Nori smiled and said no matter what happened, she was his mother
Back to Yanshan Part 3
I kept digging around my great-grandmothers’ study. I found a notebook that kept a record of her clients, dates and the money they paid. The amount was astonishing. No payment was less than 500,000yen. Some enough to buy cars or houses. What on earth did she do to deserve this much money?
I checked the year that Nori got into an accident. There. Yamane. The amount is 3,000,000 yen. Under the amount, in brackets, she wrote,(2,000,000 to Nakagawa.) Then she had crossed everything off with 2 lines. It was the last entry in the notebook.
I called Misa at night and told her that my theory was correct. Great-grandma DID deal with that Yamane. Misa said she asked her father how he felt about Nori, he said he was a good friend to him until the accident. But his face frowned and he went quiet when Misa asked about anything after the accident.
Misa and I both assumed that Yamane’s mother probably had asked my great-grandmother to cure her son from the injury. But he died, so great-grandmother returned the money. And Misa’s dad and other uncles knew Nori when he was in good shape. So they just felt bad.
Misa told me she’s going to great-grandmothers’ house the next day to pick some stuff for herself. I remembered today I was too busy looking around her study and I didn’t have time to actually find useful stuff for myself. I told her I’d go with her.
The next day we met at our great-grandmother’s house, and Misa demanded she sees the expensive account book of great-grandmother. So I took her to the study and showed her the notebook.
“Wow” she said with a grin. “All these money, the uncles a.k.a her grand-kids inherited! Great-grandma out-lived all her children.”
She flipped through the pages until the last page where Yamane was mentioned. Her eyes opened wide, and her face froze.
Misa: “ 2 million goes to Nakagawa…cancelled…
Do you know who Nakagawa is?
That’s Nori’s surname..”
We both looked into each others’ face. This feels wrong. Something happened in the hospital. Everybody knows something happened that sent Nori nuts, probably medical errors. But now we know that something was related to this. After all, this wasn’t an innocent prayer that I first thought.
Misa: “What did great-grandma do to Nori!?”
Misa’s face started turning red. Her hands shaking. I was starting to get very nervous too. A very malicious explanation was forming at the back of my head but I was trying not to think about it. I don’t want to believe that my family was involved in something like this.
Misa said “I’m going to ask my dad. Now.”
We went to her house. Misa’s father had been retired so we found him at home. Misa placed the notebook in front of him, opened the last page and went directly to the point.
Misa: “Did great-grandma sacrificed Nori for the Yamane kid?”
Her father’s face turned blue. “Where did you get this?”
Misa said “Doesn’t matter. You don’t wanna talk about it, I know. But I can’t live knowing something like this happened in my family and not knowing the whole story. Was our great-grandma an evil witch?”
Her father sighed, and said “We don’t know. But I’ll tell you what we have assumed.”
This is the theory that him and his siblings had developed over the years. Below is his words. (When he says “grandma”, he is referring to our great-grandmother)
Nori was a good guy, but his home was just horrible. His mother didn’t love him. After his father left them when Nori was around 5 or 6, and she remarried soon after, Nori was a burden to her and her new family. I often saw him with bruises. His little brother was wearing nice clothes, but Nori was always in old worn-out clothes.
Nori never said anything about his family, but it was obvious he was abused. But the kids in this town, we all grew up together. We loved Nori. And it pained us that we were too young to save him from his family.
After graduating from high school, Nori started working in construction. He wanted to be independent, I think. Around that time his mother divorced and lost custody of Nori’s younger brother. She stopped working and started drinking all the time. I started seeing bruises in Nori’s arms again.
The day that Nori got into the accident at work, we all rushed to his hospital room. He was there for weeks. It was a heavy injury. He almost lost his leg, he suffered multiple fractures, and had a high fever for days. We tried keeping him company as much as we could. And thankfully he recovered. In fact, he recovered so fast that the doctors were impressed.
He was talking, laughing, and starting to walk again. It was all getting better. Nori said that he had to get back to work as fast as possible, since he has to support his mother. We didn’t know what to say. But Nori smiled and said no matter what happened, she was his mother. And one day he believed they would get along.
Then one day, a heavily injured guy was admitted to the same room as Nori. His name was Yamane. He had fractured skull from a bike accident. His mother was by his side. She was nice enough to all of us. But she seemed, intense. Like, she cared for him with all her life. Like, she absolutely couldn’t live without him.
Rather than motherly love, it was more like an obsession, he had to live for her or she would kill herself. But to our eyes, he looked like he was in pretty bad condition. He should be in ICU now, but back in the day there was no such thing.
Heavily sick people were placed next to not so sick people in the same room. At that time, we thought that she was being so obsessive because she couldn’t accept the sudden misfortune.
It was around that time that Nori’s mother came to the hospital and she cursed him off so harshly in front of everyone. Saying how it was Nori’s fault to have gotten into the accident, that he was a loser, a failure, how she would be better off without him, how she regrets giving birth to him, that he ruined her life and marriage.
That kind of stuff. Hard to believe that’s what she came to say in his hospital room. It was more like she came to release her stress on him, rather than coming to check up on him. Nori looked embarrassed and hurt. To our surprise, Yamane’s mother chased Nori’s mother after she left the room.
I thought Yamane’s mother was scolding her for the way she spoke to her son or something. Seeing the way Yamane’s mother treated her son, we imagined she wouldn’t stand the way that Nori’s mother treated her son. All the more so since now her own son couldn’t even speak.
After that, Yamane’s mother started to talk to Nori a lot. We thought she felt sorry for Nori after seeing how his mother treated him. One morning, I visited Nori as soon as the visitor hour opened, and saw Yamane’s mother already at Nori’s side, talking to him with smile attached to her face.
It looked like she was cheering him up. But Nori’s face was pale. He looked like a ghost, like his spirit was completely broken. I wondered what she was saying to him.
That day, Nori started to lose focus. He wasn’t talking as much and his mind was always somewhere else. By the evening, his speech was slurred. The doctors were confused. If he had had any concussion(which he hadn’t) it was too late for these symptoms to show up. His body didn’t have any infection that could affect the brain.
By the next day, he wasn’t himself anymore. His personality was gone. He was acting like some 3 year-old we’d never met. (We knew him when he was 3, but it wasn’t him.) We were puzzled. Nori was doing so well. What happened? Yamane’s mother was the only one smiling in the room, patiently cheering up her son and occasionally, Nori.
Continue on Yanshan Part 4