Opening the window and breathing the cool air in deeply, she whispered “Saikai“.

Opening the window and breathing in the morning air, the light of a thousand suns exploded into the room. The sound of air raid sirens registered in her consciousness as she picked broken glass from her hair and clothing.

Walking thru the black rain, she ignored the beseeching multitudes crying out for water. Crying out for a mother. Later she would look back on this with regret. But her only thought was for her daughter.

Old framed photographs long since packed away are retrieved from boxes, dusted off and restored to places of honor. Certificates, mathematics and calligraphy awards, other keepsakes made their way back into her life. “Saikai” she whispered reverently.

Hours later she found her daughter near the river. She held the young woman gently, pieces of Kioko had begun to come off. Mother and daughter spoke in turn, neither replying to the other but rather each politely waiting to pour out more grief and sorrow. Some time during the night Kioko stopped speaking, then stopped breathing. Several days later the mother’s nails and teeth turned black, and fell from her body.

Having outlived friends and family, at ninety five years of age she thought she had also outlived fear. Not so, for the news of the terrible accident at Fukushima frightened her deeply. She drew her window shades down, her terror that the black rain would return so strong that she could not heed the evacuation order.

Kioko came to her in a dream that night. Her voice was the wind, her face was the sun. Her warmth and love enveloped the old woman. Telling her mother they would be together again soon, telling her mother that she could hold her Kioko again soon, hold her Happy Child as tightly as she wanted. Telling her that she loved her.

The old woman ventured outside the next morning, looking up into the sky and smiling as the raindrops fell upon her uncovered hair and face. Sitting on a large rock, she admired the beauty of the snow that crowned the distant mountain, the symmetry of the treeline near its peak. Relishing the quiet and solitude, she whispered “Saikai”.

To meet again.

Written after reading the eyewitness account of Hiroshima by Mrs. Kinue Tomoyasu.


About osori

Too old to know better.
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7 Responses to Saikai

  1. Gwendolyn H. Barry says:

    Gods, will we ever learn? Our children’s children will be so ashamed of us. We are the savages of the human chronicle. The bringers of devastation and destruction. Men like Cheney and the hopeless President…. And this story breaks my heart. I hope it breaks many hearts so people will wake up. We are committing species suicide. That’s the science of it. And in the last two weeks, our chances of survival just doubled back down towards nil.
    It’s a moving piece Oso. Your story’s are so valuable to bringing up the awareness.

  2. Bee says:

    I think it was Carl Sagan who talked about our species’ technological adolescence, and wondering if we would live through it. I suppose we might, if we were to admit that we are even in a technological adolescence, but we have to admit that first, and I don’t see it happening.

  3. Krell says:

    Never again, said the survivors of Hiroshima, never again must this be allowed to happen. And now this happens…

    The survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are called Hibakusha. Even as they survived, they were shunned by the rest of Japanese society. Like a big scarlet A that they had to wear for the rest of their lives.

    What a powerful story!

  4. John Myste says:

    Japan once had to suffer for the world to realize the dangers of our technology. Again, Japan has to suffer for the world to realize the dangers of a similar technology. This is senseless. We are willing to risk the planet and torture of those exposed because it is economically feasible to do so. For reasons I cannot explain, I feel a small sense of guilt over Nagasaki and Hiroshima. I know it makes no sense, as I was not there and I like to think I would have refused the orders. It was the most egregious torture and mass murder of a civilian population ever committed by humankind. I read an article the other day asking what America should do to assist the Japanese government. The thesis was there are bigger fish to fry. I think not. I don’t know what we can do, but I think we should think long and hard before refusing any aid they request or will accept.

    OK, this is the last time I will post a serious response to anything, ever.

  5. scaredstiff says:

    Unfortunately we never learn our lessons, thus we are doomed to repeat them. Somehow we always say, we will never forget. As with all things we do…..

  6. Marion Young says:

    Sometimes it is only through death that peace comes.

    Many thanks for this most poignant piece, Al.


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