A Secret Date
– a Vippon story –
Version for “Tales of the Veils” website.
Not for reproduction on other websites or in any other publishing format without author’s permission.
The doorbell rings. Sumiko puts the old book down and shouts to her mom “I’ll answer mom!” It might just be what she has hoped for. She has three days off from class to write an essay based on a very old writer and has chosen to read him in an old-fashioned paper version, hoping it might make him more relevant. But three days with these dusty old tales is too much. A little of that time she likes to spend on a secret forbidden exciting adventure. On her way to the front door she automatically puts a hand to her chin to sense she is hooded. The hood is so unobtrusive and such a habit to wear that she most of the time forget it is there and sometimes forget wearing it. In the wardrobe she grabs a pair of her short white gloves putting them on in seconds before opening the door. Although she is expecting one of their female neighbors it could be a man outside. Now she only shows her face as a teenage girl should in the company of strangers. But it is a woman. She immediately recognizes the kimono as belonging to Mrs. Yamada living two floors down. Without recognizing the kimono it’s wearer would be completely anonymous as nothing but two eyes shows of the individual inside the clothes. But as the kimono theoretically could exist in more copies or having been borrowed Sumiko just bows and says what she is supposed to say in this situation “Please come inside and unveil Madame. We are only my mother and myself in the apartment.” This makes Mrs. Yamada step inside, unknot and remove her face covering scarf before saying “Hello Sumiko, I’m hoping your mother might offer me a cup of tea to discuss the shopping trip we have agreed on tomorrow.” Her mom appears saying “Welcome Mrs. Yamada. I’ve started boiling water while Sumiko answered the door. I expect no males here for many hours so why don’t you take your hood off as well.” Mrs. Yamada does, and while she brushes her long black hair Sumiko’s mom says in a low voice “I’ll serve the tea myself. Why don’t you take – what’s it called – book, and go to your own room?” Sumiko says trying not to sound happy “Okay mom, I won’t disturb you.” She fetches the book in the living room and goes to her own room, but instead of reading leaves the door a little open to listen to the sounds from the living room. In some minutes her mom has fetched what she needs from the kitchen and seated herself with Mrs. Yamada not to get up for long.
Sumiko takes her schoolbag and without making noises walks to the bedroom where she isn’t supposed to come. Even more cautiously she opens a closet and looks at the shelves with folded kimonos. She gets down on her knees to look at the back of the lowest shelf. Here are the kimonos her mom doesn’t use anymore because she finds them out of fashion or too worn. Sumiko reaches to the back and takes a nice everyday kimono in pale blue with a yellow flower print and an obi with matching flowers. The kimono is put in the bag before carefully closing the closet and opening another. It’s full of the black items women wear to cover the rest of the body. Sumiko takes a pair of long stockings, a pair of elbow long gloves, a hood and a face scarf. Everything goes into the bag, she silently closes the closet and goes back to her own room. Here she first remembers to put her geta, wooden sandals she uses only when dressing formally but most adult women wear always, down in the bag as well. Then she takes her phone and looks up the number she got from her schoolmate Atsune after seeing her big brother giving her a smile. She passed him momentarily in the corridor of her home on a day some months ago, when she was visiting Atsune to do homework together. Sumiko sends a text message ‘Dear Hatsuto. Now meeting possible. Out of school for essay. Center at your lunch?’ It’s her second message to Hatsuko. In the first she just said she liked his smile, would he date her if possible? The answer was he liked her as well. It would be nice to meet alone sometime. Sumiko has decided sometime to be today if possible. Then she starts reading the book again waiting for a break between Hatsuto’s classes where he will check his phone. Twenty minutes later her phone sounds. She reads ‘Center all mates. Park east gate at 1155.’ Sumiko replies ‘See you.’ Then she texts her classmate Miyu living down the block ‘Dating Hatsuto. Working with you until four if asked.’ Miyu has a mom working, if her own mom will check. Sumiko goes to the living room with her book to stand quietly head down at the end of the table until her mom says “Sumiko?” Sumiko says “This old foreign book is very difficult. I’ve phoned Miyu but we have to meet for her to help me. May I go to her place?” Her mom says “If you’re stuck it’s good getting some new input this early in the day. I can’t help you and I doubt Mrs. Yamada can either. But you have to be back for tea at three. Although you have this essay to write there’s some ironing to be done and cooking is more important than old writings.” Sumiko says “Thank you mom, at three at latest. Sorry for interrupting your conversation. Have a nice day Mrs. Yamada.” Sumiko bows to Mrs. Yamada and her mom and gets a nod and a polite smile from Mrs. Yamada. Then she goes to her room to take her schoolbag, continues to the wardrobe to put on sneakers and gloves and leaves.
