The Adventures of Ryan Takahashi: Chapter Twelve – The Most Beautiful Woman in the World

I am convinced that Monifa is The Most Beautiful Woman in the World. There is no doubting my conviction in this. Granted, I haven’t met every single woman in the world, but compared to the supermodels and movie stars I see in magazines, Monifa beats them all by a mile.

A very LONG mile.

Monifa and I have been sitting at D’Angelo’s Café for nearly twenty minutes, chatting over lattes and grilled hummus sandwiches (which, I might add, are incredibly delicious!). Thankfully, Sam is nowhere to be found. It’s just the two of us, a couple of businessmen in the back, an elderly woman sipping coffee and reading the newspaper, Cathy and her assistant, Micah. Micah is a college student who’s studying art. And yes, he looks and acts like a stereotypical hipster. Whatever.

“I have to know, Ryan. If you could pursue your dream job, what would it be?” Monifa asks me.

“Hm. I would say I would love to be a professional biographer. I love reading biographies and think I would do a good job at writing one.” I’m not lying when I say this. Obviously, slaving away over smelly gym towels isn’t what I’d like to be doing for the next twenty years.

“Biographies? That’s so interesting. Is there anybody in particular you would like to write about?”

“Oh, no one really. I’m mostly fascinated with ordinary, average people who do extraordinary things with their lives.” I stirred a half package of sugar into my latte. I hope my waistline doesn’t object to this!

“So you have no interest in celebrities?”

“Or politicians, for that matter. I think they’re over-exposed as it is.”

I see Cathy eyeing us from her corner in the café. She’s fixing a sandwich at the moment, of which variety I cannot tell. She must be thinking how unusual it is for me to come in here with a beautiful black woman. The two of us do make an odd couple.

“I love adventure stories. You should write one of those.” Monifa’s posture is upright and proper. I don’t think she ever slouches in real life.

“What kind of adventure stories? I’m not really interested in writing any of those kinds of books, but I suppose I shouldn’t knock it unless I’ve tried it.”

Monifa smiles. Her face is so beautiful I want to take a picture of her and frame it on my wall. Her beauty transcends any feelings of lust or sexual attraction. Her beauty is like staring at a divinely perfect piece of art. If Cindi’s body is art, Monifa’s face is also art (but don’t get me wrong; her body is also VERY fine. But it’s obviously not as muscular or unusual as Miss North’s epic physique). I wonder how she can still be single. How can any heterosexual man resist this incredible woman?

“I like adventure stories involving most anything. The high seas, deadly volcanoes, mysterious islands, intergalactic planets, tropical excursions, pirate ships, anything. I guess this is what happens when your real life is so boring.”

“Boring? How could your life be boring? You’re a conceptual artist. Aren’t they the most inventive and wackiest of all people?”

Monifa lets out a quiet laugh. “I told you, conceptual art is my hobby. By day I’m a software tester. I wish I had more time to pursue art, but that’s what happens when you work too many hours in a cubicle.”

“Nonsense. I don’t consider what you do for a living to be your life. I think what you love to do to should define your life. Just look at me, for example. I work at a dead-end job cleaning mirrors, windows, dirty towels and locker room floors. That’s not even close to what I consider to be my life. It’s just what pays the bills.”

“I guess you’re right. I should find more time for my art.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, what type of conceptual art do you do? I have little to no knowledge about this sort of thing.”

“Essentially, I like to fuse all sorts of art into a cohesive whole to tell a larger story. In Ethiopia, I briefly worked as an actress when I was a young girl. Then I started to do modeling. Then I got into photography. When I moved to America I took classes in filmmaking and drawing. Everything fascinates me. I feel like I’m great at taking big ideas and making them simple to understand.”

“Taking big ideas and making them simple to understand? That’s almost what a historian does. Except they work in recording human activity, not creating art.”

“They can almost be considered the same thing,” Monifa says.

Wow. That’s…kind of deep. Monifa takes a last sip of her coffee and places the cup on the table. Does she want a refill? Or does she want something else to eat? I told her when we first got here that I’d pay because she’s new and I wanted to welcome her to the neighborhood. I also pointed out to her that I’ll probably be the only neighbor that she’ll know in our building. The people who live there aren’t terribly open to meeting those who live no more than twenty feet away from them.

Almost on cue, Cathy walks over to our table.

