Michiko and I lived in happy matrimony. I became a priest and Michiko became manager of the brewery. I put up my apartment for sale and we bought a house in the countryside of Kobe. We always made time for each other. And yet�
I kept noticing my wife was trying to be happy. I couldn�t understand what was wrong.
�Michiko, what�s the matter?� I asked her one summer afternoon in 1968. Michiko looked at me with a tired smile.
�Nothing dear,� she lied. I gave her a kind smile.
�You haven�t been happy lately. What�s the matter? Is the problem with me?� I asked. She shook her head at me.
�No, it�s not you,� she said. I closed my book.
�Then what�s the problem?� I persisted. Michiko shook her head, lowering her shoulders and sighed.
�I don�t know,� she said. �I just feeling like something is missing from our lives.� I raised an eyebrow.
�Like what?� I asked. She shook her head.
�I don�t know,� she said. �Just� something�� I really wished I could help ease my wife�s endless feeling of emptiness. I just wanted to see my wife happy again. So the next morning at my temple, I wrote down a little wish for Michiko.
�Help Michiko find whatever she missing in her life,� I wrote down and tied it the altar. I drew in a breath and hoped that it would work. That night, Michiko and I spent the night in for once. It felt really nice to have just us in the house on a summer�s night. Maybe she would find what she was looking for tonight.
Two weeks later, Michiko started to feel really sick. I became worried when she started throwing up in the mornings. I didn�t know what to do.
�Is something wrong?� I asked her.
�I don�t know,� she whimpered in the bathroom one June morning.
�Is it something you have been eating?�
�No,� she wailed. I worked my brain to try and find the cause. I kept thinking about the worst that could be happening to her. There was a stomach virus going around in our village that year. Maybe�
I quickly shook my head. No! You don�t know that for certain! Don�t even think about saying that out loud; you�ll freak her out! But still, we had to find out what was making her sick.
�Michiko,� I spoke up.
�What?� she asked.
�I�m going to take you to the hospital,� I said.
�This is just in case it�s something serious, okay?� I answered.
�Okay,� my wife said. I walked her to my car and drove her to the hospital in the next village.
�Hang in there,� I said. �It�s just a few kilometers away.� Michiko held my hand.
�I�m scared,� she whispered.
�Shhh, it�s okay. I�m here for you.� We made it to the hospital without any problems.
Michiko squeezed my hand as we walked inside. I paced around the waiting room as the doctor examined her. I took in heavy breaths as I tried to not make myself worry more. Maybe it�s not something really bad. Maybe she just has minor stomach pains. Yeah, that�s it. I tried to keep myself calm.
I almost jumped when I heard the door slide open. I rushed over to the doctor.
�How is she?� I asked. �Is it a stomach virus?� The doctor smiled, shaking his head at me.
�No, no,� he said. �It�s just a little morning sickness.� I blinked at him at first.
�Morning sickness?� I repeated. The meaning of the phrase finally sank into my head.
�You mean� I�m going to be a daddy?� The doctor gave me a proud smile.
�That�s right,� he told me. �Your wife is pregnant.� I felt like flying high around the sun and back. We were going to become a family now.
For the next nine months, I took good care of Michiko the best that I could. I treated her like a goddess every day. I talked to our unborn child every morning.
�Hey there,� I whispered to the baby. �I can�t wait for you to meet us.� I followed that up with a little kiss on her belly. Michiko smiled at my affection toward our unborn child.
�You�ll make a wonderful father,� she told me on her eighth month of pregnancy. I looked at her with dreamy eyes.
�You think so?� I asked. My wife smiled as she ran her slender finger along my cheek. She gave me a kiss on the lips. I kissed her back. Michiko slowly pulled away from me. Her plump, little lips curved into a smile.
�Convinced?� she asked. I smiled back at her, nuzzling her nose with mine.
�Oh yes,� I said. Michiko giggled. On February second of 1969, my wife gave birth to a baby girl. We named her Midori after Michiko�s little sister. My wife�s parents were so overjoyed to have a new grandchild that they named her the heir of the whole Hino. Michiko and I didn�t mind it. Our beautiful daughter was all that mattered to us in our lives. After Midori-chan was born, I noticed a change in Michiko. She had become much happier.
�So, Michiko-chan,� I began, three days after we brought Midori home from the hospital.
�Mhm?� my wife hummed as she held our daughter in her arms.
�Do you feel that your life is complete now?� I asked, watching her dreamily. My wife smiled as she gently poked the baby�s fat, pink little cheeks.
�Yes,� she answered. �My life is complete now.� I smiled at my family.
�I�m glad,� I said. �I�m really glad.