5 comments

Drama Inspirational People of Color

CW: Profanity & Alcohol use

“Ugh, this traffic is never ending,” Kameko muttered to herself as she sat in her car, surrounded by endless rows of cars. As traffic starts to move, some car tries to forcefully cut in front of her.

“Oh dude!! Come on, what the fuck are you doing??” Kameko shouted as she honked her horn.

The car swerves and manages to weave their way in front of Kameko.

“Asshole!” she says under her breath. 

 Kameko continues to drive and stops at a nearby coffee drive thru.

“At least I can get something good to drink,” she says as she pulls into the coffee shop.

“Hi, can I please get a vanilla chai latte with almond milk?” she says into the drive thru speaker.

As she places her order and drives to the front to pay, her rewards from the app don't seem to be working.

“Can you try opening the app again ma’am? It seems to be glitching” the barista said.

“Sure….not sure why that's happening” Kameko says as she refreshes the app.

“Yea..sorry miss, but the app is just crashing for some reason, it won’t let me scan the barcode.” the barista replied. 

Kameko put her head down and sighed, “Ok…I guess I'll just pay the full price for the drink then.”

Finally arriving at home, Kameko tries to wind down by turning on some TV but it doesn't take long for that to go array. 

“Damn it!! Why is it still buffering??” she says in a frustrated tone.

“You know what,” She turns off the tv. “I'm just gonna get some work done.”

Sitting at her desk, and working, she decides to play some music. 

“Hey Sammi, play some lo-fi beats,” said Kameko.

Sammi: I’m sorry but I didn't catch that.

“SAMMI, PLAY LO-FI BEATS!!” Kameko shouts. 

Sammi: …

Kameko lets out a sigh and closes her eyes, it's obvious she is upset. A few seconds later she tries to talk to Sammi again but this time in a much softer and far more patronizing tone.

“Hi Sammi, can you pretty please play some lo-fi beats, thank you so much” Kameko even cracks a menacing smile. 

Sammi:....Sorry I didn't get that.

Kameko curses under her breath, and shuts off the Sammi device. 

“I guess I’ll have to listen to it in my earbuds then” Kameko says, clearly annoyed.

Hours pass and Kameko has calmed down, getting into her work while jamming out to her music. 

“Hum hum hum” she sings under her breath. Kameko was certainly in a better mood.

Moments later she receives a facetime call from her parents, a little smile forms across her face. 

Kameko: Hey Mom, Hey Dad! Can you hear me okay?

Kameko’s Dad & Mom: Hi Hi! 

Kameko's Dad: (grumbling) この技術はわからない。 (I don't understand this technology.)

Kameko: (laughing) それは大丈夫です、父さん。私はあなたがここにいることをうれしく思います。 (It's okay, Dad. I'm happy that you're here.)

Kameko's Mom: 私たちはあなたがどうなっているか見に来ました。 (We came to see how you are.)

Kameko: ありがとうございます、お母さん。私はとても元気です。 (Thank you, Mom. I'm doing well.)

Kameko's Mom: あなたの場所は何時ですか? (What time is it there?)

Kameko: (laughing) お母さん、私たちは同じタイムゾーンです。ボストンです。 (Mom, we're in the same time zone. It's Boston.)

Kameko's Mom: ああ、そうですね! (Oh, that's right!)

Kameko's Dad: (chuckling) 私はまだ時差がわかりません。 (I still don't understand time difference.)

Kameko’s Mom: お仕事はおしごとおいかがですか? (So how is work honey?)

Kameko: (In a monotone voice) おおよそまあまあ。 (Okay.)

Kameko’s Mom: なぜただオーケー? (Why just okay?)

Kameko: Well…私はちょっと圧倒されています。いつもこんなに多くのことがあり、追いつくことができない気がします。正直に言って、休憩が必要です。 (Well…I'm just kinda overwhelmed. There is always so much to do and I feel like I'm never catching up. I honestly need a break.)

Kameko’s Mom: 仕事は続けなければなりません、まだ休憩するのは早すぎます。(But you have to keep working, it's too soon to take a break.)

Kameko’s dad agrees, but she rolls her eyes.

Kameko: 私はお母さんを知っています、私はただベントしています (I know mom, I'm just venting.)

Kameko’s mom: 「今のままでは上司には言わないことを願っています!」(Well I hope you don't say this to your boss!)

Kameko:もちろんそうではありません、なぜ私はそれをするのでしょうか? ( Of course not, why would I do that?)

Kameko’s mom:「いい仕事があるのに、なぜそれをやめたいと思うのですか?」 ( You have a good job, why would you want to give that up?)

