Soy milk

The other day I packed a present that contained the following: soymilk and bananas.

The recipients birthday was a few days ago, but too shy to say anything and too nervous to post something on his facebook I left the present on his desk when I knew he was out.

I never signed it. He went looking for whoever it could be.

I went back to his room to talk to his roommate and when I left I heard:

“I wish I had more soymilk.” Followed by coughing and a flurry of movement toward a different room.

It took a while before I realized what happened. He knew it was me and he was thankful.

My lost years

At thirteen, I had my first kiss that did not involve being a child. A silky smooth wetness elapsed over my senses and it was quick, loveless and I knew that the relationship was over.

At fourteen, I had some bad news rock my world. My knees trembled as I held them against my chest. My heart pumped blood through my veins but I was always so cold.

At fifteen, I met my kryptonite, a boy who was relentless with me and wanted me so badly and once he had me he knew he could use me for his gain. He never did anything I did not want; however, I was not his priority.

At sixteen, I started to have panic attacks, the bad side of the relationship was coming out and pain would resonate through my body for years.

At seventeen, I told my history, a deep, dark, brooding cloud over me silently lifted itself up and let a little light in. I was finding my peace.

At eighteen, I left home to join the military, a decision that rocked my parents in the same way that my fourteen-year-old self reacted.

At nineteen, people realized that they could walk over me, that they could use me and destroy me. Scars were formed and suddenly people stood to protect me. As much as people wanted to hurt me, there were more who wanted to save me.

At twenty, I made a decision that changed the course of my life. I turned down marriage for an education and I went along with it to learn more about myself. The dark cloud is slowly rising and the scars from my thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen year old selves are fading.

At twenty, I wanted to change me. I wanted to change me for me. I am attempting to change me because despite my lost years, filled with pain and confusion, somehow I was still beautiful and everyone saw it but me.

At twenty, I looked in a mirror and saw myself. Although small, although broken, I’m getting fixed and the light that shines on my face is brighter than ever. I want to be loved, not just by the world but by myself and I’m beginning to realize that I’m slowly learning to do just that.

The missed photo

I remember, I sat in front of two elderly people – both over the age of ninety – and behind them were pictures of themselves as young adults. The woman was a nurse, and the man was a lawyer. The scene was perfectly juxtaposed and I should have taken the picture.

 

I thought to myself that I’d come back; that I’d have another chance.

I found out that the wife died and suddenly, I realized that I missed a piece of history in my hesitation.

speeches and dilation

I did a speech today on a topic that means a lot to me. I’m fifth-generation Japanese and yesterday was the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

I spoke in front of about 300 people about the attack, and the 442nd Infantry Regiment and it was invigorating. I’m not much of a public speaker, but I finished with a standing ovation and many comments regarding the presentation.

And I finally looked someone in the eyes. His pupils dilated to the point where I couldn’t see blue anymore and I was confused and scared.

I’d never seen anybody’s pupils do that before, mostly because I never looked up. My eyes are constantly on the ground, hoping to be invisible. But today, I think I’m beginning to realize no matter how invisible I want to be, I never will be.

It took a while

I was in my heels, my hair was done, and my make up made me look darker, more confident and approachable. I had my camera hanging on my shoulder and I was admiring the building from which I was in.

One person, two, three, suddenly I was surrounded by people, all of whom did not recognize me.

It was eight months. Eight months since I left, I haven’t changed much; my eyes are still the same, my laugh, my smile, my confidence though, has grown.

I stood there, watching, staring and suddenly it hit them. Slowly they turned their heads, gravitating toward me and then they collectively gasped.

“Mem!”

A crowd of people gather about me and all I can do is smile. I am loved, I am missed. They stare at me, hold me, laugh with me as I tell my stories.

“How is it?”

“The most amazing decision!” I yell. My heart thinks otherwise, being with all these people forces my heart to beat as if it belongs there. I know better.

I walk away in silence, the same way I left, knowing that all the goodbyes and all the good lucks will not mean anything. I made my decision, I have to live with it.

I get back to my house and I see people gathered in the hallway.

“Will you take offense if I told you you look pretty. Because you do.” A smiling face says, asking me how it went. All I can do is smile and hope for the best.