Saturday, 30 August 2014

White Opal (白いオパール)

White OPAL

Years and years ago I was most relieved that I got to marry a decent man approved by my relatives and society.  It was what had been expected of my social position and I counted on my inner strength to live up to it.  However, my father had been stationed in Europe for many years and as a child I went with him.  This experience had influenced me more than I ever realized.  Unable to live a person that was not me, I left the marriage much to the dismay of my relatives.  Stigma of divorced has softened these days, but back then it was either I remarried or branded disgrace in Japan.  Having no stomach to face either I decided to flee.  I travelled around a bit but eventually settled down in Sydney-the land of sunshine and smiles. 

Whether it was due to my divorce or just my nature, I preferred my company.  Sydney offers a plenty of pubs where people go in hope to meet people.  A Tassie girl from Hobart met the future King of Denmark in a pub too.  However, I refused to go to pubs after I learnt how the Aussie men conceived of Japanese women.  Girls of the generation after me were liberated from the old conception that girls must remain untouched until the wedding night.  That’s good for them.  However, they were still obliging Japanese women inside despite their modern appearance.  Combined these two elements it may have sent out a wrong message that Japanese girls were ‘very willing.’  At least one Aussie dude whom I met at work blatantly took it for granted that I would yield despite my reserved conservative stance.   Needless to say I cut him dead.  While there have been several overtures since then, I have been comfortable with my abstemious life. 

Therefore, I did not react to this gentlemen for many years though the shadow across his eyes slightly piqued my interest.  I had been in Australia long enough to know that there were more to Australians’ smiles than meet the eyes, but that  resigned loneliness he carried about him was in a stark contrast to the lightness drenched with sunshine.  I was puzzled because he was leading a successful life in every way.  For a split second I wished I knew how to make him smile.  However, I respected him too much to meddle and my mind slipped back into my solitary life.  

But when I decided to uproot myself from Sydney, I thought of him.  As my neighbours and a few acquaintance were rapidly turning into figures of the past, this gentleman I faintly wished to see before I left.  I contacted him not expecting to hear back, but he remembered me.  I was suddenly thrilled to see him again.  Maybe I was human after all.  To be continued. 

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