I decided that I would write a Memoir's fanfic because the original one never sat well with me. Sayuri, forgive me, always acted too much like a man. I mean this in the sense that a woman will look deeper and decide what is best for all. She would have known that Nobu loved her in his own way and she would have returned that love. I do not own M.O. G!
Mother sat across from me in the informal dinning room, smoking her pipe. I looked down at my bowl of rice and pickles and wished she wouldn't. The smoke was offsetting to my stomach and I had only so many hours to eat and rest before my evening engagements.
"Before the end of this month, you will have a Danna," Mother announced to me, taking a break from her wretched pipe.
"Who is that, mother?" I asked, setting down my chopsticks respectfully and clasping my chilled hands in front of me.
"Nobu Toshikazu. Only a fool would pass up an offer like his." Mother's eyes glowed at the mention of money.
"But Mother" I protested gently, "I'm too young to have a Danna! Mameha thinks..."
"What Mameha thinks is nothing in this Okiya. I make the decisions here. What is done is done, anyways. The paper work is being drawn up and I have already seen Toshikazu's solicitor."
I sat dumbly, looking down at my rice and pickles. I knew this day was coming. Mameha had warned me of Nobu's intentions. She had caught me alone yesterday and had whispered excitedly into my ear that Nobu was going to make arrangements with Mother and the financial package was most impressive!
I should have been pleased.
Apparently Mother thought so as well because she gave me an annoyed look before picking up her pipe again.
"He is a powerful man. An excellent provider with the war approaching. You should be happy that someone will provide for the rice in your bowl as well as the fripperies that you are accustomed to. When the Americans join the war, Japan will tighten it's belt and we will have nothing. The okiya will have nothing."
I stared mutely at my bowl, not daring to challenge her. What she said was true. Nobu was a powerful man. His company was in excellent standing with the government. No doubt he would provide well for us if worse came to worse.
Still I was troubled. I could not put into words why.
I thought of the Chairman. His handkerchief was still hidden under the tatami mats of my room. Once I belonged to Nobu, I was lost to him forever.
That is if he ever thought of me.
It was foolish to think so. In all our years of knowing each other, he had only given me the most cursory of glances. Our meetings were polite. Nothing more.
I thought of something that Mameha had once told me. About becoming Geisha because we have no other choice.
Did I really have any choice?
"Yes, Mother" I said. She nodded, pipe still in mouth.
"Don't act like a sack of rice. Be pretty and smile. Remember your training and your manners. Be a Geisha."
"Good. Go rest. You have many engagements tonight. Your customers don't want to see a tired Geisha pouring them sake."
My mouth was dry and my tongue heavy. I left my bowl of rice on the table and went to my room.
The maid was nowhere in sight so I spread out my futon myself and laid down. I had an hour before I had to get ready in earnest. Auntie would wake me up in time to get into my Kimmono and arrange my make up.
It was rare that I had an hour to myself. I should have used this time for sleeping. A look at the schedule in Yoko's room told me that tonight would be a long one.
But instead of sleeping, I used this time to think.
I came from a world of poverty. A simple fishing village. My mother would have been embarrassed to enter this okia as a maid. It was so far from the world that she grew up in. The world that I used to belong to.
I was no longer that little girl Chiyo, the one that had a fisherman for a father and peasant for a mother.
I was Sayuri Nitta. The grey eyed Geisha of Gion.
I was not the most successful Geisha in Kyoto, but I was far from the worst. I was popular enough to keep Mother happy and myself too tired to care.
I had beautiful clothes to wear. Maids to pick up after me and wait on my every need. I had the esteem and admiration of several wealthy gentleman because of my beauty and graciousness.
I knew to complain of my life was selfish. I had come so far from nothing. Really, I should be grateful.
A picture came to my mind of my father picking out the grime of fish guts and other things between the ruts of his boat.
I use to be a fisherman's daughter.
I was a fool for thinking of the Chairman. I may have well as been asking for the moon.
I decided then to embrace my life. If Nobu wanted to be my Danna, I would accept him.
He was brisk and often times rude, but always honest. From what I've heard from others, he was a brave soldier in Manchuria.
He tried to save another man's life.
His looks did not bother me, they only showed that he was strong to his convictions. It was a symbol of his strength.
If that strength sometimes came out as anger or abruptness, I told myself that I would treat it as if it came from a troubled dog. I had used that analogy in the past as I watched dumbstruck when he would reproach an uneasy Maiko into tears.
A dog does not bite someone he is fond of.
Nobu was kind, to me anyways, in his own way. If I was careful, I would never give him reason to growl.
I went to sleep, dreaming of whimpering dogs.
Auntie woke me up in time to put on my make-up and then to summon Mr. Bekku who came to wrap my obi.
I had done my best to look attractive that evening. Yoko had told me that my biggest engagement was Nobu's company party at the Ichiriki.
I had picked out a Kimmono in dark sea blue colors with a pattern of horses at the bottom. My obi was gold with purple threads.
To make myself appear more mature, Nobu was so much older than I, I choose a deep red for my lip color. I applied it heavily.
Hatsummomo came into my room as I was applying my blush.
"What do you want" I asked without fear. I did not even bother to set down my brush.
"So little Sayuri is to have a Danna. Nobu Toshikazu! I knew this day would come!"
"Yes, I knew it as well. I knew that I would have a Danna when you have none."
Hatsummomo smiled twistedly.
"Yes, you will lie down with a scarred half-man. That is your Danna, little Chiyo! At least I had a full one."
"When you had one" I corrected her. She glared at me.
"You won't be so confident when you see him without his robes on and there is only one arm! Who knows what else is missing down there, Miss Sayuri!" she spat.
"With pleasure. Lots of it."
When I was sure that she was gone, I threw my make up brush down angrily.
Jarring the fragile legs of my make up stand, I wrenched open one it's door and reached for my jewelry case.
Taking out a wrapped box I found the Comb that Nobu had given me a year ago.
It was a half star shaped comb in a showy red color. Nobu had mentioned that his mother had worn something similar.
It was an antique and no doubt dreadfully expensive. No other man had given me as fine as a gift.
With trembling fingers, I put into my hair, making sure that it was situated where it would show.
Looking into the mirror, I realized that it suited me. It was bright and yet elegant. So many hair pieces fell short of this.
I had never worn the comb beyond that night when Hatsummomo had tried to humiliate me and Mameha in the tea house.
I knew that thoughts of the Chairman had kept me from wearing it further.
Tonight there would be no thoughts of the Chairman.
He was the past.
Nobu was going to be my future.