Saturday, 7 May 2011

Chapter 3 - The Start of Distress V

Understanding The Disabled

Today we held a small Sports Day at school. The warm May sunshine felt so good. It was also Mother's Day and my younger sister's birthday. So it was a day for congratulations.

I rang Emi, my cousin who lives in Okazaki, to ask her to visit me. I wanted her to know how desperately I'm trying to live . . . Emi and I have been close since our childhood. We used to stay at each other's house during the summer or winter holidays and share the same futon. She looked so nice that nobody would have thought she was still a third grader at high school. She has big eyes with long eyelashes and she'd decorated her twisted hair with a gold hairpin. She was wearing a while blouse, a flared skirt, and red slip-on sandals with high heels. She came with Kaori, her younger sister, who is rather boyish and, in fact, is often mistaken for a boy.

There's a secret patch over clover in the corner of the playground. The three of us planted ourselves down and started to look for a four-leafed clover. I wanted to fine one as a present for Mom.
"I wonder if we can really find one?" Said Emi.
I replied what had been in my mind for some time. "A four-leafed clover is just a deformed version of a normal three-leafed one, right? Why should something deformed be lucky?"
Emi thought about this a little, and then said, "Because it's unique."
Perhaps she's right. It's not so easy to find happiness. I suppose that's why we feel happy and say "Good thing we tried to find one!" when someone eventually does.

I fell over this morning and hurt myself. It made me cry. I have to become much stronger. I don't know whether it was because I was in a hurry or just rushing. When I tried to move my legs forward, they wouldn't move, and so my body tumbled forward. I caught the handrail, but it didn't support me enough. Down I went with a thud.

When I was being carried on a stretcher along the corridor to the nurse's room, I caught a glimpse of the blue sky.
"Oh," I thought, "it's such a long time since I saw the blue sky lying on my back!"
And when I was lying on the bed in the nurse's room, I could see the sky through the windows again. The white clouds looked very beautiful as they drifted across the blue sky. Right, in the future, whenever I'm stuck, I'll look at the sky. In the Sukiyaki song, Kyu Sakamoto sang, "I look up as I walk along, so my tears won't fall . . ."
That's good, that's the spirit.

I slept well for about an hour. I felt much better, so I got up and went to the toilet (the Western-style one). In the toilet, it struck me that perhaps Auguste Rodin came up with the idea of creating The Thinker when he was sitting in a toilet.

I'm always defeated by the fact I move so slowly.

Yesterday, it was my turn to do library duty. I eventually got there after taking about 20 minutes using the corridor on the second floor. But there was nobody there. I was too late. Half crying, I borrowed Wild Animals I Have Known by Ernest Thompson Seton. I cried, even though I knew I could contact the dormitory using the interphone if I was shut in the library.

Today I got there at about 4 o'clock. The student on duty sent me away saying, "Please leave quickly! If you wanted to look for a book, you should have come earlier."

Resentment! I felt pitiful. I'm twice as slow as the others, so I don't have time to spare. It takes too much time to do ordinary things (e.g. washing). It's not a matter of lacking good ideas and intentions.

Today we went on an excursion to the zoo. I don't like zoos anymore.
-The sad face of an orangutan. (I've heard that orangutans are nervous animals that easily get neurotic.)
-A chimpanzee throwing stones.
-A pelican who can't even catch a fish
-A battered ostrich.
Looking at all those creatures I got tired and depressed.

I hate the duty roster system at the dormitory. But I suppose it can't be helped because without it group life couldn't operate . . . Because I'm slow, I'm always one or two steps behind everyone else for any activities we do together.

