often a stressful experience; the pace of life was far more frenzied than on the islands.

Fumiko hadn’t intended to pursue her college studies outside of her homeland. But circumstances, which will be revealed later, gave her enough reasons to do so. She was sometimes very calm in Stillwater compared to in Okinawa. There had been endless pressure there to succeed and go to a leading university. She had also felt a great deal of pressure to conform to the expectaions of her family and peers in terms of who their daughter would socialize with. She had had friends who were pure islanders, and others who were direct from the mainland, but rarely would they mix, and Fumiko would find herself caught between two circles. Here in Stillwater the society was a lively mix of students gathered from across the US and the world, and she could attest to the fact that many of her dorm mates were from as far away as China or Ghana, but also from as close as Arizona or Tulsa. This diverse mix of peers gave her a great deal of anonymity, although it also isolated her to a degree.

Fumiko’s head bobbed up as she saw a silver Dodge Ram pick-up enter the parking lot and draw closer to where she was standing. She also noticed that while she had been in her reverie two things had changed: the drizzle had become a downpour, and someone güvenilir bahis else had joined her out under the overhang, and it was the girl with the laptop. The girl was sliding back and forth on her toes listening to a song on her Droid. Her eyes briefly passe over Fumiko and she gave a warm smile while not pausing to break her step. Fumiko waved back shyly. But her chance to develop this encounter seemed over as the truck pulled up.

Inside at the driver’s seat was Cleon, the son of Fumiko’s host mother, Janice Blake, who was also riding shotgun. Janice’s husband Troy was probably still slaving away at the bakery that he owned. Vernon Blake, Janice’s middle-aged father, was sleeping in the back seat. Fate had contrived to place Fumiko into a family about as different from her’s as possible. Janice and Vernon were both very outgoing and affectionate, whereas Troy and Cleon seemed totally absorbed in their boring bakery jobs. The Blakes and Hubbards were all black and had deep roots in Oklahoma, and they seemed barely fazed by anything that had to do with Japan. Their lives revolved around managing their business near the campus. Although Fumiko did not live with the Blakes, and her dorm was only a two minute walk from their own house, they often had her over for dinner or insisted she sleep in their guest bedroom.

“Hop on in, sweetness,” chimed Janice cheerily to Fumiko. Janice’s head then craned backward to glance at the girl waiting in the rain. “We got an extra seat if you’re goin’ in our direction.”

The object of her question stopped bobbing up to the music. “I live on Cantwell,” came the reply, a light and energetic voice.

“Perfect,” and Fumiko now had to squeeze into the back with Vernon and her unexpected co-passenger.On the drive home Fumiko found herself swaying to the right in order not to disturb Vernon’s sleep. “How’s your studyin’ goin’ Phoebe?” asked Janice. She never called her by her real name.

“Very successful,” replied Fumiko stiffly. “I feel very tired.” She knew that her English didn’t have the same flow as the people around her, but had no desire to fake their manner of speaking.

“What they call you, sweetness?” asked Janice. Fumiko was perplexed by the question and wrinkled her eyebrow, but then realized that her host mother was addressing the other girl. Most younger people were called sweety, sweetness, honey, or something of that sort by Janice.

“Sonya,” answered the other passenger with a smile

“Well, Sonya, I dunno if you have something to do, but we got a block party at home if you wanna come. Phoebe, I ain’t been home so I didn’t get to tell you either, and the boys are practically clueless when it comes to letting people know important stuff. . .” she glanced at Cleon at the wheel who seemed to be oblivious to everything going on.

“I’ll check it out, ma’am,” answered Sonya.

The Ram was parked three doors down from their own house, because parking had begun to fill up. Fumiko and the others filed out. Fumiko walked in to the scene of barbecue pits burning and dozens of people chattering and eating food. To all appearances this “block party” seemed no different from the other parties she’d seen in Stillwater since first arriving at the Blake residence. Except for one instance when Cleon and his sister Teresa had thrown a “house party” which had the distinction of no parents present and copious amounts of liquor. Of the forty or so people present, most were like the Blakes, townsfolk many of whom were black. Fumiko enjoyed the food and the rain had by now died down, although a canopy had been erected to shelter the partiers just in case. Sonya had also taken food and walked over to the music set and asked the person in charge (not really a DJ) to put on a track by the Roots.

A few moments of boredom ensued, as Fumiko found it, as usual, very difficult to socialize here. Few of the people present were students at Oklahoma State. She was once again surprised when Sonya landed beside her on a lawn chair. “So your crashing with these folks?” Fumiko looked around trying to find what Sonya was talking about.

“I misunderstand your question.”

“You stay with these people?” rephrased Sonya, with some effort to standardize her question.

“Yes. The Blakes are very nice people,” she said, now with a bright smile.

