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    My bosom friend

     

     

    I was about eight years old. I had a bosom friend with whom I had fallen out for many days, after a childish stupid bickering. In class, we used to sit together at the same table. But that day she left me and went to sit alone at the back of the classroom. I was very sad.

     

    That morning the mistress asked me to go to the blackboard and conjugate the verb “to have a friend”  in the present tense.  I thought hard about the question for a moment then said that the verb “to have a friend” could not be conjugated in the present tense.  There was an up roar in the class following my answer. The mistress was very surprised, she asked me to explain why. I calmly said “because we only realize that we have a friend when we have already lost her”. The whole class fell suddenly silent, apparently everybody was very astonished by my answer, or was puzzling out my words. From the back of the class, my ‘bosom’ friend dashed towards the blackboard, hugged me tightly in her arms and planted two kisses on my cheeks in front of everybody then rushed back to her usual place, sobbing.

     

    My mistress understood at once what had happened between us, as everybody knew well that we were two inseparable friends.  Then she quietly said: ‘So, now, I think that you can conjugate the verb in the present tense. Go on !’

     

     

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  •  

    A childhood memory

    By Kitty 
     

    I was very spoiled as a child, and specially spoiled by my mother. I suppose that was because I was the youngest of the family.

     
    I was particularly close to one of my brothers, who was just three years older than me. He was the youngest of the boys, as I was the youngest of the girls in the family and we both were very spoiled by our parents and everybody around us. At home we both had the same teacher and we played together most of the time, while our other brothers and sisters were much older than us and paid us no attention.
     

    My brother liked to tease me, and I often rushed to tell my mother to get him ‘scolded'. And each time my mother told me: “He just wanted to tease you, but he loves you”, nevertheless she scolded him gently to please me, and I was very happy with that.

     

    After the Japanese coup d'état, (I was about seven years old) my father and the other ministers resigned from their posts so that the Emperor had a free hand  to form a new government. We went to live in our country house. My brother and I went to the same small school. It was on the hillside just five minutes walk from our house. Each time we returned home, my mother asked me whether my brother had been kind to me, and each time I replied "No", and he was "gently" scolded, and I was very happy ... !

     
    During that period there were often air raids by the American bombers against the Japanese invaders. The schoolboys and girls, the "elder" ones, and the teachers had to dig individual or collective trenches on the hill slope behind the school. Our gardener and driver (they were kind of handymen in the house) went to the school one afternoon to dig two individual trenches, near to each other, at the foot of some bushes on the hill slope, for my brother and me. My father also offered to the school to have four big collective trenches dug by the villagers (otherwise it would be part of my brother's job, because he was amongst the "elder" schoolboys ! And so the trenches would then be ready in just one or two days' time !).
     

    Each time the air raid siren was heard, the schoolboys and girls had to rush to the trenches, each one to his place. My brother always came to my class to fetch me so that we could run to the hill together. One day, when I was already in my trench, I saw the American bombers coming directly towards us, but my brother was not yet in his trench, I heard him still running, busy looking for something around the bushes. I shouted to him with all my strength: “Get into your trench ! Get into your trench !” But then he came upon my trench and dropped a leafy branch he had just ripped from some bushes, and hastily ordered me: “Cover yourself with it, your robe is too bright !” (because I was wearing my beautiful scarlet red silk tunic, the one my mother had had made for me some months previously as I was designated to offer flowers to the queen on her visit to the girls' school I frequented, just before the Japanese coup d'état). Then my brother tumbled down. I had not heard him jump into his trench yet, when the American planes were right over our heads, skimming dreadfully over the hillside and series of deafening bombs were heard right next to my trench (but in reality the bombs were dropped far away). Panic stricken, I called to him, sobbing, but had no answer. Miserably I thought: “He is dead because of me ! He loves me !”

     
    When we returned home my mother asked me the usual question “Has your brother been kind to you today ?” I said : “Yes”. Both my mother and my brother were startled. And from that day on, my answer was always “yes”, and I have never caused him to be “scolded” since then. But my mother and my brother didn't know and have never known why there was such a sudden change on my part. 
     
    I'm sure that he has long since forgotten this anecdote.  Why should I remind him ! But for me it's a precious memory.

     

    ***

     


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  •  

    Kitty's dream 3 
      
     
         

         I had the impression that I was leaving my body, that I was ripped from my body. I was dying. "Yes, I am dead", I thought.
     
