You were being shy, weren’t you?

In this memory, I am nine years old, and today is Parents’ Day at my school. My class has prepared plays to present in front of our parents.

This semester, we have been learning about the lifestyle of our grandparents’ generation, and these plays are about people’s daily life in Japan in the early 20th century. The class has been divided into groups of five, and each group has chosen items from the collection of old personal belongings submitted by our grandparents and created a play to demonstrate how to use each item.

My role in the play is to present how to use a metal heat pack. Among all the old items I have seen in the collection, this heat pack is the most beautiful in my opinion. That’s why I chose the role to explain about this heat pack.

In the play, I appear as a man walking down the street on a cold day. He takes out the heat pack and a match box from his pocket.

“I’m so happy that I have this with me today,” he says with a smile. Everybody in the audience finds it funny and laughs. “This heat pack is so easy to use. I just need to open this cap, light the match, then… Here we go, these coals inside will now keep me warm!”

The audience laughs again. They later tells me that the way I explain sounds like that of an advertisement.

After the class, we all sit in the classroom wearing cleaning aprons. The school is over for today. Now, our teacher will give us the final remark and we will move on to do the daily school cleaning. Our parents are still standing in the back of the classroom, observing us. My mother is also there in her signature red jacket.

During his final remark, our teacher calls out each group to the front and gives them a detailed comment about what he liked about their play.

When it is my group’s turn, I stand in front of the class with my groupmates. I am proud that our performance has been received well. I am indeed so happy that I am not looking at the class, but playing with the edge of my red apron instead. All the while our teacher compliments on our play, I am looking down, eagerly twisting the edge of my apron.

Later at home, I ask my mother how she liked our performance. It is important to me to know that she liked it, not just my teacher.

“Yes, I enjoyed it very much! Your group’s performance was the most entertaining!”

Just when my face breaks into a huge grin, however, she says something else.

“By the way, you were looking down when your teacher was telling you nice things about your play. You were being shy, weren’t you?”

I wonder why my mother always has to say something so irrelevant and break my mood when I am having the best moment of my day. Now that she has mentioned it, I remember twisting my apron in front of the class. Was that a bad thing? I don’t know. But I just wish she hadn’t mentioned it at all so that I could have indulged in the pride of having entertained everybody with our play today.