“I see you pretty often at the library. You came here on a program?”

Fumiko blinked, processing the question slowly. Then she nodded. “Yes, I am exchange student.”

“It’s cool that they give you a family to stay with.”

Fumiko looked around, and the whole scene looked chaotic, with Cleon Blake and three friends chattering aggresively over who’s turn it was to drink a shot of Old Grandad.

“I also have a dorm room,” Fumiko replied, as if to explain how she fit in here. In truth she appreciated the help of the Blakes, but unlike most American college students she required a quiet türkçe bahis home atmosphere.

“What do you study?” asked Fumiko, trying to shift the attention to her new friend.


Fumiko searched her own memory for the word, and recalled the Japanese definition of anthropology, the study of human life.

“I study current trends in culture among young women in different areas of Oklahoma.”

This statement perplexed Fumiko. “What is the difference?”

Sonya’s eyes shifted upward, apparently surprised anyone would have a question about her field. “Well . . . Let’s just say that here in Stillwater, which is a small-sized city, you or I wouldn’t be watching TV nearly as much a day as in Oklahoma City or Tulsa. But we watch a lot more here than in my own home town.”

“You are not from here? These aren’t your people?”

Sonya shook her head. “I’m not black, or at least not as much as black people. I come from an Indian Tribe in the east part of the state. We have some blood from escaped slaves way back three hundred years ago.”

The conversation shifted, with Sonya speaking more about her home town. But Fumiko was increasingly focusing on her physically. “To tell you the truth, I’m kind of feeling claustrophobic here. I’m gonna head back to my place. You wanna keep me company?”

Fumiko nodded, and she followed Sonya out of the backyard by the side path to the driveway. Sonya removed her corduroy jacket and stuffed it into a pocket of the same knapsack into which here laptop was already packed. Fumiko now noticed here exquisitely smooth shoulders and the straps that held her sundress on. In the soft glare of the streetlights, the skin was shiny on the cleavage of her medium sized breasts. Fumiko felt somewhat prudish in her own grey sweater and mid-thigh jean shorts.

They walked with a leisurely pace, and Fumiko made conversation more, explaining to Sonya her real name, which until then Sonya had not even heard thinking she was maybe really named Phoebe. “What’s it supposed to mean?” asked Sonya. The weather had cleared, but the air was fairly chilly and the humidity was tangible in the night.

“In our language, Fumiko is ‘child of treasured beauty’.”

Sonya smiled at that revelation. “Well your parents must have been pretty good at predictions,” she replied causing Fumiko to blush. “You’re a lot different from the ones I’m used to.”

Fumiko was puzzled by that comment. “Different from who?”

Sonya was hesitant with her answer. “Oh, I’m not suggesting anything. I’m just interested in you, because I thought it was ironic to meet someone from somewhere else. I have to fish in a very limited pool, especially here in Stillwater. There aren’t a lot of girls like me here, and most of them are white ‘experimenters’ who are more for the experience than the lifestyle. Then there’s the whole denim crowd. But you’re a whole different category, sugar.”

The last few sentences were eventually processed by Fumiko for what they were. “You are interested in ME?” she asked, sounding incredulous but with her pulse quickened inside.

Sonya grimaced defensively. They turned to face eachother in front of a three floor residency, standing maybe five feet apart. The situation all depended on Fumiko. She had said to herself when she’d left Japan that if she were touched by her inhibitions, she would always be in a situation where she was capable of making the choice. Here she was on the inside part of the sidewalk and could have sprinted off if she wanted. That would’ve been the end of it. Sonya’s face showed that she wasn’t aggressive enough to pursue further.

But she didn’t break it off. “Do you mean what I think?”

“If you only want to be a friend, I won’t be surprised. This isn’t exactly home territory for girls like me, believe it or not. A lot of Oklahoma girls would turn bitch on me and cuss me out. But you’re a beautiful find, Fumiko. Like finding diamonds on a sandy beach.”

This last analogy provoked imagery in Fumiko’s mind, of past events, on deserted seascapes in her homeland. Of another girl who had found her in similar circumstances. A pure Ryukyu islander who had found her while she had shepherded some of her younger cousins on a day of snorkeling.

“I want to see your house, Sonya” Fumiko answered stiffly but with decision. Her eyes appeared to be shiny and perhaps wet to Sonya. The pair now walked with unity, Fumiko reaching out and grasping Sonya’s hand within hers. She was relieved to feel a very delicate texture there, almost like her own, a trait that pleased her in others. That’s primarily why she was very lukewarm in her attraction to men. Fumiko had never attempted an encounter with a boy, not even on a dance floor in order to keep up appearances. Yet her own tendencies she had hidden in order to keep things smooth with her own household. Eventually it had all combusted, with an acquaintance ratting güvenilir bahis siteleri her out about the affair with the Ryukyu islander. “Your hand is like one I have needed to hold, but that’s never been there,” she declared, realising a second later that it was maybe a bit random. But Sonya seemed to enjoy the comment.

