Tuesday / August 16, 2005 / 11:46 AM / Sendai, Miyagi. I was just nine years old. I never expected such disaster to happen. My dad told me I was luckier because I wasn't born in 1978, where Sendai was struck by an 7.4 magnitude earthquake. No matter how small the difference of the intensity of this one to that, I still thought that it's all bad altogether. No doubt 'bout that. I was at home instead of school, because I got sick. My dad was outside the house tending our garden when it all happened.
As the house began to shake and things go falling off, I clutched tight to my bed's dresser, literally crying. My dad swung the door open moments later and hugs me tight. And at that moment, I remembered 'bout my mom; my mom whom I never knew, a woman that left my dad heartbroken. I just wished that there will be a mom that will take care of me, just like dad who survived me for years since I was born and left on a doorstep. The only sentence that my dad can describe my mom is, "That woman, with beauty and love that can hunger anyone." As much as it concerns me, I really don't get it and I don't want to.
We heard crashing sounds around the house as it continued to shake, but we didn't care anymore. As long as me and my dad are alive and together, I'm okay with it. After a few minutes, the earthquake finally stopped, and we both heaved a sigh of super relief. Our house was half-wrecked, but we managed to fix it up in a matter of a few days, with additional help from my dad's carpenter friend, Masao. From then on, I continued a perfectly normal life (except for my classmates calling me weird for my eating habits), until a conversation broke it all.
Friday / April 26, 2008 / 5:27 PM / Sendai, Miyagi. A few days before I hit twelve, on puberty already, I came back from school. As I crept up the stairs, I heard my father in his room, indistinctly shouting, hinting that he's angry. I don't really want to eavesdrop, but I was like, "What the heck is with dad? What's up with the bad mood?" Despite being very lazy, I mustered up myself to listen carefully. The words and sentences I heard were:
|“||No, Satoru! You must not bring Mayumi here. My son must not know that I sold her to you and Sayako to get money to raise him up. How stupid are you to think of such idea!? *six-second pause then dad curses* Shut your mouth! Mitsuru must know nothing of his half-sister. *four-second pause* I thought we'd agreed from the very start that you'll keep our deal!? Didn't you understand anything the day where we made the deal? *dad's suddenly cut off by a voice on his phone, then he grunts after five seconds* No! Keep Mayumi with you and Sayoko over there at Murayama or else I will pull a trigger! I'm threatening you, Satoru. I have a gun in my arsenal. Bring Mayumi here, and I will make sure your grave's finished the day after. *he hangs up then a thudding sound, possibly his bed*||”|
Wait, what? I didn't know Uncle Satoru and Aunt Sayoko have a child with them. They visit five times a year from Murayama, a city not far from Sendai to bring us food from the inn they are running. I've been there several times, but never really saw a child, not far from my age, playing around there. But, what really mentally gunned me down was the person named Mayumi. I have a half-sister? And wait, what did he mean by selling her to my uncle and aunt? A rain of questions poured into my mind that afternoon. I tried to stay quiet for the meantime, but I couldn't resist asking. I have to know the truth, if I ever really had a half-sister.
Saturday / April 28, 2008 / 11:01 AM / Sendai, Miyagi. I decided to ask him. Well, he was shocked upon being asked of a very touchy question. At first he denied it, but I kept on forcing him. And I won. He was reluctant in telling me, but managed to splutter out the whole story:
Two years after my mom left me on the doorstep as a baby, he met another woman who had the same allure and mysterious personality like my mom. They eventually fell in love and conceived Mayumi after a while. The very same thing happened to him and Mayumi. Her mom left them and placed her at the doorstep just like me; however, dad was poor at the time. He didn't have a good, money-bursting job.
Actually, he felt regretful that they had another child, as raising me was already hard for him. So he had to seek help from his way richer brother, Satoru Matsui and his wife, Sayoko. They had a deal: In exchange of a large sum of money to help my dad financially, Mayumi was given to my aforementioned uncle and aunt, while keeping her identity completely shut out to me. If he didn't "sell" Mayumi, we wouldn't be able to have this house and this kind of life.
The clock ticked, and so did myself. I was ticked off; I mean, who wouldn't be angry for someone doing something as low as this? This was the very first time I really felt furious with my dad. No use standing around here anymore, I told myself. I'm going to Murayama myself, and find Mayumi. Of course, I only said those in my unaudible mind, and set up a plan later that day.
