I was lapsing into reverie. Even today the pond looks filthy. I have never seen a polluted pond like this anywhere except Japan. But it is okay with me because this might be the last time for me to sit here to contemplate the pond. The time has been flying so quickly since the vital decision as if it were yesterday. I am still confounded to grasp the reality. I cannot believe that my suffering is going to be over tomorrow and still cannot believe that I am going to start a new life in Mexico. I had thought that it would be impossible for me to escape from Japan this time, but unexpectedly my good Mexican friends have rescued me from my helpless tribulations. They are my real friends, and I am proud of having such amazing friends. Indeed, it is a wonderful feeling to have such good friends. Our friendship has begun since 2001, and our bonds have been become stronger and more solid, year by year. I consider that it is a miracle, because I have been in Japan, Australia, and Canada; they have been in Mexico – but we somehow have managed to see each other at least twice a year somewhere for nine years. I really think that God made me to go to Vancouver nine years ago, so that I could meet Gerardo and Ramon as well as Jorgito in Mexico. I owe them a huge favor for this unexpected new adventure that might change my life forever. I know what they expect me to do in Mexico: start writing my book. I know that I have still a tiny doubt for myself and still do not believe in my own power entirely. That is why I have never gotten started. If I am able to believe in my own power fully and am able to get rid of my doubt in Mexico, it will be tantamount to everything. My adventure might end very soon if I cannot find a job or I cannot start writing my book over there, but these are not important for me anymore. My only goal of this new adventure is that: I will seed indestructible faith into my heart. In all my life I had wanted to be liberated from Japanese social sphere, but it is not just an act of escaping from Japan that will make me liberated fully. It is just a delusion. Being liberated means that one must get rid of any doubt in his heart and believe in his own power unconditionally. If I can achieve these states, I am perfectly sure that I will become who I truly am and will have peace at my heart. I had been like a bird who is locked in a miserable cage and is about to die from the suffocation of loneliness. But my Mexican friends have opened that door of the cage so that I can fly away to the world. I am going to fly to my friends tomorrow, and I promise myself that I will never let them down again.
“Why did he write me that yellow means Shogo? He thinks my skin color is fucking yellow?” I was laughing at his stupid joke. I could forgive everything today even such an insignificant insult, because tomorrow would be different day for me dramatically. I decided to take a last walk on Japanese streets that have given me only sorrow and humiliation. As soon as I sailed out of my house, singing my favorite song, “la-la-la-la-la,” I remembered something important. I have to buy a bunch of medicines for my illness because tomorrow I would be in a different climate. It is very important, but I can buy them in Mexico because they can sell to me without any prescription! What a wonderful country! Of course, human beings need medicines when we have serious illness. In Japan they never sell to me without prescription even if I have serious illness. They do not care whether I am bleeding to death; they care only whether I have a prescription to have the right to buy these specific medicines. What inhuman bastards! Anyway, I have to buy my medicines here because I have a national health insurance, so it will be cheaper for me to buy them here than in Mexico, heh-heh-heh-heh!
After seeing my doctor to get the prescription, I went to a pharmacy to buy medicines with the same happy spirit. I said, waving the prescription, “I need my medicines for six months this time, and the doctor had given me permission.”
“Why do you need them for such long spans? You usually buy them for a month, Mr. Onoe,” a pharmacist asked.
“Because I’m going to Mexico tomorrow. Have you ever been there? Very nice country indeed! I’m going to live there for a while and might not come back to Japan anymore.”
“Mr. Onoe, it’s wonderful news. But I’m a wee bit worried about your health. Please don’t eat junk food too much and try to eat healthy food as much as you can over there. I’ve never been there, but it must be nice to go there someday because I’ve never seen you are in so happy state. Today your face is radiating, and your eyes are shining more than ever. Let me get your medicines. Please give me a minute.”
She returned with some presents, “Mr. Onoe, these are your medicines, and I am sorry, I couldn’t find anything worthwhile, but these are gifts for you. Maybe, you can use them in Mexico. Have a good trip and take good care of your health.”
“I will. Thanks for your concerns,” I said and left.
“Today is an astonishing day,” I thought. “It seems to me that even Japanese are celebrating my new adventure. They are relieved, for they can get rid of me from Japan at last, perhaps?” I was flabbergasted. I decided to take the last ramble around the park, where I was used to strolling around with sorrows in my heart. I reached the pond and found a bench and sat down.