“Hello you two. Can I get you anything else?” Cathy takes a long look at Monifa. I think she would agree with me that her beauty is almost beyond compare.

“No thank you,” Monifa says sweetly. I nod my head in agreement.

“Alright. Holler if you need anything. You know where I am.” With that, Cathy walks away and winks at me when she’s out of Monifa’s line of sight. Does she think we’re on a date? Who goes on a date on a Monday afternoon?

There is a long pause. Oh great. What should I say next?

“If you had unlimited resources and unlimited time, what type of…art project would you want to create?” Ah ha! I just asked an art question that allows her to express herself. When it comes to attracting intelligent women, I hope I’m on to something.

Monifa pauses to think and finally speaks: “I would love to create a series of tableaus. Do you know what that is?”

“Uh, sort of. It has something to do with pictures, right?”

“Yes, it has a lot to do with photography, but the type of tableaus I’m interested in created involve real people in real situations. I’d love, for example, to create a series of still images of people, all types of people, young and old, every body type, every shape, color and ethnicity, relating to each other in the real world.”

This is my chance to shine. I’ve read about artists doing these sorts of projects. If I can impress her with this, who knows how far I can go with her?

“You’re referring to a ‘tableau vivant.’” I smile as these words leave my mouth.

“Yes! A “tableau vivant!” You’ve heard the term before.” Monifa looks impressed with my knowledge of art. Score for me!

“I have heard the term before. They’re living pictures. So, you’d like to create living pictures of all sorts of people doing what they do in real life.”

“Not just real life; but in a surreal, enhanced version of life. Picture this: A large group of skinny, beautiful women surrounding a larger, overweight woman in a circle and pointing fingers at her, while the woman in the middle crouches over and weeps. Or a group of racially-homogeneous schoolchildren turning their backs to a mixed-race    child–”

“Or an interracial couple,” I blurt out. I hope my interruption doesn’t bother her.

“Yes, that would also be powerful, especially if the schoolchildren were in their teens.”

“What’s stopping you from pursuing this sort of project? I realize you said time is always a factor, but isn’t that just an excuse we use? I tend to think we use the “time” excuse because we’re afraid of what actually doing this project could lead to.”

“What do you mean?” Monifa finishes her sandwich and turns her attention completely upon me. Her dazzling black eyes pierce through me like an Olympic archer’s arrow.

“Well, I think we’re afraid of pursuing our dreams because we’re afraid we might fail, which wouldn’t just shatter you accomplishing our dreams, but your desire to dream of anything again. If our dreams remain fantasy, we can always take comfort in knowing that we’ll never fail.”

“But how do you know you’ll fail if you never try it? If you keep on wishing for things, they’ll never happen unless you take action.”

This is where I can definitely go in for the intellectual kill.

“Maybe this is why you should pursue your dreams instead of just talking about it.”

Silence. DEAD SILENCE. DEAD, DEAFENING SILENCE.

Just what I thought would happen. Dead, deafening silence. Monifa’s gorgeous face wrinkles as she thinks hard about what I just said. I genuinely hope she gets out of her artistic funk and pursues her photography, or whatever art she likes to do. It’s a damn shame when young people talk about wanting to do something but never even try to do it. Rationalizing your behavior can be the ultimate form of suicide.

Gee, I should write a book about this.

“You know what, Ryan? You’re right. You’re absolutely right, one hundred percent right. I should pursue my art. Of course, in small chunks. I can’t do everything overnight, you would agree?” I see that Cathy has returned to the back kitchen. I think she’s conceded that we’re not going to order anything else today.

“Of course, I completely agree. Start out small. Right now, you’re doing nothing. So doing something would definitely be an improvement. Start with something modest. How about creating two or three person tableaus? I’m sure we can totally find volunteers who’d be willing to pose for a few shots. Seattle is full of artsy-types who would do anything do get into the “art scene.’”

Monifa grins. “I’ll think about this. I’m confident I can get something off the ground. But I just moved here, so I–”

“Ah, ah, ah! There’s that thing about making excuses. Do you have a camera?”

“Yes.”

“Great. Is it unpacked?”

“No, but it’s not hard to find.”

“Great. Think about some ideas, and feel free to knock on my door any time to run them by me. My ear is always open to new ideas.” Holy shit, did I just give her an open invitation to come over to my apartment whenever she likes? I’m really getting bold.

