She picked up a fallen flower and cupped it in her hands. “Life is so sad,” she said. “Nothing lasts.”
“I wish this time would never go away,” she said softly.
I’ve heard it said that memory retains the things that count. Yet, more than fifty years later, I can’t remember her name. I’m not even certain if I ever knew what it was. Nor can I really recall what she looked like, try as I might. She was Japanese, but, when I try to picture her in my mind’s eye, the face morphs, assuming the features now of one girl and then of another. As I best recall, she had a round face, not especially pretty, and not much given to smiling. I suppose she was in her mid-twenties, and most of the time she enters my mind wearing a white, short-sleeved blouse and a gray skirt—or wearing nothing at all. I can only shake my head in vexation; perhaps the naked body I visualize belonged to a different woman. I can’t be certain.
World War Two had come to its horrific ending for Japan three or four years earlier, but the raw scars of devasta…