They came upon a two-family house, and Sonya extracted a key from a small pocket of her knapsack. “Don’t mind the barking, that dog’s locked up pretty well downstairs.” As they climbed the stairs a dog was bawling them out relentlessly.

“It seems that not even he wants you to find somebody,” commented Fumiko jokingly.

“Yeah, I’ve been thrown to the dogs,” Sonya answered as she inserted another key into the upper slot of a light blue door.

When they entered into the kitchen another girl about their age was inside, drinking hot tea from a mug with the bag still steeping inside. She was a white girl with light brown hair and brown eyes and wearing a blue dress, and her eyes fell to the cojoined hands. “Simone, this is Fumiko,” introduced Sonya, without even a stutter.

Sonya nodded and smiled. “Wassup?”

Fumiko for a second suspected something. Maybe Sonya had lured her in so that her and someone else could take advantage of her. Fumiko found it surreal that she was in a position to suspect other women of this. But it turned out she was getting ahead of herself.

“Do you mind if I put some music on in my room?” asked Sonya.

Simone now nodded in understanding. “Oh . . . Um, sure. Well, Sone, I was just about to take a trip over to the Beltbuckle, anyhow.”

Simone then took her purse off of the counter and made her way out of there, seemingly stumbling over herself to make haste.

Fumiko frowned in confusion. “Have I caused problem?”

Sonya burst out laughing. “Hardly. Simone’s headed over to some coffee bar where they have these hipster, feminist, get-togethers, or something. I bet you thought she’s game for chicks like I am. She says she’s cool with us, but I think she’s too image conscious and doesn’t want to be seen too close to dykes. But it’s not like I’m riding a motorcycle and letting my legs go unshaved.”

Sonya led her by the hand to her room. Inside were pin-up posters for the Dark Angle TV series with Jessica Alba, also for singers like P!nk and Amy Lee of Evanescence. It looked like a typical teenager’s room. Sonya placed a CD inside her disc changer. “Siddown and loosen up,” she bid her guest. Fumiko obeyed and sank onto the beige bedcover, stooping forward a bit.

What came on was a song that was mostly electronic keyboards with a back-up band. “This is Texas. But they’re actually Scottish, if you haven’t heard of them. I just adore them.” Sonya now moved over to the bathroom and Fumiko could hear water running for a couple minutes. Fumiko’s heart was now beating more strongly, if not as rapidly as when they’d been outside.

came the lyrics from the female vocalist. The faucet stopped. .

The door to the bathroom opened and out emerged Sonya, clad only in a black lace tank top and matching panties. Fumiko brought her right hand to her chin, a nervous reflex, like if she’d placed her hand too close to a heat source. Sonya approached smoothly, her hips swaying. “No, no, no baby,” she said soothingly, “you can’t be afraid of this.” She grasped Fumiko’s hand, which held for a second then allowed itself to be guided to Sonya’s belly. Sonya ran it over her stomack, and the hand began to carress lightly.

Fumiko smiled, and her hand lifted the hem of the tank top revealing the dark hole of Sonya’s navel. In the weak light of the room Fumiko could see some shiny glare showing that Sonya had rubbed moisturizing lotion over skin while in the bathroom, and she could detect the cucumber fragrance as well. “You smell like our garden after a rainstorm,” Fumiko commented with a giggle.

Sonya was silent, taking her arm from Fumiko’s and placing it under the edge of her sweater. Fumiko did not move as Sonya lifted it up over her head and tossed it onto a yellow bean bag on the floor. Fumiko’s own bra was striped cotton get-up with light tints of turquoise, pink, and white, and they held onto twin grapefruit sized globes. Fumiko lay back and allowed Sonya to unbutton her jean shorts and slip them off. Her own panties were the same as the bra, with a blue, pink, and white striped pattern converging in a chevron between her legs. “Beautiful treasure indeed,” quipped Sonya.

Fumiko now slipped the straps of Sonya’s tank top off of her shoulders, and began to draw the whole garment down her curvy midriff. She inhaled deeply at the sight of the other’s firm and bouncy breasts emerging from their black covering, like a sunrise at night, but continued to draw the tank top down and well past her waiste until Sonya could actually step out of it, and stood before her proud and inviting. Sonya now placed her own hand into her panties and began to slowly massage herself. Fumiko removed her bra of her own volition, revealing shapely breasts that were just the right size for her spare frame. She grinned excitedly at the sight of Sonya eyeing her bust.

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