The Girl Named “Sakura”
fiction, Mar. 2019
As I looked at a row of fully blooming cherry blossom trees behind the window, I felt a colleague staring at me , who sat at the opposite side.
Fully-bloomed cherry blossoms reminded me of memories of a girl’s name “Sakura,” which means cherry blossoms in Japanese.
My parents thought about naming me “Sakura” when I was born. My grandfather suddenly told me this with a red face as he drank alcohol at a cherry blossom viewing party.
My family and relatives would gather at this party each year when I was little.
My father wanted to name me “Sakura,” but my grandparents were against him, because cherry blossom petals fall quickly and are too fragile.
Instead, my parents named me “Mizuho,” meaning freshly and richly growing stalks of rice (1).
As my grandparents wished, I grew up very healthy and always had more energy and physical strength than I needed.
When I became a junior high school student, I met a girl named “Sakura” for the first time in my life.
Her skin was fair and clear, even almost making her look pale.
Her fingers were so thin that they would almost break like twigs. Her slender neckline appeared between her hair tied into two strands, and I somehow felt it was sexy.
From my eyes, she definitely represented her name “Sakura,” a beautiful, pale pink fleeting flower.
The girl “Sakura” was weak, but delicate and fragile which made her seem more feminine (2).
Seeing such a girl, I gradually lost my self-esteem over the years because I was never delicate and did not conform to the ideal stereotypical image of femininity like the charm and fragility of “Sakura”.
I was always with her and helped her, for example, hold heavy stuff or spoke up for her, since she was very shy.
Every time I helped her, she looked at me slightly overhead and made an apologetic expression.
She even said “sorry” to me and turned her back to me, as if she were scared at me.
Seeing such an attitude, I somehow felt a sense of superiority.
When we went to the next grade and had different homeroom classes, the girl “Sakura” quietly left me.
There have been several other women like “Sakura” I’ve encountered as an adult, but they also left in front of me.
“Ms. Sasaki, a part-time worker who had been constantly absent from work, just called me and said she wanted to quit her job.”
The colleague, who sat at the opposite side of me, broke the silence and pulled me back to reality.
When I heard what she said, I felt as if the girl “Sakura” from junior high school whispered “sorry” to me all over again.
“Ms.Okano, what did you do this time? Ms. Sasaki is already the fourth person who quit the job.”
I didn’t reply to my colleague’s question. I just looked up and fiercely stared at the cherry blossoms behind the window.
Seeing the flowers, the words “I’m not wrong” came to my throat and heated it.
The strong wind blew suddenly, and many pale pink cherry blossom petals were falling to the ground.
The more the petals fell, the more I felt as if I would gain energy and power coming from the inside of myself.
I released my energy, which was too much for me, from the heels of the pumps to the floor by stepping firmly, and began to look for words to reply to my colleague.
1. Some Japanese people are named after beautiful, rich-growing nature.
2. In Japan, sometimes a girl with fair skin and a thin body, who looks physically weak, is thought to be very feminine and attractive.
Writer. Born in 1987, Ibaraki prefecture. Mainly writes novels.