2. The Stranger

Azaliah's arrival at Narita Airport was as any other plane flight and as she and Tiki walked towards the airport's exit, Azaliah kept thinking about the messages she received earlier.

“So strange,” she thought. As she walked through the doors she spotted a young man leaning against the wall staring at her. Picking up her bag she looked in the direction of the young man again and to her surprise he was right next to her.

Azaliah jumped. “Oh you scared me!”

“I didn’t mean to scare you. I wanted to help you with your bags. One seems to have opened,” the stranger stated.

With that Azaliah looked at her smaller bag and realized it had opened spilling its contents on the ground.

“Thank you so much. Um, Arigato.” Azaliah awkwardly bows as she thanks the stranger.

“You are welcome,” he smiles.

Azaliah nervously sticks out her hand. “I’m Azaliah, but my friends call me Zay,” 

“I’m Kenji and my friends call me Kenji.” Kenji smiles as he shakes Azaliah's hand.

“Cute,” Azaliah says as she zips up her bag. “ I think that about does it. Thank you again Kenji.”

“You’re welcome Azaliah. I’ll see you around.” Kenji walks towards the airport and slips inside through the glass rotating doors.

“I doubt it,” Azaliah says under her breath.

Tiki and Azaliah arrive at Tiki’s family home in Osaka just in time for Azaliah's favorite dish.  After dinner Azaliah decides to go for a walk in the family garden. Finding a bench, she sits down and pulls a worn envelope from her pocket. She habitually takes out the letter and begins to read the words.

My Dearest Azaliah,

            Words cannot express the pain in my heart as I write this letter. I’m still in shock that our relationship is over. I keep playing our last conversation over and over again in my head and itstill doesn’t feel real. After all the time we have spent together our relationship came down to a decision to accept or reject Jesus. Honestly, I didn’t believe we would make the choices that we made.

I would like to believe that we’ll both get our heads on straight and get over ourselves. I would like to believe that this is just a phase you’re going through and you’ll come to your senses. Deep down I don’t think that you will and this scares me. It scares me because I know I won’t either.

Zay, know that I love you with all my heart. And you can have my heart but I don’t think it is big enough for both him and me. I don’t really know what to say except that I’m sorry. I hope in time you’ll come back to me because I’ll be waiting.

 With All My Love,

Mekhi

Tears dripped on Azaliah’s hand as she folded the note and placed it gingerly back in its envelope. She received Mekhi’s letter 3 weeks after their heated argument in her dorm room. Sitting on her bed at the time she wondered if she would ever see Mekhi again. A year later she would come to understand the answer was no.

As Azaliah sat on the bench she began to replay all the conversations they had about God and Jesus. She closed her eyes and saw all the heated conversations that ensued after the day she said yes and became a Christian. After replaying all the arguments and reliving all the tears she still came to the same conclusion: accepting Jesus was the best decision she had ever made. The one decision in her life that made sense. At that moment she knew what she needed to do.

After Azaliah placed the letter back in its envelope she walked over to the waterfall in the family garden. With her bare hands she dug into the mud and carved out a small hole. She ripped the letter to pieces and placed each piece in the hole and covered them with wet earth and stone.

“I can’t hold onto the pain anymore. You made your choice. Now I’m making mine. Good-bye Mekhi.” With these last words Azaliah walked away from the waterfall and her pain.