Out in the street she walks to the right towards Miyu although her destination is opposite. But from walking with her dad, who works for the City Safety Control, she knows where all the cameras are placed in this part of the city. There is only a remote possibility that her dad would check their quarter, not knowing she is going out, but she has decided to avoid being recorded as much as possible as long as she is recognizable. Coming to an area not covered by cameras she turns around and walks towards the local shopping center, where she had suggested to meet Hatsuto. She takes a route passing few cameras and walks head down, which she would only normally do accompanied by her parents. Her face hidden only a few female neighbors or perhaps moms of her classmates will be able to recognize her from clothing alone. And then her mom could have send her shopping. She reaches the shopping center where she can’t avoid being caught by cameras, but behaving normally the likelihood that somebody will notice her and inform her dad is close to zero. But to reduce the risk as much as possible she immediately heads for a restroom and enters a toilet booth. The area outside the booths is covered by a camera and a few women might have noticed her enter, but they will be gone when she leaves.
She starts taking her sneakers off, and unsure if the black fabric is sufficiently opaque not to reveal white fabric beneath she takes her white stockings off as well to replace them with the black from her bag. Her feet go into the geta next. Then her white hood comes off to be replaced with a similar black. She has checked the white collar of her shirt looks like it is made to match the kimono. Then she takes her short white gloves off to replace them with a pair of elbow long thin black slightly elastic cotton gloves pulled on top of the shirt sleeves. A flower patterned colorful skirt as Sumiko is wearing is not the right underwear for a kimono. But she hasn’t brought the right skirt, it won’t be seen and she won’t have to carry it. Sumiko unfolds the kimono and separates the obi and the other cords from the wrap. Although wearing kimono and black coverings are not allowed to teenage girls she is skilled at putting it on having practiced both at home and at special classes at school. In five minutes her body looks like she is an adult woman. Her sixteen year old face might contradict that, but taking the black face scarf from the bag and putting her white items and sneakers in the bag she is ready to cover her face. The scarf has a width to cover the entire face opening of the hood. At the center close to the edge to be the top are two circular holes made to fit the eyes. Sumiko places the scarf aligning the holes with her eyes, moves her hands behind her head and knots the scarf. She looks in the mirror and sees the black head of any adult woman. Then she flushes the toilet, lets the tap run for a while and waits half a minute before unlocking the door.
None of the women outside take any notice of her, but Sumiko notices herself that her schoolbag isn’t the most obvious to wear for an adult woman in a shopping center. She heads for the supermarket to buy two bottles of cola and a roll of chocolate biscuits for Hatsuto and herself to have as lunch. But most important she takes a big plastic bag. Then she heads for the parking area. Behind a car she puts her schoolbag inside the plastic bag and walks inside the shopping center again. The park is just outside the center, she can reach it and cross it to be at the east gate in a little more than five minutes. It’s 10:30, she can spend more than an hour here or anywhere nearly totally anonymous like all adult women. But she can’t just walk around staring. Veiled women walk demurely head down unless not knowing where to go. But then in here you walk to an information stand or booth, find your destination and then walks as informed head down. At a cafe Sumiko can sit and watch. The family section has a few seats outside the boxes where women, veiled of course, can sit looking for husbands or other family while quenching their thirst. Sumiko buys a cola in a paper cup and takes a straw. Her scarf has a small slit at the mouth to be able to drink veiled with a straw. Sumiko enjoys watching. She recognizes some of her neighbors. The women not accompanied by husbands are identified because on workdays most women only change between a few known kimonos. After ten minutes she has to remind herself she can’t stare at people for long. Two of her classmates are passing apparently not working on their essay as well. Chatting, pointing and stopping to inspect the clothes shop opposite. For some minutes Sumiko can let her eyes pass them now and then. Then they loose their interest in the shop and continue out of sight. No one tries to contact her, no one remembers this old kimono. Wearing an out of fashion dress probably makes her look poor. But what if her mom goes shopping? But she won’t. Sumiko remembers that Mrs. Yamada came to talk about a shopping trip tomorrow. That makes it very unlikely her mom will go shopping today, and knowing Mrs. Yamada and her mom chatting they will continue for long making her mom inviting Mrs. Yamada to have lunch with her. She has about another half an hour. Is there something that adult women can do here, which she can’t do as teenager? Shopping for sexy lingerie!
