everything was gone except for a kitchen table

Here is the finale of my apartment hunting. I had complained about delay of the contract to a real estate agent and she had advanced the date for it. Two days before signing, she called me and gave me yet another surprise. She went in the room to make sure everything was okay and found out that the owner had taken away all of the furniture and appliances although the room was supposed to be furnished. According to her, everything was gone except for a kitchen table. She sounded more shocked than I actually was. Because each piece of furniture and appliances had looked pretty old and worn-out when I saw the room, and even if unfurnished, the price was still a lot lower than the area’s average, I asked her not to retrieve them as she offered. I accepted the present condition, and signed a contract at last. My six-month long apartment hunting is officially over. Starting now is my moving saga. It’s decided for me to move 160 miles far from where I live now to the countryside surrounded by mountains. Is it really possible for me to live in the mountains secluded from people? More than anything else, please no more bad surprises for me…

I was over the moon

During the construction of my family’s new house, many contractors and carpenters came and worked every day. As we lived in barns as a makeshift home at the edge of the construction site, I saw them regularly and had a crush on one of the carpenters. He would come to work by car and pass under a pedestrian bridge at the almost exact time every morning. I used the bridge to the elementary school, and every morning when I was walking on the bridge, his car passed beneath it. I waved at him and he waved back at me every time. One day, while I was hanging around near the construction site, he came up to me and handed me a key chain in which miniature playing cards were contained. He said it was a small gift for me. I was over the moon. But, that was the last time I saw him. Because the construction company executive ran away with all the money my family had paid, the pay for the workers stopped. The construction was abandoned and no one came to work anymore. Only a carpenter with craftsmanship who carved beautiful patterns on the wooden thresholds came to continue his work without pay after his new job. But the carpenter I had a crush on never showed, and his car never passed under the pedestrian bridge. I cherished the miniature playing cards for a long time…

A Call to Hell hr623

I checked out the hotel on the last day of my trip to the western region of Japan, flew from Kansai Airport and took an airport bus to the station where I would catch a bullet train heading home. When I finished a late lunch near the station, I noticed there had been voice mail from my mother on my cell phone. My parents had declined to meet me the day before when I was going to visit them who live in the western Japan. I thought the voice mail was about lame excuses to hide the fact that they didn’t want to see me, and called her back although my phone’s battery was extremely low.
I started sarcastically, “It was a pity that we couldn’t meet yesterday although it was a once-a-year opportunity, wasn’t it?” to hear her made-up excuse. Then, she replied, “Huh? Yesterday?” sounding like she had already forgotten about it. And she continued on as if it wasn’t important at all. What she wanted to tell me was why my parents had run away from their condo where my sister had begun to live with them, which I had learned also the day before as a surprise.
According to my mother, my parents had prepared an envelope that contained ten thousand dollars for me for a tax avoidance reason. They were going to hand it to me if I visited them because they didn’t know my bank account number to wire it. They had put the envelope on the Buddhist alter of their home. When my sister found it, she got into frenzy and began to hit my father, shouting, “Get out of this condo!” As her violence didn’t stop, they ran away with almost nothing but the clothes they wore. They had stayed at a hotel for a few days and moved in a short-term rental apartment that my sister later traced. As they wouldn’t let her in, she scratched my father’s car, broke his bicycle, torn window screens and put garbage at the door. They had been moving from one place to another for three weeks because she found them each time and repeated her harassment. They were still looking for another apartment to escape from my sister. As if to sum up, my mother said to me, “We couldn’t get back to our home where the envelope that had money we were going to give you sit. Your sister stole your money.”
I had heard about some abuse my parents have been inflicted from my sister when my mother called me a month ago and told me that she was in hell. But I hadn’t known things have gotten even worse like this. Although I just learned all her miseries, only one thing seized my mind – ten thousand dollars. It triggered something in me and my eyes turned dollar signs like a cartoon. I swiftly responded her that it happened because they had prepared it in cash and that I would give her my bank account number not to repeat this in the future. I was desperately trying to retrieve the ten thousand dollars. I thought they might wire it again once they got my bank account number. By then, my cell phone’s electrical voice had uttered ‘Low Battery’ and ‘Charge Now’ for several times over my mother’s lamenting. I told her to get a piece of paper and a pen immediately and started the names of my bank and its branch. She was getting them so awfully slowly that I suspected she did it intentionally. After a painful wait, I started the number. But right before the first digit came out of my mouth, my phone went dead.
I felt quite chilly because the timing was so precise that it didn’t seem coincident. I also felt ten thousand dollars were slipping through my fingers. I looked around for pay phones to finish the number, but couldn’t find one. I came home by bullet train, recharged my cell phone, and called back my parents. Both of them didn’t answer. I called them again the next day. My father answered this time with the same vacant voice as I heard on the phone during the trip. He told me that he couldn’t talk with me now as he was in the real estate agent’s office for another apartment hunting to hide from my sister. He sounded completely absent-minded and made me feel uncertain. My mother came up to the phone and told me their effort would be in vain anyway since my sister would eventually find out their new place somehow. I offered that I would find an apartment for them around where I live if they didn’t bother it would be 500 miles away from where they are now. It was when my mother burst into tears again. “Will YOU help me? Really?”, she bawled, as if she couldn’t believe my words.
After I hung up the phone without telling her my bank account number, I finally came to my senses. My dollar signs tumbled down from my eyes and my reason returned. My mother is, has always been, a liar. She tells any kind of lies from big to small to anyone. She also has set her mind to make me unhappy in every possible way. She has wielded countless tactics for that purpose. The marked example was when the music label my partner and I started finally got on track after strenuous years. When she noticed our beginning of success, she offered financial support to back me up. I foolishly trusted her because she was my mother. My partner and I moved to a bigger office and hired more staffs. Shortly after that, she tried to take over our business by threatening to stop financial aid unless we handed over the profit. I realized that she had offered money in the first place to crush our business, but it was too late. Our label suffered heavy losses and damage with her sudden finance withdrawal. Thinking back my bitter experiences of many years, it has been proven that she never does anything good for me and she never hopes my well-being. It’s totally a blue dahlia that she would give me any money. I almost took in her ‘ten thousand dollars’ this time and was stupid enough to be about to tell her my bank account number.
I wonder why I keep being fooled by my mother after all those years from childhood. My mother has never been forgiven for what she did and things have increasingly gotten worse around her year after year. I may wish somewhere in my mind that she is finally brought back to her sense and cleans up her act. Then she becomes a better person and someday she accepts me and loves me. Probably those vain hopes are my weakness on which my mother plays with her lies. Or more simply, like mother like daughter, I’m as greedy as my mother, that’s why I easily fall for her…