Kameko: 「ママ、私はそれを辞めたいと言っていないんだ、ただ休みがほしいだけなのよ!」 (Mom I never said I wanted to give it up, I just want a break!)

Kameko’s Mom:「なぜ休暇が必要なの?27歳だろう?私が君の年齢だった頃、私は決して休暇を取らなかった。私はアメリカに君を連れて行くためにとても努力した。そして今、私が聞くのは君が怠け者だということだけだ!」 (Why do you need a break? You are 27! When I was your age, I never got a break. I worked so hard to get you to America, and now all I hear is that you are being lazy!)

Kameko:「ママ、私はそんなことは言っていない。それは忘れて。」 (Mom, I never said that, you know what nevermind.)

Kameko’s Dad:「ちょっと聞いてほしいんだよ、僕たちが話していることは分かっているんだから」 (Just listen to us, we know what we are talking about.)

Kameko’s parents continue to nag her, but then the connection starts to freeze. 

Kameko: Mom? Dad? I can't hear you. I think the connection is freezing.

On the computer screen her parents are getting fuzzy and their voices are going in and out.

Kameko’s Parents: H-hello?? Ka-meko??

Kameko: Hey, you guys I think the network is–

Just as she was speaking, her entire apartment goes black. 

“What the hell?” Kameko says.

She runs to the nearest window and sees that her entire block has had a black out. 

“Wow, I guess it's time to bring out the candles, '' Kameko says and she dances her way to the cabinet.

“I haven't used these in such a long time” she sings as she puts fire to the candles.

With the nice and warm ambience set, Kameko heads back over to her computer. 

“Uh I’ll call them back later” she says referring to her parents.

When she opens her last document, she notices nothing is there, and starts to search for her files all throughout her computer.

“This can’t be right” she says as she is unable to find the document she'd been working on. After 3 minutes, Kameko still can't find her documents for work, and begins to freak out. It’s almost as if there is no record of her work anywhere.

“Oh my God, why isn't it popping up? I saved it! This can't be happening right now” she says in a frantic voice. As she continues looking, she comes across a sentence no one ever wants to see. 

‘Last Saved Document 4/01’

She shuts her computer and lays back. 

“I'm screwed. I'm so screwed” she says, looking up at the ceiling. 

She glances at her calendar hanging on the wall and it reads ‘August.’

Nothing she had been working on for the past few months had been saved, due to a possible glitch in the software she was using. Once the blackout happened, it restarted everything, and the system did not keep a record.

At a loss for words, she can’t even get up, and lays on the couch in silence for 3 hours, while tears run down her face. 

Night time approaches, and Kameko still lays on the couch in a fetal position. There is so much noise coming from outside since the power went out. Cars honking and people cursing at one another fills the room. She gets up to close her window, blows out the candles and sits back down. With her cell phone nearby, she decides to scroll on there for flights & hotels. She passes places like ‘Brazil’ and ‘London’ as well as some cities in America. 

Nope

She eventually comes across ‘Japan’, and checks the price. Without hesitation, she books a trip to Japan for tonight. Even though she is still in a melancholy mood, she starts packing still yet to smile, and once she is done she heads for the door. She calls for an Uber and sits by the door, waiting. As the Uber is arriving, she begins to head out of her pitched black apartment with her phone in her hand, laptop bag across her shoulders, and Ipad in her carry on luggage. She hesitates to go out of the door, and looks at all her devices and decides to leave them behind, placing them at the front table. As she finally heads out, her apple watch is still on, she takes that off too. 

I don't need this stuff. It's only been causing me problems. I’m so fucking tired of dealing with work and calls and texts…and stupid dating apps…I hate all of it. 

She walks out the door, and downstairs to her Uber. 

“Hi, hello” she says to a man in a Prius.

Aw shucks, I didn't remember to check my driver's name.

The man turns to her, “Hi, headed to Boston Logan Airport?”

Oh thank God, this is him.

“Yes! Thanks” she steps into the car and the driver places her luggage in the trunk.

“Alright, let's go!” he says, pulling from the curb.

Kameko looks up at her apartment, “Oh wait! I forgot something.”

What am I doing? I can't leave…I have work. What was I even thinking… leaving all of my shit up there? 

Kameko stands outside the car just thinking to herself. 

No, get back in the car.

“Sorry! Nevermind I have everything” she says to the driver. 

She buckles her seatbelt and they drive off. 

When she arrives at the airport, she runs into some small issues. 

“Sorry ma’am, without the confirmation code, I can’t see your flight” the representative says. 

