The oldest daughter now resides in Canada, she reached out to us to tell her father’s story. This is a story about a wife that loved her husband.
It was a penetrating brain injury that integrated the neurobehavioral symptoms; more specifically memory loss. The bombs devastated the Mitsubishi motor factory. However, the Japanese city of Hamamatsu still existed no different than the way it exists today. When the soldier was released from the hospital he didn’t have a name or any documents, the only thing he had was the vicinity that he lived and a faint memory of a significant female.
The soldier knew that he would one day wake up from his dream and this horror that the world gave him. In his mind he realized that his wife did not suffer because he knew her heart never failed her. Even if he awoke from this horrific nightmare, his own reality would imitate a dark corner in a quiet room that he grew up in. The soldier knew that if his wife awoke upon the debris, it would be because his eyes anticipate something further in his life that one day would make it better.
He gazed at the apartment his parents once lived in, it was unrecognizably blackened. Whatever shred of hope he had of them to survive leaped into a different direction towards the Gods. He turned his head and looked at the apartment he lived in with his wife, at that moment he understood the rules that were human to him and the love his wife not only gave him, but the desire to belong to each other.
He entered the building and knocked at the door. The door opened and his wife stood before him. “Aiko”, he whispered as he embraced her and cried. She leaned her head against his shoulders, “It is me, Aiko.” She took him in and washed him with the little amount of water she had. She gathered the few ingredients she had and made him something to eat.
The war ended in August amid rising temperatures that allowed the human remains to stench the streets before they were disposed of. Kami-no-michi did not allow the ancient past to die with the present that secured the future and growth of their family.
Aiko gave her husband two daughters. Part of his memory returned, and after two years he was employed at Mitsubishi building car engines. After a few years they managed to scrape enough money to purchase the lot next to them. In his spare time he resurrected the apartment his parents lived in. He made sure to rent the apartments to soldiers that had little hope and an unsecure future.
His daughters would often scold him, “With all your success, why are we still living in this dingy apartment?” His answer, “This is where I met your mother, this is where I fell in love, and this is where I die. I did not deny you anything in life and I always made sure that I had enough money for both of you to go to school. I can not teach you how to live your life, but you need to understand that with life comes sacrifice. This sacrifice comes when you decide to care for something even more than yourself. When you decide to get married, you will know your heart will leap forward, that’s all I can give you.”
As he became more successful he began to purchase more buildings. Many of the soldiers he rented the apartments to became successful and wealthy. Some became his partners, others pursued their own path. His wife was always by his side encouraging him to be the best he could.
His memory came back and he asked his wife what she remembered about his life prior to the injury. She stood silent and didn’t say a word. He embraced her hand and repeated the same question. She looked the other way and said nothing. He would never bring up the question again.
He fell ill knowing well his time was coming to an end. His wife gathered her two daughters and all three held his hand. His wife looked at him, “I was never your wife, my husband died in Tokyo. When I answered the door, I saw my husband in you, it was the only image I had to go on living that day.”
He squeezed her hand and smiled, “You were always my wife.” A moment of silence occurred and both of his daughters embraced their mother.