The one in which I think about life and death and regrets

Found on a storage box at the 100 yen shop.

We were supposed to go to Miyajima today, intended to get out the door early, let’s go, let’s go, but then there were too many things missing that needed to be found and now it is 4:30 in the afternoon. It is fine, I suppose, since it is chilly and grey today and only half of the children wanted to brave the holiday weekend crowds. Yesterday was kagami bikari and at my school, they broke open the mochi the third graders had made and roasted the bits on small charcoal grills. Today was tondo matsuri, the day when all the New Year’s decorations are brought to be burned in a bonfire, the smoke and ash spreading good luck on the wind.

Right now the house is quiet and I am supposed to be cleaning but instead I ordered a few short story collections and am checking airline fares.

Regrets are a difficult thing to handle. They are wily and cumbersome, prone to becoming anchors if given too much attention. Their only value is in adjusting how we handle what is to come, not in judging what has come and gone. I sometimes wish I had gone to therapy so I could have had help unlocking all that I had suppressed as a child. The neglect, the mental and sexual abuse, all of that was sealed in a black box that I buried as deep as my childish mind could manage. Eventually, the contents became too toxic to be contained and leaked out, contaminating my perspective, my perception. Had I been brave enough to dig that box up at a younger age, I might had avoided a lot of actions and reactions that were the result of past injuries. As it was, I was forced to do a massive cleanup with little help and no supplies, like using a roll of paper towels to deal with an oil tanker spill. I have been wiping down my seagulls one by one and they are still not ready to fly.

I wish that I had been wise enough in my youth to realize that other people’s rejections and cruelty have little to do with me. That everyone has a black box.

The minutes I wish I could reclaim would be the ones used worrying about things that had little to do with me, things I could not control.

Had I been more confident, or more consistently confident, I would not have spent my thirties being so indecisive. My twenties were all about leaps of faith. I became timid in my thirties, fearful that one misstep could cause my vessel to capsize, taking my children down with me. Now that I have made it over the threshold of my forties, I feel that it is fruitless to be so cautious. Yes, a certain amount of steadiness is required but whatever you do is going to turn out differently than you expect so, basically, fuck it. Do what you want to do. Nobody else is going to do it for you and if someone sees you standing still, looking lost, they are probably going to offer up directions to a place that they want to go.

I have been trying to decide between Japan and America for over a decade now. The reality is that Japan will always be a temporary situation, even if it an extensive one. It is good for me and my family now, especially since we have figured out how to stay afloat by dumping a lot of the baggage overboard. I cannot worry about the details anymore. Yes, my job is limited, yes, this means uncertainty but all jobs are limited, all futures uncertain. Right now there is a roof over my head and insurance cards in my wallet. I do not want to waste my precious minutes fretting. There is just too much to do. Like reading and writing stories, or going to Miyajima with my children, or flying back to Florida during the summer to swim with my best friend.


Wordsmith and shepherd of shorter humans.