Today BigMan pulled down a new book - one of my favourite books - from the bookshelf. I first remember having it read to me during our Library lesson in Grade Three. I never forgot it. When my brother and his (then) fiancée (now wife) gave it to me after their visit to Hiroshima, I was speechless. When BigMan asked me to read it to him today, I cried.
The book is ‘Sadako’. It is the story of a young girl growing up in 1950s Japan, who dreams of being a world-class runner. She remembers the ‘Thunderbolt’, even though she was only a baby - the same age as BigMan is now - in 1945. Soon after celebrating ‘Peace Day’ in 1954, it becomes apparent that Sadako is suffering from the ‘Atom Bomb Disease’. Her friend Chizuko starts Sadako on the ambitious task of making one thousand paper cranes, as legend tells them that, “If a sick person folds one thousand paper cranes, the gods will grant her wish and make her well again.”
BigMan didn’t sit still for the entire story. He started playing ‘Bob the Builder’ and pretending to be a lion. He didn’t see me crying as I finished the story. He doesn’t know how haunting and poignant his story choice was this morning. One day though, when BigMan and LittleLady are older I will read Sadako to them – cover to cover. I will tell them about the ‘Thunderbolt’. And then I will tell them about the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. And we will pray.