Cerpen - The Little Girl in A Cherry Blossom Room

The Little Girl in  A Cherry Blossom Room

Oleh : Rita Lim



Foto By : www.pixabay.com

Summer’s lambency warmly irradiated my body which was still lying on my pink bed.
Uhmm, hoams...What time is it?? Huh....No! It’s already 8 am, I am late!” I said, shocked.
With a rush, I tried to prepare myself and grab everything I needed for the interview as fast as I could.
“How can I forget about today’s job interview?? Argghh I am going to lose it again if I cannot be there by 9 am. Bad day as ever!” I sighed.
It has been 3 years since I graduated from college as a Bachelor of English Literature from a famous college in Japan. However, till date I am still struggling to find a proper job; not because I can’t get a job but because none of them suited my passion. That’s the main reason why I quit every single job I had. Before graduating from college, I thought that office work might be interesting and fun. However, sometimes we should understand that the reality is not as beautiful as what we’ve imagined. I ended up working in an office all day and went home at midnight. I felt like I was being trapped in a prison because of this routine of mine. I can’t take this anymore. No more! And just like every other time, I quit my job.
So here I am now, a 26 years old woman struggling to find a proper job for a brighter future. My watch showed 9 am now, I don’t think I have a chance to make it to the interview but I guess it’s worth a try. So I took a deep breath and entered that small pet shop with a little hope in my heart. From afar, the owner threw a friendly smile and welcomed me and soon the interview began. A few minutes passed since the interview and she informed me that I had passed my interview and that I could start working tomorrow.
Just like that my everyday life began in this pet shop. It would start by wiping the dust on the goods in the store to taking care of animals. Days passed and without even realizing, it’s been 5 months since I started working here…….until the biggest nightmare happened.
I was suddenly moved to the grooming section. At first, I thought it was quite easy. However the reality was horrible; the scent of the animals mixed with the scent of air freshener, it is far worse than what you’re thinking. I wondered why the workers here are so happy with this smell filling the entire place. Things become worse when I have to bathe cats or dogs that hate water. Oh my God, I couldn’t stand it anymore.
That morning as usual, I spent my day in the grooming section.
"Uhh finally, I done bathing this Chihuahua. Hello sweetie, you know what? You are the best among all the animals I’ve ever taken care of” I laughed bitterly which was rewarded by a confused stare from the Chihuahua.
While putting the Chihuahua back in its cage, I turned to the front desk where the veterinarian was welcoming guests who came for a consultation. Suddenly the door opened and in came a handsome man with a Persian cat in his arms. With his proportional body wrapped in a black long sleeved shirt and navy blue pants with the latest version of Nike limited edition shoes, he looked amazing.
"Oh Lord, if only I was a veterinarians. Surely I would be the one in charge of welcoming the guests who came including that handsome man". I stared at him, hoping he would come in the grooming section too.
However a dream is just a dream. After the consultation, he left his cat with the veterinarian and immediately left the pet shop. Shortly after he stepped out, the veterinarian escorted his cat to me.
Doctor Yuri explained about this cat’s sensitive behavior and mentioned everything I should do whilst giving it to me and then got going. I carried it to bath tub but as soon as its feet touched the water, the cat started moaning and tried to escape. I tried my best to hold it but ended up getting several scratches on my face.
“Ahhhh my face!! Hey please help, that cat has escaped" Thankfully I was able to get the attention of the staff and other people in present in the shop.
"Miss Meguri, are you ok?" Asked Doctor Yuri with an anxious face.
"Urghh I’ve had enough with all this. Sorry Yuri, but I quit". I took my stuff and walked away.
"Meguri, wait!" Yuri shouted, about to stop me but it was useless, for everything that have happened here for the past few days gave me enough reason to forsake this place. Taking care of animals is simply not my passion so I quit.
So here I am, ended up being a cashier in a small shop that belongs to my family in Kyoto Prefecture. From Tokyo I was forced to go back to Kyoto in order to save money, because the rent of my apartment in Tokyo was quite expensive.
