Rooftop of the plush downtown hotel right before midnight. The steaming hot tub is empty except for a skinny man with arms and hands melting on the rim of the tub and eyes fixated on the distant stars overhead. An occasional siren from far below breaks the sound of bursting bubbles.
Just a day earlier, while sharply dressed, he had walked out of the Manhattan offices of the investment firm he had worked at for the past thirteen years. Those thirteen years had brought him fully paid condos, nice cars and a cocaine habit but had taken away a wife, all family and any remaining friends. So while the stock charts were all going up for the past few days and some peaked yesterday, his sense of self-worth was going down for the past few months and tanked yesterday. His survival instinct kicked in and he did what he knew best… to win back what he had lost, he had to risk what he had won. So he put all he thought he had left, his job, on the table. He quit his job and headed straight to the airport.
Tokyo is beautiful and bustling no matter what time of year. But in Spring, with cherry trees in full bloom, the city takes on a new life. And a new life, is what he needed.
The sky was clear and except for the vapor from the hot tub intermittently blocking his view, he could pick out quite a few stars. He used to be good at cherry-picking stars… Every stock he had invested in had outshone others. The girl he chose to make his wife was a knockout. And his personal properties, all had skyrocketed in value.
As he was looking at the sky above, he noticed a star, shining brighter than all the stars around. He immediately recognized it as the North Star… the star that points to the true north, the star that is fixed in space, around which all other stars revolve. And a profound thought hit him… “He” was the North Star. All throughout his life, he had chased and invested in other stars and completely missed the one that mattered. His wife needed him to be her North Star. His family and friends expected him to be a North Star. And what would have given him the most satisfaction of all, more than shiny cars, condos and cocaine, would have been his own shining as a solid and powerful star. What needed to rise wasn’t stock price or property valuation, but his own sense of self. Suddenly the sound of bursting bubbles in the hot tub felt like the sound of bursting flawed perceptions he had lived with all throughout his life. His job wasn’t all he had left and his properties weren’t all he had to live for. He now knew who he truly could be. He stepped out of the tub and with a smile on his face, walked towards the morning of his new life.
Right at that time, a cherry flower let go of the branch she had held on to all her life and floated with the brisk breeze coming from the South.