Lan stands in front of his house in the morning, suitcase next to him as all three of them join him. Awkward hugs and hands shaking, his father reminding him for the ten billionth time to not to drink, to which Lan nods.
He was pleasant with Aiko, a hug, strange by Japanese standards, but that was Emma bleeding through his father's first marriage into this one.
Their plane wasn't until late in the afternoon, but Lan was almost chomping at the bit to distance himself from Hiroshima, even if he hated flying.
He loads his luggage on the golf cart behind Eiji, turning to Reo who follows him as his father and Aiko stay behind.
“You have everything? ID, the ticket is at the airport, you can call for a taxi on the company's dime when you--”
“I got it,” Lan states with a sigh, interrupting Reo. “I got.. I can get home, yes.”
“Home.” He replies, looking back at his parents, and the house behind them. “It's like when people move out, home becomes less of a word for places like this, and more where you make it.” He looks back at Lan, crossing his arms.
“I don't think of this place as home either.” Reo didn't live here, and Lan had only seen his apartment once, in a high-rise, naturally, in downtown Hiroshima, closer to the factory than Ushitayama, where they were. It betrayed his priorities.
Lan turns and sits in the back of the golf cart, Reo resting an arm above him on the roof. “Do you consider that place in Ota as 'home'? It's been a year, Lan, and it still looks like an Ikea showroom.”
“Home is a.. two story place a few minutes away.” He looks over at Reo, shaking his head. “It just so happens some other family lives there now.”
Reo slides his gloved fingers through his hair, even though it was slicked back and impeccable as always. “That's not.. home, Lan.” He pauses, weighing the decision to broach the next topic..
“Have you spread her ashes yet?”
Lan doesn't answer immediately, looking out at the driveway that led down the mountain, almost steeling himself for thinking about it at all. “No, not yet. She's.. the.. the ashes are still on my dresser.” Still in the same box, not an urn, still in the funeral home's bag, barely touched. Never looked at, he thinks.
“You're the only one that knew what she wanted, Lan. We carried out her funeral, the celebration, even her cremation because you sai—”
“I know what she said, I know what I told you, I'm just not ready,” Lan's voice was starting to get a harsh edge to it, Reo notices.
“Alright. Alright, okay. When you are.. ready, let him know.” Reo glances over at his father, then back to Lan. “We want to be a part of it too, if only for you.”
“But what father said still stands, you can't.. hide away, life.. moves on. It continues.” Reo steps back from the cart, shaking his head. “That's.. a bad way of putting it, you know what I mean.”
Lan nods, but still won't look at him or the relatives he's leaving behind, though Reo could see his eyes welling up with tears just as they were talking.
“Take care, yeah? We don't matter, I know that,” he says, referring to himself and the family. “But I think she's good for you. So if that helps, I'm all for it.”
Lan leans forward and pats Eiji's shoulder who releases the brake on the cart, easing off of it as they start coasting down the paved lane. Lan raises a hand and waves without looking back to Reo, his father and Aiko, sitting in silence as they move down the driveway.
She's good for you, he thinks, rubbing the back of his neck as he shakes his head, and she knows a fingernail's scratch on how deep it goes..
Saya spent the morning packing her things, as she had to be out of the room by 1pm, far off, but just to make sure. She breathes in slowly, stretching, cracking her joints in front of the wide window at morning in Hiroshima. From the skimming of the travel guide she did, it was a successful trip, even with the curveballs Lan and his family threw.
Her phone buzzes, a text from Lan that he was on his way. She glances at the clock, a little past 11am. Their flight wasn't until four in the afternoon, so they had some time.
Sitting on the edge of the bed, she scoops up her phone and thumbs out Hiroshima tourist spots – the biggest ones they'd visited, then switches gears, thinking of souvenirs for her family – mainly her brother.
All signs point to somewhere nearby, thankfully, Hondori. She hadn't heard of it, but it seemed to be the tourist trap of electronics, arcades, Hiroshima's smaller answer to Akihabara.
She chuckles to herself, her brother had been so jealous that she could wander around Tokyo and Akihabara itself, when she went it seemed like a Las Vegas for.. well, nerds. Saya had only gone to search for a laptop, and was confronted with an assault on her senses, parts of Tokyo were very bright, but that was an understatement. She started to understand her brother's jealousy.
And while she had found a laptop she needed back then, there was so much more. But it wasn't for her tastes. Hiroshima's version seemed much more muted, a fraction of the bright and loud version back in Tokyo.
Saya glances at the clock in the upper right of her phone. Still around 11.. which meant it was probably 2am, 3am back home? She calculates in her head, though if she called rather than texted with her plans, he'd be less mad..
Starting with a text, she types out the message to her brother, sending it across the ocean before tossing the phone on the bed and resuming packing her things.
- 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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