Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Story: Fortunate One

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Fortunate One

Mitsuko closed her front door with a sigh. She had been hoping for fresh air and blue skies, but fortune was not with her. The sky was gray again, and underneath the usual industrial murk was the smell of smoke. Nearby Yahata was still burning from the last bombing raid.

The war was not going well and although nobody dared speak of it, Mitsuko could see in people's eyes the realization that the end was near. Sometimes she secretly wished to hurry the inevitable. She was tired and no longer blindly believed everything she heard on the radio. Her family, like so many others, had given much for the Emperor. Her father was a broken man, one son lost aboard the once-mighty Hiryu and the other still fighting somewhere in Manchuria. If Eiji were still alive.

Mitsuko's husband was a manager for one of the Kokura arms factories across the river. She worried about him because he had been working so hard for so long, and now all for nothing it seemed. These days, it was hard to remember that her entire life hadn't been one of deprivation because of the war. It was hard to recall the happy memories when what was most easily remembered were her lost brothers, her silent father, and her exhausted husband.

There was a sour lump in her throat, bitterness over her life and how it should have been. There were supposed to be children. Living in grimy Kokura was never part of her dreams.

Mitsuko thought of her sister Aiko, who seemed to have all the good fortune in the family. Her husband had been promoted and was now director of a shipyard. Their house overlooked the sea and the breezes swept the air clean. Aiko had recently given birth to a second son. Fortune definitely smiled upon Aiko.

Determined to cheer up, Mitsuko decided that she should visit her sister. Travel was difficult but not impossible. She would ask her husband tonight for a travel permit. If he couldn't arrange it, then Mitsuko would send word to Aiko. Surely *her* husband could manage a travel pass.

Mitsuko's spirits were already lifted at the thought of visiting lucky Aiko in her beautiful home with her new beautiful son.

Yes, she thought, a few days in Nagasaki will do me good.