Mother – illness
My mother rarely went to see the doctor. Every year, she received an electronic appliance or audio device as the reward for never using the insurance. The only ailment that troubled her was her rock-hard neck and shoulders. She’d make my sister and me massage her in the evening. It required our time and labor, so she started to price 30 minutes for 500 yen. My sister often took that responsibility, half for financial reward but half out of kindness. But I refused it to get back at her for her negligence of my well-being. She’d plead, but I didn’t give a damn.
In her recent email, she said she didn’t take my illness seriously because she had been healthy and was unable to empathize with my pain. But I am not sure if she was that healthy. She may not have gone to the hospital, but she looked perpetually exhausted. Her shoulders stooped from the hardened muscles, her brows furrowed, and her eyes shrunk to the size of peas. She looked as though she wanted to withdraw herself entirely from the world where she was on constant move with housework, her job, child care (my sister and me), adult care (my father), pushing herself in the hope of a breath of air when all finished. But the responsibilities kept surging and engulfed her, and I feared she’d suffocate eventually.