Recently I’ve re-established contact with an old acquaintance. She and I first got to know each other when I first moved to Japan, and on the surface we had so much in common (born in the same month of the same year, for starters) that we were sure that we were destined to be friends. However, I was never really able to allow myself to get close to her, for the simple reason that she is truly one of life’s favourites, a child of fortune. For example, her parents (mum Japanese and dad Australian) really loved each other, and they loved their children. Furthermore, they were wealthy – she was educated in the best schools in Japan and Europe. She never wanted for a thing, either emotionally or physically. She remembers her childhood as an idyllic, near-perfect time. Even now she counts her parents as her best friends, and relies on them for everything.
Well, I’m not on speaking terms with either of my parents. And all I can remember is feeling miserable as a child, dividing my time between two unwelcoming households and two resentful parents, and wondering why neither of them wanted me around (I can even remember hearing them arguing about who didn’t get me for the summer holidays, amongst various other things). Both remarried – to people who didn’t especially welcome my presence – and my mother’s remarriage was especially disturbing because her husband was violent. I honestly cannot remember one single carefree day in my childhood, because of all the unhappiness and confusion that was constantly swirling about me. In hindsight I can see that my parents, and even my step-parents, were doing the best that they knew how, but at the time the constant rejection hurt so much. Whatever did I do to them, to deserve such treatment? Just the act of being born, I guess.
I can’t help feeling envious of my old friend. She’s beautiful and looks at least 10 years younger than me. Everything has been handed to her on a plate; she married well to a corporate lawyer, and lived the luxurious expat life in several countries before returning to Kobe. Her two blonde-haired children have been placed in the same school that the Sonbeam currently works in. She plans to settle in this city and raise a happy family, just as her parents before her. It has never seriously occurred to her that life could ever be different, because things have always been this way as far as she is concerned.
As for me, I’ve always had to fight my corner by myself. Nothing has been easy for me, nothing. Why? I don’t know, but it’s just not fair.
Every time I meet her and see her smile, I feel a knife going through my heart. It’s pure jealousy I know, but I just can’t help it.