         I was conscious that I was going down, down a long dark tunnel. Then I came to a large hall, dimly lit by red lanterns. I was in front of a large door. By the door, stood a red faced genie looking very frightening, yet I felt no fear. I asked:
           "May I go and see what it is inside ?"

           "Go away ! This is not a place for playing !", he replied in a very rude voice.

         "No need to be so harsh !", I thought. Then an idea came to my mind. "I am really very carefree. Since I am dead, I should go and find my parents (who died years ago). What a bad girl I am !", I reproached myself. However I forgot at once that idea of looking for my parents. I retraced my steps, and went up the long tunnel.
     

         I was flying, flying over a road on a high mountain, under bright moon light. I felt fresh winds gliding over my cheeks. I saw fog banks and vague shapes of some house roofs, scattered here and there, below me, in the deep valley. I did not know how long I had been flying for, but during all that time, I was conscious that there was someone flying alongside and very close to me. I did not turn round to see who it was.  Then in front of me, still far away, I saw a beautiful garden full of flowers. I thought I would go and visit the garden. A stone's throw from the entrance to the garden stood an old sage with a long, white beard and wearing white clothes. He had a beautiful carved bamboo cane in his hand. His face was illuminated by an inner light exuding wisdom and compassion. I thought that perhaps I should ask him for permission, if I wished to visit the garden.

      "May I visit the garden, Grand father ?"
      "Go back at once to where you have come from, my girl. Otherwise, when I strike my cane down, it will be too late".
      "But I am already dead, Grand father, how can I go back ?", I replied sadly.
      "Lean upon the person next to you, my girl."
     
    I woke up. My forehead was damp with cold sweat. "Had I been really dead for a moment ?" I wondered.

     

    ***


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  •  

    Do you think the dead can communicate with us ?
     
     

    My Mother
     

    By Kitty 
     
        

     This happened long ago, on the day of my husband's funeral.  At that time, my mother had already dead many years ago, but her youngest sister was still living. Physically, my mother and my aunt did not look alike at all.  While my mother was small, very fine of feature, my aunt was tall, rather masculine with a large face and a big nose. She also had large bony shoulders.
     
         For the funeral, my neighbours helped me put up a tent in the front garden with a parachute cloth.  They placed a long table along the hedge, and chairs around it for the guests.  To be able to receive friends and families, one need to have a special authorization from the police of the district.  So I went to the district police station to make the declaration and get the authorization for the purpose.  When I came back and entered the gate, there were already many guests in the garden, sitting on the chairs along the hedge facing towards me.  I could'nt make out their features, they were somehow blurred like in a mist, except one : My Mother.  She was there, so lovely as always. She looked at me in silence with a sad smile.  Within a second, I was stunned as if under a spell. I heard myself uttering « Mummy », and at the same time a felt a warm blood stream slowly flowing through my heart. Then I realized that it was my aunt and I became also aware of the other guests.
     
         I am sure that it was my mother.  She was there to comfort me, it was her way to say to me « I am here ». The expression "it warms up your heart" may be only a literary one, but I have physically lived that divine moment, the memory of which is always present in my mind. It helps me live on, day after day.

     

    ***

     


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  •  

    Kitty's dream 2

     

    My sister
      

    This happened years ago. One of my sisters at that time lived in Canada. She was very ill. She was suffering from a cancer of the lungs, at the third stage.
     
    One day I had a dream in which I was with her.  We were on a bus, I didn't know where we were going.  Then arriving at a bus stop, my sister hurried down. I quickened my steps after her, and called to her : "Please wait for me, please ..." She answered without returning to me : "No, I am going where you cannot follow."  But still I hurried down, and ran after her. She crossed the road and disappeared behind a great gate. I dashed to the gate, but I could not go any further, the gate was locked. Near the gate there was a small house for the keeper, but it seemed deserted.  Desperately, I looked at the gate.  It was a very imposing wrought iron gate. I looked up, but could not see the ensign upon it. With my eyes I searched for my sister beyond the gate, but I couldn't see her anywhere.  All that I remembered after that, was, beyond the gate, a beautiful yet desolated hilly landscape under the blurred moon light. The next day I learned that she had died the night before.
     
    I could not go to her funeral. One year later, I went to Canada. I wanted to go and pray by her grave.  When the taxi put me down before the cemetery, I had a cold shock. I was in front of an imposing wrought iron gate. It was locked because it was not opening time yet. Near the gate, the small keeper's house seemed deserted. I was there in front the gate, and beyond it I could behold a beautiful but desolated landscape under the foggy morning light.
     

    ***


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