This is a story about when I was small and lived in a community of tiny half-dilapidated apartments. There was a post office adjacent to our community. My mother would often go there to fulfill the family’s daily financial tasks (In Japan, post offices used to have a bank function as well). Sometimes it was a quick visit to withdraw money from the ATM, and other times, she would spend a longer time talking to a person at the counter. Her visit to the post office was so frequent that once I even drew a cartoon picture of my mother coming out of the post office.
One winter day, I was accompanying my mother to the post office as usual. It was a particularly long visit, and she told me to sit on the couch while I waited for her. In Japan, a post office does a special delivery service for the country’s gift giving seasons and there is usually a wrack of leaflets advertising their services. After sitting on the couch for a while, I started pulling out a few leaflets from the wrack next to me to have a look at the pictures of their gift services.
For some reason, there were many pictures of different fruits on the leaflets. Later I learned that quality fruits were one of the typical gift items during the official gift-giving seasons. But as a little child, I was only interested in looking at the pictures of delicious-looking fruits. Since it was winter, there were many pictures of Fuji apples.
As I browsed through the leaflets, a girl of my age and her grandmother came and sat next to me. They started talking to me, and I explained that I was waiting for my mother. Then I showed them the leaflets I was looking at.
“These apples look very delicious!”
The girl and I commented together as we flipped through the pages. Page after page, there were pictures of different apples.
“But why so many apples?”
I asked. I simply couldn’t help wondering.
The girl’s grandmother tried to explain to us about the purpose of the leaflets, and we both listened with great interest.
After a while, a person at the counter called for the girl’s grandmother, and they left.
As I sat there on my own, I reflected on the things I had just learned from the girl’s grandmother about these leaflets. When my mother finally came, I collected all the leaflets in my hand before leaving with great eagerness.
“Sweetie, do you really have to take all of them?”
My mother looked at me suspiciously, but I insisted.
“They are all different, so I must take all of them!”
Such a random memory, and yet, that interaction with the girl and her grandmother over the leaflets has never left me since.