It was nighttime, and we were having dinner; it was eerily silent; nobody was saying anything. It felt weird maybe it was the anxiety, but I felt to say something like a grim joke or something to break the tension, everybody’s attention was on their food.
“You know today was the last day of school,” my dad responded “ I know, son, we talked about it remember, you are going to meet your mother at the airport and your grandfather in japan. That’s a chance that few kids get to do that, at least from Jamaica one j to another j “.
“I mean, yea that going to be fun and Louise was going to head to France anyway and Julie I have not mentioned it to Julie yet “ not much was said after that my parents continue to watch tv, I grabbed my phone and when to lie down in my bed, tried to watch some videos nothing would brighten my mood, I sent Julie a text but she did not respond.” Japan, the land of anime and manga and.... and What else is japan got? “. I got up off my bed and jumped on my bed, going higher and higher “I am going to Japan !” the last jump I went really high, flying...straight in the ceiling. Came back down, I bounced off the bed onto the floor “ow!”.
“Atrau, go to bed!!” “Don’t make come over !”
My grandmother and father shouted.
“Okay,” I responded, getting up off the floor and holding gingerly my head and crawling back into my bed and staring back into the ceiling, and drifting into sleep.
Days went on till the day finally came to meet my mother and finally go to Japan.
My grandmother helped me pack my suitcases, well packed my bags, got dressed, and grandmother hugged me and told me she would miss me; I told her I would miss her.
I was told that my mom would come and pick me up. My father got quieter and quieter every passing day and felt like deep down, he was angry at me for choosing to go. I had all my stuff outside the house; she would be there in 10 mins.
I waited anxiously for her to arrive, meeting my mom for the first time; I was thinking about what to say here, but as time went on, nobody came to every minute pass I felt more pain in my chest, I was going to cry I did not want anyone to see me cry it, so I could head inside.
I heard a motorcycle approaching. I saw it was my father; he rode up to me to
“Why are you still here!?”
“Well, she isn’t here, and I don’t think she is going to show up?” my voice cracking from trying to fighting the tears trying to come out of my eyes.
“Put the suitcases in the house.”
“Okay, dad” I gingerly began putting the suitcases back in the house
“bring your carry-on over here.”
“My father gestured to his bike. I ride a bike, son; how do you expect me to carry you and your luggage on my bike?”
“on your bike?.... On your bike!! Seriously, dad, I can still go, but what about mom and I don’t know where I am going.”
“ don’t worry, I have it handled on a spiritual level?”
“Huh?!” my dad always had these weird saying that made little sense
“Okay, dad” the other suitcases were put in the house, and we put my carry on on the bike
“Dad, you sure about this?! “ I asked worriedly
“You want to go back inside!”
I thought about it again; this might be my only chance
“No, Dad,” I responded gingerly
my dad tied down my carry on, and then he gestured to get on the bike
I got on the bike and was struggling to balance, and I grab my dad around
“Son, when riding a bike, you don’t grab the rider by the waist. You grab the shoulder or the handlebars on the seat and make sure your helmet is on tight.
“Okay, dad...d!” my father started speeding up quickly
I held on for dear life. We were on the highway, and my father was weaving behind and cars and lane splitting. Bike riding was terrifying. At least how my dad did it
After a while, the traffic eased up, and we close to the airport. I appreciated bike riding, the wind in my face, and you could experience the scenery, the smells.
My dad never spoke a word during the whole, but this is the most time we ever spent together, and I enjoyed it
We arrived at the airport, and my father dropped me off at the departures, removed the carry-on from the bike, and asked me to show him everything I would need to get on the flight.
“You got your passport, visa, boarding pass.”
“Yes, dad, I got it, “he told me to go inside and wait in line, and he would be right in
“Okay, dad” I followed his instruction, and he told me what airline line I should be in.
I was in line, and my dad came inside and told me he was not getting through to my mother, but my grandfather will expect me at the airport, so it should be fine.
My dad hugged me and told him to call him as soon as you get on and to have fun.
My father makes sure I was in the unaccompanied minor service program.
After a bit, I’ll board the plane got cramped between two old people, and I swear I saw the guy who saved me from being roadkill passed me at the corner of my eye. Was it him ...Nah?
We took off and left the country on my way to a new adventure; I was tired, so I took a nap.
I woke up when we were approaching Tokyo, landed, disembarked the plane, went through customs, attempted to call my dad, but I couldn’t d get it to call international. I had my Grandfather’s number, so I called him.
“ Hello, hmm, I think you have the wrong number?
“Wrong number?, It’s your grandson ....”
The other line was silence.
“From Jamaica !”
“Kazuki, how are you? “
“Kazuki?, who is Kazuki?”
“Oh my, sorry, it atari, Amaterasu?” my grandfather was mispronouncing my name constantly. After a while, I got frustrated and corrected him.
“Ah yes, that what I said; how long until you reach my home.”
“When you get here, you are going to pick me up, right?”
“let me talk to your mother; where is she? “
“I do not know I came here by myself. Can you drive here and pick me up”
There was silence on the other line and then a lot of Japanese being spoken and grumbling in the background
“I am a sickly old man I have not driven in years.”
That was understandable. I do not know my Grandfather’s age, but he sounded ancient.
“Okay, how bout a taxi.”
“too expensive!? Japanese grumbling”
Seriously, oh God, what have I gotten myself into? This guy does not even want to cover the taxi fare.
“nothing wrong with the bus, and it’s cheaper too,” I groaned, and my grandfather provided the directions on how to get to his house from the airport.
I asked around the airport and was lucky to find whoever could speak English and get directions to the bus park, but I got a little lost on the way. Trying to get my bearing, I saw a bag handler across the street from the airport’s exit just about to finish helping someone, and I heard English, but she started moving quickly.
“crap!!? , excuse me, sir, please wait!!” I run across the street without looking and then I heard a loud horn. It was a truck barreling down the road. The combination of the horn and fear stunned me; I couldn’t move.
The universe just wants to turn me into roadkill. I just stared, frozen in fear has the truck hit the brakes and wheels jammed, I braced for the hit, but I was pushed out of the way by the bag handler.
“ are you okay ?” I had the bag hander on top of me
“Ow, thanks, lad...y?” This bag handler lady was beautiful
“let’s gets out of the street” the ball hander grab my hand, and I turned into mush.
“where are you going” I struggled to answer her question and could not look her in the eye
I could finally get it out of where I was going
“Oh, you and that other boy are going to the same place.”
Other boys? “what other boy? “
I grabbed my carry-on, and the ball-handler guided me to the boy she said was going to the same place as me.
She tapped his shoulder; I realized that it was the same kid that saved me before.
Ataru Johnson, an ordinary boy living with his father and grandmother in Jamaica with no given knowledge of his mother's side of the family. Enjoying school life with his friends Lousie and Julie and on the cusp of passing his exams Ataru is prepared to enjoy the coming summer, until his father reveals a surprise to him.