Again, my mom’s flat-face greeted my return. She wasn’t surprised or anything for she has seen me quit so many jobs before. She simply didn’t understand why working based on my passion was so important to me. Currently, I spend my time sitting lazily at the cashier in our peculiar Kyoto bread store which was fairly deserted on weekdays but crowded on weekends. I got tired of this yet I had no choice since I have no money to return to Tokyo.
"Excuse me, how much does it cost? Ehh, Satomi-chan? Is that you?" Said a shrill voice of a girl who began approaching me out of nowhere.
"I'm sorry but could you..." I was just about to get angry with this girl who surprised me. Nevertheless, when I looked up, her familiar face was much more shocking than her voice.
"Momoka? You really are Momoka! When did you arrive in Kyoto? Aren't you working as a surgeon in Sapporo?" I asked cheerfully to my old Senior High friend. She began to tell me about her transfer to Kyoto due to the lack of surgeons here. While telling her story, she stopped abruptly and asked me about my job. I told her about my problems, hoping that she would understand and help come up with a solution. However it turned out even Momoka couldn’t understand about my passion.
"Satomi, I understand you are the type of person who will take pains in terms of doing what you like, but the problem is you're not really at that age to talk about passion anymore
Well, honestly her answer was a little disappointing to me. Apparently even she couldn’t understand what I felt, indeed it was just meaningless to continue.
"Haha Momoka you're right. We’re getting older, aren’t we? Hahah calm down. I will definitely get a job again. I was just taking a break while waiting for my next job interview " I lied.
"You are the one who is getting old hahah. Why don’t you join me at the shelter homes for cancer patients around here tomorrow? You've got some free time right? "
Initially that did not interest me at all. For me there was no point in visiting places where people with a deadly disease stayed because surely it would be sad and disappointing. It won't help me in any way instead it will only make things worse. I better not go right? I thought. However, when I was about to open my mouth, Momoka continued her words with a sincere smile. Her expression was indescribable.
"There is a child I would like to introduce to you. She was a stage 4 brain cancer patient but she's different and special. You have to see her for yourself" She then gave me a mysterious gaze. It enhanced my curiosity, and then I thought that there is no harm if I just paid a visit.
"Well Momo, I will go with you. Meet me tomorrow at 4 p.m. Ok?”
"Ok, I will see you tomorrow" she said smiling.
Under the rosy evening sky, I scoured all the way on to the edge of the river which was a place where I often visited during senior high school with Momoka. "Is the place still far from here?" I asked curiously.
"Be patient, it is only a few blocks from here" Momoka’s utterance was responded with a nod from me and so we went on with our trip. Shortly we arrived at the shelter for the cancer patients. The building was white in color which made it look way too boring deservedly a hospital in general but I was given a huge shock after seeing the interior of the building. It was very vibrant with toys in every room.
 Each room was designed so beautifully so that the children here can be happy and not get stressed. Some of the healthier children were playing together with dolls while some were still lying in their bed reading a couple of books accompanied by a nurse. Shortly after that, we finally arrived in a pink cherry blossom themed room. There was a little girl who was lying on her bed while reading a travel book.
"Good afternoon Yue-chan, how are you today? Wow what kind of book you are reading now? It looks interesting" Momoka greeted with a bright smile.
"Ahhh Momo-san, I'm as good as ever, I am reading a book about Paris. It is truly such a magnificent city. It makes me want to go there so badly and also travel to other countries as soon as I recover" She said enthusiastically. Momentarily, I was touched by her enthusiasm. How can a little girl who’s convicted of stage 4 brain cancer look so care-free, with such a big dream that she has carried up until now, her face shone without any sadness or desperation. I have to admit that her spirit stunned me and it gave her a little space in my heart.
"Hi Yue-chan, my name is Satomi. Glad to meet you".
