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. ❤
Hope everyone has a great week.