Flower Shop in Antwerp, Belgium
One the night a Japanese historical silk factory (Tomioka Silk Factory in Gunma Prefecture) became part of UNESCO, after I took a bath, groomed myself, and screamed—I screamed really hard—my hubby ran into the bathroom. I found a single, silky, white hair in my bikini zone. I knew that I had three gray hairs on my head since my early twenties, but I have never expected to find it in my private area.
My hubby laughed and said (quoting from his favorite show, ‘The League’), “You got ‘ol smoke crotch!”
The bright white color was sticking out from my black hair like, “Hello! You are officially old!” I grabbed my tweezers and pulled it out. Instead of observing the hair, I flushed it down the toilet. In the following days, checking unborn silky hairs became my routine; and then I found another half black-half gray hair hiding in the underbrush. I was seriously depressed holding the beautiful hybrid hair.
So, I read online articles on how to prevent getting gray hair. There were so many opinions and solutions, like “Always part your hair in different positions,” I could try spiky, nerd, curly, super short, bushy, and elegant styles without problems. Or “Massage the part to ensure the better blood is circulating there.” I should have already had the better blood circulating since I recently adopted a blue rabbit from Amsterdam. And in the last article, “Die your hair dark and accept reality.”
The reality is that I aged. My sister had her first baby, raised him, and went back to her fulltime job this spring. Time is passing and one of my friends sent me a thank-you note. When she was sad and depressed, I advised her to buy flowers, which she did. Now she gets pregnant and is really happy (I was told babies came from something else, but oh well). “Thank you, Naoko, very much for cheering me up.”
What I need is flowers to forget about my silk factory. My favorite Italian supermarket sold flowers for around $10 - $12. It may add up for our budget; however, spending $12 every two weeks was like having a coffee and chocolate croissant at Starbucks. I bought colorful tulips and made flower arrangements in my apartment.
Tulips were not enough to lift my spirits, so I started growing twenty-day radishes, green onions, and kaiware-daikons. This morning, the radishes’ sprouts overflowed the planters—I was excited—but the colors of the tulips were fading away. Recently I was translating Onono Komachi’s poetry from Ogura Hyakunin Issu. She wrote about how her beauty was going while she was waiting for her love. Of course women were conscious about their beauty since forever ago (thanks society).
My hubby said, “You are still hot.” And, to make me feel better, “Your grandmother is pocketsized, but still very elegant. You will be fine.”
I just did not want to be a wife who is satisfied hearing her hubby say, “You are beautiful TO ME.” But, I will fight for reality, though. I officially accepted the new silk factory branching out onto my body. I will send a welcome flower down there.