"Ohh are you a friend of Momo-san who often caught dragonflies during Senior High? Ahah I have heard a lot about you from Momo-san. My name is Himeka Yue. I am glad to meet you too Satomi-san" She replied with a cheerful smile full of life.
Now I realize that everything Momoka had told me about this girl was right. At that moment, I looked at Momoka and she gave me a meaningful smile and I understood her point. Since then, whenever my shop was closed, I took time to visit Yue and accompany her.
There was a lot of things that she told me about, including about her family who had died in a plane crash 5 years ago, and how she survived from that horrifying incident and how she finally ended up in this place. This girl’s life remarkably was a miracle for me. She was able to stand up so sturdily until now although her life is so messed up.
Shortly after the accident, precisely 3 years ago she was convicted with cancer. After listening to her life story, I immensely hoped that she would recover soon. After that, for the first time in my life, I went to the temple near my house praying that Yue would be cured one day. However, it looked like the heavens loved her more than me.
2 months later her illness conquered her body and she wasn’t able to fight it anymore. The chemotherapy and treatment couldn’t fight against the virus in her body. She finally dropped a cue in the silence in the room she was being treated. Before she was gone, I settled beside her while looking at her long hair which has completely fallen out on the floor. Nonetheless, she was still able to laugh and said something that wrenched my heart even when she found it hard to breathe.
"Satomi-san, last night I had a dream that mother came up to me and we were traveling to many countries. I was so glad to see my mother and my brother looking healthy. I am longing to see their faces once again. I wish I could take them to Paris and meet many new people. I'd love to see you once again mom" She said in such a weak sincere smile; a smile so bright even when she was in her worst condition. It was extremely painful to me.
How can this be possible? A little girl who was at death’s door yet still smiling and had big dreams while I was still engaged in desperation and was about to give up on life. Himeka Yue's death changed my way of viewing life. For the first time in life there is a figure that has inspired me to do something I really love.
I have touched by Yue’s life experience which was full of hopes and dreams. Therefore, I want to embody her ideals bringing everyone under blissfulness while visiting beautiful places in the world.
"Mom!! I'm leaving now, see you later Dad" I said while carrying a suitcase to Momoka’s car.
"Be careful on your trip Satomi. Come back to Kyoto when you have free time" said my mother while waving at me.
"Yes Mom I promise. Bye" And I hit the road with Momoka to Kyoto airport.
Currently I have been accepted to work in an international tour agency in Tokyo that provides services for those who want to travel across the country and this is part of my life purpose now. For some reason I was so happy and I couldn't wait to start working immediately. Indeed this is the first time I have ever felt so excited about something in my life.
That night I finally arrived at Tokyo and the next day was the first day I worked as a tour guide at that international tour agency.
"Good morning Miss Meguri. In 3 more days you will accompany one family who will travel to France. So make sure you have collected all the tourist information and culinary as well as additional information that are required for this tour. Do you understand?" Asked the manager of my division. Go to France? Was this the answer from heaven to me? I smiled seeing that this fact was so coincidental.
"Ok ma’am, I understand". Then came the day when I had to travel with that family to France. Early morning I waited for them at Tokyo International Airport. Their car arrived in front of the departure gates shortly after.
Suddenly an elegant woman stepped out from that luxurious car along with her parents and a gentleman. When I looked closer, I realized that he was the handsome man at the pet shop I worked a year ago. Jeez, how cruel this is to me. I was so startled until I was unable to speak but the warm greeting from that pretty girl woke me up from my delusion.
"I'm sorry Miss, are you our tour guide?" She asked with a gentle smile sculpted on her face.
"Ah, yes right, I'm your tour guide for this trip. My name is Meguri Satomi. I hope all of you will enjoy this trip" I said politely. I took a glimpse at that man and his expression while hearing my name was a bit shocked. I had no intention to stare at him longer than this as his face was remarkably bizarre, it drove me crazy for I really couldn’t understand him even a bit.