“I would like that. I like you, Ryan. I’m glad we’re neighbors.”

“I’m glad, too.”

There is another period of silence, but this time it’s way more awkward. I think it is time for us to depart from here and go our separate ways.

“Pablo should be done with your unit by now.”

“Yes, he should be. I’ll pay for us.”

“No, no, no! Your money is no good here, at least not today. I’ll cover this, my treat.”

“Thanks! You’re very sweet.” Monifa leans over and kisses me on the cheek. I feel my entire body melt at the sensation of her soft lips covering my face. Is it possible to get a heart attack just by being kissed by a beautiful woman?

We get up, push our chairs in and I walk over to the counter. Cathy has since returned, reading a trashy fashion magazine.

“I’m paying for the both of us.”

“Who’s the girl, Ryan? She’s quite a looker,” Cathy whispers to me as I hand her my debit card. She swipes it and returns it to me. I put it back in my wallet.

“New neighbor. Next door. Sweet thing. I’m looking forward to getting to know her better.”

“Holy fucking shit. She’s gorgeous, honey. You better act fast or else someone else will, trust me.” Cathy’s advice is always straight and to-the-point. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that.

“I trust you, Cathy. I trust you. I’ll see you later.”

“Bye,” Cathy says to me. “Bye!” she yells to Monifa as we head out the door.

“Good bye, Cathy. It was nice to meet you. You have a lovely establishment. I’ll be returning here often,” Monifa declares as we leave.

We stroll back to the apartment building across the street. Sure enough, Pablo is finished with his work. Monifa and I shake hands as we retreat to our respected units, separated by nothing but a thin, sound-proof wall. I close the door and collapse onto the couch.

“Wow, what a day. What a way to spend my Monday,” I tell myself.

Imagine this: I’m now next-door neighbors with The Most Beautiful Woman in the World and this Saturday I’ll be losing my virginity to The Most Muscular Woman in the World.

Not bad, Ryan Takahashi, not bad at all. Looks like I’m finally starting to move up in the world.

It’s about time!

The Adventures of Ryan Takahashi: Chapter Eleven – The Girl Next Door

I return home at 2:30 p.m. after getting off my shift and doing an arms work out. I didn’t see Monifa after I saw her deadlifting, so I’m assuming she finished her work out before I got done washing those God-forsaken towels.

The walk back to my apartment was hellish because to the rain. I didn’t bring a jacket because, judging from the conditions earlier this morning, I didn’t think I needed one. That’s a testament to how unpredictable the Seattle weather can be on any given day.

I live on the seventh floor of my apartment, so I have a pretty good view of the neighborhood. But today the view isn’t terribly spectacular.

As I exit the elevator and proceed toward my room, I notice the unit next to mine is being cleaned out by the building staff. I see Pablo, our resident maintenance man, repairing the drywall in unit #724 (I live in unit #725). He looks hard at work.

“Good day, Pablo. New tenant?”

“Yes, sir. She’s moving in today. But I didn’t know about this drywall problem until the boss told me about it an hour ago. This shit is going to take all day to fix.”

“That sucks,” I say to him, unlocking my door. “Who is it? A family? A couple? A loner like me?”

“It’s a girl. A black girl. Very cute. You’ll like her.”

A black girl? Who’s new? It can’t be…

“Did you catch her name?” I ask casually.

“Nope. But I don’t think she’s married. She’s only bringing her cat with her. Why? Are you looking for a girlfriend?”

I laugh. “No, no. Of course not. I just want to say hello to her whenever I run into her. It’s nice to know her name in advance. How cute is she?”

Pablo puts down his tools and looks at me straight.

“Very cute. So hot. She has a fine ass. Fine ass, my friend. I’d tap her in a heartbeat.” Pablo then starts to do an obscene dance that I’m guessing is intended to simulate sex.

“I’m sure you would. And your taste in women is very similar to mine. Maybe we could both tap her.” I’m not usually that crass, but sometimes I get a little overzealous after working out. All that panting, sweating and extra blood flow does something to my mind.

“Oh yeah, like takes turns, right?”

“Uh huh. We’ll see how that goes. Take care, Pablo.”

“Take care, hombre.”

Cutting our conversation short, I slam the door shut behind me forcefully, so to tell him I’m retreating into my own little world and I am no longer interested in talking about “tapping asses.” Gee, what if Monifa is the girl who’s moving in next to me? That would be epic.

