Fate and Sakura
My life had changed so radically in a short period of time that sometimes I wonder was it for real. One moment I was behind the enemy lines and the next am back home. Here I am with my own kind whom I can freely speak with and share anything. Even I can walk up to the next town without any fear of getting spotted. Security had always been man kinds number one issue in order to survive at a particular place.
I had a wild experience of that in Hokkaido. The Japanese base were so close but I was hiding in their vicinity without being recognized. Thanks to those kind villagers who considered about me and of course Jako’s family. Now I should not have any problems in my life and am back to where I belong. Despite trying to convince myself with that thought I cannot appease the burning desire in my heart. Every time I wish to make a fresh start thoughts of Aiko strikes me like a lightning bolt and the worse thing is that it dwells in my head for a long time. The harder I try to get over it the harder it takes to forget.
Now the harvesting season was here I tried to busy myself in our farm. Before the cock crows in the morning I would be out of bed. Don’t know whether it’s normal or am going crazy. I sleep late and off the bed early. Sometimes I get absent minded and could not recall things which I had done recently. I talk less and spend most of my time alone out in the fields. I simply don’t feel like spending time with my family. All their smiles and laughter do not bring any delight inside of me.
I begin my day by looking at the skies and end in the same way trying to look for signs which could change my life for once again. But every time it’s the same feeling, utter silence thrusting me deeper into silence. Harvesting corn is not an easy job and especially if you have a large field. My grandfather had employed several labourers with whom I spend most of my time.
At first they were reluctant to talk to me but soon when they found out that am not like my grandfather or uncle they grew quite fond of me. They would wait for me every morning by the barn. We would share few jokes and moments of laughter before going over the schedule for the day. But when my grandfather or uncle is with me there is a huge difference. Sometimes they would complain afterwards why I have to bring them along. They couldn’t understand that I can’t stop them from coming and they are actually their rightful masters.
All I could do is to just say sorry and carry on with my task. They have their own reasoning since my grandfather and uncle are not that friendly with them afterall. Sometimes I could see how they scold them using abusive language and racist at times that I have to intervene in between. Ofcourse they wouldn’t listen to me and would blast me for being so soft hearted to them. My uncle always used to say that
‘don’t get too friendly with them son or else they will forget their place!”
Well maybe he is right from his point of view but atleast my uncle and grandfather should understand humanity first before becoming masters. There is always another way of dealing with your servants as far as I could see. You don’t need to be that friendly but using racist comments and abusive languages is totally intolerable. Sometimes I wish that these two should have been in my place and am pretty sure they would have learnt enough of humanity. They are not harsh always and do pay their workers well with incentives.
But the funny thing about my grandfather is that he wants to make use of every single dime he pays his workers. Same applies to my uncle who is following onto his father’s footsteps. They were same as before and I couldn’t do much. However I would intervene in between when they are crossing the limits. I know they had seen changes in me but I can’t help it. I guess this was something I learnt from Hokkaido and I can’t change myself to who was in my past. It took us four weeks to harvest the whole field and I would accompany grandfather or uncle to the weighhouse every day.
This time of the year grandfather is quite happier since he is getting paid for his spoils. And when the last quota had been delivered he would throw up a barbeque for his workers. He actually invites everyone in the neighbourhood as well. Whole night they would stay up late drinking, feasting and merry-making. Certainly it doesn’t seem like that they would be totally a different person on the fields very next day.
This had been my first harvest celebration ever since I had returned. Like always I would busy doing the barbeque and chatting with my cousins. However this time aunt Shirley accompanied me and kept Peter and Maggie busy with serving others. She helped me out in doing the barbeque and then all of a sudden she asked me,
“ So who is she?”
I looked at her stunned. I replied, “ What do you mean, aunty?” in a stuttering voice.
“Oh, c’mon! I had known you from your nappy days dear! You can’t hide anything from me! There is something bugging you and I know it! So tell me, is she pretty?” she said.
“I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about! There is no one! I swear!” I replied trying to hide my eye contact with hers.
“Really! There is no one! Then why are you hiding your eyes, my boy?” she said in a impish manner.
“ No am not hiding my eyes! It’s the smoke which got in my eyes, really!” I explained in a defensive manner.
“Ryan! You haven’t changed at all son! Your habits still speaks the volume of this matter! Remember when you tried to lie you did the same!” she said in a calming tone.
I stood motionless for I knew I won’t be able to hide this for a long.
“Uh! Don’t burn the meat son!” Aunt Shirley said cautiously.
“Oh! sorry about that!” I said.
“Well if you don’t wanna tell it’s ok! But let me tell you one thing Ryan, ever since you came we are seeing changes in you!” she paused looking at me for while and then said, “It’s better to let it out!”
I looked at her as she went carrying cooked meat. Should I tell her, I thought. Well aunt Shirley had always been like a mother to me and she had always helped me out. She had mentioned that my changed behaviour is being noticed and maybe grandmother or grandfather will ask me next. I can’t go around dodging from everyone. I looked at everyone, grandma, grandpa and uncle Tom. They were enjoying the party but I could sense now that they are observing me time on and on.
