「 What are girls made of? 」
Today I overheard violent commentary, filled with a hate that I hadn’t heard in a while. Commentary and hate that I know exist, that are not new to me or anyone, but that still caused a brief moment of shock. I was momentarily shaken to be reminded that there are still people – plenty of people – who would wish the death and disappearance of others simply for who they wish to be or wish to love.
As the minutes passed and my mind wandered, I remembered those sweet flowers, like Yasuko and her broken heart for a man. I remembered the way she dressed like a man would be expected to dress, the way she wore her hair. I remembered the kiss she gave a shy girl in a silent library, with the sunlight gently illuminating their uniforms and the dust in the air. I remembered her smile.
I remembered Kyouko, who couldn’t let go of the person she loved, who was a girl, and distant, and whose affection would never be hers. I remembered seeing her heart breaking, over and over again.
I remembered Fumi and how she liked books, beautiful places and flowers. I remembered her gentle voice, her delicate clothes, and the times she would shut herself from the world when sad. How she tried to cheer up going to nice places, spending time with friends. I remembered the way she loved, threw herself into love; and when that love fell apart, the way she would cry, and then love again. There was always a tomorrow. She was a girl and she loved who she loved.
I remembered how Akira, sweet A-chan, accepted Fumi just the way she was, accepted everyone the way they were and lived happily.
Today I saw the pride parade, and people in colorful costumes with rainbow wings, spreading their arms and pointing them up to the sky, unable to soar with the wind. But the wind did carry their music and their cheer. Every one of them, people of so many different colors and genders and such different lives, got together to dance and sing and laugh. It was a party of freedom because we want to be free; we should be able to be free.
Wandering Son, by the same Takako Shimura, opens with the question, “What are girls made of?”
What are we all made of?
We are made of flesh and blood and air that gives us life. A life we live through choices and also not choices, a life that moves forward but never back. We live in our days, composed of daylight and people. At night we hold each other, physically or in our thoughts – or wish we did. And when we open our eyes, it is color we see. It is a world of color, not just of blacks and whites and greys.
Today, I remembered that outside the comfort of my own space, there are people who would harm others because they don’t understand, because they don’t agree, because they are ignorant and wish to remain that way. Why are people this way? Why can’t they see that we are all people and we all seek happiness in our lives?
And then I remembered them all. The girls who wore cute uniforms and their hearts on their sleeves. Who felt, who cried, who lived. I remembered the way Yasuko held Fumi’s hair between her fingers, twirling and playing, close in the warmth of intimacy, a relationship so precious to see. I remembered the mistakes she made, because no matter what kind of clothes she wore, what kind of person she loved, she was just a girl growing up and making the mistakes of a fifteen-year-old girl. I remembered how Fumi decided what was best for her and refused to be hurt by the same person, over and over again. I remembered the way A-chan laughed when she held her best friend’s hand. I saw the way all of these girls, and also the men that loved them in their own ways, interacted and got on with their daily lives, just like every one of us.
“What are girls made of?”
We are all made of the lives that we struggle so desperately to live. And I knew that every hateful word that I heard, that I protested, would never kill that struggle. Every day is made of many people and of many colors, growing with the dawn of a new day.
Just like sweet blue flowers.