Last week a letter from Masami, a classmate of mine, arrived at my wife. My wife and I wondered why she wrote my wife, not me. Reading her letter, we learned this: She wrote me first, and after sealing the envelope she wanted also to write my wife reminding herself of the latter's voice when the former called me last year.
Masami enclosed a gift, to my wife, of postcards on which drawings of plants were printed. Those drawings are the works of a female botanical artist who lives in the same city as Masami and whom she likes.
Somehow Masami's letter to me arrived the next day. She wrote an excuse for not sending me a New Year card because of being in the mourning and thanked me for telling her about Takao's death at the reunion of our elementary school. Masami and Takao were friends in infancy, and the latter was one of my best friends. He died in Australia in July 2003 soon after moving there with his wife to live near his son's family's.
Masami enclosed a photo in the envelope to me. It was a snapshot of the private exhibition of pictures of the man by the name of Nakajima. In an oil painting at the center of the photo a beautiful lady dancing flamenco in a pink dress and a brown hat was drawn. Masami's letter explains that she was the model for this picture four years ago, that she wanted for me to keep this photo as a reminder of a girl classmate at an elementary school and that she had also wanted very much to show it to Takao.
When I told her about Takao's death, Masami put her hand on mine saying, "Oh, it's sad!" When we were about to part after the reunion, she shook my hand thanking me for my telling about Takao's death. Generally, Japanese women of our age do not show such a Western style of manner. I now understand the reason; she has been practicing flamenco as a hobby for about ten years.
In return to her letter I sent Masami a printed copy of Takao's last e-mail message to me and his wife's that told me about his death, as well as photos of two watercolors I made last year.