Return to Latter Days/Lonely Nights Chapter Fifteen

Latter Days/Lonely Nights

Author: Willownut
Disclaimer: Blah, blah, blah. Many characters are Joss Whedon's. Yada, yada, yada. No harm intended with the use of these revered characters. Peas and carrots, peas and carrots.
Italics are thoughts. For those who could excommunicate me or send me unwanted literature, I wish you no ill will. My thanks to LVK for the use of her song lyrics, you have my deep respect, and I would have asked first if I knew where you were.

Note: This story uses various fonts for Japanese characters. These font are available for download here: Hiragana, Kana, Kanji H.

(Day 5 - Monday, November 12, 1984)

You just have to talk don't you.

Willow came into the room and made a mental note of the scene. Both girls were sitting on their beds working on their journals. Willow desperately wanted some alone time. She'd already been out to the "bathroom" two times, so that was not an option. She was fighting back tears and didn't want to have to explain any redness or sniffling. She could tell she'd done something to upset Tara and she needed to figure it out. Just the idea of hurting her was crushing her to the core. Writing a journal entry would make it all rise to the surface and that wasn't an option either. Plus she couldn't put her real thoughts in the journal.

Come on Willow, happy thoughts.

Okay, clearly that didn't work. She grabbed her books and went to her bed as well, sat down and pretended to read.

Suck it up Sister! An image of Sister Smith with using a vacuum cleaner passed through her mind. Ha. Okay. That was worth the imagery. I can do this. Sister Dust Bunny Buster. My companion. She held her head still and lifted her eyes just enough to quickly look at the Sister concentrating on her book. How does she get her hair so big? I'll have to watch her sometime. There really ought to be a rule: your hair cannot obstruct low flying aircraft.

Willow looked across the room at Sister Kitchen. She's quite lovely. She's not the usual Molly Mormon, with her brown hair and thin face, but she does have that calming feel about her. How appropriate that her name is Kitchen. There's always comfort in the Kitchen. She thought back to a few of the times Sister Kitchen had come to her rescue lately.

I wish I had someone to talk to. I miss Amy.

Willow's eyes flashed with the idea. Just write. You don't have to mail it if it's bad. She opened her notepaper and grabbed a pen.

Dear Amy,
Sorry I don't have stationary, but this is what you're going to get until I get over my issues with Hallmark, Capitalism, and marketing to guilt. Plus, you know me, how could I possibly have enough stationary to cover all my moods? I'd need a bigger suitcase just to haul it around with me.

Okay, I'm just going to get this out right up front. This mission thing, it's really hard. This is the first p-day and all I want to do is go outside and run around in the rain and play in the mud. It's reduced me to a blithering idiot at times. I want to go play on some swings or maybe spin around on a merry-go-round until I throw up. I know, bad imagery, but I just would love to be ALONE.

Well, okay, that's not actually true. There's someone here I actually wouldn't mind spending time with. Naturally, she's not my companion. She's someone else's companion, well I guess that's kind of obvious, although she could be a teacher I guess, but she's not. Gosh, rambling much?

I have two companions, Smith and Kitchen. Smith Shimai (that's the name for Sister in Japanese) has the big blonde hair thing like Deb, the Bishop's daughter-you know the rebellious one that likes to dress up in the black outfits like Madonna. Kitchen Shimai kind of reminds me a little bit of a cross between Michelle's mom and Sister Jenkins. You know kind, elegant, but not so stuffy that she's still fun. She's really sweet.

We've got some great Chorro (Elders) in our district. One of the Elders is either smart or just pompous, I can't tell. He's a full on first finger to the knuckle nose picker though, so it kind of ruins the smart thing... He's the one that was talking to us about how Japanese is an aglutative aglunative agglutinative (that's it-I had to look it up) language. That means that words are not really changed so much, as build up - glued together. So like we have words for 'I' and 'we,' they have one word for I and add an ending to it to make it we. It makes everything really ... long ... It's interesting; it's like a puzzle.

Elder Jones, the teacher, is kind of cute I guess. You probably wouldn't like him, he's not all rugged like Patrick Swayze or anything; he's more Kevin Bacony with brown hair. But then everyone here is clean-shaven and all perfect.

Except me. I don't feel perfect. I am terribly flawed. I don't feel worthy at all. I guess I just have this image of what I think a sister missionary should be, and most of the time I'm so not it. I'm supposed to be an example for others, yet I'm so weak. It's a struggle.

I'm surprised that in this closed environment how easy it is to get sidetracked. Just today, I was thinking about Footloose. It's p-day, I wanted to "cut loose" a little you know, get my dance on. Apparently, I'm not the only one. I caught my sister friend in the shower doing the same thing.

I remember when we used to sing into our microphone thumbs. I thought I found someone to do that with today. I'm pretty sure she thinks I was making fun of her.

Gosh, I just can't be honest can I. It doesn't work if you're not honest.

Okay, I was sort of teasing with her. I was just letting off some steam, getting a rise out of her, but I think I really made her uncomfortable and now I just feel so bad. Why did I do that? We used to do that all the time and it wasn't a problem. I don't get it.

Yes, you do, it's because you were flirting with her and you backed in her a corner. No, she was okay until you went back... And then you called her out on the Flashdance.

