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"Grandpa! Your leg! What happened?"

Protection under umbrella of family

Time flies, like an arrow, even at the speed of light.

I have lived a full life, making a lot of effort. When I have a break and look back, I learn that I have to thank my family for giving me a shelter, a big umbrella.

In those days, my two older brothers and one big sister were leaving my parents to start new families of their own. My little brother started to work at a motorcycle shop. My little sister grew beautiful. It might have been a good time for me to leave my parents. I wondered if I could, and what I could. I had completely given up having a family of my own. I was at a loss what to live for. Will it be good enough to have a barbershop of my own? What should I do with the shop? Something was missing. Something was wrong. However, I did not know what was wrong. What I could do when I was confused was go back home to eat what my mother prepared for a couple of days. My father was not home. I fell asleep at about 10, before he came back home.

Next morning, I went into my father's room, and he was not there. I thought he was just taking a walk. When I was leaving the room, I found his diary on the desk. He was serious enough to keep a diary. I saw "Hidetaka" on the opened page of the diary. Then I was going downstairs, but I could not help returning to the room to read it.

"I heard that Hidetaka is staying here. He must be 23 now. How I wish I could find him a wife! As his father, my heart breaks when I think about that."

I could not read any more, because my eyes were filled with tears. In my heart, I thanked my father. I had not known that he was that sympathetic. A single blast of the atomic bomb gives that much pain not only to those who are wounded but also to a lot of other people close to them. I wanted to say something to my father, but I could not, partly because I had stolen a glance at his diary, mostly because I was at a loss for what to say. "Bye, mom. I'll be back shortly." I said to my mother and went back to the barbershop, without having breakfast.

I must have looked gloomy those nights. My co-workers would say, "Komine-san, you look strange these days. How about going out for a drink? You need some fun." Then I would answer, "No, I can't drink. You can go out if you want to." I was aware that I needed something, perhaps some drink.

Many young people are most interested in the opposite sex. Naturally, on Mondays when barbershops are closed, young barbers, including trainees, go out to see somebody. I was not an exception and I fell in love some times. And I would surely lose my love when she learns that I am a Hibakusha. To find someone meant to lose her. Who can describe a broken heart well enough? Emptiness, defeat, humiliation.... You sometimes hate yourself. I often said something meaningless, such as "I've known what I am."