FF: Creative Non-fiction

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Culture shock for a 15-year-old girl meeting her grandparents for the first time. Delicious, home-cooked meals and fresh mangos. A house in sunny Oahu.

Flip-flops indoors to keep floors clean. Baths are gross, washing in your own dirt. We’re Okinawan Japanese, meaning: not stuck-up.

Then, we’re rushed home by an angry mother. Because, my grandparents hated the mess we made, hated our Western ways.

Years later, the truth comes out. My mom tried to lie about leaving my dad for another man. I told the truth. We were punished by her, for my grandmother’s anger at her.

Decades later, the damage is done. I have no idea how to fix it. But, that’s okay. No one and no family is perfect.

Thanks Rochelle and Roger for the prompt. This prompt reminded me of my Asian heritage, which always brings bittersweet pain and regret for time wasted.

Post-narrative epilogue (way over 100 words now).

One of the last things my Buddhist grandmother said to me after we reconciled was not to worry. Even though we belonged to different religions, we both believed in the same God. She was never angry about us being different, but my mom was (her words) “a bad person” who lied a lot. I know that my mom lied a lot, sometimes just to do it, not even for a reason, I think, other than to see if we’d believe her, as a challenge. She was very smart and very bored. I’d learned, long before seeing my grandparents again, that if my mom said something and no one else, it was probably a lie. I believe my grandmother when she said she never said those mean things. Anyway, my grandmother knew she was not long for this world. I’m glad we got to meet again before she died, a little over a year ago.

I also like to make-up stories, but never to hurt people or cause them pain. To have fun in hopefully constructive ways. This is not a made-up story although some of the details may be hazy. I remember the fresh mangos, because I don’t really like the way they taste, but they kept giving them to us anyway. So many mangos! So many conflicted feelings about mangos. ❤

See the source image

Hope everyone has a great week.

23 thoughts on “FF: Creative Non-fiction

  1. Also having a lying, conniving mother who was estranged from her own mother, what (still) hurts the most is feeling cheated out of having a “good” mom. Anne, I’m so sorry your mom cut you out of a relationship with your dear grandmother, she might have made things less unbearable between you and your mom.

      1. Thank you, Anne. I was close to my grandmother because she dropped me there through much of my early childhood so she could go out and party. Do you think you would have been closer to your grandma if she didn’t live so far away?

  2. I have been reading about “kintsukuroi” a lot and so wonderfully you have included this in your story.

    Didn’t know this is your personal story. Hope we do not get to encounter lies. Truth and honesty can make relationships work.
    Here is my story- The Red T-Shirt

  3. Heartbreakingly sad with a positive ending full of wisdom. And this being your true story makes it even more so. I also love the kintsukuroi -never heard of it, must now learn more.

  4. Great reference to kintsukuroi; it’s a beautiful concept. I was sure from the beginning that this is a true story; it has the ring of truth to it. I’m glad you were able to be reconciled with your grandmother, who sounds like a very wise woman.

  5. Anne,
    The image of kintsukuroi fits perfectly with the golden healing moments with your grandmother. What a blessing to have had them! My heart goes out to you. I’m so glad you don’t nourish roots of bitterness which perhaps your mother did, as did my own mother. Relationships are hard enough as it is.

  6. Children are always extremely affected by the relationships of adults.
    They are the innocent victims. I’m happy you were able to reconcile.
    I’m sure it helped heal your heart. Thank you for sharingring your
    story. I’m sure there are many who can relate. Nicely done … Be Safe
    Isadora 😎

  7. No individual or family is perfect, that is for certain. I’m sorry for the pain you endured within your family. The “kintsukuroi” is a beautiful concept. Thank you for sharing that.

  8. I hear much in this tale. Reminds me a bit of my own life… my mother’s lies… things that can never be changed, altered, or reconciled. Great story, Anne. So glad you had the chance to meet your Gram and to reconcile with her. I’m with you on mangos… not my fave flavor, either.

  9. There are layers here. Generations, differing cultures, lying for whatever reasons, all in one family. Integrating into a new country isn’t as easy for some as for others.

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