The story continues from A Woman’s Tale I
FLY AWAY (Woman’s Tale II)
1. Fly Away - Flowing
2. Don’t Give Up (Life is a Roller Coaster)
Still on a journey to understand her place in life, the woman left everything in Japan to marry her man in Canada. Compared to Tokyo, Canadian cities seemed bare and desolate. Surrounded by people who did not share her language, she felt alone and isolated, and the long winters were unbearable. But these were the least of her problems. The language barrier was excruciating. Though an adult, she felt like a child – starting a new life and learning a new language all over again. She felt as though she had lost her identity. Everything she had built in Japan no longer meant anything in his country. Everything was new, customs, culture and family… and the fear that she would not survive in Canada became more and more difficult to overlook.
3. I’ll Keep Going On
Every so often, images of her family and friends in Japan flashed through her mind. These flashbacks were a comfort to her. She found it was very easy to dwell in her past but she knew she had to move forward each day. She just had to keep going on so that she would not be caught in the past and wanting to return to Japan.
4. I’m Not Afraid Anymore
In the midst of struggling with everything that was new and unfamiliar, the only thing that remained constant was his love. He took her in his arms and showed her how much he cared about her. He treated her with respect, knowing the sacrifice that she made for him. With him, she felt secure and confident. With him, she finally felt she could survive in this new country.
5. Two Lovers
Alone at home while he was at work, she thought about him quite often. To her he was everything - the universe, sun, ocean, mountain, sail and fire. And she – the stars, moon, Island, forest, ship and wind. Together they are one. They felt they could conquer anything, as long as they had each other to love.
6. These Are My Prayers
A child was born. A joyous moment for most parents, ordinarily, but not for them. As soon as the baby came into this world, it had a problem breathing. With each breath she took, her face turned red and her chest and shoulders rose – struggling, gasping. It was painful to see a little baby suffering so much to survive.
But with phenomenal care given by the hospital staff, the baby triumphed over her difficulties, almost as if nothing was ever wrong. A few weeks later, with the baby in her arms, she finally felt at peace. No more struggling for her little baby. Gently brushing the baby’s soft hair, she prayed – hoping her little one would have love and joy in her life forever.
7. Down the River We Go
As he took the first job offered to support his new family when they settled in a new city, he began to wonder whether his job was the right one or not. He realized that he could not see any future in it. He asked her if he could go back to university. She agreed to support his decision. Only question was who would provide for the family until he graduated? By this time, with two small children, they knew that it would not be easy.
She began to look for a job. She knew she would not get a decent job because of her limited language skill. With some difficulty, she found a job as a waitress. Their new lives began. She went to work at night while he attended the university during the day. They both took turns to take care of their children. Sometimes they didn’t see each other for days. Their lives were turned upside down. They often wondered where their lives were heading. They knew though, that no matter how much their lives change that it was their fate and they would gladly accept it.
8. Don’t Want to See Your Face
She had an argument with her love over a silly thing. That led to not talking to each other for a while. He tried to talk to her but she wanted to be left alone. Even though her heart was longing for his love, her action was against her will. She wanted to see his eyes, touch him, and wanted to be loved. She did not know how to deal with her true feelings. In a bus a few days later, her feelings finally became clear to her that she felt so alone, even on a crowded bus. How silly the argument that they had, but realized how much she truly loved him.
9. This is My Life
Time quickly passed as the children became teenagers and peer pressure made them rush into adulthood. At times, when their physical growth surpassed their mental growth, the children became frustrated. They began to look like adults but at the same time, they were still insecure children. As a mother, each time they stood before a road block she offered her advice. But they would have none of it. How different it was from the time that they adored their parents as young children. But as they developed their individuality, their parents became a nuisance. She knew their pain. After all, she had lived through the same thing. She knew deep inside that her children would be good adults because of the struggles they were experiencing at that time.
10. Hang Your Troubles on the Tree
She was deep in the midst of raising a family, going to a local university and working full time in a busy company. Sometimes, she was overwhelmed by all that needed to be accomplished each day. However, she was very happy to have three different places in her life. If she had a problem at work, she could always come home to her loving family. If she had problems with life as a student, she could escape by going to work where she felt confident and secure in the knowledge that she knew what she was doing. But there were times when nothing seemed to go right, and she did not know where to take her problems. She did know, however, to never take any problems inside their home. Her home was a sanctuary. She was determined to leave any problems behind when she entered her home to her loved ones. She thought of an imaginary tree in front of her yard which would consume every trouble she had.
