While usually, I would wake up every morning at exactly 6am with my only alarm clock being the sweet aroma of okayu and the sounds of mother’s favourite American pop singer Bill Crosby – even know I can remember White Christmas word for word; in the whole of Japan no one made breakfast quiet like mother, a composer of mouth watering symphonies, an architect of a sumptuous banquette of delicious taste and smells.
But today there was no food to meet my taste buds with so much delight, instead just what I could salvage in the wreckage.
After breakfast, I was always soon graced by the presence my father, a man who only knew strength of an almighty silver back guerrilla, honour of samurai, and pride of a man who truly loved his family. The kids in school will speak of all these great American heroes like John Wayne. But I would just smile and node along, radiant in the solace that at home; I lived with a real life hero.
But today there was no one to look up too, instead just black skies.
Soon after excitement would boil up inside of me, building up pressure until it had the opportunity to implode like a thousand dying suns. Because Saturday was the day I would help my grandfather in his new magic shop. To simply put it, I loved magic. More than anything in the world, there is no describing the feeling you get, when you execute a trick you have been practising for weeks to perfection and in return you get seas of faces with utter disbelief and amazement written all over them. There weren’t many Japanese magicians, so all my favourites were always Americans, especially Harry Houdini the greatest of them all. My favourite ever trick was when they pulled the cloth of under the plates, it fascinated me, it would happen so quick. One minute the cloth was there, then the next, gone.
But today there was no faces filled with astonish, instead just dread.
Looking back, only now do I realize that the cloth trick that both baffled and excited me for so long was actually funny enough was far more than just a cheap trick; it was actually a perfect allegory of the fragility of life. The whole world can be at your feet in one instance, then the next you see everything you held dare to you, erupt into flames. Turning your hopes and dreams into mountains of ash and disfigured corpses. One minute your normal kid with a loving family, the next you find out they have all been killed, leaving you behind. Every waking second of my life, I wish I died with them, instead of suffering the plague of being the few living surrounded by the dead.
That morning in all my excitement, by accident or by fate I took the wrong bus, taking me away from certain death, only for me to find myself on hell of earth, of the painful realisation that my family were gone. The American’s had killed my family.