Monifa is one hell of a gorgeous woman. She’s not nearly as buff as Cindi, but she has a whole plethora of redeeming qualities: She has a beautiful face (honestly, one of the most beautiful faces I’ve ever seen!), a curvy body, large breasts (I consider myself a “leg guy,” but her breasts are something special), gorgeous black skin, toned muscles, abdominal muscles that can hold their own against any female peer (like Cindi) and enough booty to last a lifetime.

I have no idea what “enough booty to last a lifetime” means exactly, but you get the picture. Her butt is FINE. And it definitely deserves all capital letters.

But enough of that. For all I know, some other woman could be moving in next to me. What interests me at the moment is lunch. If I recall correctly, I have leftover lasagna in the refrigerator as well as a half-eaten take-out box of chow mein from a Chinese restaurant across the street from Wellford Fitness Center. There’s a 20-something Chinese girl who works there who’s one of the prettiest girls I’ve ever seen in my life. She’s also shorter than a midget (that’s an exaggeration, but I highly doubt she even cracks five feet tall).

Hm…I think I hear the lasagna calling my name.

Ryan! Eat me! Eat me before I turn black and you have to throw me away!” the lasagna says to me. Believe it or not, there once was a time when I buried a container of clam chowder in the back of the refrigerator and forgot about it for nearly a year. When I discovered it, it became not green, but completely black.

And, it smelled like nobody’s business. Seriously, I wanted to puke after looking at it. Luckily, I did not. But I do not envy the garbage man who had to toss it in the back of his truck the next day. Ew.

Putting a slice of lasagna on a plate and placing it in the microwave, I set it for two minutes and wait. In the meantime, I reflect upon the beautiful specimen that is Monifa Okendu.

Wow. As if having Cindi in my life isn’t enough, I now have someone else I can fantasize about when I masturbate before going to bed. I consider women of all colors to be beautiful. Of course, ugly people (both men and women) exist across the entire ethnic spectrum, but I find a beautiful black woman to be especially pleasing to the eye. I have no idea why, I just do.

Maybe it’s because you very rarely see a black woman dating an Asian man. You see more of the other way around, but Asian guys tend to either stay with Asian women or venture out into the land of the paler skin ladies.

I wonder how many Asian guys have married a female bodybuilder. Who the hell knows?

Cindi is a Latina and she looks very exotic. Light brown skin and silky jet black hair (with streaks of gray sprinkled all around), Miss North makes for one hell of a woman. Even without all her gorgeous muscles, her 6’4” height is enough to make basketball coaches drool at the possibility of her playing center for their team.

Ding!

The lasagna is done. Finally!

After taking it out of the microwave and grabbing a fork, I plop down on my sofa and turn on the TV. Flipping through endless channels with nothing interesting going on, I decide on the safe choice of ESPN. Maybe I can catch highlights of all the action around the NFL yesterday.

The Seahawks lost. No surprises there. The Patriots wiped out the Bills. No surprise there. The Rams barely edged the Packers. That’s sort of surprising. I guess it’s true what they say about football: on any given Sunday, anybody can win.

Speaking of “winning,” who would have thought a month ago that I would be with a female bodybuilder like Cindi North? Who would have thought that I–”

Wait, am I still thinking about her? Holy shit. She can’t leave my mind. And let’s be serious for a moment: I’m not exactly “with” her in the traditional sense. We hooked up via Craigslist. In fact, we haven’t even officially “done it” yet. I just came on her face and she thanked me by giving me oral sex; which felt amazing, by the way!

Then she let me come on her abs. How hot is that? Yowzzzaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then I hear outside my door Pablo striking up a conversation with somebody. And from the sound of it, he’s talking with a woman! Holy smokes, it could be her!

I put my plate of lasagna on my computer desk and run to my front door. I close one eye and peek through the little hole in the middle of the door. I see Pablo holding a drill and an orange extension cord but the person he’s talking to is hidden from view. Dude, just move to the left a little! Or maybe the woman he’s chatting with should move within my line of sight.

I could make the excuse of checking my mail. I could do that. But the mail carrier comes at 4 p.m. every day. Checking my mail now would make no sense. Hm. I could always–”

Suddenly, Pablo enters back into the apartment, presumably to finish working. But where is the woman? I don’t see her! Maybe she went back into the apartment with him. Are they about to have sex?

