The samurai warrior sits down next to me and stares silently ahead.
“Aren’t you going to ask me how my day was?” I sigh.
“No. I want to know what you have learned.”
“I’ve met some great people…” My voice breaks and I am silent. I try to swallow my tears, but I feel them roll down my cheeks. Takuya looks at me and to my surprise gently hands me a tissue.
“Thank you.” I pat my face and clear my throat.
“I miss the people I didn’t even know existed… my sister, my neighbor, my husband and my best friend. When will I see them again, Takuya?”
“They are with you often,” he reassures me. “And you will meet them again anyway when your time here on earth is up. So there is no reason to mourn.”
That’s a relief!
I take the lychee out of my bag and start peeling off the skin. “Mai is so sweet… She left me this lychee, as a kind of souvenir of our meeting.”
Takuya closely follows my actions. I eye my guide with slight suspicion.
“Oh no, this is mine. You may have stolen the salmon, but you won’t get the lychee!”
I quickly take a bite of the fruit and move a little further away from the Japanese man.
“If I had wanted the lychee, I would have already eaten it by now.”
I close my eyes and try to enjoy the fruit for as long as possible.
“Mai reminded me that I should enjoy the little things more. Like this fruit. But also things like a beautiful sunset, or making flower bracelets.”
I turn to my guide and proudly show Takuya the fragile bracelet on my wrist.
“And Omar got me to dance, in the middle of the street, with a large group of people around me. It was so much fun!”
“What was the lesson?”
I pause to think for a moment.
“It doesn’t matter what other people think. Enjoy the moment to the fullest.”
Takuya nods, satisfied with my answer.
“What did you think of Joseph?”
I can feel my cheeks glowing.
“An interesting and quirky man,” I say in a neutral tone, avoiding Takuya’s gaze.
“There is no point in hiding your feelings from me, Mackenzie. I know everything about you,” Takuya remarks dryly. I scowl at him. Frustrating, such an all-knowing guide.
“What did you learn from him?”
“That I have to follow my heart. Life is too short to waste my time on things that don’t suit me.”
“Good. So that’s what you’re going to do from now on, aren’t you?”
It sounds like a threat.
“Well … I’m going to do my best!” I raise two thumbs and give him a reassuring smile.
“And with Catherine you just climbed this hill…” he continues.
Takuya glares at me as if to say ‘we’re not in the Himalayas’.
“Okay, hill,” I mumble quickly. “Yes, she taught me how important it is to fully accept yourself. Both the beautiful and the ugly parts.”
“A very wise lesson,” Takuya confirms.
We sit next to each other in silence for a moment.
“But you haven’t learned the most important lesson yet, I’m afraid,” he suddenly says in a gruff tone.
My heart skips a beat.
“What have I missed?!”
He nods to the lychee in my hand.
“You should share your food with your companion.”
I squint my eyes and stare at him as intimidatingly as I possibly can. He doesn’t seem impressed and stares back, holding out his hand with the palm upwards. After a few seconds I burst out laughing.
“Okay, okay, you win!” I hand him half the fruit.
Takuya happily bites the lychee.
“Will you now leave me alone for the rest of my life?”
The Japanese guide gets up and pulls me to my feet, not too gently.
“That is entirely up to you. If you live your life wisely and with joy, then I will keep my distance. However, if you waste your time again, traveling around all grumpy and aimless, then I’ll know where to find you…”
I smile at him.
“I can live with that!”
“Alright, let’s get back to your hotel.”
“Then we’ll pack your suitcase,” he decides resolutely. “You are taking the first plane back home tomorrow morning. Your life is waiting for you.”
“Ah, good. Will you be carrying my luggage to the airport?”
Takuya glares and pretends to extract his samurai sword from its sheath. My eyes widen and I recoil, quickly raising my hands.
“Okay, okay, I’ll carry my bags myself!”
Takuya nods, turns around and takes brisk strides towards the cable car, which will take us back to downtown Bergen. I follow at a safe distance, with a grateful smile on my face.
Scroll down and click on page 7 for the last chapter.