Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Upon Each Desire

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2015

 

     ‘He saw plainly the mysterious peculiarity that distinguishes every individual from every other individual.’ Leo Tolstoy, The Awakening

 

When Aika and Hideki Wakahisa both became parents together at the birth of their first child, they were also pleasantly surprised at the moment of the ensuing second expected birth, a twin, which was also a girl. She was born one minute and twelve seconds later than her elder sister. When mother was resting she was doing so in a hazy daze of a world filled with nothing but thoughts of endless, mutually attentive love. Hideki too was feeling like his wife, spending the visiting time in just holding her hand. Could things possibly get any better?

     But when Hideki made his visit the next day Aika was in full business mode. She had something to say about their daughters’ futures.

     ‘Firstly, Wakahisasan, thank you for bringing me our beautiful daughters, Kasumi and Sakura. My heart and breath are forevermore thine.’ Hideki blushed.

     ‘It is because I love our two daughters so much,’ Aika continued, ‘that I absolutely insist on raising them as unique individuals, not as exact copies of each other, doing everything the same, and without any real sense of life. My twin sister and I absolutely hated having to be exact copies of each other. Now I can make amends for that horrid life. And I expect you to help out in doing so.’

    ‘Anything you say, darling. Now let’s have a cup of tea.’

    Hideki drank the tea and pleasantly chatted with his one true love, and only briefly glimpsed the car that rocketed out of a side street into his own car on his way home afterwards. Hideki died almost instantly, still enwrapped in calming thoughts of a beautiful future. The driver of the other car was saved by his car’s airbag. He fled the scene but didn’t get far. He was found to be high on ice and obviously in a raving psychotic state.

     Aika, thankfully, took the news very calmly. The crash investigators found her number in Hideki’s wallet, on a slip of paper under the inscription, ‘Maternity Ward.’ Two female officers volunteered to convey the news, as both a support to each other and to Aika. Aika instantly felt that she had to look out for her daughters even more now. She was their only guardian. She thus felt she had no choice but to call upon her own sister’s help to look after the children. Finding another husband would take too long, and another one was not really wanted either.

     Akemi Morishige, Aika’s twin sister, the elder, was delighted to help. She got permission to leave work early to visit her sister (easy when you’re a physics professor at a distinguished Sydney university) and by the end of visiting hours they had come up with a simple, yet comprehensive, plan to bring up the two newborn girls. Akemi had always been single and was still waiting for the gentleman that turns a vague, hidden key deep within her. And if she did find this gentleman, well, then he’ll have to accept her charges along as well.

     Aika and Akemi envisioned no problems. Well, nothing that they couldn’t handle.

 

*

 

Problems there were indeed in rearing the girls, but both were right in knowing they could handle them. So well, in fact, that the family is now celebrating the twins graduating from university over an expensive dinner, with a PhD each, at the age of twenty-four. Kasumi and Sakura were the most talkative that they’d ever been.

     ‘My first million is going to my favourite parents,’ gushed Kasumi, the eldest, almost through her very first glass of French Champagne. ‘Easy money for an intelligent astronomer like me in the U.S.’

     ‘I’ve already vaguely outlined my Nobel Prize for Biology speech,’ said Sakura, mock seriously. ‘Biology is also going to be in high demand in pretty short order.’

     ‘How about we work together on something for the Nobel?’ asked Kasumi of her sister. ‘We could maybe do some xenobiology.’

     ‘Even work on some top secret stuff with the U.S. government,’ suggested Sakura.

     ‘Above top secret stuff is what you really want. Real history shaping stuff.’

     ‘On an intergalactic scale.’

     Thus they all spent the night, everyone pleasantly floating with pleasure, but also firmly grounded.

     This attitude carried through to the next day and both spent four weeks, twelve hours a day, in looking for jobs in their fields. They naturally both received several very generous offers of employment, thanks largely to the fact that they had good work experience and good work references, as well as excellent university results. Their choice was made exactly four weeks after their job search began and both chose AuCU, Aus Central University, because it had the best equipment. Sure the salary was a good bit lower but it was worth it in order to work with such well-maintained, precision instruments. It was also fantastic now that both of them had the world at their feet, side by side at AuCU. Who needs husbands?

     They began their new careers well but each continued onto two entirely different paths. Kasumi was offered an Associate Professor position after working at the university for only a little over a year. Kasumi had a natural rapport with the intelligent science students she lectured and her classes were also spoken of well by the students. Likewise marks under Kasumi were high and the university’s Chancellor saw her as a Godsend, a great researcher as well as a great teacher, who could also show the world that AuCU was indeed Central.