11. The Colors of My Life
One cold day, she was home alone. Everything around her seemed dark and lifeless that morning. She stared at the white snow outside and began to reflect on her life. She thought “We did so many things, my husband and I - travelled to many exotic places in the world, both of us completed our university after we had the children, then worked hard so we could provide a good life for our children and grandchildren. For many years, everything has been exciting in our lives. But now, as if a pin had let the air out from a balloon, I feel such emptiness in my heart. What happened? Why don’t I feel as much joy in everything around me?” She wept for a while, longing for a time when her heart was filled with joy. Like the moment when her daughter saw a Christmas tree for the first time. Twinkles in her eyes, what an exciting moment that was... her daughter smiled with joy. Or the time when her family went on vacation, remembering blue skies and sea in tropical places. How peaceful and happy she felt. Now she felt like a small white bird floating between the sea and sky, somehow not blending into either shade of blue.
12. Do You Hear Our Voices?
One night she heard President Obama’s speech right after his presidential election win in 2008. Here was a leader who spoke with such passion. It was not only about what he would do as the newly appointed president, but also what he and his people could do together for their country. It reminded her of the fabled speech by President Kennedy a long time ago. She thought about his background: an African-American who has conquered so many barriers to achieve his prestigious position, certainly struggles on a much larger scale than what she herself had ever experienced. She then realized she could not remain trapped in the grey cloud that surrounded her. His speech made her realize that she had to rise up and achieve her many unachieved goals in her life. After all, she still had to pursue the meaning in her life.
13. Fly Away
She reflected upon her life and wondered what made her choose a life which was so different from most Japanese women. When she was growing up, Japanese women were not supposed to work after a certain age. They were expected to get married and have children. Despite the tradition in her country, she travelled all over the world, attended a foreign university after having two children and worked as a professional. Then she realized that there were two prominent events in her life which may have contributed to every decision she had made in her life since.
The first was a visit by a junior high school teacher. She felt honored that her favorite teacher visited her home for the first time. The teacher was a beautiful single woman in her late thirties who chose to have a career, never married and did not have children. She came to visit her student’s home as she was concerned about her pupil’s future. She wanted to convince the family that the young girl should be attending a university. After a few minutes of everyday conversation, the teacher asked the mother what their intention was for the child’s education. The mother answered “She is a girl, so she doesn’t need to go to a university. She only needs to learn proper manners as a woman so she can marry into a good family.” Her mother’s words struck the girl and made her realize that her family’s expectation was very low. She was to get married and have children - nothing more. The girl was devastated! Throughout her years growing up, she thought that she could choose to do anything that she wanted with her life; but according to her family, that was not the conclusion.
The second event happened at a retreat in Kamakura, Japan. A tall priest in his 40’s from Montreal stood in front of her and her friends from the church. With his heavy French accent, he spoke to his young Japanese audience. He began to draw two large dots vertically on the blackboard. He labeled the top one “birth and beginning” and the bottom one “death and end”.
Then he said, “For each individual, the path from the top to the bottom varies. Some go straight down. Some choose a long path.” As he explained he drew a snake like line from top to the bottom.
Then he continued, “You automatically think that each path is chosen by you and you alone. What you don’t know is that the path is already determined by a higher power. So your life’s path is already drawn. So think! If your choice is made already when you encounter a fork in your life, why not choose the one you feel more challenging and interesting – after all it is already pre-determined. Then you will have an exciting life, not a dull, uneventful life. Of course once in a while you may feel that you made the wrong decision. But remember, it is only a part of your path. You will reach the end either way. One thing you don’t want to say at your death bed is “I could/should/would have done it. To avoid this, you should learn not to regret any decisions you make in life. Just remember the path is already laid out for you so why should you regret.
You are young. You have a future ahead of you. Why don’t you go abroad and see the world with your own eyes.” These words inspired her and struck a chord in her heart; something deep within her stirred, inspiring her to reach out into the big unknown.
Those two events in her life made her want to fly away and choose a challenging path rather than follow a life which was dictated by ancient tradition in Japan.