Fallen Star Dust
A Short Story and Poetry Collection
Release date: March 16th, 2016
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“When I reached the point where adult life began to make its presence known right after high school graduation, I looked to the sky. I hoped to see a shooting star that would light my way and I wished that it would leave a trail of star dust behind to remind myself to stay young at heart. Thanks to writing, the enchantment of youth has never left me. In the next chapter of my life, I began college to follow my dream of being an educator. I developed my career, found out who I was an independent being, stopped hiding my passions, figured out my role in my lifelong relationship with my now-husband, and realized that it was okay to question the world. There was darkness that needed to be seen as well as the light. The poems, short stories, scripts, essays, and other works in this second collection are my everything: the shoulders I cried on, my joys, my bravery when the road became too twisty or too safe. It led me to a waterfall of creativity. That fallen star dust gave me the drive to become who I am today: a teacher, an author, a nerd, and a person of morals, love, and magic.”
The Short Story: “To Bear a War”
Written in 2014
“Takeshi…You really do not know, do you? You do not know about the teddy bear legend?”
My face must have given him my answer as clear as day, for he explained, pointing his finger in the air as he leaned towards me like some sort of sensei. Yeah…right…
“There is this legend, if you will, where that if a girl, or, it could be a guy I suppose as well, but in your case, I will say a girl. Anyway, if a girl makes a boy she likes a teddy bear from hand, gives it to him, and he names it after her, then they are meant to be together. If the boy makes the girl a bear after this and does the same thing, where she names it after him, then the couple are meant to be together forever, a red string of fate sort of story if you will.”
My mouth dropped in disbelief to the size of a cave, a cave where bats could have nested. Hisao waved his hand in front of my eyes, pretending to be concerned although his eyes were smirking. “So, you see? You have a lover!”
I gulped, trying to find my mind so I could ponder this, even consider the fact that a lady would be interested in me. Ladies that are interested in men here tend to be models on paper (I am disregarding those horrid rumors of the generals and higher ups hiring women and geishas to visit them in late hours. There is no honor in such a task; it makes me blush to think of it!). I am average height, looks, skills, grades…I was never a catch and I have been in the army for close to two years now with no chance to meet a proper lady and court her. So that brings up the question:
Who made me the teddy bear and left me that message?
In a strained, hushed whisper, I leaned in, exasperated by all of this, “Is that true?” I felt like I was thrown into an arranged marriage proposal with a lady behind a curtain, that little toy feeling like it weighed more than Fuji-san.
Hisao leaned back on two legs of his chair, the metal making a scraping sound that jarred my teeth, casually chewing on a toothpick he somehow crafted out of the kaze, “I have no idea, but the story sounds legit, eh?”
I stared at Hisao, trying to reason with him that he was wrong and cruel. “Okay, so I have a bear, but does this legend of yours say it has to be on February 14th, a holiday I never knew about, for it to work?”
Hisao answered, his voice honest, “If the gods are smiling on you and this lady, being it is a lady, then the timing does not matter, but this is a sign man! Oh! Take it. We do not get too many chances for a happy endings, you lucky inu!” He winked, then patted my hand hard, his eyes ablaze with humor and a slight amount of envy.
I did not consider myself to be a lucky dog, but I was grateful for the gift. A love confession? In a war? Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that the hands that were stained in other men’s blood could tenderly hold a bear in place of this unknown woman.
The bell signaled us to put our dishes away and be at our bunks in five minutes’ time. We stood as one unit, trained so well, and Hisao and I went to the back of the line in table order. He leaned close to my ear as he juggled his tray and asked, “So, what are you going to name the bear?”
My face flamed, which made him chuckle. “I am not sure. I think I need to figure out who gave him to me first. For now, Kuma will do.” The picture of my darkened room and the empty shelf where the eyes should have been there to greet me spun in my cranium when I said that name.
“You are naming the bear bear? Well, I suppose his identity will not be lost at least.” He placed his dishes neatly in the tray and walked forward to let me through. “You could at least think of a lovely lady name for it. It might trigger a memory or idea of who sent it.”
At the thought of names, only one flooded into my mind, drifting down slowly like a falling cherry blossom petal, smelling of hope and loss, spring and cold, smiles and tears…
Let us look at the cherry blossoms…
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