Since aunt Shirley had told me about me being observed it’s a new bug in my head now. Oh god why it’s me always stuck up with difficult questions in my life. I finished the last glass of Kentucky Bourbon and went to get another one. Grandma accompanied me inside to the living room and asked me if everything was ok.
“What’s the matter child, you don’t seem like enjoying the party tonight, are you alright dear? She said.
“Yeah am fine, grandma!” I replied.
She looked at me with an examiners eye. I stood by the counter for a while and could sense she was there. I turned and said out in a loud voice.
“ Am ok! Am really fine, nothing is wrong with me ok! Just leave me alone!”
Grandma was shunned with my words and left the room saying, “ Ok dear! It’s ok, I was just checking if you are ok!”
she said in a more frightened voice then calm tone. I realized that I had hurt her and then turned around and went straight in her arms. I couldn’t hold my tears and started apologizing to grandma,
“I’m sorry, grandma! I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to say that to you! I’m so sorry!”
I said in sobering. Grandma held me tight and said, “It’s ok dear! I know you are disturbed! It’s ok!”
she tried to calm me down as she did when I was small. I held her tight and lay my head on her lap as she sat on the sofa. For one moment I was back in nostalgia with grandma’s soft hands patting my head gently. She would accompany me to my world as I lay there for hours lost in my dream world, trying to comfort my unsettling heart. I used to ask her always when will dad come home or where is mum and she would always say that
“very soon they will be here, son! Very soon…..!”
The point is that neither my heart got settled nor did my parents come. Today once more the same feeling is there of desolation and despair, again am left to dwell in my world with my heart still unsettled. I do not wish to end up with the same feeling once more. I got up from my grandma’s lap staring at the wall.
Grandma placed her hand behind my back and said, “ What’s the matter Ryan?”
I paused for a while trying to seek out words from numb mind. Then I turned towards grandma and said, “I wish to tell you and aunt Shirley something?”
Grandma held my hand and said anxiously “What is it? What is bothering you my son? (sobbingly) Look what have you done to yourself?” she started crying.
I held her hands and said, “I’m sorry grandma, but I didn’t know what to do? I was lost and didn’t realize that I was hurting you and aunt Shirley! Now I want to tell you two something!”
“Ok dear! I will seek your aunt and we go to your room!” she said trying to comfort herself and then spoke again,
“ We knew there was something you had been hiding all this while but we didn’t want to ask you. But I couldn’t take it so I discussed this with your aunt. She had been also thinking the same thing. You know how much we love you right. And seeing you like this was really painful for both of us. You don’t know how much it affected us upon learning of your disappearance. Everyone lost hope in you but I stood still saying that one day he will return or else I’ll stop believing in god. And god brought you here once again.”
She said the last sentence weeping. I tried to comfort her. I couldn’t say anything for she has her right to cry today. After a while Maggie came in the house looking for something in the kitchen. I asked her to tell aunt Shirley that grandma wishes to see her. Aunt Shirley soon joined us and we moved to my room. We closed the door behind and both ladies sat on my bed while I sat on the chair facing them. I took a deep breathe and then began my story.
I told them everything from the moment I opened my eyes in Hokkaido after the crash till the last day. Both of them didn’t say a word in between and kept on listening. I even told them that I never thought about returning to America since I had found peace for my heart over there. All this while I had been carrying this pain in my heart, for being apart from Aiko. After letting it out I felt a huge burden had been lifted off my chest.
My aunt and grandma remained silent with both hands on their mouth. I could see the sparkle in their eyes but I wondered whether they had understood me really or were shocked from learning about my unwillingness to return. I couldn’t take it so I went out for a smoke leaving these two ladies in the room. My aunt and grandma soon came out and joined me on the verandah. The men were still drinking but none of them appeared to be sober. Grandpa was snoring on his chair and uncle Tom could be seen yawning with the labourers.
Grandma came closer and spoke, “ Do you love her?”
I turned around and thought what kind of stupid question was that. “Ofcourse I love Aiko!” I replied.
“Do you want to go to Japan?” asked aunt Shirley.
“If given opportunity, yes…ofcourse!” I replied.
“Well then I would talk to Sgt. Hayden about it then!” said grandma.
“What do you mean speaking to Sgt. Hayden? “I asked since Hayden wasn’t part of any of this conversation.
Aunt Shirley replied, “Well he found you and ofcourse will find a way to get you there!”
Aunt Shirley looked bit firm to me but later she smiled and said, “We had lost you once and we don’t wanna lose our Ryan, again!” Grandma added, “Even though you are here but your heart is still with your love! All we wanted to know whether you are alive or not!”
“Now we know that you were fine, I think it’s better for you return to where you rediscovered yourself!” aunt Shirley said.
I looked at them wondering why are they hurting themselves further for I knew that they were not saying it from their heart. It was evident from the depth of their words.
I turned around and said to both of them, “Why are you two doing this to me? I know you don’t want me to go from deep down inside your heart! You are just saying it, trying to comfort me and that’s all! Please don’t do that or else it would be another burden on me?”
I went back inside after saying this to them. I know that they are trying to do a sacrifice for me but I don’t need any more sacrifices. Am already tired of doing that. Maybe my part in Hokkaido was only that much. I still love Aiko and forever will. She will remain in my heart forever and for that I don’t need to do any sacrifices.