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  • Writer's pictureStefan Neff

From Zero To Hero Chapter 12

A Life Was Lost & New Life Had Arrived

The summer had arrived and Tomoko had been gone for over three months. I was wondering if she was ever coming back to Canada, and would she ever be in my arms again. She had just lost her father and her loss was so devastating that at five months pregnant, her doctor told her that she shouldn’t move around too much because the stress she was under, from losing her father, would cause her to lose her unborn child. So, coming to Canada was going to have to be put on hold, until she delivered our child.

Throughout her pregnancy, she keep hounding me for money, so that she could live a comfortable life while she was in Japan. But what I didn’t tell her was that while she was away, I had gone bankrupt. I didn’t want to tell her so she wouldn’t see me as the flake

that I really was. There were some things that I didn’t tell her about because I thought it was my business, not hers. She wanted me to start the paperwork and get organized for her to receive the landed immigrant paperwork that was needed for her to come back to Canada. There were so many things that I needed to get done, but I was feeling so depressed and lonely that I did nothing. Well, that was the excuse I was giving her at the time. Frigging I was so stupid, right?

I was a man without a conscious. I didn’t care about anybody but myself. When I finally applied for her permit, they told me that because I went bankrupt I was ineligible to sponsor anyone to come to Canada for the next five years. I was absolutely exhausted from her

phoning me and having to deal with the government. I started to give up all hope of bringing her back to Canada.

I never told her anything about all the problems that were going on in my life. Again, they were my problems, not hers, but they turned into her problem as well, when she asked for the real truth from me and I straight out lied to her. I stopped answering her phone calls for a

few weeks so that I could figure out what to do about my situation.

I was so afraid that she would stop loving me if she knew the truth, and would want to get a divorce as soon as possible. Then on December 5th, 2001, our child was born. What an awesome feeling it was to be a father again. But I felt so far away from my baby boy, that I felt left out. I wanted to see him so much that I cried at night, thinking of his beautiful face, I

imagined holding him in my arms, and telling him a bedtime story.

I finally got up the strength to call her and make arrangements to visit them in Japan. I couldn’t seem to scrounge up the money to go, until I said to myself, “I need to go and see my son right now.” I broke down and asked my father for a loan to go. This was one of the most painful moments in my life, having to ask for money from my Dad, but I knew that this was my only option if I wanted to see my son. I begged and pleaded with him for over an hour until he said yes, because to him, I was a deadbeat, drug user alcoholic bum.

I had to sign a promissory note that I was going to pay the loan back within a six months. I decided to agree to his terms and took the money, all while thinking I was never going to pay him back, because he said I was no good for nothing, just like my mother. This was going to be his payback for those cruel words.

I hated him so much, but I needed him for his money. That was my sole purpose for asking for his help in going to Japan. I missed my son so much. It took way too long but I was finally ready to go to Japan now and see them both. I wasn’t really sure what kind of reception I was going to get though. Was it going to be good, bad or real ugly? That was going to depend on my love for her or if she even still loved me.

There was a feeling of uneasiness between us, and I knew I had to try to do something to make it right or if I didn’t then it was definitely over with between us. It was going on to February and my son was already two months old. I was totally prepared for anything, or so I thought. I got on the airplane for Japan with a happy outlook, that everything was going to be great. I had money in my pocket, at least enough to survive. I did have a few drinks on the airplane, just to ease the ride over, but that turned into much more than a few. By the time I arrived, I was absolutely smashed out of my mind. When I walked through the airport I looked like a drunken bum and smelled like a liquor store.

I went into the bathroom to clean myself up and looked into the mirror, I saw a cold man staring back at me, with a look of despair on his face. He looked like an empty shell, hollow and without meaning. There had been nothing going on in my life except the hope of something greater than myself. “What a waste of space I am on this planet.” I told myself, “You must be strong. People are depending on you, now. Suck it up and go meet your son.

I walked out of the bathroom with a bit more confidence, ready to go see them both. As I dragged my luggage alongside me, with my eyes wide open, having cleaned myself up a little, I saw them waving from a distance. I ran toward them with a smile on my face.

I could see that she looked different for some reason. She looked like a mother now, not the woman I saw before she left Canada. She had short hair and her face was glowing with care in her heart. I wasn’t sure what to think but was so happy to see her again regardless.

I looked down inside the stroller and there was my beautiful little boy, all bundled up like a gift from heaven. We didn’t say much to each other besides ‘hello’ and ‘how are you.’ It seemed a little uncomfortable at first, but on the ride back to her place things seemed to smooth out.

I remember I was put in the back of the car, and that felt weird. I felt kind of disrespected. “Why am I put in the back? I am a man, I should be in the front seat with her,” but she had her own way of living and I thought maybe in Japan they do things a little differently. I pushed those feeling down into my stomach to keep them happy.

When we finally arrived, I found myself being treated as an outsider at her house. I felt like I was in jail, waiting for my paperwork to come, but I knew it would never arrive because there was no paper to be found in this situation, only this feeling of coldness from the two of them.

I believed it was time for me to sit back and go for a ride on a train called life. There was nowhere to go and nowhere to hide, for I was in a place of displacement, a cruise ship without lifeboats.

The sun had risen the following day and I was still there. What was I thinking of going for a walk at 6:00 in the morning waiting for the sun to come up? I was thinking about how could I get some marijuana in Japan. Yes, it was part of my morning routine to smoke pot first thing, but I knew that if I was caught with Marijuana I would be put in jail for life in the country.

