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Essay “The Sound of the Heart”

November , 2020
Once in a lifetime.

I met with my two brothers for the first time in a year.
Hiroshi, who lives in New York could not move at all from his residence.
Akira had sent some food and daily supplies to him by air mail, but none of them reached him, as they seemed to have got inspected and confiscated.
Akira and I were worried about Hiroshi and have been contacting him on LINE to see how he was.
After 10 months, Hiroshi finally returned to Japan.
Before then, he used to come back once or twice in a month, so it was a very unusual situation for him.
However, I had not even seen Akira who also lives in Japan, as I had locked myself up for a few months for self-restraint. Being single, I enjoyed (?) my life in solitude dispassionately, and it went on for quite long.
So finally, three siblings have met! It is so emotional.
When we come to think of it, we only saw each other once a year in the past. As we were all so busy, we didn’t care if we didn’t see each other for a year or so, but now, under the unique circumstances due to the Corona virus disaster, our feelings have changed.
Because the Corona virus is life-threatening.
The uncertainty of what will happen next is a problem that everyone in the world faces.
A person may die to our surprise and anyone can be infected by the virus even though how careful they are. Once they are isolated in a hospital, you fall into a situation that you can only meet them through a glass window.
It is no surprise to us when we learn the news that the outbreak has begun to explode again in Europe and it is not only their matter. Japan, who have eased the self-restraint is in no way guaranteed to be safe.
When will the three siblings meet again? It may be natural to think such things as there may be a day that we may never see each other again.
Hiroshi who has left for New York will once again be placed under a tense environment.
Even in Japan, there are many people who live in fear of hearing the numbers of infected patients, every day.
People never think that they will never see their close friends again. The closer you are to someone, it is harder to imagine that you will never see them again.
There is a memory that has stuck with me. It is the last conversation I had with my mother.
I never thought that would be the last time we would ever speak.
As my mother was enduing her pain in the hospital bed, I was finishing off, taking care of her as usual and said to her, “I’m going home now ” and gave her a small wave saying “I’ll be back, bye!” , but she responded in an unusual way.
“You’re going home?” she said, and then stared at me with sad eyes. At the time, I did feel a bit strange, but I laughed cheerfully and said “I can’t help it, it’s work, I have to go to my concert. I’ll be back as soon as it’s over. Bye!” After the short conversation, I remember wondering why she had such sad eyes and closed the door behind me.
When I rushed back to the hospital after the concert outside Tokyo, my mother was no longer able to speak.
She looked at me and called my name “Mari-chan…” in a tiny voice that she just managed to squeeze out. That was the last word she said.
My regret of leaving her that way, reverberates in my mind.
Since then, I’ve always felt that it would be better to think that it might be the last time to meet whoever is so close to you and dear to you.
Once in a lifetime.
Now on stage, that is what I always think every time.
Under the situation of being under the threat of the corona virus, the tension grows bigger and real each day.
It may be the last time for me to perform on stage.
Live performances may never be permitted again.
All sorts of anxiety turn this moment to a precious time and space.
The anxiety of wondering if I’ll ever see my brothers again made the time of the three of us together into something irreplaceable.