I really didn't think this through.

“You see, I left all my technological devices at home…on purpose. So I don't have access to that information.” Kameko responded.

The representative sighs, “So did you happen to write down that information somewhere?”

Oh yea..I guess I could have done that too.

“....No, I didn't think to do that. It all just kinda happened so fast” Kameko says.

“Well….let me see what I can do for you” the representative says as she whispers to her coworkers. 

Kameko, uncomfortable, goes for her pocket, but then remembers she doesn't have her phone. 

Dang it!

After the debacle at the front desk, she was able to retrieve a physical boarding pass and heads through TSA. Once she is all done, she walks to her gate and takes a seat. 

Wow it's pretty empty…nice.

On the intercom, an announcement about a change of gate location is made but Kameko doesn’t seem to be paying attention. The announcement is made again 5 minutes later and Kameko still doesn’t acknowledge the message. For a third time the announcement is made another 5 minutes later and Kameko hears it.

Eh if there were any changes to my flight I would have felt a buzz in my pocket…wait.

She feels for her pocket and again, realizes she doesn't have her phone.

Uhhhh damn it!

She gets up from her seat and rushes to the flight agent, “Hi, is this the gate for Flight 2356? Going to Japan?”

The woman looks at her computer, “No, I'm afraid they made a few announcements on the intercom about the gate location changing. The gate is now 8, they also said they are departing shortly, that also was stated in the announcement.”

“Ugh okay, how far away is gate 8?”

The woman frowns, “You might want to try and catch an indoor shuttle, it's quite a walk.”

“Oh no, really?”

“Yes, and ma’am? Your flight will be leaving in 5 minutes” the woman explains to Kameko.

With those words Kameko grabs her things and sprints, hoping she will pass a shuttle. Eventually she does, and makes it just in time for her flight. 

On the plane, the pilot makes last minute announcements as they are getting ready to take off. 

Whew okay, a bit of a shaky start but atleast I made it.

She gets comfy in her chair and closes her eyes, awaiting take off. Kameko ends up falling asleep and the plane takes off smoothly. 

“Alright, the flight attendants will be coming down the aisle shortly to hand out refreshments.”

Kameko still sound asleep, doesn't hear a thing. When the attendant comes to her aisle, she suddenly wakes up. 

“Hi miss, care for any snacks or drinks?” the attendant asks.

Kameko smiles, still waking up, “Sure, I'll take an orange juice please.”

As the attendant is pouring her drink, a baby from two rows behind starts crying so loud that it wakes Kameko up entirely. The babies screams, even wake up another baby a few rows ahead. 

“You know what, can you add some vodka to my drink, actually?” Kameko says with a chuckle. 

A couple passengers laugh and the attendant smiles.

“Of course dear” she says to Kameko.

Oh what I would give for some headphones right now.

Upon arriving in Japan, Kameko lets out a sigh of relief as she exits the plane. She takes a deep breath and takes it all in.

I'm finally here.

She makes her way out of the airport and into the hustling city; Tokyo. 

Wow, it's so much busier than I remember.

Kameko heads into the crowded city with all her belongings looking for a market or store for essentials. She ends up seeing one not too far and buys some food, water and other items.

Oooh I'm gonna get this journal for my thoughts…and oooh some postage for sending letters…and oooooh a disposable camera.

After she purchases all her goods, the train arrives and she heads to her Ryokan inn, which is in a small village a few hours from Tokyo. The place is beautiful, and she immediately falls in love with it. Once settled in, she sits on the ground and stares out of the window.

Man it's so quiet here..it's so peaceful…no honking horns or smell of pollution..it's such bliss.

Kameko’s eyes slowly blink, with her head falling back, she eventually drifts off to sleep.

A couple days go by and Kameko is struggling with her new lifestyle. All her food has to be made fresh, and if she does want pre made food, she'll have to travel hours by train to the city and get it herself. She also misses binge watching her favorite shows on the TV and even scrolling through Youtube when she's bored. It also kills her that in the city, everyone is using their phones and taking selfies here and there, it's almost like they are rubbing it in her face. The disposable camera just isn't the same as being able to see the photos instantly, the journal is too much work to write in all the time and sending letters, well she doesn't really feel like dealing with the backlash she will get from her parents once they found out what she did.

Hmm I should send them a letter or contact them though, they are probably worried, since we haven't spoken since the black out a few days ago. 

She decides to write a letter to her parents, explaining everything, even mentioning that she won't be coming back any time soon since her lease at her apartment was up anyway, and that she's always hated her job and only kept at it to please people. Once she finishes pouring her emotions into the letter, she walks it over to the nearest post office in the village.