It was Flashdance.

That's when she folded her arms. Okay, what? What? What did she say? Images stay with you. Gosh, I wonder what images would affect her that much.

The only images that bother me like that are Willow stopped mid thought. She knew exactly what images made her blush like that and it was never what she saw, but what she imagined. An image of Tara and the orange M&M suddenly flitted through her mind. Oh God, poor Tara.

Willow concluded her letter.

Okay, well even with you being far away, you helped me figure out what happened there, so thank you. We've got a big day today, laundry and lounging. We were gonna go to the mall or to the Temple, but it's raining and well, that is lay around and do nothing weather, ya know.

Anyway, write when you can.
Love and hugs,

(Rosenberg Shimai - that still sounds weird to me... but I kinda like it.)

Willow went back to her desk and found an envelope and stamps she'd tucked away in the drawer. She got out her address book to prepare it. From the corner of her eye, she glimpsed something round she previously hadn't noticed before. It was sitting on the top of her journal snuggled in on top the pages. She picked it up. In just a moment, she had it unwrapped. Lifesavers and a note:

PGqhy; mL,4 GxTecKgpGsTacKyOjqJpe

P; "lifesaver" qK

Sweet! But crap - homework.

Willow pulled out her dictionary and Japanese texts.

"P" that looks familiar. She thumbed through her textbook. She just happened to see the first character on the last page before the appendix: "I."
On the page across from the kanji characters, she saw the block letters.
mL,4 shi with the little tan tans is Ji ya ke tsu to - okaaaaay whatever that is...

She thumbed back to her hiragana page and started transcribing the letters. Willow rewrote the sentence in her notebook and took out her colored pens just in case.

Gqhy; o a na ta no
mL,4 Ji ya ke tsu to
GxTecKgpGsTa o shi yo u su ru ko to o ki yo ka
cKyOjqJpe su ru ta me ni a ri ga to u
P; lifesaver qK watakushi no" lifesaver" de a ru

After she got the letters done, she got her dictionary ready. Now put it together. Watakushi o anata no Jiyaketsuto o shiyou suru koto kiyoka suru tame ni arigato- watakushi no "lifesaver" de... oh dearu - that must be like desu

P = I
anata = you
jyaket OH jacket = she's talking about MY jacket
shiyo- suru = something do ... use
koto = thing
kiyoka suru = something do .... Nothing oh, Kyoka - let permit allow
tame ni = in order to
arigato = thank you.

= (I) thank you in order to let use your jacket. Oh!
Thank you for letting me use your jacket. You are my "lifesaver."

Willow was so touched; her eyes welled up. She remembered the day clearly. Tara was so self-conscious about that stain, the little red stain on her chest.

Willow sighed as she considered her own personal color analogy. She wondered if she was indeed on Tara's heart.

"Guys?" Willow interrupted the silence of the dorm room. "I really need to thank Maclay Shimai. Do you want to keep an eye out or come with me to visit with the other Shimai if they are there?

Kitchen considered for a moment. "Well it's after 9:00, they probably have gone to do their errands or whatever. Why don't you run down and check. If they are there, great. If not, then we should get ready and maybe we could get started on our laundry? Then we can have it done by lunch. Hopefully you can run into her, if not, maybe they could come by our place tonight. We never have them over. How does that sound to you guys?"

Smith just shrugged her shoulders.

"That sounds great. I'll be right back." Willow didn't have a clue what she was going to say, but a simple thank you was not all she needed to say.

She was nervous as she headed down the hall. When she arrived at the Sister's door, she knocked softly. After a few moments, she knocked a little louder. She had mixed emotions. She didn't want to babble herself into a deeper hole, but she also felt a sense of urgency to resolve the issue hanging between them. Maybe it was just her issue, but it still was hanging. She realized Sister Kitchen was right and headed back for her own room to get her laundry together.

She absentmindedly began humming the song she'd sung to Tara just a few nights before. The notes hung in her mind, she imagined a little rowboat, a bag of laundry, her, Tara and strangely, Big Bird and Barkley, were doing all the rowing. She changed her mental picture. Bigger boat, Big Bird and Barkley were there but it was a gondola and Big Bird was steering. Willow had some grapes. She was feeding Tara who now wore a toga. Yes, dreaming of Tara was becoming a day and nighttime hobby. Make a note; buy a little boat for Tara. Although grapes would be more fun.

Willow had a smile on her face when she came back in the dorm room. The girls had started getting ready.

"Did you guys see footloose?" She was hopeful, but also a little nervous.

Kitchen Shimai said she had and Smith just nodded.

"Okay, then we are gonna have some fun at the laundry room. Okay? Bring your choice of microphone if you want or we can thumb it, but I'm gonna get my groove on it's time to let loose a little."

Kitchen looked at her sideways, suddenly realized what Willow had in mind and set her hairbrush on the bed. "Okay, but only if it's just us, and we can't be too loud." She looked at Smith to see if she'd caught on. But Smith seemed pre-occupied. Something was clearly troubling the girl, but now wasn't the time.

Sister Kitchen made a note to ask her about it when they were alone to see if there was something bothering her. She could guess, but it's better to get the facts first before jumping to any conclusions.

Continue to Latter Days/Lonely Nights Chapter Seventeen

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