Monday, April 28, 2008


On Sunday morning, before The Man had woken up, there was a phone call from his mother. As usual, she was talking rapidly before I had even got the phone to my ear and figured out who it was. I caught something about her going to the supermarket, her house, and a fire. After a while she stopped and announced herself, and wanted to know who I was.

I told her.

"How are you?" she asked. "Are you well?"

"I'm fine," I replied, somewhat confused.

"Is The Man there?" she asked.

"Yes," I squeaked. My head was still spinning. "What did you say about a fire?"

I had a vision of her house burning while she asked after my health.

"It's gone! I can't get into the house!" she said.

I thought about this, and the vision in my head shifted slightly. Now the house was on fire and front door was buckled so she couldn't open it. But what was 'gone'? And why was she trying to get into a burning house? Nothing made sense.

"I'll get The Man," I said. I was pretty sure this was an emergency.

I started to run upstairs. Halfway up something in my head clicked, and I slowed down.

"Oh! I get it!" I said. "You lost your key!"

"Yes!" she said.

I am always mixing up kagi (key) and kaji (fire). If I think about it I am not confused, but when Okaasan is involved it is hard to think clearly.

I woke up The Man.

"It's your mum," I said. "She lost her key and can't get into the house."

"Eh?" he said, groggily, and took the phone. "Moshi moshi," he said, and after a pause, "MOSHI MOSHI!"

But Okaasan had gone.

Eventually she phoned back (she is a little confused by public phones) and we ended up having to visit her, taking The Man's key and getting another two cut along the way. Now she has an everyday key and a hidden spare. It was a relief to see the house. A part of me was still anxious about the non-existent fire.

Okaasan was so pleased to see us that she gave me her first ever spontaneous hug. Usually I hug her, not the other way around. I have been training her to hug for years. The first time I hugged her it was like hugging a small, rigid mannequin. Yesterday she collapsed into my arms, all soft and relieved, and it was lovely.

But as we left I found myself wishing that the hair salon Okaasan patronizes would burn down. I knew her hair was a weird purple colour but I hadn't seen it in daylight before, and it gave me a bit of a fright.


Lia said...

I love how you even have funny misunderstandings outside the classroom.

Glad the house didn't burn down!

Keera Ann Fox said...

Now you've made me really curious. I want to see Okaasan's hair color.

Alex Case said...

Congratualations on the successful hug training, you must be a natural teacher!

TEFLtastic blog-

Badaunt said...

Lia: I can have misunderstandings EVERYWHERE!

Keera: It's a weird purple/brown mix, with lots of grey showing through. I didn't take a picture.

Alex: I think she was mostly enormously relieved to see the key!