Sumiko gets up and heads for an information booth. “How may I help you Madam,” a black head in a green kimono with the name of the center embroidered vertically down the front in red immediately asks. “Please tell me which shops sell lingerie. I’m interested in the best qualities for a birthday present.” The woman tells her there is one department store and two shops specializing in lingerie. Sumiko asks for the direction of the shop closest. Getting there it’s a small shop with female only staff. Despite all female heads looking nearly identical the staff is easily identifiable by wearing basically very plain dark pink kimonos but with the word lingerie embroidered down the front in black symbols looking like they were made of lace. A shop assistant immediately bows to her. Sumiko responds with a polite nod and says she wants something very sexy to revive her marriage. While the assistant takes her towards the back of the shop Sumiko excuses her old-fashioned kimono, but they are in the process of moving and the moving company left the wrong box for themselves to move. This makes the assistant head for the most expensive items. She shows and talks taking item after item from the hangers. Sumiko can see, hold and get an impression of softness and thickness, but she won’t take a glove off, and is not expected to, to really feel the fabric. After ten minutes the assistant with a word from Sumiko now and then has reduced the selection to two sets for which she invites Sumiko to try the panties. Their price is way above what Sumiko can afford or even her dad would give her mom as a present, but she has pretended the price is acceptable, and she is not pretending she really likes these sets. They are too tempting not to try and Sumiko says yes. Walking to the booth Sumiko spots a large poster saying ‘SALE starting at’ and then a price she can pay. Sumiko says she may consider something from the box as well for everyday use if they still got something her size at the low price. The assistant quickly finds what she wants. They are way below the other sets but still much more sexy and delicate than anything she has ever worn or owned. Sumiko takes them with her into the booth. Taking panties off fully dressed is natural if you have to pee, but putting another pair on and then lifting the kimono as far as the obi allows and look in a mirror Sumiko haven’t done before. She feels incredibly sexy. She has taken her gloves off as well to really feel the delicate fabric. It will be nice being with a man soon, but a man taking her panties off before they are married she will never allow. Last putting on the panties on sale she feels her crotch is moist, but she doesn’t mind. She has decided to keep them on and pay to have a souvenir of this her first day as adult long before she has passed the coming-of-age ceremony. She puts her white panties in the schoolbag, puts on her gloves again and opens out to the shop assistant, immediately saying to her she hasn’t changed back. “Many young wives like you do like that Madam, but you want the other sets in a box I’m sure?” Sumiko says “No I can’t take them now. It has to be a present that my husband will come to buy. I like a piece of paper with the exact brand, model and size and then I’ll pay the set on sale.” Although the facial expression of the shop assistant is hidden her body language shows this is a very common outcome. Sumiko finds her card and pays.
Out in the walkways heading for the exit towards the park Sumiko sees the clock is a quarter to noon. She has no hurry, but on the other hand an adult woman in geta and long kimono neither can nor should walk fast. The sun of early summer suddenly makes her aware that walking completely covered with black head quickly gets hot. There is a large difference between the open white hood she is used to and a black one closed with a black scarf. But the lingerie shopping and her anticipation of meeting Hatsuto has heated her as well but differently. The park contains the usual people. Old men on benches in the shadow. Working men just crossing walking fast, or walking slow but then eating or drinking to both get fresh air, have lunch and get from one place to another at the same time. Old women on other benches are easily identifiable, if not on their posture then on the face scarf covering only below the eyes to make the top of the nose bridge and a little of the forehead visible in addition to the eyes. And then there are of course many young women with small children playing on the grass or in the playground areas. When their eyes can leave their children for some moments, or if they push a pram, they look down. Recently married they should only have eyes for their husband, and then they fear that what can be seen of their eyes reveal that they are young and beautiful. Sumiko has seen young women from other parts of the country where they reveal their young age by hiding their eyes much more than normal by wearing scarfs with much smaller eye openings than average. And the young women here reveal themselves even if keeping their head lifted to follow every step of their children. Then they sit two, three or even four very close on a bench leaning over each other to be able to only whisper, not to let their voices be heard by men passing. There are other cities where women don’t speak in public at all. Sumiko has been taught the reasons for being so strict, but she has to love a man and hopefully get a marriage agreement with the same man before being able to resist the opposite sex. Right now she has even pursued it, taken some risks to get here and broken the rules of moral and law. But Hatsuto is worth it.
