Today is the "day of reckoning." September the seventh.
The day the Hasegawa family boards the plane, traveling to a land unknown to us. The weather is pleasurable; breezy with a hint of coolness. My favourite type of weather.
"Kiyoko, have you got all your things?" my father asks. Hayato is his name, on the cusp of 40. He is aging gracefully in my opinion, a slight sprinkling of salt-coloured hair amidst the jet black. Stress of work hadn't done wonders on him.
I nod in response, genuinely unsure if I do to be quite truthful. I am so stressed and overloaded I don't care anymore if I am missing something. It is easier to replace it at this rate than to fret.
My mother, Emi, has already flown to the home we will be calling our own; in some town named "Dothan," in some state called "Alabama." The state was slightly tricky to say; but I would manage.
I had yet to see the home in person, only in photos taken by my family and the realtor. The home seemed ravishing, with an in-ground pool and large bathrooms. I had seen an attic space which had been transformed into a bedroom, and immediately claimed it as my own. Damask walls coloured lavender, with white trim. The perfect room I could feel at home in.
Or as at home as I could, eleven thousand kilometres away.
We board the plane and try to settle down. Father bought first class tickets so we could be in as much comfort as possible. At the beginning of the flight they give us a small pillow and a thin blanket for sleeping. I almost feel insulted by it, but I realise that this isn't exactly meant to be comfortable. Merely functional... if it even counts as that.
Father pats the side of my stomach as I curl up in the seat, almost in the fetal position. This patting is his attempts at reassuring me, like he did when I was young. That things would be perfectly fine in the end, even if we both knew that for the present, they are the furthest thing from it.
I turn my MP3 player on, listening to some Mozart -- my most favourite of his symphonies, the twenty-second. It's cheerful undertones perked my mood slightly, even if I still felt dreadful. Already I miss my best friend, Hikaru; who while she promised me she would text and email every day, would probably not live up to that promise.
I decided to sleep halfway into the flight; not because of tiredness but because of annoyance. I don't wish to think about this anymore, rather I want to forget it's happening.
I wake up to the sound of my father telling me we have landed. I look out the window, and find I am greeted by a bright blue sky with some dark clouds looming.
"Ittsu supposed to rain," my father says, in English rather than Japanese. I am shocked by his sudden change in language. Was he abandoning his heritage already? Or did he only wish to practice? Regardless, I had to respond in English.
I gather my bags from the overhead compartment and pull my sunglasses out from my bag, sliding them on and fluffing my hair out as I walk off of the plane. I feel as if I am some sort of celebrity as I do this; the glasses are big and cover half of my face, much like an old Hollywood starlet, such as Sofia Loren or Gretta Garbo.
The first thing in America I see is my mother, Emi. Despite being almost forty as well, my mother did not look a day over twenty. Ami Hasegawa always has a knack of looking young, almost as young as me. I have been envious of her since I was ten.
"How was the flight?" she asks, and I am thankful that she is using her Japanese. I shrug in response as Father embraces her in a hug, kissing her discreetly as he does such.
"It got us here," I respond after a few moments. I don't wish to sound rude but that's all that I can manage to say about the affair. At this point all I want to do is go to the new house, go home, and sleep the day away.
But I can't.
Because I have just remembered, I have to assemble my bed.
At this point, I wonder if it is just easier to sleep on the floor. The mattress is there; and it would be no different than home.
As we walk through the airport and collect our luggage, my eyes wander around. The patrons here are either Caucasian or African-American. There are no Asians, no Hispanic, no other race that I can see.
I see a mixed couple with a girl about my age, with beautiful brown tendrils of hair and bright green eyes. I watch her pick up her suitcase from the carousel, noting the bohemian style of it. Fringe on the sides, and a sloppily painted peace sign.
Mother calls my name and brings my attention back to her. Her voice seems fuzzy, but I can focus enough to hear her saying that the neighbors had been a big help, and assembled my bed for me and placed it in the corner I wanted it to be in. They also assembled my other furniture, so all I have to do now is unpack my clothes and trinkets. Mother says that they are the Hammett family, and have a daughter my age named Adeline. I am not interested in making new friends already, but I reply that I will thank them personally for their help.
Without paying attention to my surroundings I realise that I have followed my family outside to the parking lot. The dark clouds are multiplying, and the blue sky I saw in the plane is now gone. My family is conversing in Japanese, yet it feels foreign; like I have never heard this language in my life. This disturbs me slightly, so I stay in my own little world, listening to my symphonies until we get in the car, and drive through the downtown area of this city called "Dothan."
It seems nice enough, but not what I am used to at all. There are no tall buildings like Yokohama, and it is void of a ferris wheel like my home city had.
This town feels deserted, even though I see people walking through it.
I don't like this place at all.