My mother cried her eyes red for the next several days, but oddly enough I couldn't bring myself to grieve. Only once did I shed tears over my sister. It happened two or three days after Nipper arrived in the mail. My brother and Mikiko had gone to the video store and picked up the animated My Neighbor the Totoro. Then they stopped by my room to invite me to watch it with them. As I walked down the hallway, I realized their actions were innocent, there were no bad intentions. No one could have known what would happen. After casually putting a small tray of cookies together and boiling a hot pot of tea, I moved into the living room and sat down around the coffee table with the others.
Five minutes into the video I knew it was not going to be fun.
The movie was about two sisters. The images were familiar, and memories from my past came tumbling in, one after another, like waves rolling up on a beach. The two were together throughout their childhood, but that youthfulness was short-lived. The color and the blissfulness, the light, the wind - everything was imprinted on my mind.
Actually, I wasn't trying to think about my own sister.
When we were kids we would often go with our mother to the mountain highlands, just the three of us. Mayu and I would snuggle up inside the mosquito tents and fall asleep telling ghost stories. Her thin, brown hair; her babylike smell. I didn't want to recall any of those things while watching the video, but the memories hit me anyway, striking me with a tremendous blow. It was as though the world has suddenly turned to darkness. [...]
I cried for time lost - time lost between sisters everywhere.
Amrita, Washington Square Press, 1997