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“Tell me about your mother.” The voice of a woman brought her thoughts away from the sounds of the early morning. The birds chirped and the smell of rain drifted in through an open window.
“What about her?” Her voice was like the soft cool breeze that permeated throughout the room.
“What kind of woman was she?” Eyes drifted away from the woman looking intently at her and focused them on the window. Such freedom existed out there in between the many limbs, branches and green. It was a while before she spoke.
“She was the one who began the cycle in my life. It all started with her.”
It had been three weeks since she had relocated to Seattle, Washington. In that time, she had been adjusting quite quickly. She had been blessed to come across a small studio apartment that didn’t require too much furnishing and had a lovely view for a reasonable price. And even more so, she was grateful that Rossi had been more than lenient with her. He had noticed that she had been slipping to the point where he had asked her to sit out on a few meetings. Quite unlike her, he had asked what was the matter.
All the information that swam in her head… about her family… Lugiano…everything… it had gotten to be too much. She found herself like a ticking time bomb and with no place to release it, she was bound to explode. With this, Rossi had agreed to let her have some time off. He had put Shelley down as a fill in for her and agreed to give her overtime pay. The agreement with the stay was that she could spend up to 8 weeks in Seattle before she had to come back.
The counseling had started the very same week she had landed in Seattle. She had put it off the first couple of days while she had unpacked her things. On the third day, she knew she needed to go. She hadn’t known where to begin and traveled to a few spots until she found the current office she was going to. Her clinical psychologist was a Dr. Atmikha Gupta and she was by far the only woman in the clinic that understood her. She was the only woman of color in an office with no color on the walls and she had been interested in talking to her to see what her experiences were, aside from her own. And so, she had found herself coming back to talk to Dr. Gupta and two weeks into her stay, here they were.
“Can you paint the picture for me? Take me upon your journey.” Dr. Gupta’s voice was calm and soothing and she took a deep breath.
“I’m not sure you want to go on my journey.” Dr. Gupta smiled softly.
“I do Rae. ” She swallowed and closed her eyes. The personal between them was still a little disconcerting but she was growing used to it.
“Okay then…brace yourself Atmikha.”
“We’re going to your grandma’s today.” She blinked.
“Will you be leaving me there again mama?”
“I gotta go somewhere today. You gon stay with her for a while.” She looked down at her fingers. It was always the same. By now, she had gotten used to it.
“I’m gon go get us some food. You wait here. Then we gon go to grandma’s.”
“Okay mama.” The woman she called mama got up and she turned her back to her. Before she knew it, she was standing at the train station watching the doors to the train close behind her. That was the last thing she remembers before the train rushed past her like a bullet. She had stood there for hours… cold… fingers nearly frozen off. Waiting. Eyes looking in the direction her mother had went. Her once dry eyes grew wet with tears and soon the trails of sadness left trails of ice.
She gripped her fingers together. She remembered it like it was yesterday. She had stood at that train station for hours until it grew dark. She had been scared. Scared to leave the train station. Scared to stay in the train station. So, she had decided to go look for a nearby place… anywhere untouched by snow… to possibly lay her head. And when she was unsuccessful, she found herself right in front of the bench she had been standing in front of all day. Slowly, sniffling… she had crawled on top of the cold hard stone slab nearest the wall and folded herself up into a ball, tightly gripping her winter coat.
The next morning, she had been awakened by the sound of people going to and fro and her eyes never stopped searching the crowd for her mother. At any moment… surely she was going to come back. So she thought. So she believed. That belief too would grow cold and it was a few days later that she figured out her mother was not going to come back. It was then that she figured out that she was by herself.
“That is inconceivable…” Dr. Gupta’s voice was saddened and she sucked her teeth.
“Who you telling…” Tears slid down her cheeks and she bit her lip. How… how could a mother do that to her child? Lifting her fingers, she dapped at her eyes and took a deep sigh.