She spots him from twenty five meters even if he is in the shadow leaning against the park fence just to the right of the gate. Hatsuto looking into the park he is looking directly towards her as she walks on the path leading through the gate. It’s clear he wants his back free only having to concentrate on those inside the park walking out. Just like Sumiko can’t be seen with a boy, he can’t be seen with a girl. But right now he’s probably more worried meeting one of his mates, which could mean he will miss his date, as he knows Sumiko won’t contact him if he is not alone. His eyes never stops at Sumiko as she slowly passes him walking through the gate. He is expecting a white head with exposed face, a shirt and a skirt. Sumiko immediately turns, walks up to the gate post and says in a low voice two meters behind his back “Hatsuto! I’m here at the post in blue kimono.” Hatsuto turns his head looking directly at her for a moment before turning back and saying “Sumiko is it you dressed as an adult woman? Are you mad, if somebody finds out you’ll get punished severely, we both will.” Sumiko says “Lets walk the path along the fence where not many walk. If we meet somebody knowing you I’m your aunt from Faraway walking here with you while your uncle is shopping for a new phone. When do you have to be back at school?” Hatsuto says “We have half an hour. Is it your mom’s clothing?” Sumiko says “Yes, can’t you see it’s an outdated kimono. She won’t miss it, perhaps has even forgotten it.” Hatsuto says “I’m not into ladies fashion. If you had said you were my own mom I would have believed you. What about your essay?” Sumiko says “I probably have to work very late tonight and the days to come. You are more important than Lancerattle.” Hatsuto says “Is that a compliment or what? He has been unable to love anybody for centuries, that much I know about him.” Sumiko says “Between those trees there is a bench for when it gets really hot. I’m really hot now. And no cameras cover it.” Sitting down Sumiko opens her bag to produce the two bottles and the roll of biscuits saying “Open this while I loosen my face scarf sufficiently to access my mouth.” Hatsuko says “It was very considerate of you to bring something to eat and drink. I had expected to go hungry until after school to meet you. But my mom would rather go hungry for hours, and thirsty as well if she couldn’t get a straw, than loosening her scarf where men might pass.” Sumiko says “My mom and all women I know as well. But I haven’t done it just to have a biscuit.” Hatsuko asks “Then why?” Sumiko holds her arm forward without stretching it making her unable to reach Hatsuko’s hand with the biscuit roll. She moves close to him but reaches out in a way still not making it to say “Hand me the biscuits please, when I’ve had some biscuits I’ll tell you.” As Hatsuto stretches his arm to let his hand meet Sumiko’s, she pulls her hand back, making Hatsuto touch Sumiko’s chest and at that moment she lets her covered mouth brush his cheek. Hatsuto surprised pulls back and they eat and drink for some minutes in silence. Then Hatsuko says “I’m sorry I touched you Sumiko.” She says “It was my fault, but it was nice wasn’t it?” Hatsuko says “I don’t know. I’ve never been that close to a girl my own age before. May I try again?” Sumiko says “No, of course you may not. I’m a proper girl. It has to be unintentional. I have my hands full, would you lean over and take the package of paper tissues in my bag please?” Hatsuto leans without thinking about what has just been said. Again the soft fabric of Sumiko’s face scarf brushes his cheek as she lets their cheeks touch. The touch makes him fumble for long in the bag and when he pulls back with the tissues his cheek is touched again. He holds the package in front of Sumiko, but she says “It was for you. You have chocolate around your lips. Hatsuko fumbling lets his tongue wet his lips and swaps them with a tissue. He can’t see Sumiko has a wide smile on her face. After eating the last biscuit in her gloved hand Sumiko looks at it and says “Because the gloves are black it didn’t occur to me they might get stained just like white gloves by these chocolate biscuits. I think you have to take the biscuits to my mouth. Please be careful doing it without revealing anything.” Hatsuko takes a biscuit from the roll and holds it up in front of Sumiko saying “Do you really want me to put