By Kazuya Muto
The day before I went back to Japan, I had one more farewell party: with Jack and Xuan, the friends I'd lived with and hung out the most with in my time in Sydney.
Jack, Xuan and I, we share a lot of memories. One of the earliest is going to the beach with them. The beach was outside of Sydney and we had to take an 8-hour bus trip to get there. I still remember so clearly what we talked about in that bus trip, and I doubt I'll ever forget.
For my farewell party, Jack and Xuan took me to a Chinese restaurant. We were joined by a girl who was living in the same house as us, Rong.
Before we started eating, Jack said a few words and then we had a toast — our last together. During dinner, we talked and we laughed. We laughed a lot, but inside I felt like I was about to cry. I was missing them already. I wished time would stop right there.
We got home in the early hours of the morning, and then I started packing. Yes, I know I should have started earlier, but I'd left it to the very last moment, and I had only a day to pack everything!
I started with the bookshelf, but I didn't get very far. Every book I took off the shelf had so many memories associated with it. When I picked up my accounting book, I remembered how hard I'd studied, I remembered how much Jack had helped me study (he'd taught me every day).
When packing in a hurry, I recommend not starting with the bookshelf.
There was another problem: I couldn't throw anything out — not even the smallest handout.
And then there were the letters: letters from my friends in Japan, letters from my girlfriend, and even letters from my friends in Australia. There were quite a few of them, and like the books, each came with a flood of memories. Time flew by as I read them all, each as precious as the other, and folded them away in a box to send to Japan.
After that I moved to the kitchen. I had lots of stuff there as well. I'll miss the kitchen. I cooked there every day. It wasn't the best of kitchens. Actually, it was quite difficult to use, but still, this is where I used to prepare my rice with raw egg. It's odd, isn't it, that one of my strongest memories of Sydney is going to be rice with raw egg.
Eventually, I finished packing. In front of me lay seven cardboard boxes, one suitcase and two bags — all of them chock-a-block full of memories. Just think: When I came to Australia, I came with one suitcase and one bag. The others in the house said, "What happened to you in 10 months? Why all the extra stuff?"
After packing, I cleaned my room, and as the room grew cleaner and cleaner I felt it emptying of all my memories. I felt like my memories were going to a place where I couldn't follow, and it was impossible to shake off a feeling of great loss.
Shukan ST: Jan. 26, 2007
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