I don't know if I ever feel more Japanese—and simultaneously less Japanese—than I do when I'm at my grandmother's house. More because almost everything I learned about being Japanese I learned from her, in her house. Less because it reminds me how little of my heritage I have in my own daily life.
I took this picture when we were visiting her for Christmas Eve. She didn't have this picture on her wall when I was a kid; I don't remember exactly when she got it. When we were young, my brother and cousins and I would take over her bedroom TV for our video game systems—at first an Atari, then a Nintendo, and so on—and the four of us would hole up in there until just before dinner while the adults did adult things out in the living room. Sometimes we'd watch movies: I remember once my dad's younger cousin came in while we were watching a VHS copy of The Neverending Story, only staying for the opening credits because he liked the song.
It seems smaller now, that room, and a lot quieter. But it makes me glad that my kids have gotten to see it and make some of their own memories there.
Half My Life
In about seven hours--at the time I'm writing this--I will have been with Juliette for half of my life. When we started dating, I was seventeen, a senior in high school. Now I'm thirty-four, and we have a mortgage, a dog, two kids, and a third on the way. She has seen every step of my adult life, and then some--and I hers. Seventeen years ago, we couldn't have known what we were getting into, where we'd be a whole lifetime hence, and now here we are, and what a life it is. I'm thankful every day to have gotten to share my life with her, and to get to keep on doing so.
Before I lived with you I never made the bed.
I never really cared how the bed looked, whether I was in it or not, and in any case I didn't see the point in spending the time straightening up a bed I was just going to mess up again half a day hence, and which no one who didn't live with me would be seeing.
Honestly, I still don't really see the point.
But you like the bed to be made, and so I do. Every day.
It's not my favorite part of my day, and it's not the worst. I don't take any joy or pride in the work or the result. It still doesn't matter to me. But it's because it doesn't matter to me that I do it, because it's something I do only for you, only because you like it. It's something I can do, a small thing, to make you happy and let you know that you are loved.
If there's one thing I do like about making the bed, it's getting to see the evidence that you were beside me in the night. When you're not here, I wake up in the morning to find your side unmussed, unrumpled, un-slept in--of course. It makes the job easier, but it makes me sad.
Tomorrow when I get up, you'll most likely be gone already, taking Jason to school or running an errand. When I strip the comforter, I'll look and see the morning light caressing the wrinkled topsheet, and I'll think of us together. And then I'll run my hands across the fabric, smoothing it out, fluffing and stacking the pillows, pulling the blanket straight. Because that's the way you like it, and because I love you.
It's funny how quickly I slip into lonely melancholy when left to myself. Or, I suppose, it must be funny to other people looking in. Or, no, it is funny to me, to part of me. It's been less than two days since I've seen them, and less than two days until I see them again. But when I come to bed and don't find the television on, illuminating a scene like this, I can't help but reflect on how big and cold that bed is for just one person.
I am, as must be obvious, quite melodramatic.