Image of a wind-up bird

What happens when you read Haruki Murakami?

You end up with dreams like this one:

My Grandma Rose died (who died in actuality a year and a half ago).  I was at this big family reunion/house party thing, and my dad asked me if I wanted to see my grandmother, who, at that moment, was at death’s door. I told him no, thinking I didn’t want to see her in that state. My dad went to see her, then came back to the party and told me she was dead. He cried a lot and kept apologizing for it, and I tried to comfort him. I remembered the things I said to him when my grandma died in real life and tried to ask him the same questions and elicit the same memories of his childhood.

My dad then suggested that we (he, my brother, possibly a distant cousin/uncle, and I) go get some food. He decided that we should make reservations at Merchant, but I thought that Red Sushi would be better.

I had their app on my phone, but it seemed really difficult to call them and make a reservation, and I failed multiple times. I knew there was a 4-person minimum for a reservation, so I planned to say we had 4 people, though I wasn’t clear who the 4th person would be. It could have been my distant uncle/cousin or my grandmother, though she’d just died.

I went back to the picnic table where my dad, brother, and distant cousin/uncle were sitting. My distant cousin/uncle was patting my dad’s back. My Grandmother was there too. I was confused as to whether she was dead or still sick.

“I’m so tired,” she said, lowering her head into her hands.

I stroked her back. “Just rest, Grandma. It’s OK to rest.”

She seemed relieved and lay her head on the table, smiling. My grandma looked the way she had when I was a little girl–doughy armed and wearing a house dress, with brown curls tight against her scalp–not the way she looked in real life right before she died.

She faded like a hologram as she accepted death. I waited for her to disappear.

I realized I still needed to make a reservation at Red Sushi. I used the app again, but realized we only had 3 people now, not 4. I decided to lie and say we had 4, then tell them someone had backed out once we arrived. I left the restaurant a voicemail with my name and what time we’d be there.

I found myself traveling alone to the restaurant by bicycle. It was a pleasant day out, warm and sunny with a few clouds. I hoped to ride around the Capitol, but there was a marathon just beginning and the roads were blocked off. I stashed my bike behind something because I didn’t want it to be in the way. The first few competitors ran past, then I grabbed my bike and continued on to Red Sushi.

When I arrived at the restaurant, the manager came out–a tubby, long-bearded gentleman–and sat down with me. He reminded me that I’d applied for a job as a hostess, but when they’d tried to contact me I’d never responded. He complimented me on my skill at navigating their app. He handed me a large package that looked like an ornately wrapped wooden pallet.

“We sent this to you to extend our job offer,” the manager said. “But it was returned to the sender. Does that mean you weren’t interested?”

“No,” I said. “I just never received the package.”

“It’s yams,” the manager said. “And a few other things.”

I asked to see the original application. The manager handed it to me, and I saw that the wrong address had been jotted down. An address I’d never even heard of. Strange.

“How much does the position pay?” I asked, though I couldn’t remember having applied.

“$39 an hour,” said the manager.

Wow! And for a hostess position!

The man handed me the package, and I told him I’d accept the job.

Image of my grandmother
R.I.P Grandma Rose
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