Love's Note

Short(ish) story about a man whose wife leaves him a note after she dies. (Rest in Peace to all those who lost their lives as a result of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011- you are in our prayers).

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3. Japan

Once on the flight Eddie’s worry and excitement turned to guilt. He was guilty that he had not told Ellie’s mother about what had happened, where he was going or Ellie’s last hours. He also thought about what it was that Ellie said in the note which commanded such importance that Eddie had to fly to Japan to read it. Before long Eddie’s thoughts consisted almost entirely of what had haunted him since the news of Ellie’s death: “if only she didn’t go to the conference... she’d still be alive”. Ellie was an architect, a very well-respected architect, whose work was concerned with self-sustainable residential housing in highly-developed countries, for which her firm had set up a meeting with a Japanese firm based in Fukushima. While she was in Japan there was a major earthquake, followed by a tsunami that evidently killed her.

     The twelve hour flight was endured by Eddie in painful consciousness; he had wished he could have sleep through it, but his tortured mind refused him of any sleep at all. By the time Eddie had made his way out of the airport it was three in the afternoon, Tokyo time. At JFK airport, Eddie purchased an ‘English to Japanese’ translation book, which he put to use at the train station, booking a ticket for the Tohoku Shinkansen train that would stop off in Fukushima, as the doctor suggested.      The train journey was almost unbearable. Eddie’s mind was drowned in thoughts of Ellie and her note. He wondered over and again what it could be about, what she could have wanted from him. After an hour of the journey Eddie decided not to torture himself with the thought anymore, and instead turned to look out of the window to his right. He could not see the coast but counted three, four, five fishing boats on-land; some on their sides and some sitting still as if they had been left there by their owners. Passing a small town, Eddie noticed a few houses that had walls torn off completely, with construction workers trying to undo nature’s tormenting damage. Further still. An empty field of soiled grass lay wounded on the landscape- a massive pile of debris, mainly wood, lay in the centre. “Wow, fuck” Eddie thought to himself as the train sped past.

     The rest of the journey showed similar scenes. Endless fields of broken homes and wounded lives constantly blurred past the windows of the train. People were working on the wreckage though, everywhere he saw damage he saw reconstruction. As the train was coming to Fukushima station, four men in grey overalls stood up in unison and moved toward the doors of the carriage, chatting with apparent worry on their faces, “must be fixing the pipes or something” thought Eddie, before the thought of Ellie returned, as it always did, to his tired mind.

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