"Let's go to the waiting room for our plane will take off in less than an hour" I said while escorting them to the waiting room. To be honest, I was so happy as I had a chance to meet the man who I have dreamed about.
However, I still couldn’t believe that this would lead me to meet him again. I'm truly grateful. I gave them a smile before heading to the toilet for a bit. While sitting on the waiting room, that dashing man named Kenzo looked like was watching over Satomi carefully. Inside his mind he was reminded of the incident that had happened a few years ago.
That time Kenzo had met a girl who always worked overtime in his office yet always arrived on time the next day. The girl always seemed so lively and cheerful which made Kenzo bewitched.
One day, the girl suddenly walked into his room which was the Director of the company. Unexpectedly she wanted to resign which of course had made Kenzo shocked and indeed she didn’t recognized Kenzo as he deliberately covered his face so that Satomi wouldn’t know that he is the Director of that company.
Curious and nervous, he then asked the reason behind her resignation. However her answer back then had successfully amazed his heart. She said that it is not important how high the level of her job is yet it will be useless if she is not happy. Even though Kenzo had offered the position of manager to her, she still remained sturdy that her passion for work isn’t just about money.
On top of that, she just wanted to work at something that would make her happy. It is something meaningful that couldn’t be measured based on the material she got. Kenzo was extremely stunned by the confidence she possessed until she moved to work in a pet shop, Kenzo deliberately visited that pet shop bringing his beloved Persian cat just for the sake of seeing her.
Unfortunately at that moment he could only caught a glimpse of someone similar to Satomi instead of meeting her immediately. However, when he decided to come back again the next day, Satomi had quit from there. Even so Kenzo was still trying hard to find her through every work place in Tokyo but he found nothing.
 Right when Kenzo was about to forget her and had almost forgotten her, destiny brought them to meet each other again at the Airport. Kenzo was so surprised to see Satomi happy as a tour guide. Of course this time Kenzo won’t miss the opportunity. He was determined that he would introduce himself properly to Satomi this time.
"Zo, Kenzo Hey! What the heck were you doing earlier? Stop daydreaming, you haven’t introduce yourself to Miss Meguri yet so quickly introduce yourself" The voice of that pretty girl who seemed like Kenzo’s elder sister successfully woke him up.
"Ahh Yes I'm sorry, hay Meguri-san my name is Kenzo" He said politely while bowing to me.
"Hi Kenzo-san nice to meet you, I hope all of you will enjoy this trip, please ask me if you need help" I said politely which was replied by a smile from Kenzo’s elder sister as well as himself. Finally we were able to become closer with each other and always kept in touch.
I have never imagined my accidental encounters with Yue could change my life like this. She is not only inspired me through her life story, but also gave me a valuable life experience. Through the encounter of the girl in that cherry blossoms room, her beauty and her strength has given me so many life lessons about how important it is to be grateful of what we have, and that the happiness of life is as simple as being thankful with everything that has happened.
Thank you Yue, because of you my life has turned into such a beautiful and meaningful one. Many things happened in my life and I have learned to be grateful in everything.


 *** 

TENTANG PENULIS
Rita adalah seorang mahasiswa S1 jurusan Public Relations di STIKOM LSPR Jakarta yang sejak SMP telah memiliki ketertarikan dalam dunia penulisan cerita baik itu cerpen maupun novel. Ia juga sempat menjadi juara 2 diperlombaan karya cerpen di SMP nya dulu serta baru-baru ini, pada tahun 2016 ia kembali mengikuti lomba menulis cerpen dalam bahasa inggris tingkat Nasional di UNTAR dan kembali menyabet gelar juara 2. Ia sangat senang menulis dikala ada waktu luang, bahkan laptopnya pun penuh dengan kumpulan cerita yang masih belum di terbitkan. Ia berencana akan mencoba mengirim beberapa karya nya kepada penerbit tahun ini. Silahkan berkunjung ke BLOG miliknya www.huiqinstory.blogspot.com untuk mengenalnya lebih jauh.


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