“I can’t imagine a mother leaving her child… so young and innocent alone like that. Wow.” Like so many times before, she had sucked up her tears and kept going. Not not this time. This time she would face it. She took a deep breath.
“I’ve never healed from that Atmikha. I’ve carried it for 28 years.” Dr. Gupta gently placed her pen and pad down on a nearby table and reached across to grab her hands.
“It’s going to be my job to help you heal from this Rae. From what you’ve shared with me… despite your mother leaving you… you’ve turned into a beautiful woman with a mighty big purpose. You have such a inspirational message. And I want to help you discover that.” She smiled, her eyes watery.
“Thank you D-Dr. Gupta.…” Gupta clucked her tongue.
“In here, it’s just Rae and Atmikha. Okay?” She nodded.
“Yeah.” She took her hands back and reached up to wipe the tears that had fallen.
“I know there is so much more about my mothers I haven’t shared…” She said sheepishly, eying Dr. Gupta.
“That’s okay sweetie. We’ll take this as slow as you want to. It’s not about me. It’s all about you! Whatever you are comfortable with sharing… that is where we will go for the day.” She nodded again and stood up.
“Thank you Dr- I mean… Atmikha…” Gupta stood as well and warmly embraced her.
“If no one else listens to the stories we have as women of color then who will help us restore, rebuild and relive?” She whispered into her ear as she pulled away from her.
“Your assignment for this week is to go home and journal. In our first meeting you mentioned that as a young girl you journaled. Write as much as you want. In our next meeting, I want you to share something that you wrote. Understood?”
“Yeah. I got it.” She smiled one last time before grabbing her things and left, leaving her in the dimly lit room. Talking, thought hard, was easier than this assignment. In this assignment, Gupta wanted her to share her very soul. She wasn’t sure how she felt about that. She grabbed her keys and soon made the drive home.
The shrill hiss from the kettle made her jump and she got up to turn off the stove. Rain droplets slid down her windows and fog misted up the clear glass. There was a chill in the air and it felt more like winter transitioning into spring than spring itself. She slipped into her house shoes and made her way into the kitchen, running fingers through her hair. Today was the perfect day to sit down with some warm tea and journal. She hadn’t journaled in so long. As anxious as she was… she felt a little bit excited. It had been a long time and she needed an outlet. She had to go back to the only freedom she knew. As she brought her tea to the table, she looked out the window at her favorite view of the city. One of the things that had drawn her to Seattle was the water and the bountiful nature that surrounded the city. The pictures looked so beautiful and she decided that even if she never lived here, she would have to visit sometime in her life. It was a blessing that she had come to pick this place as her temporary home. She had chosen a place appropriately near the water and everyday the wind brought the fresh scent into her space. Taking a sip of her tea, she sighed. Water. It had taken a while before she had grown comfortable around it again… after what had happened so long ago in Nara.
She thought she could erase every memory of her life there, the people she had met and the man she had fallen in love with but it hadn’t been so easy. Japan had played such a significant part in her life. She had experienced so many firsts there. First true friend. First true laughter. First family. First love. First kiss. First heartbreak. That land had shaped her and she had a longing to go back. She couldn’t explain it. But… in the time she had spent there… she had felt like it was home. It was where she belonged.
Taking a sip from her cup, she covered her legs with a blanket. Rain droplets melted against the window and in the stillness of the quiet, she slowly closed her eyes. She missed so many people. Tobu. She thought about him so much and longed the most to see him again. She wondered how he was… how he had grown. A smile came to her face. Was he still lanky or had he finally grown into his body? Was he still the adorable blushing mess or… or had he decided that the shyness was no longer a fit for him? Thoughts of the man she once considered her brother and the woman she considered her mother plagued her for years. Hana and Hisae…by now she was a big girl and Hana was taking Japan by the reins. Minako. Swallowing, she bit her lip. Minako. She couldn’t forget about her. At first, she had been angry at her. Convinced that she had been in on the whole Lugiano operation. But when she thought about it… wasn’t Minako just as blinded as she was? Minako couldn’t have known more than what her parents had told her. She did her best with what she was given and tried her hardest to raise another family’s child all on her own. To even agree to do that was something she couldn’t fathom. She wondered so many things. Like how did her parents know Minako? How far did they go back? That was something she would ask them when it was time. But for now, she would write it all down with the pages that once brought her the most solace.
