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"Onna no ko," (Japanese for "girl"), he muttered angrily, "what do I want with a girl? I must have a son! I am the eldest son of my father, and someday, all he has I will inherit. I must have a son to pass on the honored name of my family, and keep the inheritance in my name!" Anna had never seen him so angry before. It frightened her. The days that followed Izumi's birth were check marked with vivid memories of beatings and abuse. It had never stopped, really. The day Izumi was born, her husband stopped pretending he loved her. However, Anna would never admit this, even though she knew it to be true.

"He loves me," she would argue. "After all, we have been through a lot, and he has never left me. He would have left me if he didn't love me. That proves it!"

"Seventeen years," she sighed. "can it really be so long ago?" She took another bite of rice. "Someday, I want to go back to my home on Three Mile Bay, New York. I believe Dad & Mom left the house to any children I might have. That's what it had said in the will, when they died. Knowing my parents, they were 'praying' for my children, and thought they would need a place of refuge or something." At that thought, Anna angrily slammed her rice bowl down on the lacquer table. "As if Izumi needed refuge!"

"Appoint out for you cities of refuge"
~ Joshua 20:2 ~

"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."
~ 1 John 4:8 ~

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