Before dropping it in the mailbox she thinks to herself.

I just hope they understand…all I ever wanted was for them to be proud. And if they aren't then–

She stops mid thought, and notices a small kitty playing at her feet. She bends down and just stares at it in awe. 

“Awww, how cute are you!” she says as she gives the kitty love. A young boy comes up to her, running and calling for the kitten to come back, apologizing to Kameko for the kitten escaping. Kameko doesn't mind and asks the boy how old the kitten is. The boy responds and they both turn around to hear the young boy’s grandmother calling him from a distance. Kameko stands back up still holding the kitten and tries to give it back to the boy but the kitten won't let go. The grandmother eventually walks over to see what's going on and notices the kittens' affection for Kameko and they all laugh. The grandma introduces herself and her grandson, then invites Kameko to dinner with them, since the kitten has taken such a liking towards her. She is so surprised but grateful and accepts the invitation. They all walk out together, and Kameko puts the letter she was going to mail in her back pocket. 

 Uh, I’ll mail it to them later.

A month goes by and Kameko has formed a strong bond with the grandmother and grandson from the post office. She is even living with them now, helping out around the house and working at the post office. The kitten has grown, and still won't let go of Kameko when she holds her. Eventually she sends off the letter meant for her parents but haven't heard back from them, which she is in no rush for. 

They will probably disown me when they read it but I don't even care. I’ve got a new family now.

The village people also have gotten familiar with Kameko and she has become the talk of the town. She loves every second of being here, and found what she believes was always home. She doesn't miss her phone, or any other device because she has all the love and family, right here in Japan. 

Back at the house, Kameko is tending to the garden, talking to the grandmother when a handsome young man waves hello and comes up to the fence.

(In Japanese) 

“I see you around here so often, what is your name?” he asks Kameko.

“Kameko,” she says with a smile. “What’s yours?”

“Sota” he grins. 

They talk for a minute or two before he asks her out for some food and to read some manga. She turns back to the grandmother, and she waves her hands “go”. Kameko smiles and walks out the fence. He waves goodbye to the grandma and he and Kameko head off. 

(In Japanese)

“You're not on Tinder, are you?” Kameko asks. 

Sota looks confused, “Uh, Tinder?”

Yep, I knew this place was heaven.

Sota smiles, “What is a Tinder?”

Kameko turns to Sota, “Trust me, you don’t wanna know.”

February 11, 2023 04:57

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

5 comments

Wendy Kaminski
21:51 Feb 15, 2023

I got such a kick out of this exchange: "“SAMMI, PLAY LO-FI BEATS!!” Kameko shouts. // Sammi: …" LOL :) This was a lovely story! It definitely took the prompt to entirely new levels, with the country change - a reminder that not everywhere has forced technology upon the populace, and it's possible to live a simple, harmonious and wonderful life without all of that. :) Thank you for the terrific story, Nisaa!

Reply

Noon Moon
01:26 Feb 19, 2023

🤣 yes! those darn devices never work! And awww thanks so much Wendy, I strive to one day live an analog lifestyle! Really love your feedback, ill have to check out some of your stories soon too 😎

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Graham Kinross
23:29 Feb 11, 2023

I just had a similar issue with a document I was supposed to submit at work. I’d edited on a laptop at work and all of the information was there then forgotten to submit it. My boss asked for it as I was heading home and looking at it on my phone there was nothing, completely blank. Luckily when I sent a link to my wife the info showed for her. No idea why. Aren’t headphones standard on flights? I think the airlines do anything they can to distract people to make them easier to deal with. This reminds me a bit of living in Tokyo, except tha...

Reply

Noon Moon
01:23 Feb 19, 2023

Oh mannnn its the worst when something doesn't save! I edit sometimes, at that has happened and when it does I wish I could travel to Japan like Kameko haha and oh right I totally forgot about the headphones they give you on the plane 🤣 haha I also have strays where I live and they are more skittish than anything, but if you do try to give them a pet they will swat at you! 😭 thanks so much again for reading! Really loving your comments :)) Im going to check out some of your stories to soon 😁

Reply

Graham Kinross
02:39 Feb 19, 2023

We lured the stray cat gang into our house once with a trail of cat treats. Sacrificing purse to the mosquitoes seemed worth it but then the cats bit us the moment we tried to pet them. Worth a shot though. I’ve accepted that they are just beautiful creatures I will have to appreciate from afar, and take photos of when they’re sunbathing. For that reason I think they hate me a bit.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.