In my dreams, a hand presses gently on my hair, fingers gently sliding through the curly strands. A voice, soft and gentle… it whispers to me with a tone of love. Speaking words that no other has spoken. In my dreams, arms surround me, encircling me in light, warmth and intimacy. I press my fingers against flesh, muscle, bone and sinew just underneath my touch. When I close my eyes, I feel the intangible invisibility of liquid, the substance floating all around me… around him. Clothes are wet… stuck to skin. Breath is warm and cool at the same time. Memories. Just him and I… in the large sea of water… together.
I see a life that could be… could have been. And yet, I wonder… what happened to us? Why did it have to happen to the both of us? In my mind, I find myself at a crossroads. Two arrows leading in two different directions. But which one will I choose? One says: Love. Life. Another says: Hate. Death. Could it be that I really have to choose? What does my heart say? What does it want? I’ve lived 10 years listening to what my body wants. Hatred. So then it was. Anger and bitterness. So then that was. A false sense of security, a false copy of what I thought love was.
Tangled somewhere between the black limbs and the lying hurtful lips I was… my soul I thought damaged. But somewhere…somewhere inside there was a tiny light flickering. Through all, it dimmed but never burned out. Now… now I want to find it. Make it grow again. Let it fill my entire being. The touch of fingers and the warm press of arms… the scent of the one my heart desires… I can’t lie to myself. I miss it. I want it. Again. Someday. It might take a long time. Maybe it won’t. I won’t be happy again until I clean the muck that had lived inside of me for this whole time. I’ll return to him… I’ll fly back to him when and only when I’m clean….
“You look much freer today Rae.” She looked up into Dr. Gupta’s kind gaze and smiled a bit.
“Yeah.” She tightly pressed her fingers against the small purple journal she had against her lap. Dr. Gupta eyed her movement and sat back.
“Mind sharing some?” She playfully sucked her teeth.
“You ain’t wastin no time huh Atmikha?” Gupta grinned.
“Surely not when there are so many jewels to behold in there.” She pursed her lips but felt a small grin poke through. Sighing heavily, she licked her lips and slowly gripped the edge of the journal.
“I’ve never read any of this to anyone…” Not even Hiroto. The new level of personal she was getting ready to embark on had her fingers damn near cramping and sweaty but she just closed her eyes and took another deep breath. She opened the journal and flipped to the one she would read.
White space. White noise. Dreams filter like a projection across the expanse of my mind. Many colors, many moments… some good and some bad. In this journey, I feel the pain of yesterday and days past more intensely. Right now, the joy and peace I once had in my bosom is gone. So many people. So many hurts. So much pain. Can one individual handle this much? Instead of putting a bandaid on it… I guess I have to stop running and take it off. So, into the white I go, one foot bare and shaky in front of the other. I wonder what awaits me at the other end?
Once she was done, she took a deep breath. She watched and waited until Dr. Gupta finally spoke.
“You are a visionary.” She blinked and pursed her lips, not sure what to say. At her silence, Gupta continued,
“Quite a beautiful piece. It expresses your fear of the unknown, trials but also a sense of hope.” She smiled and sat back in her chair, looking at her.
“Rae, how do you feel after sharing?” She shrugged.
“I don’t know…okay I guess.”
“Yeah I guess.” Gupta nodded and cleared her throat.
“I’m proud of you. I have absolute faith that you will make it through this journey and that you will come out strong! Now, let’s talk some more about Mom.” She sighed and looked down.
