Mariko Takagi: Una meets Mono

Una was alone on the way in order to forget and to find herself again. The first time in her life she travelled to Asia, to Hong Kong, to a city where she did not know anybody. A strange culture with strange people. So many people that she felt sure to get lost in this shuffle, to be ignored. In order to be alone at the fullest place in the world.
A hot summer day in August, outdoors to hot and indoors to cold – it was as full as everywhere in this large, narrow city. Una simply wanted to drink a coffee and read a book. The only »nice coffee shop« she could find after two hours was overcrowded. In front of the shop already was a small crowd of people. Surely it must be good. She queued up and reckoned with a longer waiting, when a young waitress approached. »Okay to share? « »Yes. « She wanted to get away of the muggy heat into the artificial cool. Una was led into the indoors of the restaurant and brought to a table already occupied by a man. A western man. She could have thought this previously … She ordered.
He recognized her by her accent, and she recognized him by his big grin. In Hong Kong, Una and Mono met for the first time.
Mono travelled alone in order to discover himself. This was the first journey he took alone, and he had chosen Hong Kong as destination. A mega-city in Asia, about it he did not know much. A city with so many people, where one surely could not feel lonely. Here in the exotic strangeness he hoped to have new encounters. The greatest of all should be the encounter with himself.
It was the last day of his travel. A hot, sunny day in August. He settled down in a coffee shop in order to observe people. He got a table for himself only for a little bit, when a young western woman was brought to his place. The waitress asked by pure courtesy: »Okay to share? « »Yes. «
He did not believe in destiny. But he was ready to be convinced of the contrary. Now he observed not the exotic, strange crowd, but his female table neighbour, and her facial features seemed to him familiar but new. He dared the first step and spoke to her. He introduced himself. It was exactly what Una had feared. An interesting table neighbor from the back home.
At first she only answered to his questions. But soon she felt, that for the first time in the past month someone took an interest in her. He seemed to be a good observer and a good teller. Mono described his amazement about this surreal metropolis. The great many people. The labyrinth of high-rise buildings which hold out towards the sky.
Una had up to now rather stayed away from the urban life, within the nature. Far away from the shopping malls, she had explored the mountains, walked along the ocean and defied sun and rain. Mono perceived Una’s changes during the chat. While she first had answered his questions only by pure courtesy, she seemed to have changed her mind during the conversation. Now she told alive about her Hong Kong.
Within the conversation, they explored and discovered the city once again. They added their experiences and perceptions with the view of the other. Time was flying and they wanted to hold it on. The coffee time was over, and so they walked together to the Dim Sum restaurant. One of these restaurants, where the order was done only with graphic characters to tick. Both had not yet trusted to do this. They ticked a pattern on the note and thought thereby of a lottery ticket. Two mouthful of tea were filled into their cups each time when they had only one. They were in the city which never keeps silent, and also in this restaurant it was loud and frantic. But at this evening, it did not disturb them. The Cantonese of the neighbor tables was only a soundscape of their chat. An acoustic place statement of their encounter.
It was Mono’s last evening in Hong Kong. The first airplane shortly after midnight should bring him back home. They made an appointment with Dim Sum and butterflies in their stomach. They did not change numbers, fixed only a place and a time for their next encounter in another city, in another time zone.