Monday, December 27, 2004

Earthquakes and tsunamis, public and private

The Man and I went shopping yesterday. We cycled to Uniqlo to look for a new jacket for him, and ended up buying three polo-neck cotton tops and a sweater for me. The jackets were all either too short or too uncool for The Man. I thought he was being fussy until he tried one on to show me what he meant, and no, I don't want him to look like he's wearing a Mao jacket, either.

I spent less than ¥4000. Things are cheap there anyway, and they had a sale on.

We then went to a builders' supply shop, and got some sticks (The Man insists these are not 'sticks', but carefully measured and cut pieces of wood) which he'll be using to do a bit of odd-job work at the acupuncture clinic. Then we went to the supermarket, where he took care to not put out my eye with these bloody awkward two-meter sticks he was carrying around and somehow managed to avoid putting out any other shoppers' eyes either. I think we did our shopping the wrong way around, but the building supplies shop was on the way back from Uniqlo.

We bought our groceries and then came home, and I checked my email and learned from a friend about the earthquake in Indonesia. She had emailed to ask whether we were here, as we sometimes have holidays in the affected areas. I emailed back that we were, and went downstairs to check the news on TV.

While we were watching TV, aghast at what was being shown, the phone went, and I heard my brother-in-law's friendly voice. I took the phone upstairs. I felt shocked by the devastation I had seen, and shocked all over again to realize who I was talking to. All this family/religion nonsense had been far from my mind. I have to say something, I told myself. I can't let this go on.

So I did. It was very, very hard to do, and I babbled badly, and stumbled and messed up for a lot of the call, and wasn't as coherent as I've been when I've been mentally rehearsing. He caught me at a bad moment. (But any moment would have been a bad moment.)

It was a long call - too long - but I ended up making it clear (at least I hope I did; I hope I was coherent enough) that I am not interested in contact as long as they're in the sect. "Can we stay in touch with you?" he asked, sadly. "How do you feel about that?"

I hesitated. I knew what I should say, but I couldn't.

"It's up to you, I suppose," I said. "Just don't expect much from me."

After a long, long silence, and then a few more words, we said goodbye.


I hung up feeling like a complete and utter shit.

How come they could do it so easily and suddenly, all those years ago? How come they could just cut us off like that, without explanation or apology? How come they could turn their backs on us, ignore us on the street, hang up when we called, return letters unread, and all that crap? How could they live with themselves for all those years? Why is it so hard for me to tell them I don't want them back in my life, when I do have good reason?

And how the hell did did I end up feeling in the wrong again?

(P.S. I'm feeling better now. I was not wrong. I just hated having to say things like that.)

Here's a picture from yesterday's flea market. It's a bit of a picture, actually. The picture as a whole was a failure, but this corner of it is rather lovely, I think.


Kadhine said...

A Sect? :|