“You mean Moms…”
“Yes. The floor is yours sweetie.” She felt a burst of fiery pain shoot through her chest and clutched her shirt, tears starting to well up in her eyes. Too much. She had to release.
“After my first mother I came to meet my second. But the way that happened wasn’t the way you think. It was far from flowers and candy…”
“What is this? You dealin with kids now?” Hands shoved her onto the ground.
“Does she look like a kid to you?”
“How can something so small look so good? Bitch look grown.”
“Exactly why I told him this was a good deal. Think of how much money we can get off her.”
“I wonder if she’s touched.”
“He said he got the first bite.”
“Sweet as candy huh?”
“Whatever man. I got kids at home. I ain’t down for this shit.”
“Don’t be such a pansy J.”
“Nah. I got a girl her age. Would kill the first son of a bitch that ever looked at her wrong much less wanted her for this type of thing. There wouldn’t be any men left by the time I got done.” She kept her face pressed into the cold wet ground and bit her lips. A foot nudged her.
“Well suit yourself. She got ass for days.”
“Let’s get ready. This’ll be a wild ride.”
She gripped her fingers tight.
“Rae?” The cries were rising up in her throat and she felt at any moment she wouldn’t be able to control them.
“Rae?” She looked up at Dr. Gupta, her vision blurry. She couldn’t speak for the moment… the memory left chills that traveled through her entire being.
“That’s how you-” She nodded.
“It started with him. First my mother. Then him. I don’t want to talk about him… not… not now.” Her voice was weak and quiet.
“Okay honey. We can save that for when you’re ready. We’re talking about second mom now right?”
“Okay… tell me about her.” She breathed slowly until she felt herself calm down.
“Shaundra… for the longest I thought she was more of a mother than my first. But… I’ve found out that she’s a backstabber and a liar.”
“Kendrick, what is it about that girl?”
“What are you talking about?” She could imagine the woman she called mother sitting on their bed, a form fitting chemise on her body and fingers twirling the sheets around in a nervous habit.
“You and Tremaine. All the boys. You all are so gung-ho about Ebere. What is it about her that you like?” She could imagine her father turn around from loosening his tie with a look of disbelief.
“Shaundra. Do you hear yourself? You think I want a child?”
“Well. Considering where she came from that is pretty popular nowadays.”
“Stop it. Get a hold of yourself.”
“Do me a favor. Stop looking at her so much. Better yet, tell Tre and all the others not to pay any attention to her.”
Dr. Gupta bit her lower lip, her brow furled.
“You don’t know exactly how the conversation went correct?”
“Yeah I don’t know… that was more of a speculation.”
“When will you know for sure?”
“I’ll know when I talk to her.” Bitterness was hot on the tongue and she gripped her fingers together.
“This is all-”
“Hard to believe… I know.”
“And you mentioned a third mother?” Her heart tightened with longing.
“Yes. The best mother anyone could have asked for.”
“What was her name?” She smiled and lifted to tuck a loose curl behind her ear.
“Minako. Her name was Hifune Minako.”
“Rae-chan, come here for a moment.” She put the book she had been reading down on the table and slowly got up.
“Wash your hands. Help me with dinner.” Minako said softly as she cut some scallions.
“Hm.” Once her hands were clean, she grabbed a small knife and began to help her chop.
“Rae?” The crisp sound of the scallion brought a small smile to her face and she blinked, looking up at Minako.
“I’m glad.” She blinked again and paused her knife.
“Glad about what?” Minako didn’t say anything for a while.
“Mina-chan?” She laid her knife on the cutting board and sighed with a smile.
“I’m glad that I have you here… with me.”
“I am just thinking. How blessed I am to call you daughter. You see…. I am not entirely too old. But I…I once had a family too. A daughter and a husband…” Prior to that point, she had never known anything about Minako other than that she was the only guardian she had in Japan. Her ears perked up and she laid the knife flat against the countertop, waiting for her to continue.
“My daughter would probably be a few years younger than you now. And now would be the time my husband would be getting home from work.”
