I have been blessed to live with a brother who actually enjoys going to the grocery store and cooking dinners. My youngest brother and I are actually worried some girl will find out how much of an amazing foodie he is, get married, and leave us to fend for ourselves. So out of selfishness, we don’t set him up on dates with any of our friends. I know, we’re horrible siblings but you have no idea how amazingly he can bake a cake, ya’ll.
Since he does most of the grocery shopping we’re on his diet. Which I think he might be a wee bit ambivalent since we have gone through being Vegan temporarily every other week. Some weeks he won’t buy bread at all, anything with a lot of carbs won’t exist in our kitchen. Then we’ll go on all soup diet, or all salads. Needless to say, For the past month I have been eating the weirdest things. Tasty, but weird. It’s just funny how I have never had my own eating preference, I’ve always been on other peoples. I don’t even think I could cook a meal every day for a week that was different or didn’t involve cereal and a burrito.
I just find it interesting how people know what they like to eat, don’t like to eat, and can compile actual dinners for themselves all the time. Like, I could never be vegan, but I admire people for actually having a committed menu. Because when I go to the grocery store I have no idea what i’m doing there and I retreat to the cereal aisle.
He showed up at my apartment a little after 9 and as soon as I opened the door I started giggling and he was smiling big. Neither one us knew how each other dressed. I wear jeans and a beat up t-shirt almost every day to work, and he comes in during his lunch breaks wearing a suit and tie. He looked absolutely great standing in front of me. We exchanged cheek kisses and he went on to tell me how beautiful I looked. I grabbed my coat, said goodbye to Rufio and we headed out to explore the city.
The end. Just kidding.
You guys suggested some really great places to eat, a lot of the places had an insanely amount of people so trying to have a conversation in a crowded restaurant or waiting for one wasn’t the ideal situation for us. We walked a lot of blocks looking for anything that sounded good. We walked, and walked, and walked, and walked. Finally I said, “want to grab a pizza, some wine, possibly a dessert and just hang out at my place? We can watch a billion things on Netflix”. He raised his hand up in the air, and I’m go, “high five for good ideas?” and he goes, “high five for GREAT ideas.” So there we were, two very nicely dressed young adults high fiving in downtown Philly for a pizza date.
We got back to my flat an hour later with a giant pizza with everything on it. I kicked off my heels, rolled up my dress a little bit and crossed my legs on the couch. He started laughing, “is that your pizza stance?” I squished my face and stuck out my tongue. He followed my queue. Everything after that seemed like time froze. I always said the sexiest thing about a person is if they can carry a conversation. He gave great conversation. We talked about everything and anything. Even when I tossed a movie on Netflix it turned into Mystery Science Theater 3000 and we had a blast. The whole night was perfect.
Eventually the night caught up with him. Between his overtime in the morning and driving over two hours here the boy was tired. Add in pizza, laughs, wine, and endless choices on Netflix he fell asleep while he was actually talking and still holding his wine glass around 3am. It was actually really adorable, and somewhat impressive. I threw the blanket over him, sat a cup of water on the table with a post it that read: “drink me” and went to my room. I fell asleep instantly.
I woke up early in a panic. I had a breakfast date with my niece and her friends that I completely spaced on. I had to pick her up in 15 minutes from her mom’s. I grabbed anything that smelled like a human, tossed my hair in a bun while simultaneously wiping eyeliner off I wore the night before on my sleeve. I was putting my shoes on until I looked over at my couch. I forgot about the boy who was now looking at me bent over, with smeared make up, holding my keys and wallet in my mouth. He sat up, waving around the glass of water I left for him.
I threw my keys at him and said, “theres a new toothbrush in my bag in the bathroom, a Superman t-shirt you can wear on the back of my chair. We’re going to take five 7 year olds to breakfast, they might eat us alive, I can’t guarantee you safety. Only waffles. You can choose or accept this mission without me feeling offended, I had a great night either way”. He got up, straightened out his clothes and started walking toward the door. I thought that was it. He had enough of hanging out with me and maybe I looked that incredibly horrible to him that as soon as I gave him an exit he was taking it. He stood in front of me, told me my shirt was inside out, kissed me and said, “Good Morning”.
So there we were, 8 in the morning, had our first kiss and about to go on our second date to my nieces tea party. Safety wasn’t guaranteed, alcohol wasn’t going to be within reach, and he still wanted to stick around. That boy got to have all the waffles this morning.
I come from a very small village. Very small. My father did part time work at a garage, fixing very old trucks, and basically every household product that fizzled out around our village. We had nothing but a single dirt road, and as a kid I always looked like pigpen from The Peanuts comic. You know that surrounding dust cloud he has lingering around him? That was basically my entire childhood. A constant dust cloud from having no paved roads. My sobo would would take me into Nagasaki for school every day and it would feel like I was living a double life.
I’d go to school, then the arcade for an hour afterward until my sobo was done with her affaires. Completely soaking in the city surroundings, lights, constant changing of people, and every single noise. We then would head to the bus station and take the two hour ride back home. The bus couldn’t take us all the way into our village, for one, our roads was riddled with pot holes. Secondly, during the evening you cannot see anything, especially your own feet in front of you. Even with a light. We’d get dropped off 15 minutes outside of home and we’d walk it every day. I hated it. I hated leaving the city and coming back to a dirt village where the only lights are lanterns and the only noise you’d hear is crickets and my childhood angst. I’d always fuss and give my soba an attitude walking home, and every time I became increasingly bratty I ended up in a pothole. She’d giggle to herself and say affectionally, “the spirits can hear you, yoyo.”
As any teenager who graduates high school the only thing you want to do is leave your home. “Get me the hell out of here!” I applied to every university outside of Japan. I spent 18 years with dirt constantly in my shoes, listening to one radio station, and playing nintendo when we didn’t need to use any other electrical thing in the house (NES basically sucked our electricity so if i wanted to finish Zelda, we’d live in complete darkness. I was okay with this aspect, however, my father insisted we needed to make ourselves food at some point in the day).
When the day came for me to leave for University, my dad said to me, “are you sure?” I smiled big, knocked the dirt out of my shoes and said, “lets go!” We loaded up the truck, headed to the airport, and I have been gone ever since. I wanted to hear noises, see lights, culture, population, I wanted to see moving life. Its been 7 years since I’ve been home. Granted, i’ve visited since then, but its been a long time since I’ve really been home. Not just physically, but mentally and spiritually. I haven’t just Americanized myself, but I’ve internationalized myself, and recently, I realized.. thats not who I am.
I’m not the girl who wants all of this connection. I don’t need to see all these lights, live in a city, and surround myself by a rapid stream of life. I’m the girl who grew up in a village that only had one dirt road, knew everyone in her community, and who could only play Zelda five minutes a day. Sometimes ten if I locked my dad out of the house. I’m more selfish with what I want, and forgot that I come from humble means.
I’ve become increasingly bratty once again, and now i’m back in my once familiar childhood pothole. And I can hear my grandmother giggling affectionally in my head saying, “the spirits can hear you, yoyo.” I know, Soba. I can hear them too, and i’m going to change. I need to change.
Its time for me to go back home.
footnote: What I mean is, remember where I came from. Who I started out being. I’ve lost touch with that aspect of myself and for me to continue on, I need to get that lost part back to feel complete. This isn’t a, “i’m going back home to Japan bbl guise!” This is a, “metaphorically i need to go back home to reunite with my roots in order to take on the future happily and as a whole”. Because right now, i’m in pieces. And one cannot enjoy themselves in pieces.