     Sakura fell in love instead. Seven months into her job as a biologist that was better than expected, she fell in love with a PhD candidate. The candidate, Rawson Peters, though, thankfully, made a pass at her first. Sakura was not expecting love, vaguely considered it to be bosh, a simple word to justify every animal’s fundamental need for sex, and as a result she was helpless in its throes. Which was the reason Rawson left her after six months – she was too needy. Sakura was devastated, always believing that true love, if it did exist (unlikely), is forever. Instead, true love passed, and there was nothing to replace it. Sakura took a week’s sick leave after Rawson had arrived to leave her. She could only eat dry toast and juice during the week off and was also sleeping a lot, both to dream of Rawson and to forget him. Kasumi, during a visit, eventually talked Sakura into returning to their parents’ place for a while. Have a good talk with them. A broken heart can be healed, by loving one’s mind, affirmed Kasumi.

    Sakura returned to normal in about a further two weeks at her parents’ place but resigned from the university. She told her family that it was because she might see Rawson there. In fact, she had to get out of the science field altogether, where Rawson was naturally bound to be. But what other work could she do? She knew only science.

     ‘Do you still go to art galleries?’ asked Kasumi, tentatively taking stock.

     ‘As often as I can, but that’s not often.’

     ‘So you’ve still got a bit of a feel for the art world?’

     ‘Yes. Why?’

    ‘How about we set up an art gallery?’

     An art gallery?

     ‘I saw Edvard Munch’s The Scream, when I was in Oslo a few weeks ago, at a conference, and actually seeing the great piece in real life made me realise that science makes people comfortable, but art, all art, answers the paradox of each our sentience. I really want to show that to people. Science gives answers but art really does give purpose and pure thought. So, what do you say? Our combined intelligence will easily bring us to the fore of the art world.’

     Sakura took no time to reply.

     ‘Of course I will. Just what I need, a complete change of scenery.’

     ‘Well, let’s start the plans for our distinguished centre of notable art.’

     Their gallery was well attended on its opening night, largely as a result of twelve weeks of intensive research into the art market and getting to know those important in the Sydney industry. The sales were excellent and they began their art career stunningly, their early days in the gallery being very profitable.

     So it was unexpected when Sakura wanted to leave the business, after ten months of continued excellent sales. After all, it was a lot of hard work. Sakura had no objection to hard work per se, but she no longer wanted to be a middleperson in the art world, a world she had come to adore because of its utter originality, and self-perpetuating nature. No, Sakura now wanted to set the trends. She was going to set herself up as an art critic, bound to set an entirely new tone to present art discourse. Naturally, she felt assured of achieving another goal.

     Achieving it was not to be though, the first thing in which she had failed. Sakura just couldn’t write a good art essay, despite the weeks she spent at it. Her sister was unable to help either, because she was busy running the gallery to repay the bank its business loan. Sakura quickly realised that she was an amateur writer, clumsy, and did not want to spend ten years (a hypothetical amount) in learning how to write well. An art critic she could not be. Working in science she still couldn’t do, in case she met Rawson again. She could have worked in policy, or maybe pharmaceuticals, but if she couldn’t work in Biology she didn’t really want to expend her energies in a false substitute. No, better to take an easy job and simply not worry about life anymore. She then tried looking for shelf packing jobs, and the like, but was repeatedly told she was overqualified. The constant rejections wore her down, never expecting science to be her downfall, and she eventually decided to take a small break from the job hunting. Her savings were also almost used up, so she may as well apply for unemployment welfare.

     Sakura soon realised she was almost destitute, her sister paying almost half of her rent (Kasumi could easily afford it though), and could see no reasonable way out. She considered leaving it all behind. Just walk out of her flat far from Sydney’s centre and opt out of the struggle for survival. Just walk out into the wilds about her neighbourhood. It sounded like bliss.

     Kasumi still doesn’t know where Sakura is, suddenly disappearing one morning. She left no note and the police could see no evidence of foul play. They couldn’t track her either by looking at her ATM card transactions, for she took her welfare out in one deposit from different places. She has also made no phone calls on her mobile, turned off. She also must have changed her clothing to avoid detection by CCTV along the route to the ATM. She was alive, thank God, but trying to be forgotten. Kasumi can only wait, hopeful Sakura will return.
 
~~~
 
If you have been enjoying Fitzpatrick's stories here you may also enjoy his short story collections, and other books, available at www.amazon.com as both Kindle books and paperbacks. Click this link to view them - http://amzn.to/1NfodtN Other ebook options are available through www.lulu.com; go to - http://bit.ly/1UsyvKD

    

    

    

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