It started back in mid-March. Many of you know the story. My family and I left our apartment, then our hometown, and soon our country – my wife’s own, my adopted. We landed in
and tried to relax. New Jersey
For a while it seemed to work.
I was home – yet I wasn’t. As with every other place I’d occupied for the last twenty years, this wasn’t where I lived, it was only where I was staying. For my wife…a place she felt eminently welcome. A place she could feel her kids were safe and loved, a place they could thrive…for a while, until it was time to move again.
We visited people. Family, friends. We stayed over, told to make ourselves at home. We were blessed, for this was a time to take time and relish our good fortune in having so many people, in so many places, who cared enough to invite us in and see, though we already knew, that we were loved. And we stayed for a time, watching, remembering what it was like to go about the business of being a family living at home.
Days slip by, and it seems impossible that for all the freedom and free time there are so many things we have yet to accomplish. We mean to meet up with people living right down the road. We think of friends we’ve left behind and tell ourselves to drop them a line. But the kids need to play outside, and we’ve got boxes of clothes that need to be sorted. We watch the news that keeps us guessing what is really happening back home: we need to go back, but when? We talk about the air in
, the water, the ground and grandma and grandpa, and our son says he wants to go to school and play with Natsuki and Kaede-chan and Minato-kun. Some of them - I have to believe though I don’t want to - he will never see again. Fukushima
How long before he understands this?
We fly to the far side of the country, trying to see reality in our hopes and dreams. We can see ourselves being here, or maybe there. We can find a place, a neighborhood. We’ll go in with little and make it work. People we meet here take us in too; strangers are friends we just haven’t met yet. Faith in humanity bolsters our own belief in ourselves and we discuss things as if they are within reach. Our boys take it well. We do our best to keep toys and music and playgrounds and love in their days while we see this town and then drive however many miles to the next. My wife and I remind each other how beautiful our sons are. They remind us without having to try. But they are young and very young and can only handle so much novelty. And we find ourselves losing our patience, more often than either of us would like.
Tonight we are on opposite ends of the country. My wife and my boys will continue to love and be loved by their American family while I throw myself into a journey that is just beginning to unfold. My wife will have the time and space to give Yamato and Seiji all her love and attention – plus enough, perhaps, for me in my absence. And I will be injecting my passions into a project that the events of March have brought me to; a collaboration of sorts with a friend who is with this furthering his dreams; an opportunity to move a little closer to mine; a chance that in the most twisted of circumstances may help turn our ideas – mine, my wife’s, even our little boys’ - into the reality and the life we have been searching for.
For now…today…we will continue to live on the move, my family even as they relax again in loving company, and me as I make my way across the country, trying to make something of the moment while thinking of home.