Keep My Word


My Dear Dysfunctional Family

One of my female friends sent me an email saying that she ditched her boyfriend for  a new guy. The thing is that they had been together for nearly two decades.

Life is interesting indeed.

It just reminds me of my parents who have been keeping their dysfunctional relationship for more than 40 years.  It's quite common everywhere but their case is somewhat different from others:

My mother was born and raised in Tokyo and is always fond of living in a big city. But when she got married to my father, they were forced to move to Kyoto and lived there for nearly 20 years. (My father promised to my mother that they would go back to live in Tokyo after 3 years that's why she agreed to move to Kyoto.)

As a kid, I really loved my mother but my father was never around so he was a total stranger to me. That was the period of rapid economic growth and was called as "Japanese Miracle". He only took a day off in a month and was always late to come back home. 

There was a neighbour who was 15 years older than me and was always around and played together all the time. So one day, I asked him to be my father cause it made more sense to me. ( I was probably only 4-5 years old back then.)

Meanwhile, my mother was having a hard time to cope with the country life where there was a river and mountains instead of skyscrapers and nightlife. (To me, it was all nice and beautiful, I still love the town I was born.)

At weekends, we used to go to the center of Kyoto and my mother always bought some clothes. Sometimes, she spent all the money she had and needed to call my father then he would drop by and gave my mother some more money to go back home. 

Every time we went out, I was always lost.

I had trouble following my mother and sister. So I was wondering the city on my own and needed to look for them every single time we went out.

My mother was some sort of a shopping addict but well, it wasn't that heavy and I think it's so much better than being a drug addict and alcoholic. (Once my father gave her a credit card but had to stop her to use know why?)

Every summer, we spent exactly 40 days in my grandparent's house located in a seaside of Kanagawa prefecture. My mother waited outside for us at school and right after we finished the closing ceremony, we were off to go there.

As a kid, it all looked natural and didn't question myself. Besides, I loved my grandpa's house. Everyday, we went to the beach and ate seafood. What else you need? 

But all of a sudden, everything was changed. 

First of all, my mother made my sister take an entry exam at the same high school she went in Tokyo. Fortunately or unfortunately, my sister passed the exam.

After that , there was a lot of disputes between them and I've heard that even my father cried. I was 14 years old but wasn't considered old enough to take a part of this dispute.

When finally they all agreed that we were going to move to Tokyo, they told me about it. The problem was that he wanted to keep the job he had and wasn't coming with us.

Officially, we became a dysfunctional family. 

Of course, we always had been a dysfunctional family but it wasn't apparent, especially to me. We were all looking at different directions but my father wanted to keep us as a family. So did we.

Personally speaking, I still think they should have got divorced at that time.

After we moved to Tokyo, he had to live on his own until he retired 6-7 years ago. All the while, he was paying our bills for basically nothing. We didn't see each other so often, probably 2-3 times a year at the maximum.

When I was 18, I spent a summer with him cause I wanted to understand why he didn't want to get divorced and even tried to persuade him to get divorced as soon as possible.

It was irrational and I doubt that they have ever really loved each other. Furthermore, It was an arranged marriage and they have nothing in common. Even now, my mother complains about my father who acts as if he lived on his own in the same flat.

Better late than never.

Whenever I meet with my mother, I try to persuade her to get divorced. I know that it's not going to happen. And with my father, we hardly talk now. Somewhat I've lost respect for him.

They have tried all their lives to make things work but failed to do so. My mother has already concluded their relationship that they got married because of having my sister and me. (Mom, then it's now OK to get divorced, you will still have us.)

A relationship is a mystery and can be irrational like my parents. 
But it's just fine to end it if you see it's not working even after so many years of marriage.

We are all free to go and gain whatever we want in our lives.