Wait, that’s ridiculous! Pablo is there to repair the drywall, not to participate in a conjugal visit. Whoa, my mind can wander into some unusual places sometimes.

You know what? It’s stupid of me to just stand here and peek at her like a horny middle school boy peeping at girls during gym class. I’m a man! I can just walk into the hallway and say I heard people talking (which is true) and that I want to meet my new neighbor (which is also true) because I’m a friendly guy who wants to welcome everybody to the neighborhood (which is not even close to true. I hardly know any of my neighbors. We all sort of live in our own little worlds independent of each other).

I’ll do it. I’ll just open the door, poke my head in her apartment and say “hi.” What’s the harm in that? People do it all the time to meet their new neighbors. I should handle this like an adult.

I open the door and step outside. Closing the door behind me, I creep over to unit #724 and poke my curious head inside. I see Pablo diligently working, but nobody else. Was I imagining their whole conversation together? I probably was–”

“Oh, hi there!”

I turn around and see Her. The same woman I saw at work earlier today. Monifa Okendu. I take a look at her from head to toe. She’s dressed in gray sweat pants, a tight black shirt (that gratuitously shows off her large, beautiful breasts), a blue denim jacket and a bright orange scarf around her long neck. The last time I saw her she was dressed in a pink spandex bra and a pair of tight pink shorts that left very little to the imagination. I nearly fainted at the sight of her curvaceous, jaw-dropping figure.

And she still doesn’t look half bad.

“Hey! Monifa, right?”

“Yes. You remembered my name. Is your name Tim?”

“No, it’s Ryan.”

“Sorry. Excuse me. I’m new in town. I’m meeting a lot of people for the first time. Forgive me.”

“Oh, no. Don’t be sorry. I completely understand. It’s difficult trying to remember everybody’s names. But now you definitely remember mine.”

“Do you live here?”

“Yes. I live in this unit right here. Are you just moving in?”

Pablo is still hard at work. I’m not sure if he knows we’re having a conversation right here in the hallway. Otherwise, I’d expect him to come on out and crack an inappropriate joke at our expense. He’s the kind of guy who would do that sort of thing.

“I am,” Monifa says, taking a quick peek into my unit. “I guess now we’re going to be next door neighbors. How exciting!”

Exciting? I was thinking the exact same thing. Dear lord, she has an incredibly BEAUTIFUL face! Yikes. It’s perfectly angular with sharp features that accentuate her flawless facial characteristics. If Cindi’s beauty is her strength, Monifa’s beauty is her…beauty. My God, what a beautiful woman!

“This is going to be very exciting. Is it just you moving in?” I hope I’m not being too forward by asking her this.

“Yes. Just me. Are you married?”

“No, not at the moment. Just me. Living the single life!” How lame is that response?

Monifa laughs. She has a strong, deep voice that gives her authority. I wonder if she ever uses it to her advantage…

“Well…” Monifa begins, “while he’s working on fixing my dry wall, I have no place to stay. Do you know of any good places to spend a few hours around here?”

Should I invite her into my room? Hell no! That’s being WAY too forward. I think I’ll recommend D’Angelo’s Café to her. It’s close, safe, serves good food and Sam shouldn’t be there. At least, for Monifa’s sake, I hope not.

“You can go across the street to D’Angelo’s Café. It’s a great local coffee shop that serves some very good pastries. You’re probably in the mood for something to eat, so you should get one of their grilled sandwiches. I haven’t tried a lot of them, but I’m sure they’re all delicious.”

“Thank you Ryan! I really appreciate the advice. I think I’ll do that. Want to join me?”

I almost fell down in disbelief. Monifa wants me to join her? Of course I will! It’s not every day a woman with superhuman beauty asks you to join her for coffee (I understand that Cindi also asked to meet me at a coffee shop, but that’s beside the point). I think I’ll take her up on this offer.

“Sure. Sounds great. Let’s go.”

“Great!” Monifa says. Her silky black skin almost makes her glow like an angel. I think she actually is an angel.

As we turn to leave, I lock my door and see Pablo out of the corner of my eye, deep inside Monifa’s apartment. He gives me a quick wink. I wink back. He gives me a wicked smile. I return the wicked smile.

We have an understanding.