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Chapter Eleven
Shame the Sea

"Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment."
~ Zechariah 3:4 ~

Izumi ran down the steps to meet John, a big smile on her face. John was dressed in a new pair of blue jeans and a black jacket, for the breeze was chilly.

"Ready?" he asked, quickly glancing at Izumi. She nodded, suddenly becoming shy. They walked down the sidewalk, and crossed a street, all the while remaining silent. Izumi watched the people passing them, carrying fishing rods and wearing caps that had dozens of fish hooks encompassing their heads. Her curiosity remained silent, however, for she did not think John looked like answering questions. They entered the cool restaurant, chilling Izumi in her damp clothes. John heard the sound of chattering teeth coming from behind his back. When he turned around, he noticed the sound was coming from Izumi.

"Are you cold?" he asked placing his hand on Izumi's arm. "Of course you are," he answered, not waiting for her reply, "your clothes are wet through!" John pushed her back outside. "We're going back to your house right now! You'll catch pneumonia!" He started back in the direction of her home, not waiting for Izumi's explanation. He had gone five steps before he heard her voice call him back.

"Aren't you coming?" he asked, surprised to see her still standing where he had left her. She shook her head, ashamed of what she had to tell him.

"When my mother and I left Tokyo, we packed in such a hurry..." she paused, "this is all I have." She turned her back to John, so he would not see her tears. She had tried so hard to make this a perfect day. Izumi heard John's footsteps stop behind her.

"You've had it tough, haven't you?" he said in a low voice. Izumi quickly dried her tears, for people were giving them odd looks. Sensing what Izumi was feeling, John guided her to a sidewalk, and led her to the front of a clothing store. He took some money from his pocket, and handed it to Izumi. She stared at his gesture, unsure of what he meant. "Take it," he coaxed. "Think of it as a birthday present. I'll wait out here." Izumi was about to say "thank you" when he interrupted her with, "Go on." With a bowed head, but a happy heart, she stepped in, leaving John to wait outside.

The sales clerk watched, as a pretty Japanese girl walked from one clothes rack to the next, looking completely lost.

Izumi jumped when she heard a voice behind her ask, "May I help you?" An elderly woman smiled down at her, peering over her bi- focals. "Do you know what you're looking for, young lady?" The woman's voice was kind and reassuring to Izumi's ears.

Gathering the small reserve of bravado that Izumi had left, she casually replied, "Yes, I'm looking for a dress. Something that the women around here wear," she added.

"I see," the woman said knowingly. She had noticed, upon closer inspection, that Izumi was older than her clothes had betrayed. "I think I have just the thing," she said, leading her to the opposite end of the store. "This is the women's department," she said, inspecting Izumi's height. "Yes, I think I have just the thing," she repeated, searching through a nearby clothes rack.

"Here it is!" she exclaimed, pulling out a sapphire blue dress. "Your eyes are so blue, they could shame the sea," said the smiling woman. "This dress will compliment them. Go over to the dressing room, and try it on. See if I'm not right." Izumi obeyed. She soon had it on. It was the most beautiful dress she had ever seen.

continued on next page...
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