my hand up under your scarf?” Sumiko nods. Hatsuko carefully slides the biscuit under the scarf only holding it at the opposite edge with two fingers. Sumiko has opened her mouth wide and doesn’t close it around the biscuit. Only when the fingers are just a centimeter from her lips she bowes her head to let her lips and tongue touch Hatsuko’s fingers. With a reflex of surprise he removes his hand, but his face lightens up in a smile. After chewing the biscuit Sumiko says “I like another one please.” This time she closes her lips around it as soon as she senses it. She makes what is possible of coughing sounds still holding the biscuit between her lips, and points to the bulge it makes in her scarf. Hatsuko giggles and nods just thinking she is making fun. Sumiko changes her pointing hand to cutting or biting with Hatsuko still nodding and giggling. Then Sumiko points to Hatsuko’s mouth and with both hands grab his head to lead it to hers. When his lips are just in front of her scarf she lifts at it to reveal her mouth with the biscuit sticking out. Instinctively without thinking it’s a girls mouth Hatsuko’s lips close around the biscuit. Their lips just touch for a few seconds, then Hatsuko pulls back with most of the biscuit in his mouth and crumbles falling in Sumiko’s lap while she pulls the scarf below her chin again. After chewing her part of the biscuit Sumiko says “Now we know what happens when the scarf is loosened. I liked it, but our society would fall apart if scarves doesn’t cover and block access to our female temptations. Have we finished eating?” Hatsuko has a dreaming look on his face and it takes some seconds before he reacts to the question with a mechanical nod. Sumiko reaches for the quarter full roll on the bench between their thighs. As she moves it towards her opposite side it slips out of her gloved hand and slides down her kimono. When at her feet Sumiko by lifting her feet just a little lets the roll disappear under her kimono. The roll taking an unexpected direction has caught Hatsuko’s attention and when Sumiko says “Ah, how clumsy, these gloves must be more smooth than I’m used to. But my dress can’t widen enough to reach down between my feet. Would you pick it up please?” The request is already being fulfilled. Hatsuko has manners, although lifting the hem of a kimono and fumbling under it between the legs should have made him think twice. And then Sumiko says “While you are there, something feels weird, like there is a string or strap hanging down from my waist on the inside. Could you move you hand around a little trying to take hold of it please?” Hatsuko lifts his hand up between her legs and after a little while says “I can’t avoid touching your bare thighs Sumiko.” She says “I can sense that. Please a little higher.” Sumiko is glad her face is covered. Her mouth is open and she has started breathing deeply. Then Hatsuko says “Now I touch some very smooth delicate silk like fabric. I can’t reach any higher between your legs. They end here and the fabric is moist.” Sumiko has difficult talking but says “I’m glad you like my new panties. Please keep touching the wet spot a little more. It feels good in my private parts.”
After some seconds more touching Hatsuto realizes what he is doing and pulls back red faced and with a bulge in his pants saying “Oh, that is why it feels so soft. It feels good, but it is very wrong touching there.” He is looking down and then suddenly says in a louder voice “Shit! I should have left four minutes ago. You’re wonderful Sumiko. How do we manage to meet again? It’s more than a year until you’ll pass the coming-of-age ceremony and we can marry. It feels like eternity to me.” Sumiko is having even more trouble speaking because she suppresses an urge to moan. If adult women always feel like this when having a husband to touch them, it is understandable other cities require women to be gagged in public. Her voice shaking Sumiko says “I’ll keep this dress to wear another day, hopefully soon, where we can get away and be alone again. Please go now, the more you’re late the greater the risk it will be investigated where you have been.” Hatsuto kisses boldly her black face on her mouth and says “You’re right, I’ll run. I love you.” In seconds Hatsuto is out of sight and Sumiko is left shaking, sweating and filled with love. But although hot she starts tying her face scarf properly again.
