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Chapter Four
Solitary Tear

"Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him."
~ Isaiah 3:11 ~

When Izumi returned home that evening, she found her mother standing by the window, sobbing. Concerned, Izumi started to cross the room, but Anna heard her coming, and motioned her to stop.

"Izumi, the police were just here. Your father killed himself this morning. He jumped off a bridge ..." Anna's voice trailed off. Collecting her thoughts she added, "They found his body two hours ago." She stood gazing out the window, tears streaming down her face.

Suddenly, as if something within her snapped, Anna's sorrow turned into rage. She looked up to heaven and screamed, "You win!" Angrily, she began stuffing suitcases with clothes and small belongings. "Get up, Izumi. We're leaving!" Izumi was huddled on the floor, crying. She quickly obeyed.

Izumi packed frantically, as if running from some evil person who was threatening her life. But Anna, in her wrath against God's judgment, moved with a coldbloodedness that made Izumi even more frightened than she was already. The packing was done without any thought. Soon they had everything within eyesight, jammed into four suitcases.

"Where are we going?" she asked. Anna didn't hear her daughter's frightened question, for they were in a taxicab before Izumi could close her mouth.

"To the airport", Anna commanded, "and step on it!"

"Which one?" asked the startled cab driver.

"The closest one!"

The cab ride was quiet, except for the occasional hiccup from Izumi, who had been sobbing all evening. With the oncoming of darkness, Tokyo city became alive with bright neon signs. The sidewalks were crowded with carefree people, coming and going from one store to the next. All this remained unnoticed by Izumi. In one evening, her whole world had turned upside down. It seemed ages ago since she last visited the zoo, chatting to any creature who would listen. Her loneliness suddenly became terrifying. Izumi leaned her head against her mother's shoulder for comfort, but Anna jerked it away. She had not forgotten her first beating from Yoichi came when he found out that Izumi was a girl, and not a boy. With a bowed head, Izumi turned to the cab door for comfort.

Forty-five minutes later, they reached the airport. After paying the fare, Anna picked up two of the suitcases and told Izumi to do the same. They were a bit heavier than Izumi could easily manage, but with some determination, she was able to keep up with her mother's fast walk. When Anna came to a sudden stop, Izumi bumped against her.

"Sit here, and don't move." Izumi obediently sat down on one of the yellow benches, her eyes never leaving the ground. A single tear slid down her cheek and splashed onto the airport linoleum.

"What's down there that you find so interesting?" asked an English voice.

Izumi understood English perfectly, but was too shy to look up and see who was speaking to her. Maybe the voice was speaking to someone else, she decided.

"I said, 'What's down there that you find so interesting?'" the voice repeated slowly, thinking that maybe she didn't understand English.

continued on next page...
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