They walk towards the bar – now a breakfast restaurant, as Lan gets them both coffee. That was enough for him, but Saya starts in on the continental breakfast, plucking out two croissants as she walks to their table.
“Sorry, I didn't even ask if you drank coffee. Tea?” he asks, she shakes her head.
“No, I do. Sparingly.” Out of the condiments she grabs two creams and three sugars. “The less it tastes like coffee, the better, though..”
Lan, meanwhile, only pours in one small dose of creamer, “I'm not.. a fan either. But it serves its purpose. But I'm the opposite of you,” he blows into the cup, wincing at the heat and the taste, shaking his head a bit.
“Caffeine for later, the taste to wake you up now. Christ, this is bitter..” His upper lip curls a bit in disgust, but he doesn't place the drink aside. Instead, he wraps his hands around the mug for the warmth.
Saya breaks her breakfast up into bite sized pieces with her hands, chewing on one as she looks outside at the road passing them by.
“You didn't answer me back there,” he pulls out his phone and thumbs the keyboard in a search for tourist destinations around Hiroshima – he may have lived here, but coming at it as a vacation was new to him.
“Mmn?” She sounds out, her mouth full of bread.
“Well, this isn't a big tourism destination.” He turns the phone her way, at the images at the top of the search – most of them populated with the peace memorials and remembrances of the atomic bombing.
“So, it was more.. begin with the solemn places, or leave them for later.”
Saya leans forward at Lan's phone, tilting her head. She did look through the visitor's guide back in Ota, but only briefly. Swallowing, she leans back, thinking. To her it was better to rip the band-aid off than do it slow.
“One or two of the memorials, after this. Get it out of the way,” she nods, wiping her mouth with her napkin.
Lan pockets his phone and takes another sip of coffee, “When you look at me when we go, don't be surprised with this face.” He holds his hands up under his chin, his face could not be more blank.
He breaks and resumes not-acting, stirring a straw around in his coffee, “You grow up here, you're kind of indoctrinated. So much so that it ends up being a part of daily life and you don't really question it when someone marvels that a bomb was dropped here years ago.”
“Field trips were to the memorials, history was centered on it.. and as a kid you're like 'Okay, I got it, bombs bad, death happened, got it.' And maybe that is kind of callous. I don't mean it to be.”
Saya nibbles on her second croissant, nodding. She got the idea, at least. “Repetition isn't always teaching,” she admits. Saya herself always tried to change things up day to day with her kids to make it fresh and fun.
Lan sighs and looks beyond her out the windows. “There's only so many times you can show a kid an atomic bomb shadow before it loses meaning.” He frowns at his words and rubs his forehead. “That sounds.. really depressing. Sorry.”
Despite that, after breakfast, they caught a bus towards Nakajima-cho, standing in front of a large building with green all around, the Peace Memorial Museum. Saya pulls out her phone and takes a picture.
Even on a weekend, past ten in the morning, the crowds were thin as they started in towards the main building. Saya paid her own way as Lan did as well, the 200 yen ticket not cutting into his allowance from Reo.
Saya, though, is wide-eyed at the place, first stopping in front of the 'Peace Watch' – the top showing the five digit number since the first drop of the A-Bomb, the bottom showing the last nuclear test – sadly a much smaller number made possible with the tensions of North Korea. She takes a picture anyway.
Lan grins a bit, trying to hide it as this white woman was acting exactly like Asian tourists abroad. The stereotype of a professional camera around the neck of one of them, taking pictures of anything and everything. Phones just make it easier, he thinks.
He follows behind Saya as she wanders from exhibit to exhibit, from testimony of survivors to actual pieces of clothing, toys, and other items that 'survived' the bombing – most mangled.
Eventually, they came across the set of steps Lan mentioned before, the shadow of a man burned into the steps of a bank, cut and donated to the museum. The shadow outlined what seemed to be an elderly man using a cane, sitting or standing on the steps. What he saw, no one would ever know, as this was the last remnants of his life in Hiroshima.
Saya leans in to read the description of the artifact, and Lan crosses his arms, looking at the head of the shadow, thinking to himself, It's been a while. Still in good condition, I see. He talks to the imprint as if it were conscious, still as boring as ever.
He places a hand over his face to hide his disgust at his thought process, while the rest of the museum was quiet and revered, Lan's stupid mind was thinking more of anywhere else he'd rather be. But this wasn't his vacation.
- a recovering disaster? / twitter: @rgdrac
apologies for everything about me, it might get better.
updates will be once a day for the next seventy days since i am migrating from another platform and have those chapters - and more - ready to go. (from 8/9)
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