In order to cover up my slowness, I finished cleaning half the room before I went for the radio gymnastic exercises in the morning. But when I got back, the room leader suddenly said, "Aya, you can't clean the room, can you? So take care of the towels and disposal boxes in the toilet!" I was frustrated that I didn't argue back when she jumped to the conclusion that I couldn't do it.
'Forgive everything, bear the unbearable, endure the unendurable . . .' In some ways, the teachings of God distress me. It's that way of thinking that has made me weak.
If I could move my body faster, I'd have been happy to go and clean the toilet. But I couldn't clearly express my opinion. I left the room without saying anything (although I was thinking, "You rat!").

As soon as I went out, I felt bitter and I started crying., The matron was just passing and said, "Aya, you know you shouldn't cry while living in a community like this."
What can I do?

I went home. I cleaned the parakeet cage. When I was walking, I felt a slight pain in the inner side of my left hip joint. I sighed, thinking that now my important left leg is breaking down . . . I was horrified to see the unnatural movement of my left hand (the five fingers move individually when I open my hand or bend them). I also have a pain on the left side of my chest, in the joints of my arms, and in my right buttock. Perhaps I hit myself in the wrong place when I fell over. I should put a poultice on again.

My right leg and knee sting. Finally . . . In the bath, I stroke them, murmuring, "I banged my lower back and shoulders when I fell over. Poor body, damaged all over!"

From today, I'll try to walk for 10 minutes every day. Here I am challenging my self to see how far I can walk! At this rate, I won;t be able to maintain a human elevation of 1.2 meters (the height of my eyes when I'm standing) when I'm in the third grade of high school.

I asked one of the students to show me photos of the third grade school excursion. I wonder if I'll be able to join the excursion next year?

In order to understand that I'm a disabled person:
1. Giving up. I must know my limitations and admit that I have a physical handicap. I'll make an effort from that starting point
2. Forgetting my healthy past self. I can run in my dream. According to Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams, I have an incredibly strong desire (that's only a matter of course).

Tomorrow's the day for our student dance performance. I'm still lacking full awareness of being disabled, so I've been trying to dance beautifully. Actually, I think that spirit is wrong. I've practiced hard, but it hasn't gone very well.

As I was coming back today, feeling wrecked, the wheelchair motor at a low speed began to sound as if it was suffering as well.
"Am I so heavy? I'm sorry. Keep at it!"
I felt responsible for my weight of 35 kilograms.

Am I in high spirits today? No way. I'm just doing my duties because it can't be helped. I went to take part in the radio gymnastic exercises, had a meal, did some washing, took out the rubbish, attended the roll call . . .
The matron said "It's busy in the morning, isn't it?"
I wished I could have answered calmly, "I'll be busy the whole life." But my face just froze.

I think it's only when people are walking that they can really think of themselves as being human. For example, a company presidents thinks about ways of making more money while walking back and forth in front of his desk. And maybe that's why lovers often talk about their future while walking along together?

Suzuki-sensei's eyes
Remind me of an elephant's eyes;
A guardian deity in India,
An elephant knows everything.
I love those gentle eyes.

I was in a daydream in the classroom. All by myself . . . I remember being told off by my teacher for running along the corridor and rattling my desk when I was at elementary school! I remember a boy having his bottom spanked for jumping out into corridor through the classroom windows. I couldn't do a practical joke like that. I only watched with a smile on my face. I should have done things like that while I could.

Jumping out through the window . . . No one was there. It was quiet. There was a windows and there I was.
"What the hell are you doing? That's dangerous."
The nurse's room had to help me again. A-sensei referred me as "a girl with self-injurious behavior." It was painful, but I had the satisfaction of going out through the window even if I had to crawl.
I won't do it again.

I was hoping that the movements of my body would get a bit better as it got warmer. But in fact they're getting worse. I was hoping to enter the hospital during the summer holiday to benefit again from some new medicine, so I went to see.

Cold words . . . I can't enter the hospital during summer holiday because they won't have any new medicine . . . I felt that I even medical science had given up on me! It was like being pushed off a cliff. Now I'm filled with a sense of despair. It's as though I've been hit on the back of the head with a hammer . . .

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