The plane's cabin was quiet except for the low hum of the craft's engine. In the dim light of night, the lulling sound was both soothing and calming. The boisterous snores and low breaths of the passengers blended into the sounds. Only one passenger remained awake; he gazed wistfully out the cabin's small window, looking out into the darkness. The young man wore a slight smile on his face, ecstatic that he finally had the chance to fulfill his dream of going to America. And the farther the plane traveled away from Japan, the more relieved he began to feel. But, in spite of this feeling, he could not help but feel nervous. Not once had he ever visited a foreign country, but that was not quite what bothered him. What awaited him in California troubled him the most. This was the true reason he had decided to go to America in the first place: to see the mother, who had supposedly (and selfishly) left him when he was a child. This person, whom he had not seen in sixteen years, was there waiting for him.
Since she left, he had had no contact with her at all except for the birthday cards she would send him each year without fail. He remembered each of them were stuffed with an American twenty-dollar bill, and the same recurrent phrase was written in his mother's handwriting: "Happy Birthday, Arashi. Yumi." She never referred to herself as "mom." It was as if she wanted to disassociate herself from the title or perhaps, from him. The seemingly insignificant detail was enough to almost make him doubt his mother. He had always wanted to believe that his mother would not leave him for selfish reasons. In spite of what his father and step-mother's family said, he wanted to believe in his mother. He was wanting to and struggling to hold onto his fleeting belief in her.
What was his reason for seeing her? Did he want a confession? A confirmation? Not knowing what to expect from a woman he had really never met simply irked him. What could he expect from her? He had no idea.
The thin-framed man walked speedily through the serried Los Angeles Airport. The amount of luggage he carried with him appeared to weigh his small body down, but the weight seemed rather light compared to the weight he felt in his chest. Arashi was only concerned with finding his mother and leaving this place. Yet, after some time, with so many people and no clear destination, Arashi began to realize he was clearly lost. His amber-colored eyes shifted about him, seeking out a familiar face, but as expected, none was familiar to him. He stood awkwardly in the center of the airport, being brushed and pushed by the crowd of people whisking past. There was no one he could call; besides his mother, he knew no one in California, and it was not as if his cellphone would work anyway.
With a disheartened sigh and his baggage growing heavier each moment, Arashi took a seat nearby. He had just slumped lethargically into the seat, when he heard the Lord speak to him, urging him to go outside. His only thought was a simple: "Why?" Just being in the congested airport was overwhelming enough, but to go outside, on the street, into a city he did not even know was unsettling. But there was nothing else he could do by sitting there; he figured should listen. Awkwardly, Arashi ruffled his bowl-cut, black hair and rose from his seat. Slinging his luggage over his shoulders, Arashi mustered some strength to move toward the entrance. The bright sunlight was nearly blinding as he stepped outside the airport. Shielding his eyes with his hand, he looked around for the mother whose face came as a blur to him. He only knew that God knew who she was.
His eyes fell upon a lovely woman, young in appearance. Her dark, brown hair cascaded along her shoulders and over the white shawl she wore over her mauve dress. Listlessly, she leaned against her sedan; her eyes were hidden behind a pair of large, black sunglasses. She seemed approachable but at the same time, she wore an air of elegance that precluded contact. She felt distant. A woman out of the past. Even so, Arashi was drawn to the woman and unconsciously, he began to make his way over to her. He found himself standing in front of her. Curiously, the woman glanced up at him and lowered her sunglasses, revealing a familiar pair of warm, amber eyes. A smile spread across the woman's face as she leaned forward from the car and looked up at him from her short stature. The pair stood awkwardly opposite of one another, wordlessly.
The woman removed the sunglasses that had become shield from the reality now standing before her. Yumi's eyes gazed up at the young man; she was amazed at how much he had grown since the last time she saw him. Nothing seemed to have changed about him, even down to his tasteless hair-cut he currently sported. Seeing him brought forth an overwhelming flood of emotions, ranging from joy to regret, and she cupped her hand over her mouth, replacing her sunglasses in their rightful place. Arashi simply watched her quietly. Even before she had put the sunglasses on, he could see the tears forming at the corners of her eyes. The tear lone tear that streamed down her cheek seemed to erase any doubts that he had harbored about his mother. The distance seemed to disappear at that moment, and without a second thought, the young man wrapped his arms around Yumi and held her tightly. "Hey, Mom," he said softly, his words rolling off his lips as if he had said them for years.