Kumi was so sad because she broke up with her boyfriend. Her mother didn't like him...
| Kumi wiped a wooden desk with a soft damp cloth when a ceramic vase on a desk fell to the floor, and it was smashed into smithereens. She collected broken pieces with a broom and a dustpan and thought nobody could mend a broken vase, like a broken relationship. Her mother told Kumi that Kumi’s uncle made the vase and he had wanted to be a craft potter. She was sorry for breaking the vase and decided to tell him that she did it by mistake. However, she didn’t want to tell it to her mother because Kumi didn’t get along well with her mother since last summer. They had a quarrel about Kumi’s boyfriend, Natsuo.
Natsuo was a painter and liked to travel around the country, but had gone abroad after she had asked him not to come to her house too often. Her words had offended him, and they hadn’t had a conversation since then. She had asked him so because her mother hadn’t considered him as a professional painter and hadn’t admitted their marriage. She hadn’t intended to break up with him, but need to take some time to cool down her mother’s temper.
On her way to her uncle’s house, she was looking the seashore out of a train window. Two years ago Kumi had gone to the seaside for a holiday with Natsuo and had had lunch at a fine restaurant standing along the seaside. If only Natsuo were there, Kumi said to herself. It seemed as if a decade have passed since, and Kumi wanted to cry.
The train arrived at the nearest station, but Kumi didn’t get off; she wanted to go to an apartment house where Natsuo had lived. He could possibly come back there. She transferred to a train that went to the closest station where Natsuo had lived. She got off and walk to his apartment house with butterflies in her stomach. She climbed stairs and went in front of the door when she saw a door open and came across a woman. She was startled, turned around and started to run away; but the woman called to her. The woman turned out to be Natsuo’s sister. Kumi said she was one of Natsuo’s classmate. The woman said:
“Natsuo’s gone abroad since last summer.”
“I’ve forgotten about that,” Kumi said and left.
While Kumi apologized to her uncle for breaking his handmade vase, she got nervous that tears rolled down her cheeks in the end. Her uncle was speechless with surprise for a moment and said:
“Don’t worry, Kumi. I’ll make another vase and give it to you.”
“It’s nothing to do with the vase,” Kumi said and explained to him what had happened.
“Maybe your mother was worried if Natsuo could earn a living by painting,” he said. “You know I wanted to be a potter. I was very poor when I was young. She still remembers that.”
The next day, Kumi was thinking about what her uncle had said all day long. At supper she said to her mother:
“I’ll study hard and become a nurse so that I can earn my own living,” she said. “so allow me to be with Natsuo.”
At first, her mother obstinately turned down her request, but she wouldn’t give up. The following day, her mother reluctantly accepted her demand.
Kumi visited the house where Natsuo’s sister lived in, explained that she was Natsuo’s girlfriend and said:
“We haven’t talked to each other since we have quarreled bitterly last summer,”
“If things go on like this, he’ll never come back. I want to apologize to him.”
On her way home, she wondered how she could get in touch with Natsuo. In her room, she sat on a sofa and searched for websites whatever he would like to see. And then she posted messages for Natsuo. The next day, Kumi got an email from him. He wrote that he would come home after he finished painting some more pictures. She received an international call from him that night. He said:
“I’m trained as a painter by a strict master here. I want you to see all the works that I’ve painted.”
She couldn’t be happier because she would make up with him. Still, she couldn’t believe that. She wrote in her diary:
It was never going to be the same again - - just like it was before.