A few minutes later she is looking at her arms and down her body and to her relief it’s only her inner clothing and her black covering, where it can’t be seen, which is soaked by sweat. But she has to get back to the shopping center to let the air-conditioning make her dry. In two hours she has to go home showing the shirt and skirt now feeling quite damp. She gets up, picks up the roll of biscuits and puts it in the bag. Not being in a hurry she continues on the path along the park fence thinking about how to spend her remaining time as an adult woman. Buying lingerie was fun, but as hot as she is now she can’t spend more time pretending to be a newly married woman shopping to excite her husband and herself. She better be reading her book. It has been rather boring until now and might cool her down mentally. But then she has to stay here in the park. Anybody wanting to read for more than a few minutes in the shopping center would go to the female section of a cafe or similar to be able to read unveiled. She finds a bench in complete shadow under a large tree where an old woman is sitting at the other end and sits down with a polite nod to the old woman. The old woman might be about to say something, but as Sumiko produces her book she stays silent. Both because the book is heavy and to avoid curious questions from bypassers seeing the unusual item Sumiko reads with the book in her lap. Like this she has to hold her head down which is appropriate for young women. After nearly half an hour she has to take a break and looks up. The old woman is still sitting at the other end having watched her all the time. Sumiko notices many women due to the sun peaking at this hour carries parasols. Sumiko makes a mental note that next time she will be dressing like this with black covered head she has to bring a parasol as well to allow walking in the sun without having the brain fried. Then the old woman says “Allow me to break the silence young Madam. Perhaps a little talking will clear your mind and make you able to continue with that heavy book. Perhaps you should just have downloaded the text, it’s frightening being able to physically see how much is left. When I was young women only read short stories and poems for pleasure. And at school it was mostly recipes, health advices and child care. At that time it would be doubted women would be able to read that many pages.” Sumiko moves close to the old lady to be able to lean towards her and nearly whisper “It is part of my curriculum at the university. We have to read many books like this.” The old woman says “Women are allowed so much these days. Where I come from only few husbands will allow their wives to do something besides housework unless unfortunate circumstances make it necessary. But studying doesn’t make money, it costs a lot of money, isn’t that true? Your kimono shows that you can’t afford new clothes very often.” Sumiko whispers “Studying is expensive and I don’t spend much time shopping for clothes. My friends keep reminding me that the kimono is the only thing visually differentiating me from all other adult women, but I’ve always been told that women should be judged on their inner values instead of competing on looks.” The old woman says “If your cooking skills match your moral values your husband has made the right choice. And if you get some healthy children then your marriage is perfect. You haven’t been blessed with children yet, have you?” Sumiko whispers “I’m longing for them, one of each I hope. But although not poor we can’t afford and I can’t overcome both having children and studying, and with modern medicine we can decide when it will happen, even if we practice often.” The old woman says pointing to some women passing with a tram and small children walking “A small drawback of our wonderful dress-code is that the increasing age for women to have babies isn’t showing, and because of that nothing is done to encourage women having children as soon as they marry like it should be.” Sumiko during the conversation has found out that although she doesn’t get more hot by sitting here in the shadow, she doesn’t really get dry either. She has to go to the shopping center and whispers “I’m happy you reminded me of children, because I have to go to the shopping center to buy a present for my younger sister, who is about to give birth.” The old lady says “She is doing it at the right age I presume. I wish her a healthy child. But I’m old and my legs unsure, do you have time for accompanying me to the bus stop outside the center?” Sumiko whispers “I wouldn’t say no even if I was in a hurry. The book will take hours more to be finished, five minutes doesn’t matter.” She puts the book in the bag, gets up and helps the old lady on her feet. With an arm around the old lady they slowly walk towards the exit of the park. After a couple of minutes walking Sumiko feels the sun on her black covered head and whispers “I wasn’t anticipating staying out so long today and haven’t brought a parasol.” The old woman says “I’m too weak to keep holding my hands to carry a parasol. But now we walk where men pass closely all the time. A woman your age should stay away from even whispering.” Sumiko nods. Although it takes nearly a quarter before they have reached the bus stop there is no more conversation. Sumiko helps the old woman down on a bench and bows deeply, as their age difference calls for, and receives a sitting bow and a waving hand as thank you and goodbye.