I went to the corner store and got a beer, yes at 6:00 in the morning. I needed it to take the edge off. I didn’t care about it much at that point, I needed it so bad. When I went back to the house, she was up with our son. She asked, “Where did you go so early?”

I said, “I just went for a walk by myself.” She told me she wanted us to talk about our future together. That was her plan. My plan was much different though. I wanted to just hang out with my son, go for walks, and just pass the time until I had to take them both back to Canada with me.

But she said, “We need to talk about things.” I had no choice but to listen. I was trapped there and she had the key to my cell door.

She wasn’t the same nice Japanese girl I fell in love with a year ago, that’s for sure. She had grown angry and cold as ice. I had a strong feeling creeping up inside my gut that she had different plans for our life than I did. What her plans were, I wasn’t sure yet. All I could figure out was, that it wasn’t going to be what I wanted in my life.

The day went on with some discussions about what I was required to do, how it was my responsibility to pay for everything now, and that I am going to pay her back for all the money that I didn’t give her when she had our child. I was so mad at that point, I couldn’t say anything except ‘yes’ to everything she demanded from me. I felt I had to, otherwise, I was in big shit, or so I thought.

The sun went down and the night was finally here. I was so relieved. It was finally time to have some peace and quiet to myself I figured. I told her I was going to get some beer for dinner. She said, “Why do you need a beer?” From the tone in her voice, I think she meant, ‘You’re not drinking anything in front of me.’ I asked, ”Why not?”

She said, “Because I can’t, so you can’t drink.” I thought to myself what Fuck is going on here? Am I in jail? Am I deep within the bowels of her control now? I thought, “This is an absolutely, crazy Japanese woman I married. I can’t do anything I liked doing anymore. I think

that it’s time to escape her clutches very quickly, before I go nuts and do something I will regret, like using force to fight my way out of here by any means necessary.”

I stepped outside to have a smoke, to take a break from the attack that was coming my way. So, later that night when they were all asleep I decided to go on an adventure to find myself some fun. I was on the hunt for pain relief, and my choice of medicine was a six-pack of beer as well as a pack of cigarettes. Go figure right? Same old, same old, just another day in the life of an addict looking for his fixes to escape his mind in numbness.

As I was drinking the nice cold one, I couldn’t think of much, but what I could think of was how

to escape from this awful situation that I was in. I thought if I could fake a problem in Canada or if I was sick and needed to go home right away I could get away quickly. How was I to do this so they didn’t realize I was lying about it? I looked up to the sky deep into the stars above waiting for the answer to come to me but nothing came to me. Fight or flight was my only option.

I finished the last beer after an hour or so. I didn’t know I finished the last beer so quickly. I wasn’t ready to go back to the house so what did I do? Well, go get more beer. Yes, I bought another six-pack. Now it was twelve midnight and I was starting to get drunk, full of joy drunk, well a drunk joy was in my head.

I started to walk back to the house, no, I staggered back to her home. I was wondering how I was going to sneak back in without waking up the rest of the house. Now it was 1:00 am in the morning and I was all drunk standing outside her house looking up at the bedroom window and the light was on. I thought “Oh, oh. She is up and I am in so much trouble now.” I

knew that there would be hell to pay for what I had just done. I’d only been two days in Japan and now I show up absolutely drunk out of my mind.

I snuck back into the house quiet as a mouse, trying not to make any noise. I slowly walked up the stairs. It seemed to take forever to get up to the top floor. As I entered the bedroom I was relieved to see that she was asleep. I crawled into bed beside her. Our son was sleeping curled up in her arms.

As I laid down to sleep, she said, “Where were you?” I was shocked with fear.

All I could say was, “I couldn’t sleep, so I went for a walk.”

She said, “You smell like beer and you are drunk. I didn’t know what to say.

The only words that came out of my mouth were. “I’m going to sleep now, we can talk in the morning.”

She had a different plan, “No you are going to talk about it right now!” with an angry tone in her voice. I knew right then and there that I was in big trouble.

I spent a large part of that evening trying to escape the conversation about our relationship and making excuses as to why I needed to go and get drunk that night. The morning came after a few hours of sleep and I had a huge hangover or was still drunk. I can’t remember which was what but I was in pain after that night.

The next few days were absolute hell in my life, I was told I was going to sign an agreement of responsibilities that had to be accomplished before she agreed to stay married to me, so I signed the agreement, thinking that I wasn’t going to live up to the agreement. All I knew was I needed to get out of there in a hurry. I phoned my family in Canada and told them all that was going on in Japan at this time and they told me to get out of there as soon as possible. The saving grace was that my older son was in the hospital and was very sick. I thought to myself, “Thank you son for this excuse. I needed something to get me out of here now.“

I told my family I was going to go home the next day. I told my wife that my son needed me in Canada and that I need to change my airplane ticket and go back to Canada. I remember her telling me, “You need to move to Japan because I’m not going to move to Canada ever.” I would have said anything to escape from her madness, so I said “YES OK I WILL! Just let me go and take care of a few things before I come back to live with you.” So I changed my ticket and off I slithered back to Canada with my tail tucked between my legs like a scared child.

I will share in the Next Chapter...What The “Fuck” Just Happen To Me?

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