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I walked through the office, upset after what had just happened. I mean, how was I supposed to know that Asuski hated me? I would have stopped. Anyways, I'm supposed to change partners. Asuski WAS mine, but I guess not. I mean, what does he want? Why can't that littl-
I turned around and saw this woman standing at the door. Wait. A WOMAN!!??
"I-uh. H-hi there.”
Great job, I tell myself. What is a woman doing here? She seemed to have read my mind.
"Mr. Akio, assure you I meant to be here. Am Maureen, an American graduate. I am be your new partner. You ARE Mr. Akio, right?" She said this in choppy Japanese like she was a FOB (Fresh Off The Boat)
"Yeah. I-it's not like I have a problem or anything you know I was just-"
"You good." She said that with a hint of a smirk in that adorable accent.
We both sat down at our desks after the formalities. I silently gulped.
“Aiko, will you be give me the project we working on?”
“Oh! Yeah, It’s right here um we’re reporting on…” I read the paper as fast as humanly possible to quench the silence that floated through the air. “We’re reporting on the… women rights issue for Japan.” I flushed. Of COURSE, this was the subject we had to do.
“Oh! I have easy first day. We have good time making this, yes?
What? Was she talking? I was too busy staring into her eyes. Her deep, black eyes, like pools of ink that go on for infinity and beyond.
“Yes! We will do lots of woman’s rights writing! Love doing that! Yes!” I rambled on about women’s rights for another 30 seconds straight, trying to avoid the deep silence that follows in the suit of any pause of speech. Eventually, she politely but firmly interrupted so that we could start writing.
A couple of weeks later, I got up the nerve to ask Maureen how a woman could ever end up working, well, anywhere here. Maureen, with her usual self-conscious, almost impulsive pulling down of her shirt, said this: “Aiko, you no understand. Women are so strong, and where I come from, they understand that. I come to Japan to wake men up and make them understand.”
“Yes, but how did you get IN? I mean, this building? Not everyone gets this job, much less a woman.”
“It took much hard work, but I have good friends, and I find my ways.”
She did another little smirk-smile. Women.
The next day, I came to work, rambled off about our topic, stared in awkward silence at her while pretending to work, got caught staring about 8 bajillion times, and had a delicately awkward walk home. This was my loop, my cycle. We slowly got to know each other more and more. We grew to be the closest friends.
We went on like this every workday, (and I won’t say that we didn’t see each other some weekends) for months. With her short, thick, American hips and her heart-shaped, white-as-chalk face, Maureen makes me want to caress her but pull away at the same time. I was like a piece of chocolate between two children, being pulled and melted at the same time. Up until one fateful day. The day I decided to... What do you Americans say... “spill the beans“.
I was taking my daily walk to work with Maureen when I stopped suddenly.
“Do you believe in Koi No Yokan?”
“What that is?”
“It’s like true love, but more complicated.”
“Well, yes, of course”
“I have Koi No Yokan with someone.”
With that sentence, I thought maybe I saw something. A flash of dismay, a little show of sadness. But, just as I thought it was there, It disappeared. I must have just been imagining things to make me feel better.
“I see,” Maureen answered in an unreadable tone.
“You are my most trusted assistant and friend. Do you have any advice?”
“Just tell them! A woman won’t love you if you no aware of your love for them! I would want to know.”
“In that case, I… I love you, Maureen. I have since the moment I met you. You have given me Koi No Yokan.”
“Please, just listen. I know it’s crazy but we could be together! We could make it work! I know I’m just a minimum wage newspaper writer, but I can’t live without you! Every day I see you, I want you more. You are the most amazing person that I have ever known. Ever.”
“Aiko, I can’t. It hard enough already, and so much happen,...”
“So you do admit it! You want me!”
“No! Yes! I don’t know! Leave me alone!”
I gripped her wrist to keep her from running. “Maureen, why not!?”
She whipped around to face me. “You have NO idea what it is to be woman! I not be some property of loverboy like every other woman! You won’t make me! It no matter how I feel!”
She raced off into the dreary streets of Japan. The next day, Maureen was not at the office. Nor the day after that. Or after that. I knew I messed up. I started to worry. Where was she? Then, five days later, she came back. I was sipping coffee in my cubicle when I nearly choked. She was back, in the cutest coat in the whole world, and she was gathering her things.
“I no stay” she was sobbing. “I wanted new life in Japan, not confusing. You distraction. I no stay” She sniffed. Even crying, she was beautiful.
Before I could even say anything, she was gone, running off towards the bus going to the airport. I ran as fast as I could to get to the bus. I was too slow, and I missed her. So, I took the next bus to the airport. It was the only logical decision I made that entire day. I ran, catching her just on time. I wrapped my arms around her, as I imagined so many times before. It was wonderful.
“You have to stay” I breathed onto her neck
“I can't,” She sobbed. “I no want to be property.”
“I don’t care. I’ll be YOUR property, no matter what others think. I love you”
“Then… I stay”
The next year was a blur. Engaged, wedded, children added onto the equation, we loved each other with a passion. Maureen started the first feminine rights movement to succeed in Japan, and there was a steady flow of thank you letters in the mail. But that’s unimportant. The important thing was, that at the end of each day, she whispered this promise: “I stay, forevermore”.
Missouri City, Texas
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There's a million things I haven't done, but just you wait."
~Hamilton (Via Lin-Manuel Miranda)
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"A writer must never be short of ideas."
-Gabriel Agreste- (Fictional character- Miraculous)
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"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." - Dolly Parton
" Balance your life with spiritual experiences that remind and prepare you for continued, daily ministering to others." - M. Russell Ballard
"Love is expressed in a smile, a wave, a kind comment, a compliment." - Thomas S. Monson