Memories Of The Way We Were

By Birch Griesse

Kira sits looking through a box of photos. With the photos come memories. Some of them from twenty years ago, some from just one. She remembers:

Kira had long hair tied in braids. She wore a yellow Japanese kimono. She had no glasses, and her face was young. This was Kira at age twelve, when her future husband, John-Pierre LeClair, first moved into her tiny Japanese town from Paris, France. Kira was walking in her garden when she first laid eyes on him him. He had soft brown eyes, and shiny black hair. He wore a red French hat and he was dressed in upper-class Parisian clothing. It was love at first sight. All he had done was smile at her, and she had turned the softest shade of pink.

"Bonjour!" he had said, "It means hello in French."

Kira had just smiled, for she was shy.

"Will you be my lovely rose, Mademoiselle?" he asked.

Kira had not known what Mademoiselle had meant, but she did have a crush on the boy. So she nodded shyly. She and John-Pierre quickly became very close to each other. Then Kira comes to another stack of photos. Her wedding!

It had taken ten years to convince them, but John-Pierre's parents had finally agreed that their son could marry Kira (it had been fine with her parents from the start). But Anita and Pierre, John-Pierre's parents, had one condition: The wedding would be Parisian style, not Japanese style, and would be held in Paris. Kira's parents had agreed because they loved their daughter and they knew she loved John-Pierre. Kira then had her hair much shorter, now, and wore glasses. She and John-Pierre were wearing their French wedding clothes. Kira had been very nervous. She remembers before the wedding, John-Pierre had said to her:

"Kira, do not fear the future. Do not fear the present. Do not fear the past. Fear nothing without good reason. Remember that all false fear is erased in times true joy, like the fear of a wedding disappearing when your are proclaimed husband and wife. Only true fear remains, and only true fear need to remain."

After that, Kira was not afraid anymore. The only feeling she knew was love for John-Pierre. After the wedding, John-Pierre and Kira had agreed that they would keep Kira's last name, for she was an only child and John-Pierre had many brothers and sisters. John-Pierre, Kira had thought, was the only one who would understand these kinds of things.

The next set of pictures shows something from before the wedding: Kira and John-Pierre's first date. Kira had been fifteen. She had needed to ask her parents to help her prepare, but she was worried that they would refuse to allow her to continue her love with John-Pierre. Finally, she had made up her mind. She would confront her parents.

"Mother? Father?" Kira remembers saying.

"Yes?" her Father had said back.

Kira can not remember what she had said after that, but she knows she somehow had explained everything to her mother and father. And they had understood. They had helped her into a fine kimono and put her hair up. She had met John-Pierre in her backyard. He wore highly fashionable French clothing.

Kira doesn't exactly remember the events of that night, but she remembers waking up with her back leaned against a tree and John-Pierre next to her.

Now Kira picks up a whole new photo album. The faded letters read, "Kimi, Kira and John-Pierre Watanabe". Kira opens the album.

The first picture shows Kimi and Kira at the hospital, Kimi as a newborn.

The next picture shows Kimi, a few weeks old, with Kira, John-Pierre, and her Grandmother and Grandfather (Kira's parents).

This began another memory. Kira and John-Pierre had taken Kimi on a long plane ride to see her Grandparents in Japan. When they arrived at the airport it had been somewhere around 10AM. Kimi wore a yellow baby-suit with a purple kitty on it (from Kittyclothes manufacturers where Kira continues to buy Kimi's clothes to this day).

Kira's Grandmother and Grandfather had been very happy to see their first granddaughter, Kimi.

As soon as they had gotten home, Kimi's Grandfather, Kyoto, and her Grandmother, Koki, had decided to do something with Kimi's unnaturally long, black hair. So, they had gotten out their addition of All About My Baby, and found Little Looks: Spring Styles for Babies. Then they had chosen the one they thought looked the cutest: Triple pigtails. They had tied Kimi's hair with tiny, shiny red ribbons. Then they had had a laugh putting make-up, fingernail polish, and clip on earrings on the tiny infant. Even John-Pierre had had a good laugh, Which, Kira had reflected, I couldn't have expected from any of other formal upper-class Frenchman.

Then John-Pierre, Koki, Kyoto, and her had put Kimi in a cute little baby dress. After that they had used up all the rest of the film in Kira's camera taking pictures of Kimi.

Kira flips through those now. When she finishes, she turns the page of the album to reveal pictures of Kimi's first birthday. Then Kira remembers:

Kimi had worn a lacy violet dress, trimmed with yellow ribbons. She wasn't wearing any shoes. She had her hair in the usual 'Triple Pigtail' style Koki and Kyoto had given her about a year ago when she was only a few weeks old. Kira remembers the cake she'd made. It had been white with "Happy 1st Birthday Kimi" written in crude purple letters on the top, along with a single candle. Kimi's face had been messy and crusted with frosting. Kira remembers opening Kimi's first present for her.

"Oh, look, Kimichuns!" she'd said, "An outfit from Grandmother and Grandfather! Isn't it cute?" The outfit had been the yellow jumper with the kitty on it and cowgirl boots she wore so often now. Kira closes the photo album and looks through the box some more.

Then she spots a book at the bottom of the box. She takes it out and looks at it. It's not a book, it's a diary. The diary John-Pierre kept when he was in the hospital, Kira thinks. She opens it to the last page where a poem is written for her and Kimi:

"My Joy; My Pride"

My Kimi, my Kira
My joy, my pride
My love, my darling
My daughter, my bride,
Know that I will never leave you
I am where I have been from the start
Though all logic may deceive you
I can be found within your heart

This was the last thing John-Pierre had written in his diary. It says so much in so few words. Kira remembers when John-Pierre died of a heart attack.

But it is something she does not want to remember. She is sad and unhappy as she puts the box back on its shelf. As she does, she sees a picture. It is a picture of her wedding with Chazz. Next to it is a picture of her with her daughter, Kimi and her stepson, Chuckie. Kira feels better. She may have lost her first love but now she had her daughter, her new husband and her new son to love forever.

The End

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