In response to Writing 101’s Prompt: Serially Found.
Write about finding something.
Tell us about the time you retrieved your favorite t-shirt from your ex. Or when you accidentally stumbled upon your fifth-grade journal in your parents’ attic. Or how about the moment you found out the truth about a person whose history or real nature you thought you’d figured out. Interpret this theme of “finding something” however you see fit.
Today’s twist: if you wrote day four’s post as the first in a series, use this one as the second installment — loosely defined.
You could pick up the action where you stopped, or jump backward or forward in time. You might write about the same topic, but use a different style, or use the same style to tackle a neighboring topic.
Lydia had to be patient. Abigail wasn’t one to open up easily and she was sick. Lydia wondered why it wasn’t her kids or grandchildren who came to visit her and write down the memories. But they were already getting ready to return to Japan. They didn’t truly belong here: at least they didn’t feel they did. Apparently they didn’t have the sense of adventure their grandmother had. But she was tired now. It was difficult.
“Are you writing my memoirs Lydia?” Abigail asked out of the blue. Lydia blushed slightly. It would be something she’d love to do, but not without Abby’s authorization.
“Only if you want me to Abby. But I like hearing about it.”
“I know. You’re like me. Things may be easier but it takes a specific kind of people to do what I did. What you intend to do.”
“I won’t be going as far as you did.”
“Well it’s your first time away from home. Who knows where it will lead you. Who knows what you will find.”
Lydia knew well what Abigail had found. A husband and a life in one of the most alien places one could find. Japanese culture was something altogether different from any other. It could probably be said of China and Asia in general but Abigail’s father fought the war in the Pacific; it must have been hard to explain why she went there.
“I found love. As you know. Steven was married when I came back. It hurt. I won’t lie. But as I said last week. I wasn’t holding a grudge. He had the right to be happy. I didn’t write much. He found love with Felicia. They were happy.”
“Was it difficult to leave again?”
“Not really. It was complicated to convince my father. He had prejudices. But he let me. Just because he wanted me not to cut all ties. It was such an adventure Lydia. I can’t even begin to explain it.”
But she tried. She explained how landing in Tokyo felt like moving to another world. She was in an alien place and everything about it was strange and other. Yet, she was the one who didn’t fit in. Although she spoke four languages, it took her almost a year to figure out Japanese, let alone try and write it. So she took lessons, enrolled at university. Quite luckily she found someone willing to hire a foreigner in their shop – not an easy feat to achieve as they were wary of foreigners. And the culture! It was so different from anything she’d ever experienced. Eating with chopsticks was only the tip of the iceberg; body language, the way one never really touches hand. Everything about being in Tokyo was like finding gems upon gems in a treasure trove and not knowing what type of stone they were because they didn’t belong in the same classification she used. And she loved every second of it.
It was during a trip to Kamakura almost two years into her adventure that she met Daisuke. She was contemplating crossing Honshu before going home. He was visiting with his students: he taught English at a Osaka high school. She had approached his group because he was explaining the history of the place both in Japanese and English, switching back and forth that his students learned the words. She liked how his voice changed between the two languages and his tongue rolled differently on the vowels and consonants. Lydia almost chuckled: she hadn’t known Abby fell in love with a voice.
He answered each question from the students with patience and kindness, even some that were quite ludicrous – as only teenagers can ask – and it prompted her to talk to him as the kids walked away. She’d apologized, of course, to interrupt him in his visit, her Japanese still a little shaky, and asked him a question about the bell at the top of the stairs. She hadn’t understood what he said about it to the students. He answered in English, something few Japanese did – apparently they were always shy about speaking English because of their accent.
“It could have stopped there after he was done. He could have walked away and we would never have seen each other again but somehow it didn’t. And this was an entirely new adventure.”
Abigail was exhausted. As much as Lydia wanted to say “Come on! You can’t stop here”, she knew her aunt had to rest. She kissed her brow saying good bye before leaving. As she opened the door, her great-aunt said.
“It’s nice that you’re writing my story Lydia. Thank you.”