Click once more on the photograph to have your screen inundated in the richness of yellow flowers, in celebration of finding long-lost friends… :))
Japan is in my soul. I cannot verbalise in any comprehensible degree how that came to be, but I am certain that my love for this faraway island nation of the east, of whose solemn, graceful and meditative natural beauty has kindled curiosity and inspiration into the hearts of artists and travellers since time immemorial, has lived in me as an enduring love story from as long as I can remember. I can express to you with undaunted candidness that I often find myself wondering whether in some other life I might have been a dweller, a pilgrim of mountain roads and bamboo forests, of this enchanting chain of archipelagos. Do we not all feel, one time or another, an unexplainable tug of the heart towards places that seem to have no outwardly connection to us?
My prelude was on Japan however the short story I present to you today is not set there, in fact, it is set closer to home. Meet Reina, a very good friend and sister of mine who hails from Tokyo, Japan. It was nearly ten years ago that Reina and I first met in my town where she had come to study at a local university. Many oceans away from her home, Reina was always the gutsy and indomitably plucky lady and she quickly found that she settled in comfortably, making many friends along the way – including me! As that famous British idiom goes that describes how well two people get along with each other, so it was that Reina and I ‘got on like a house on fire!’ Adventurers, bookworms, comediennes, and fiercely outspoken, the two of us are like battleships with a common purpose! When Reina had finished her studies she sadly returned back to Japan and, at a time when neither of us knew what Facebook was, we decided to stay in touch via emails and written letters. I remember hopping about with the bounce of a hysterical kangaroo whenever a letter would arrive from my good sister, the Japanese postal stamp glistening from the corner and I would inspect it as though it were a jewel encrusted in a meteorite! I know, how very odd of me, but genius minds are always breaking the rules, it is part and parcel of our constitution! Giggle, giggle!
Alas, many years ago my email system was compromised, including losing the details of her home address. We lost touch. It was a devastating blow, a tributary of friendship simply vanished into thin air. The years passed by although it did little to wither my memories of my sister and I prayed that someday we would be reunited again. Unlike the tale of Sachi whereupon detective work aided my progression to finding her thanks to one mutual friend, locating Reina proved to be more challenging. I was not acquainted with any of her other friends from University. BUT, I did not relinquish that precious bird whose name is Hope. The prayers of a good heart must always be heard, it is the terms and conditions on which this Universe operates on. One day, Facebook arrived into my sphere. To this day I am uninterested by it however, it has served me remarkably well in drawing me towards people that Destiny wishes me to remain eternally connected to. I remember laughing with ecstatic joy at the silliness when Reina sent me a ‘Friend Request’. How stupid is that phrase in the context of my story. True Friendships are not ‘added’, ‘requested’ or ‘deleted’ like you would to a mathematical sum! How naively insane is this superiorly superficial virtual world! Nevertheless, we found each other and, I hate to admit it, but thank you Facebook! Yuk, did I just say that?! Giggle, giggle! I am pleased to present to you, my dearest readers, this beautiful portrait of Reina, underscoring a grand summer reunion whose backdrop colour of yellow, the colour of Helios – the garment of the sun god of the ancients – reflects the epic magnitude of the happiness that blossomed inside my heart when I saw my sister again after a long stretch of ten years! I waited patiently in the knowledge that my prayers would be heard someday. It has been fulfilled.
Permit me to end my words on a lighter, comical note! Reina knows very well that I am completely loopy about incense, my senses enslaved to the cacophony of fragrances out there in the natural world, all ingrained solidly in my blood courtesy of my passion for gardening and the great outdoors. Well, whilst enjoying a hearty meal at the restaurant she whisked out a wrapped box. As you may very well guess I was uncontrollably excited and rushed at it at a speed to rival light itself! Inside was the most exquisite padded box, unintelligible Japanese script glistened on the surface and I had Reina translate them to me. A sudden stab of dismay hit me as I wished to myself how extraordinary it would be if I knew how to speak and read fluently the tongue native to those enchanting floating worlds! Carefully I opened the box to reveal tracing paper and a little card of the name of the manufacturer. So primly presented, I loathed to dislodging anymore, but Reina looked on expectantly so I gave in! Lifting the protective papers off, my jaw fell to the ground as my eyes fell under the enchantments of the contents: a series of neatly wrapped cylinders, each with a sticker on top and aligned accurately with the others. Jokingly I exclaimed, “ Reina, you know I do not smoke and never will so, on what occasion did you think it right to gift me a box of Cuban cigars?” We burst out giggling and the waitress flashed a puzzled look before proceeding on with her duties. In each cylinder was a tightly packed collection of incense sticks, swiftly I took one out and sniffed it. It was Eaglewood…
P.S. I dreamt last night of another reunion with an unmet but long-lost friend of mine and he had braved the arduous journey to my home. Destiny, oh my, you do know how to surprise me… :))
“… I am pleased to present to you, my dearest readers, this beautiful portrait of Reina, underscoring a grand summer reunion whose backdrop colour of yellow, the colour of Helios – the garment of the sun god of the ancients – reflects the epic magnitude of the happiness that blossomed inside my heart when I saw my sister again after a long stretch of ten years…”
Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories |Summer Reunion Series | Southern Hampshire | UK 2015