I used to think my life had ended when I lost my father and I could no longer return to Virginia. Our ship had crashed on the Chinese coast, and I had washed up on a beach. They were going to execute me for being a foreigner with blue eyes like a demon. But Lady Chikaru, the wife of a Daimyo, took me in. And she taught me what a woman here needs to know, like art, music, and dance.
One day, a Shogun’s representative came on an inspection tour. And Lord Sakamori, the husband of my Lady, organized a banquet.
“Can a foreign woman dance?” our guest remarked upon seeing me.
“My Lord, since we are at a party,” Lady Chikaru spoke, “it would be my honor if Rebecca and I could dance for the viewing pleasure of your excellency.”
Her husband nodded in approval.
Lady Chikaru asked for a fan for me. The silence felt so heavy as we stood before the audience that I could hear someone crack their knuckles. Then, my Lady started to sing:
“Fate is but the changing seasons,
“Once summer came, so the flowers,
“Under the sun. Sorrow became but the past,
“Now that summer has arrived. Oh, summer has arrived.”
My Lady’s voice offered harmony, which helped me dance with her like a flower basking in the sunlight.
I had come to think of my life like a seed lost from its birthplace and then found in a new land. I found my happiness once again like a flower blooming over a root firm and deep in the soil that was its new home.
Lady Chikaru and I maintained our friendship till the end of our days.
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