Sumiko has decided just to walk around inside the center day dreaming for the remaining time. She imagines having a younger sister having told her there will be a formal party in a few weeks to celebrate her first child, and Sumiko now has to find a present and select materials to make a new kimono for the occasion. But money no object she soon ends up browsing in the shops selling expensive ready to wear kimonos. These shops have plenty of staff and although what she is wearing doesn’t suggest she can afford what she is shown, she is treated kindly and gets a good talk in all the shops she visits while seeing a lot of wonderful costumes. Of course as most women and even more husbands would prefer women to stay at home, most female shop assistants are students, poor women or widows who respects a fellow woman having to wear old-fashioned kimonos for everyday use to save to buy just one expensive kimono for the big occasions in the family. Time passes quickly. Sumiko invents a whole family on her imaginary husbands side while talking to the shop assistants. Of course the husband is a mature Hatsuko. He is working as a train controller. Sumiko has always wondered how anyone can make the trains run for hours arriving with minute precision. They have to be sharp brains. Hatsuko will surely become a train controller. About to enter another shop Sumiko realizes it’s time to go home. Back to reality and back as a teenager.
Sumiko goes to the restroom again. She removes the face scarf to see a hot red but smiling face. It has been exciting in many ways to be an adult woman and she hasn’t been discovered. A few minutes later she has taken the items that constitutes the kimono off and looks at her shirt and skirt. Especially the shirt is so wrinkled she wouldn’t have left the house like that, but it has no distinct wet marks. If her mom complains she will admit Miyu and herself spend some time playing in her room and throwing cushions. Taking the black hood off shows her hair is ready for washing and the hood and the other black items as well has to be washed or replaced before her next adventure as an adult woman. Soon Sumiko sees her normal schoolgirl look in the mirror. She flushes the toilet, puts the plastic bag in the waste basket and her adult clothing in her schoolbag and leaves the restroom. Now she is easily recognizable again and she takes the same route back to avoid most cameras until again walking along her own block like coming from Miyu.
In the apartment she first puts her bag in her own room before going back to the wardrobe to take her gloves and hood off and brushing her hair to make it look reasonably. She enters the living room to see her mom embroidering on a piece of fabric to become a kimono. As her mom hearing her lifts her head Sumiko bows and then her mom says “Is it that late? What has happened? Has there been a shower on this sunny day?” Sumiko says “No, it has been sunny for the short intervals I’ve been out. I’m sorry, but during a break Miyu and I started playing and throwing cushions and we didn’t stop until sweating.” Her mom says “Of course studying intensively for many hours is not possible at your age. But although you have to work after tea you have to change now. You can’t look like that if a neighbor drops by and I don’t like looking at you either. It suits me fine embroidering for another quarter. You wash, change and then make tea.” Sumiko bows and leaves. Sumiko serving tea her mom points out a few details she finds could be done better. Then she talks about her shopping trip with Mrs. Yamada and asks if she should look for anything for Sumiko. Sumiko says long skirts with very small slits making the wearer have to take very small ladylike steps is the new trend. Her mom says that this is true but only becoming for ladies and not teenage girls. For the next hour Sumiko has to iron a pile of her skirts and shirts for school. Then it’s cooking time. Her dad eating at his work it’s only for themselves, but her mom always go for homemade healthy nutritious food and takes the cooking as an opportunity for Sumiko to educate herself as a good housewife. It means Sumiko does everything with her mom standing a little behind saying “Aah” or “Nooo” as soon as anything starts deviating from what she sees as right. Some days it leads to heated discussions if Sumiko insists on doing it the way she has learned at school and her mom doesn’t like that. Today Sumiko obeys as soon as she hears a sound from behind, resulting in her mom having to praise the cooking while they eat. Then Sumiko has to clear the kitchen and it’s early evening before she can go to her room to try to work on her essay.
