When I was younger, my mother told me a story. She said that it was the same story her parents told her, and the same story their parents told them. First, she sat me down on a tatami mat, wordlessly, and set a piece of paper in front of her. It was a long, thin strip, a dull plain white compared to the red gloss of her nails and the pink of her kimono. She began folding it, faster than my tiny mind could follow. I watched, wide eyed with wonder at the miracle that was occurring right before me. Finally, after she pushed the edges together, ‘inflating’ the small balloon, she stopped and met my eyes. For the first time that day, she spoke to me. Her voice was quiet, but steady. There was an undertone though, that held something. A glimpse of wistfulness, a slight hint of what little happiness she could muster. “This is a luck star, Hoshi. It is what you are named after.”
Hoshi, my name, meant ‘star’. My father used to say that I shined brighter than all the stars in the sky. “Every time you feel as though you are losing hope, make one. Collect all of them, and keep them in a jar. Once you have collected one thousand of them, make a wish. It can be anything. If you make a thousand, your wish will be granted.” My childlike innocence led me to believe her. I knew that it was unrealistic, but at that point, I needed something to invest faith in. I was seven then. My father had died a few months before, fighting for a cause he didn’t believe in. I didn’t understand completely what he and my mother were talking about, or their discussions late at night. I didn’t grasp the concept of who Hitler was, or the severity of the war they saw, looming in the near distant future. He was ordered to fight, and he did so, leaving behind my mother and I. I remember asking her, about when he would be back and why he left. I remember missing him tucking me in at night, and feeling a ghost of a kiss left on my forehead. Of course, now I understand the plague of hatred attacking our nation. I understand the cruelty left behind from the actions of man.
I don’t know why, even after my naivety was killed, I still continue to make those lucky stars my mother told me about. I suppose I still need something to believe in. After all, what good are we without hope? I have made exactly 900 stars so far. I think it’s kind of sad that I already have so many, that there is so much physical evidence of my despair, but all I can do now is continue in hopes of getting that one wish. I already have planned it out, my wish. I would ask for this war to be over. I would ask for all the soldiers to return home, for no more fighting, for no more violence. I would wish for no more unnecessary deaths to occur due to some man’s deluded ideals. I really did love my city of Hiroshima, and I liked living here with my mother. But I hated seeing all the sadness, from the children whose fathers went to war like mine, from the wives whose husbands would never lovingly greet them again, from the mothers and fathers whose sons would never speak to them once more. I don’t know why, but I feel as though something big will occur soon. That something major will be changing the tide of the war. I still miss my father, and deeply wish to see him. I will probably be adding another star to my jar soon. Maybe I will reach one thousand, and maybe my wish will come true. I think it would be nice to see it, a new age of happiness.