The beginnings of a story for that Hiroshima assignment I've been working on (with the help of Dave again). It's sort of a make believe extract of a story, but yeah enjoy the wall of text!
Background: This is a fabrication of the story of Sadako Sasaki. A girl born in 1943 who survived the atom bombing of Hiroshima when she was 2 years old, only to die of leukemia as a result of the radiation. When she was hospitalised Sadako's best friend told her of an old Japanese legend which said that anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes would be granted a wish. Sadako’s wish was to get well. She started to fold paper cranes and completed over 1000 before dying on October 25, 1955 at the age of twelve. After her death the girl’s courage created a movement for peace, with paper cranes as the symbol of peace. This part of Sadako’s story describes the life of her parents and when her father has to leave to join the military shortly after she was born.
It was cool autumn night. The wind cut through the air like a hot blade through butter, whistling a hostile song as it raged against the buildings and rattled the trees. Where other houses would sway or retreat from such onslaught, one house stood strong against the oppression. This house had a mission; a sense of purpose, for it was protecting something precious; a mother, a father, and their child. The Sasakis.
In the bedroom a baby girl lay, curled in the foetal position, fighting against the cold. Her body protected by four walls of her cot and a handmade blue blanket. She dreamt throughout the night. Occasionally she would let out a grunt or reach out her hand as if trying to snatch something important that only her mind could conjure. Her parents had named her after her grandmother; Sadako Sasaki.
Adjacent to the bedroom was the living room which could also be turned into a dining room if the occasion called for it. It was the largest room in the house where its walls were in fact partitions to the other rooms. Black wooden frames held the partitions in place with white paper sliding doors allowing the occupants to pass as they please. The floor was covered with brown tatami mats the shoulders of each one touching their neighbours. Thirty minutes had passed before Sadako finally closed her eyes for the night, leaving Mr and Mrs Sasaki to enjoy the rest of the quiet evening in their living room.
Next door was a small barbershop owned by the Sasaki family appropriately named ‘The Cutting Edge.’ Sadako’s parents ran the shop seven days a week. It was a small wooden building, easy to miss, but it was there. The interior, much like the exterior, wasn't anything special with whitewashed walls and black furnishings. The place looked organized despite the unswept hair which littered the floor. This was covered up by plush, black leather chairs lining the two side walls neatly. Each seat cleverly tucked beneath a small shelf only providing enough space for tools and other necessities needed by the barbers. Above these shelves hung tall rectangular mirrors creating the illusion of space inside the tiny building.
The Sasaki’s who were exceptional at their craft found business was hard to come by as there were many competitors in Hiroshima. So they offered a smaller fee and relied on regular customers, only bringing in enough money to get by without any of life’s luxuries.
Mrs Sasaki was busy sharpening barber instruments that were strewn across the small table in the centre of the room. Using a flat grey stone, in which were embedded tiny particles of a different kind of stone that sparkled silver, she maintained a steady movement with her arm keeping the stone at the same angle. She repeated the ritual in expert manner with consistent precision and pressure almost as if it were mechanical. A grating sound rung through the air with each swift pin pointed movement diminishing as she reached the end of the instrument. Once satisfied with the sharpness of the scissors she was working on, she blew on it to remove any metal dust and wiped it down with a soft cloth containing a polishing agent.
Mr Sasaki was on his old armchair on the opposite side of the table. It was a little torn and dusty but comfortable all the same. He reached down the side of the armchair to get the paper that was carelessly thrown on the ground after work that day. The paper had the back page facing up. He picked it up turning it the right way around. The paper fell to the ground as quickly as it had been picked up. It lay there face up, the headline reading 'Japan has been attacked!' He quickly scanned the page.
“Dear…” He whispered.
“Hmm, something wrong hon?” Replied his wife.
“News about the war.”
Mrs Sasaki sighed at this subject. Everyone knew it was going on but dared not talk about it. Many lives had been lost already.
“I never liked that Emperor Hirohito. Invading China like that,” She commented.
“What can a poor family like us do anyway? Nothing. We have no power, we have no say. The Emperor does as he wishes. And right now he’s wishing for all able-bodied men to join the military,” Mr Sasaki said.
Mrs Sasaki stopped her work.
“That means you, doesn’t it…?”
“Says here that they’ll be going around the houses tomorrow.”
“No. It, it can’t be,” She said in disbelief.
“For the honour of this family I have to go. I should start packing,” Mr Sasaki said bluntly.
Mr Sasaki stepped into the bedroom sliding the door shut behind him. His wife stared at the empty armchair trying fight back the tears that rolled freely down her cheeks. He stood behind the door for a few seconds, looking at the roof for answers, listening to the gentle, strangled sobs emerging from the previous room. He walked quietly to the cot, where Sadako laid still sound asleep. Stroking her cheek he spoke in a whisper.
“What if the war comes here? How can I protect you and your mother then? Growing up poor is already bad enough for you, Sadako, but growing up in a world of fear, of war?”
He paused, thinking.
“I need to help stop this war before it reaches our home. I just have to.” Bending over the cot he let out a deep sigh then kissed his daughter’s forehead. Withdrawing from the cot he walked to the cupboard to find a packing bag.
Time to write another part of the story now. [Hint about the storyline: It'll involve a huge explosion]
Random thing I'd rather be doing: Eating cake (don't know if I'll be getting one today D:)
Till... my other story is finished!