Who knew that such a short story would need 17 years to blossom? It turned out nothing like I imagined, but that’s fitting.

The train sped along the Tokyo track. It blitzed local stations, moving him along, moving him away.

Far away, a world away in New York City, his heart had once grown full. Diminutive as she was demure, she had seen a light in him, and he in her. Half her ancestry originated in Japan. And drawn as he was to the Land of Yamato, he had easily seen in her almond eyes his lineage blending with hers.

They reflected each other, brightening their part of the world.

But it wouldn’t be. Instead, heartache, distance, confusion. Longing for what had been, and for what could have been. Finally, acceptance of what was. Eventually, gratitude.

Their parallel lines diverged, hers arched away, returning her to her family’s origin.

The train picked up speed, glancing side to side. 

Each time he visited this Land, each time he took this trip between Tokyo Station and Narita International, his eyes would scan the trackside apartment blocks, hoping to see her looking back at him from one of one million balconies.

Perhaps, while watering a plant, a woman with a face that he couldn’t forget would glance up at just the right moment, her heart pulled to the passing train for reasons she couldn’t understand.

Perhaps, while airing a futon she shared with another soul and another body, she’d feel a lost, familiar vibration—echoing from the tracks, rippling on the cotton matting—and seek its source.

Perhaps, while hanging out to dry her children’s clothes—children not his own—she’d see one of one million trains that passed by, but this time she’d be unable to look away.

It wouldn’t be, but he, his heart now healed and full, still looked.

The train sped along the Tokyo track.

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