“What happened to them Mina-chan?” Minako sighed again and bit her lip.
“They…they died.” Her heart grew tight with pain.
“Minako…” She shook her head.
“It’s been 10 years now. I’ve moved on.” She watched her as she began to slice again in silence, all the while her heart growing more sad.
“I’m glad that you have been here to bring me joy. I am glad that you call me Mina-chan. And I’m glad that I have been able to see you grow into such a beautiful young lady.” She gripped the handle to the knife in her hand. It became all too real in that moment. That soon she would be leaving her and the life she had made for herself here…to return to the place she had once fondly called home to people she had called family. The sadness in her chest was spreading and growing deep. She couldn’t help but feel as though she was leaving to go back to a foreign land. Weren’t these people her family too?
“You’ll have to call me and tell me what goes on with you okay? Don’t forget about me hm Rae-chan?” But the happy tone had small sniffles mixed in. She slowly leaned to her side and placed her head on her shoulder.
“I will never forget about you.” Minako smiled, her gaze having grown watery.
“Good. Let’s add these scallions now.”
“That was the last time I cooked with her. Soon after that… I came back to the States.” Dr. Gupta nodded and smiled.
“Do you miss her?” She licked her lips.
“Yes. Very much.”
“I am pleased to hear that out of every woman, Minako was the one to show you motherly love.”
“Yeah. She was a hell of a woman.”
“Why don’t you call her?”
“I don’t know…I haven’t in almost ten years…by now…she’s older and has probably forgotten me.” Gupta shook her head.
“You’d be the last person she’d forget I think Rae. I think she thinks about you and misses you just as much as you miss her.” She turned to look out of the window.
“Yeah.” Gupta sighed and stood up.
“This was a great session. Good job. I’m proud of you.” She began to stand and slowly smiled.
“We’re making progress! I thank you for sharing with me.” She nodded at her and turned to get her things.
“I’ll see you next week then Dr. Gupta…” She smiled at her.
“You’ll see her again Rae. I just know it.” She felt tears well up in her eyes but just smiled.
“Till next time Rae.”
A/N: HI GUYSSSSSSSSS!!!!! I MISSED YOUUUUU!!!! I've been gone far longer than I would have liked! Life got goin and many things happened which needed my priority and attention! If you guys don't know, I was being asked to leave my College on the basis that I do not have the money to pay the balance from last semester! I have some very extenuating circumstances and because I don't have any fam support, it was really hard and tough. Folks from members of my immediate family to faculty and staff at Spelman were trying to talk me out of completing my last two semesters here and go all the way back home and start over at another four year (less expensive) institution. But even still through it all, I NEVER compromised, acknowledged defeat or gave up on what God promised me! Glory to God I have been able to stay on campus, attend my classes and written agreeance from Spelman to help me this semester! I am so happy that FAITH WORKS! And FAIH WITHOUT WORK IS DEAD. I am actually going to be putting my gofundme link below please share, etc!! I am trying to raise enough money so that for next semester, I will not have to worry about any of this!! I am so grateful for you guys!! Now, on to the chapter! :)
A/N (2): I know that in the past spoken words between characters hae confused readers and for that I apologize. I literally type it as I see it in my mind. It is like how characters talk in movies. That is how I structured the chapter this time around. I'm happy to see that Rae is finally starting to deal with her deep seated pain!! She has gone to therapy before but not for very long and not this intensive! Rae is going to be in Seattle for two months almost. And every week, she will attend Dr. Gupta's counseling sessions. Can you imagine how much growth mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually she will have in two months time?? I will not stop it at two months though. I'm actually thinking of both Roto and Rae attending therapy well after their respective breaks. Possibly even together?? :) I have missed this story and writing! Thank you for your patience and warm reception! <3 God bless! Love you Fam! <3
Sunray bright and yellow, into the sky!
Be set free by the renewing of your mind! <3
D&L <3 (Sunhalo17)
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