never seen her since

When the construction company executive disappeared with my family’s money, his wife came to our place with his daughter. She wanted us to know that she wouldn’t shelter him, that she didn’t have any idea of his whereabouts either, and how sorry she felt. She begged not to report to the police. While the grave meeting was held, I was sent to play outside with his daughter. I was nine, and she was a year or two younger. I used to be shy and wasn’t good at being friendly with someone so quickly. But with her, I got along so well at once for some reason. Along the narrow way at the back of my house, clovers grew rampantly. I taught her how to play ‘clover wrestling’ and it became uncontrollable fun. I had never laughed so hard so much in one day. That was the most fun I had ever had in my life. We promised to play together again and she left with her mother. I’ve never seen her since. As her father’s body was found in a gutter a couple of years after the day we became friends, I wonder how her life turned out and how she is now. I hope she’s happy somewhere now…

disappeared with the whole money

My preparing for moving recalls the time my family built a new house when I was nine years old. By then, our house got too old to live in, as it had stood for about 100 years. After the old house was destroyed, we had lived in our old barns that stood beside the old house until the new house was completed. That was when I became ill and got nephritis. In the middle of the construction, an executive of the construction company that was building our new house disappeared with the whole money our family paid. The construction stopped and our new house was left only as the wooden frame. Since my mother was extremely vain, reporting it to the police was out of the question. She turned to her relative who ran a construction company in a distant town from us. He kindly came all the way from there, fixed the plan and rearranged everything for us. Although we lost money, our new house was up at last thanks to him. A couple of years later, we read a news article on a local newspaper that the construction company executive had been found dead in a gutter. He must have had much bigger troubles other than his embezzlement of my family’s money while he was on the run…

exceeded my expectation

A new supermarket opened one block away from my apartment. It’s the closest supermarket and I can see it from my window. Since the construction started in spring, I’d been looking forward to its opening while seeing the progress of the construction site. I jumped in it on the long-waited opening day and the store exceeded my expectation. Their prices were a lot lower than I’d thought. They have carried the opening sale and I’ve been there almost every day. Before the opening, a flier of the store came in, which said, ‘Please use us as your fridge.’ With this proximity to my place, I thought it would be a good idea, depending on the prices. Now that the prices are low, using the store as my fridge is becoming real. Because I found something at the lowest price ever each time there and couldn’t resist getting them, I’ve brought home more food than I could eat. As a result, my home fridge is packed, too. Once I decided to move out my apartment, this nice supermarket appeared. Leaving the store behind makes me feel hesitant to move…

beyond my comprehension

About my apartment hunting, I’ve written up to the point that the owner of the room wanted to consider his or her price, which was offered as 20 percent off by himself or herself in the first place. Two more weeks have passed and the owner offered 10 percent off. Since I was going to pay the full price to begin with, 10 percent off was still a good deal to me. I answered to take it. Then, the situation took an unbelievable twist, again. The real estate agent asked me to pick my convenient days for a contract among several days in the end of October. That means it would take two months to close the deal since I decided on the room. At first, I thought it would be done in a week because the process was simple – look at the room, make a decision, sign a contract and pay. How could it be possible to spend two months for this easy process? At this stage, it should be done only by signing a contract, and yet, they need three more weeks just to do that. Meanwhile, I noticed the owner had placed an ad for the very room I applied on a different real estate company’s website. The room remains available there. Now, a suspicion crept into my mind. Is the owner waiting for someone who wants the room at the full price and prolonging the deal on purpose? But that someone was me because it was the owner who offered the discount while I didn’t ask for anything. Whatever the plot is, it’s beyond my comprehension. I wonder when and how the whole thing is settled…