Dec. 12, 2012, The Very Special Day
_ a Prose Poem by Yuri Kageyama published in the October 2013 issue of KONCH magazine, edited by Ishmael and Tennessee Reed.
My birthday this year is so very special because Dec. 12, 2012 is that one day that goes 12-12-12, and that can happen only once and there is no 13-13-13.
I am going to be six years old on this so very special day.
And so everyone knows this is so very special, especially Mama who keeps saying it will be so very special.
I started having birthdays when I started going to ABC Pre-School. I guess I had them before, but I was so little like a baby so I don’t remember those birthdays.
My friends from ABC Pre-School came over for my birthday and we had a Pinata. That’s a little blue and pink horse, but it’s made of paper and so we take plastic baseball bats and we keep hitting it and hitting it and hitting it, and it’s got lots and lots of candy inside it.
Then Mama did a special quiz with questions like: What’s yellow, cuddled together and good?
And my friends said things like Sponge Bob, but I knew the right answer was French Fries because Mama and I go to the acquarium when it’s free to get inside, and that’s what we get each time _ French Fries.
It was funny because every question like that, I knew all the answers right away.
Then we had cake and ice cream.
I got presents. I got a car and a spaceship and a book and coloring pens and so many things.
One of my friends wanted to take the spaceship home, just to borrow for a while, and I said OK, but his Mama said No, that’s for your friend who doesn’t have that many toys and you have so many toys at home.
What a very special day.
Then last year, that’s when we moved to Japan, and the birthday was still so very special, Mama said, and we invited friends at Blue Bird Kindergarten, but everyone was too busy on Dec. 12, 2011, and only two little boys came.
But it was still so very special.
I don’t know why Mama was acting so angry about everyone was too busy, and she said it wasn’t that they were busy at all, but because they didn’t like us because we were Japanese American and not Japanese, and our neighbors didn’t like it that Mama worked because all the other Mama’s stayed at home and did housework.
I think it is sad that Mama works all the time, and she should be like all the other Mama’s.
But like she says she is working to feed me and buy my sneakers and put a roof over our heads so I think it is OK.
We still had cake and ice cream, and we wore very special hats that Mama made out of green and blue and red paper with sparkly stars on them and so I was proud to wear my special hat. I got two presents from those two little boys who came.
I don’t know what is going to happen on Dec. 12, 2012, like I said the 12-12-12 is a very special day, but Mama says we are going to make it special just by ourselves this time.
She looked angry again when she said this and also like she was going to cry and I felt like I was going to cry, too, though I don’t know why because we are talking about a very special day, and that’s a happy thing.
So I thought about what could be a very special day for Mama, and so I asked her: “Mama, what would you like to do on your funeral?”
Mama stopped moving all of a sudden, and I thought she might even spank me because it was so all of a sudden, though she hardly ever ever ever spanks me.
That was how sudden it was.
Then she went back to normal and said, “I want a lot of beautiful music.”
So I said very quickly to catch up with her suddenness, “Mama, I will play that music. I will.”
Then she reached out and hugged me, and she smelled like soap and my favorite blanket and maybe some food we are going to eat at dinner, and I felt happy again and warm inside.
As I was buried in that warmness and happiness, she whispered: On your birthday, we are going to go and get presents for ourselves.
You know where it is?
No, I said.
They are in the sky. The dots of light in the sky.
Oh, Mama, you mean the stars. They can be our presents?
Yes, she says, they are there for us to keep, but you have to be a good boy, and you can keep only one.
You can have one, too, Mama.
She says she is thinking about taking one of the two blue stars that are always together, and I know which ones she means because we go look outside our balcony at the stars and sometimes on weekends at the beach, where you can see them better.
I know she is hoping I will take the other blue star.
I don’t know why I know but I know. Maybe the same way I knew the right answer was French Fries.
It would be nice to be the two blue stars in the sky, always together _ Mama and me.
They aren’t really blue, they are kind of white, maybe dim and blending into the midnight blue-black of the sky, more blue than the other ones that look yellow or pink or really, really white.
I don’t know why, but, when I speak, I say something different.
Mama, I want the red big one, you know, the one that hangs low in the sky, like it’s waiting for something to happen, so quiet and almost evil, but filled with the power of making everything in the world good.
Mama doesn’t stop. Oh, that’s a good choice, she says without a blink of hesitation.
That big red star is just like you. I will be those two blue stars on the other side of the sky, like eyes, always watching from afar.
Please watch, Mama, I say.
We hug and cuddle close.
It is a very special day already.