Sunday / April 29, 2008 / 5:30 AM / Sendai, Miyagi. My birthday's eve, but didn't care for now. I packed up some clothes and brought my whole savings with me. I thought the bus would have big fares. I didn't care about buying food, as I eat very little, even if dad's cooking was good. At first dad thought I was crazy, but we then discovered I have anorexia. Now, back to my escape. Dad would wake up around seven, so my timing is good enough. I left the house and went for the bus station, which should be open by now since by this time, busy people would come flowing in for morning shift. As much as I would like to call what I'm doing a tedious and draggy task, it is very important. I easily boarded the bus bound for Murayama, as I didn't look like an eleven-year old boy, considering my height and fast puberty.
The ride took about forty minutes, more or less. As I sat all alone in my seat, I felt fear and nervousness; I mean, this is my first time going alone on a place farther than Sendai. What's worse is that I never familiarized myself in Murayama except for the Murayama Inn, the inn where the person I'm looking was residing. I tried keeping my calmest look and composure to as much as I can while planning my next move once I arrive there.
Sunday / April 29, 2008 / 6:47 AM / Murayama, Yamagata. I hopped off the bus as soon as the conductor told us to do so. And as soon as I got off, I called for a taxi and asked if he knows Murayama Inn. Luckily, he knew, much to my relief. He gave me a ride going there, which took more or less than ten minutes. As the inn's large traditional roof appeared in the sea of houses, my heartbeat began to pace fast.
It has been two years since Soichiro Matsui met "that woman, with beauty and love that can hunger anyone," (which was Limos) and the familiar-looking child at the doorstep that he eventually named Mitsuru. He lived in a poorly made farm house at Sendai, Miyagi; his job as a gas station attendant can't keep up with his wish on turning his house into a decent-looking home, not to mention he and Mitsuru have personal needs to put into consideration. And meeting another another woman to just fall in love and father another child with doesn't seem to help at all, considering his current state of living. Well, one just can't help falling in love with a goddess, whoever this goddess is. For Soichiro, it was Eirene, the personification of peace and the goddess of the season of spring. In the guise of a serene-looking geisha, she easily captured the heart of the single parent, and invited him to come every night to see her dance in a non-profane but alluring way. Given enough time, the geisha-looking goddess was impregnated by Soichiro after sleeping together drunk. In a flash, Eirene knew what happened after that certain night, so she bid Soichiro goodbye and left him while he is still in his peaceful slumber. It seems that history repeated itself, and he found a baby girl at his doorstep almost the very same way Mitsuru was laid there. The child looked almost exactly like him, so he figured out that it's his child. He vaguely remembered the experience with Eirene, so he never recognized the child's mother, also the same case with Mitsuru and Limos. He can't take the child in. Raising his two-year old son alone is hard enough for him to bear, and now two? He just couldn't. Leaving the child on some dark street isn't the fatherly way, as she may die; leaving it for adoption isn't his cup of tea either, for the child's adoptive parents may just maltreat her. After a hard time thinking and frustrating himself, he cooks up with the best way he could think of. He called his way richer brother, Satoru, to meet up and make a deal: in exchange for the child, he will receive a huge sum of money, while keeping the truth completely obscure from Mitsuru. Satoru, who had a barren wife named Sayoko, agrees to terms with his brother, for he also wanted a child. So in a single fateful day, Soichiro receives a large amount of yen while Satoru comes home to Murayama with his new "daughter" named Mayumi. Satoru and Sayoko owns a large inn at Murayama, Yamagata, which earned them great respect and fame from their customers and guests. It was often mentioned in the news as "the treasure of Murayama." Mayumi is expected to succeed the family business by becoming the manager of the inn, and is always busy training herself. Despite her apparent willingness to inherit the inn, Mayumi is deep down falling under stress as a result of being branded the next owner of the inn. Because of her obligation she often goes home quickly after school is over and may even skip classes. Despite of a very young age, she was trained very early to handle larger responsibilities, for Satoru and Sayoko didn't waste any of her precious time. One day, her parents called her from upstairs. She obeyed willingly and went down, only to see a boy in his early teens, having a lazy look and messy hair. She looked at her parents, who wore nervous faces, and asked who the boy was. They both heaved heavy sighs, and spilled out the missing piece to her real family's background. Upon the last sentence's finish, she began to cry, then quickly hugged her long lost half-brother, Mitsuru. She never realized all of this until it was told. She couldn't believe it, but she couldn't resist being overwhelmed with joy either. For all those years, she never knew about her half-brother's existence. And now, he was standing there. The news of her real father's death came shortly after Mitsuru decided to stay with them, and a few years after that, came her half-brother's flight for New York. She knew that whatever she tells them to hold off their plan, they wouldn't listen, for their decision was final. She and Mitsuru have separate lives. She has to inherit the inn, while he has to find his way in the US. After he left, she returned to her life, longing for him to come back so soon.