She met Hidekazu on the climb up Mount Kinabalu. Shy glances turned serious and before anyone knew what’s going on, she was taking Japanese lessons and listening to J-pop.
One day a year ago she asked what I would say to her - "if I were your daughter" - had I been told she was turning her back on life and career in Malaysia for a fresh start overseas. Maybe for good. She said it was a chance in a lifetime starting anew in a small countryside in Japan, working in a ‘friend’s’ shop making Japanese cakes and pastries. It's a village outside the city and immigration officers were unlikely to drag her away for working illegally. She would take her chances.
Besides, she wasn’t getting any younger and she did not want to settle down one day wondering ‘what if’ at chances she let slip. Would I let her go? She was certain it was God’s doing, opening doors, bringing opportunities her way: what did I think?
What could I say?
This evening at Cyberview Lodge Resort Hotel, family and friends from near and afar celebrated her marriage. She looked wonderful, positively radiant, arm locked in Hide’s. On the screen in the banquet hall, we saw slides of her in a kimono, eyes looking askance. There she is with family, hers and Hide's, in a formal studio shot. Then, another of the couple beneath a cherry blossom tree. And another, of kissing silhouettes. And another of the two posing in the autumnal light of a scenic lakeside, swathed in scattered brown and gold.
She still could not believe that life could be so good to her, she said. It was like a storybook, a dream. Except she was living it. Everyone was happy for her, and they told her so - perhaps with a tinge of envy. Fairy tales do come true.