Shadows of War

Shadows of War

Circa 1950, 8th August. 9 a.m.

Akito looked spruce in his black kimono. He smiled at his reflection in the mirror.

“Suteki.” She would have complimented him.

He locked his house and started walking. On the way, he bought a bouquet of red roses. She loved red roses. Akito adjusted his hair before he got to the Hiroshima peace memorial museum. The gatekeeper knew him well.

“Ohayougozaimasu. Kekkon kinenbi omedetou!” The gatekeeper greeted him. “Too crowded. Many foreign visitors today.” He informed Akito.

He went inside to find the place jam-packed. A couple was arguing about some facts just at the spot of his interest.

***

Circa 1945, 6th August

Hiroshima

8.05 a.m.  

Sakura hurried down the lane. She had to go to the bank to withdraw money before reaching her office. Her husband was out of the town for some official work. 

The bank had still not opened when she reached. She felt relieved. Being first in the queue means her work would be over in a few minutes time. She sat on the stone step of the bank. Sakura was thinking what gift to buy for husband for their first anniversary. She also had good news for him. She was pregnant. She was planning to surprise him over a candlelight dinner. 

8.15a.m

Two loud explosions rocked Hiroshima that morning. The noise and the light were akin to a volcano eruption in the sun itself. The city was devastated in a flash. The streets were all full of rubbles and dead bodies. The acrid smoke and the heat assailed everyone’s senses. The screams of the injured were heart-wrenching. 

Sukira was reduced to a mere shadow on the stairs of Sumitomo Bank where she sat a few seconds before.

***

Circa 1950, 8th August. 10 a.m.

“This nuclear bomb was necessary to teach these Japanese a lesson.” The man told his companion.

“Nonsense. Japanese could have surrendered through other means. It breaks my heart to read this description. Imagine her family.” 

“Excuse me, please.” Akito interrupted them, wiping tears from his face.

He placed the bouquet by the shadow on the stair.

“Kinenbi omedetou Ai.” He said planting a kiss on the shadow.

The couple was perplexed. Tears stung the girl’s eyes.

“We are sorry, it was so insensitive of him to say so.” she apologized, crying. 

“We have to stop glorifying wars. Wars are catastrophic. These shadows of war haunt us each day. The sun has forever set in our lives in this land of rising sun.” Akito spoke softly.

“Your wife?” The girl asked.

“Yes. She had called me at the hotel’s phone at 8.02 a.m. before leaving the house that ill-fated day. 8.15 a.m., the bank was still closed when the bombings happened. She must have sat there when the explosion took place. People who survived tell me, she just evaporated. I wish I was with her that day. We would have been at a better place than this vicious world.”

———-
Glossary
Suteki- You look great
Ohayougozaimasu – Good morning
Kekkon kinenbi omedetou- Happy anniversary
Ai- Loved one
———–
All the characters are fictional. This story is a fictional account of the mysterious shadows that were formed at various places after the bomb blasts that shook Hiroshima. According to the museum, it is thought that the person had been sitting on the stone step waiting for the bank to open when the heat from the bomb blast burned the surrounding stone white and left their shadow.
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2 thoughts on “Shadows of War

  1. Very well composed and I could live the day through your description of the scenes, emotional and beautiful.

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