I woke up as fresh as baby Jesus because today was the last day of Japan. I was feeling so strange that I was actually going to Mexico tomorrow. I opened the little window to look up the clear sky and gave silent payer to God, “Thank you so much for giving me the miraculous opportunity to escape from Japan and giving me the incredibly clear sky as a gift for my new life, amen!” With this high spirited mood, I checked my e-mail inbox with my laptop, and here it was; I had received a message from my good friend Jorgito. It said:
Hello, my yellow friend! I like your vision of next six months so much except one. I do not agree with you about a Spanish school. You should not attend a Spanish school, idiot. It will be completely wasting your money! I think that you practice your Spanish with Gerardo and me every day, which is enough for you to learn it quickly. I hope that you are not going to spend your money on a stupid Spanish school. Here are some important Spanish words, try to remember it:
Como estas? ……. How are you?
Como te llamas? ……. What is your name?
Gracias ……. Thanks
Por favor ……. Please
Yellow ……. Shogo
Aprender ……. Learn
Jugar ……. Play
Puta ……. Bitch
Mujer ……. Woman
Hombre ……. Man
Libro ……. Book
Feliz ……. Happy
Libre ……. Freedom
Amigo, you have to learn these words before you land your ass on Mexican soil, OK?
“Yes, Shogo, I’m not completely regretting my past life because of my family,” he replied with a bright smile, “you know, it’s sometimes good for me to go home and be surrounded by my wife and children. I don’t like going to an empty home. As you know, I tend to feel lonely easily and can’t stand loneliness. Whenever I go home after my work with an exhausted soul and see my children’s bright faces, I feel very happy as though my wearily toil were rewarded. I’ve had only one good thing in my life, having my own family. It’s so hard to feed one’s own family though. I shouldn’t let myself think all the time that I want to live your life and want to be like you. I should start thinking my life is as good as yours. But, Shogo, only you, among our mutual friends, still look so young. I really think you are the living proof that if one lives freely and does what his heart’s desire in all his life, he can stay young. Also, I think you’ll achieve your goal someday, because remember, Shogo, you’ve always accomplished everything that you’ve decided to do. This time, too, you’ll be a writer, but not an ordinary one, a great one. Don’t you think so, Shogo?”
“Yes, you are right about me, Hiro,” I replied gratefully, “I guess I will be a writer. To be frank with you, maybe, I’ve accomplished many difficult tasks in my life, but this is the most difficult one and will take time. I don’t know how long it’s going to take me for becoming a writer, but I’m pretty sure that someday I’ll become one. Thanks, Hiro, for giving me encouragement. I need it.”
Here he interrupted me with an anxious face and said, “Sorry, Shogo, I have to go. I didn’t know that it has been past 11:30 p.m. I’ve been enjoying talking with you so much, so I must’ve forgotten the time. My wife will be angry with me, but don’t worry; she knows you, and I told her that you are going to be away from Japan again. I’ll pay it, no problem, Shogo. Please wait for me outside. Don’t vanish yet, please.”
He marched out on the street and said, “I had a really good time, and I’ll miss you, Shogo. When are you coming back to Japan? I assume you have no intention to come back here, which I can see from your face. You don’t belong here, Shogo, you belong to the wide world. You’ll never learn how to adjust to Japanese society, ha-ha-ha. But it’s good for you to find out the places where make you happy. I’m not exactly happy to stay in Japan, but I have no choice, you have a choice. Enjoy Mexico, Shogo. If you ever come back to Japan, call me. I’ll call our mutual friends next time. So long!”
“I hope to see you again. Enjoy your life, too. So long, Hiro!”
I was a little nervous since he asked about my book. However, I thought that I do not need to conceal anything from him, since he just confessed his true feelings to me. Therefore, I decided to tell him about my past aborted efforts candidly.
“Hiro, it’s good for you that you’ve started something you like for yourself, and I am glad to hear that. About my writing business, I’ve struggled in vain to write for over eight years and haven’t produced any tangible things yet. The worst thing is that I haven’t been able to write any single line with my past efforts. But it doesn’t discourage me, for I know from the bottom of my heart that I want to be a writer and express myself. I don’t make myself hurry up right now; I am trying to be patient to wait to know about myself better. Without knowing about myself thoroughly, I can’t get started. Frankly, I don’t know how long it’ll take me to understand my heart, but I’m willing to embark upon the journey of self-realization. When I become forty-years old, perhaps? Ha-ha-ha…. It doesn’t matter to me anymore, but the important thing is that I’ll never give up. Maybe, I can get started writing my book in Mexico, who knows? Let’s see what’ll happen. By the way, you said before that you are very sad and regret your past life, but I see sadness and regret haven’t entered your heart.”