DISCLAIMER FROM THE TRANSLATOR: While I speak both English and Japanese fluently, I know nothing about medicine. These are rough translations made through tears (i.e., sometimes while bawling). Please take all medical details in particular with a grain of salt. These translations have not been proofread and will be revised on a later date.

Please note that I am NOT in contact with the original author, who has given general permission for translation in one of her entries.

I would appreciate it if everyone can refrain from posting these entries elsewhere and to share this address <http://jkts-english.blogspot.com> instead, as I will be making revisions to each entry directly (addresses for individual entries may change if I revise their titles).



Start reading here: 1) To the affected areas.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

7) Luna

Within three days of sleeping in the gymnasium, I made a cute little friend. She follows me as I bustle about measuring blood pressures and giving intravenous drips.

A friendly, adorable six-year-old girl named Luna.

She absolutely hated masks, so I drew a Hello Kitty that doesn't look anything like Hello Kitty on her mask and she liked it very much, so maybe that was the start.

Nights at the gymnasium are really, truly cold, and all we have to rely on are thin blankets and the warmth of human bodies. My medical team was entirely composed of men, so I couldn't even rely on human bodies and I was constantly battling with drafts near the entrance.

Before electricity returned, the large gymnasium was almost like a cave. With even the stoves turned off, it was an ice-cold, dark space. There were constant aftershocks, too.

If I were alone, how terrified and lonely I would feel. I felt from the bottom of my heart that I am able to turn this darkness into strength waiting for the morning because so many evacuees have gathered here.

In the dark gymnasium, in the midst of the breathing of people fast asleep, you could of course hear people quietly sobbing, too.

Maybe they are worried, maybe they haven't been able to meet with their families and friends, but once you start thinking about it, there's no end. I'm only here for about a week, but when I wonder how long everyone else is going to have to stay here, the dark gymnasium looked more like an endless tunnel than a cave.

I was too cold to sleep, but I had better get some sleep now or I'll surely collapse. And if I collapse here, I'll only get in everyone's way and there will be no point in having come here. I turned over as these thoughts ran through my head, and suddenly Luna was calling out to me and snuggled up next to me with her blanket.

"You can't sleep, either?" I asked, and she nodded, so I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her close. She felt so warm.

"Are you in love with anyone?" she asked, so I said,
"Yes, I am!"
"What's he like?" she asks. (´`)

"He has a beard," I said with a bit of a laugh, trying to give a description that's easy to understand.
"You mean Santa Clause??"

Aw, how cute, I thought, and said,
"Yeah, I guess he's kind of like Santa Clause," as I pat her head.

"I wonder if Santa will come again next winter," she said with a bright smile.

I was so happy to see her smile that I let my tongue slip.
"You're such a good girl, I'm sure Santa will come again!"

"My house is gone now, can you tell Santa that I don't want him to go away with my present because I don't have a house?"
I apologized in my mind and gave her a big hug.

"Luna, what do you want?" I asked.
"My house and my mommy."

I had assumed that the woman she is always with was her mother, but the next day, I learned that she is her aunt. Luna's mother was a victim of the tsunami, too, and she was found underneath rubble in an unrecognizable state, leaving her adorable daughter behind. Luna was at preschool and was saved, but her mother passed away with a backpack holding Luna's favorite dolls and books in her arms.

Luna is still such a small child; maybe she was sleeping next to me because she missed her mother.

When we moved out from the gymnasium to head to a different evacuation site and first-aid station, Luna was crying out loud because she didn't want to part with me.

She had just been tragically separated from her mother. That wound has yet to heal, and now—though in a different form—I am making her suffer the pain of parting with someone once again.

I could say that we will meet again, or that I will write to her, but Luna doesn't have an address any more. But I promised to come and see her again when the city is back on its feet and left the gymnasium.

I hope she will never forget this earthquake and grow up to be a strong and kind woman. May her future by bright and happy.

My promise with the lead nurse not to cry was broken all too easily once again, and as I watched Luna waving to me, I cried in the car.

I didn't know where to direct my frustration—how did this happen?—but we were already on our way to the next site, the emergency hospital.

I had come to put smiles on people's faces, but here I am, making Luna cry.

I wondered whether there was any point in my having come here.

Next entry: 8) Temporary housing

Translated March 27, minor edit April 8.
Original entry in Japanese: 7、瑠奈チャン

No comments:

Post a Comment