23 March 2014

Bells

Walking up to the park, last Saturday, we came through the cemetery that surrounds the church at St Peter's on the hill, a beautiful old building with bells that chime wildly on Sunday afternoon, as if to drive something out. In the cemetery, the children ask about different things, about death and Jesus and angels and we, Yoko and I, talked to them about what we wanted when we died. In Japan, if we were Japanese, we would have a family tomb. Yoko's family does, and we could, I suppose, claim our space there. Yoko told the girls about the responsibility of grave-keeping in Japan — the need to clean it and look after it. Much better was daddy's plan, to be cremated and thrown out into the ocean from a Japanese beach. The girls didn't think much of it, laughing and running ahead, not bothered by anything.

That beach: when I was in Fukuoka, I finally got a map and bicycle and realised the ocean was not far from our apartment. I would, on days off, pack my Bible and something to eat and head out to a beach that no one swam at. I would sit against the break wall and try to read the Bible or pray for longer than a couple of minutes, always frustrated with my inability to focus, to really connect in the way that I needed to, the way that the other men in my life seemed to. Instead, I would study Japanese word cards that I had made and walk up and down the beach alone.

The metaphor is so obvious, insufferably obvious. 

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I heard Mia crying and came upstairs to find her standing with her head in her hands leaned up against the wall of the hallway. I picked her up and carried her back to the bedroom in the front of the house. She pressed her face against my shoulder the way children do when they want to sleep, and I looked out onto Victoria Rd, the cars coming and going.

I feel at times that things are all held together by a bit of fraying string, and then other times that we have established everything we need to coast into the next 40 years without a second thought, our savings growing slowly at 1.25% APR. Yoko writes, looking at the picture of all of our bags, 'またやるかな~、これ。' and I think the same thing. Will we do this again. It applies to everything: the circuitry of marriage and life; the same things repeating again and again. If the string doesn't break perhaps.
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