It was when I was about seven or eight. One fine spring day, my mother and I were visiting my great aunt’s place in Tokyo. Since the weather was so pleasant, we decided to go for a walk in a nearby park.
This park was not only well-known in the area but also a place of sentiment for us since when I was a newborn baby, my parents would often take me on a stroll in the park, sometimes joined by my great aunt. My family moved to the north in the spring when I turned one, but whenever we visited my great aunt’s place, the adults would spend some time being nostalgic, recalling the time around my birth. That morning also, my mother and aunt suggested this park out of this nostalgic conversation.
It was truly a pleasant day. Sunny and warm, many flowers were blossoming in the park including the cherry blossom trees. I didn’t recall any memory from my baby time, so as we walked in the park, I became more interested in the nature around me. I squatted on the ground looking at the grass and some flowers, getting lost in my daydream.
There were a few small hills in the park, each topped with a huge tree and a bench underneath it. At one point, my mother and great aunt waived at me to let me know that they found a seat on one of the hilltops. I nodded to them and continued my exploration.
After a while, I found something very exciting – I don’t recall what exactly it was, maybe a beautiful pebble, acorn, or some flower – and thought of showing them to my mother and great aunt. Without looking, I dashed up the nearest hill toward the two ladies sitting on the bench.
“Look what I found!” I exclaimed, stretching out my hands in front of the two ladies.
“Wow, how lovely it is! Good for you!”
To my surprise, the kind voice I heard didn’t belong to my mother or my great aunt. As I looked up, I was welcomed by smiling faces of two elderly ladies, who were enjoying their time under the tree. Then I quickly turned to my left. There I saw another hill, and on that hilltop, my mother and great aunt were waiving their hands at me.
“Oh, I spoke to the wrong people….”
With a pink face, I dashed down the hill and went up the next one and stretched out my hands again.
“Look what I’ve found!”
“Oh, how lovely!”
Both my mother and great aunt smiled at me. I then looked to my right. On the hilltop next to ours, the two kind elderly ladies were waiving their hands at us.
Even though I was completely embarrassed and didn’t smile back to them, as I recall that day, I’m always touched by the way the two ladies welcomed me at the hilltop as if they had expected me to come, and I wish that I had smiled back at them.