She is still working when she past eleven hears her dad coming home. It’s not unusual that her dad goes to a bar after work to have some drinks with some work mates and to be entertained by geishas. Actually he is home a little early for those kind of nights. Normally Sumiko would have been sleping now, but she has to try to make up for the time spend on her adventure. Perhaps seeing a strip of light from her room, after a short knocking her dad opens her door saying “Sumiko it’s late, why aren’t you sleeping?” Sumiko having bowed without leaving her cushion says “I have three days for this essay about Lancerattle. I spend half the day with Miyu reading and discussing. Now I have to put down what we found out and read further as long as I can keep my eyes open.” Her dad says “Sometimes working late is necessary to get the job done. Sometimes what you do this late isn’t getting you any longer because you either just sleeps until much later or you’re less efficient tomorrow being sleepy all day. Please go to sleep now. I have a hunch your mom and I like to go to bed soon as well to do what adults like to do, and then you better be sleeping.” Sumiko gets up and bows in front of her dad who places a kiss of goodnight on her forehead. They leave her room together, her dad going to the living room, she going to the bathroom. Soon she is in bed and the light in her room off but she doesn’t fall asleep. It doesn’t take long before she can hear her parents in the bedroom. Her dad, a little drunk, speaks so loud she can clearly hear him through the wall “Lift your nightgown dear Fusako, maybe there is a surprise for me to see.” Her mom says something too low to perceive. Then her dad’s loud voice continues “What is beneath I know from previously is your lovely flower, but the wrapping is very important to me as well. New secrets are revealed if it is seen through a new more delicate wrapping. I like to see what something new can do for you tonight.” Her mom’s voice answers a little louder, but still too low for Sumiko to hear. Then her dad says “No saving the surprise to a special day. I like today to be special. My overtime has been paid, you’ll get money to buy some new within a week.” Now she can hear her mom say “But Takashi, it’s more than six months since I’ve been shopping for clothing like that, I swear.” Sumiko hears the bedroom door and soon after her dad’s voice saying “One of my work mates printed this picture for me after noticing our name and address on the associated card payment. Lingerie shops, you – – understand, are much – – – than other places.” Some of the words are overpowered by the sound of a closet door and bumping on the floor. Then her mom screams “Sumiko!” Two doors open seconds apart and a few seconds later the light in her room is switched on. Her mom highly distressed in nightgown and right behind her dad in tights are looking at her. Her mom is holding a camera print showing a woman in light blue kimono at the counter of the lingerie shop saying nearly crying “Is that you Sumiko?” Sumiko bursts into tears and gets out of bed just nodding while putting her head to her mom’s shoulder. Her dad puts his face down to nearly touch Sumiko’s face to say his voice growling “Have you been at the shopping center dressed as an adult woman?” Sumiko still weaping nods. Her dad with heavy steps runs through the apartment to come back making Sumiko scream and fall back on her mattress. Her dad has the largest kitchen knife in his raised right hand pointed towards her. He pushes her mom aside and holds the tip of the knife to Sumiko’s breast, her mom now seeing the knife screams “No Takashi! Don’t do it Takashi. Kill me instead. I’ve failed bringing her up properly.” Sumiko senses a tickle down the centerline of her torso, her nightgown has been slit and in the opening a red line starts appearing with small droplets running down her skin. Her dad holds the knife high up against the wall saying “Ten years ago I would have no other choice than pressing the blade fully down and pull. What you have done Sumiko is illegal, morally despicable and showing contempt of your parents . But this is not an official picture and my work mate thinks it’s mom. You have probably managed disguising as an adult woman and buying something at the shopping center without being revealed officially. You deserve severe punishment, but is has to be in a way not to reveal your crime, as this could ruin our family and your entire life making marriage impossible. Fusako make some tea, we have to hear the full story about what Sumiko has done today. And take the knife back to the kitchen, but don’t hurt yourself. I won’t hurt Sumiko physically more than this scratch which will for some weeks make her think about today, if she will forget for five minutes. Don’t ever discard the knife. Every time you have to use it you will be reminded of today, and Sumiko can bring it to her new home when she marries, to tell her daughter, when she becomes at her age, how foolishly she behaved and what could have happened with a dad a little more angry or more drunk.” Her mom walks to the kitchen, her dad sits down on her cushion just staring at the desk. Sumiko is seated on the edge of the mattress sobbing. After a minute her dad says without turning “Sumiko take a fresh nightgown, go to the bathroom to wash and change, but leave the door a little open.” Sumiko is back on the mattress just before her mom arrives with a tray. After pouring three cups and handing one to Sumiko she sits down on the mattress as well. Sumiko moves close to her mom putting her head against her mom’s shoulder. Her dad turns to face Sumiko and says in a normal voice “I went to work this morning. What happened then Sumiko?” Sumiko slowly starts telling about Mrs. Yamada arriving and gradually speaks a little faster as her story progresses including her meeting with Hatsuto, but excluding him touching her crotch as she has omitted wearing her new panties as well, but going on to her conversation with the old lady and finally her walking home in normal dress. It is silent for long. Then her dad says “It was because of a boy after all. The urge to explore the opposite sex puts all rational thinking aside. But at least you haven’t committed more crimes. Being intimate with a boy your own age is not legally a crime, but morally outrageous of course.” Her mom says with tears in her eyes “I have failed Takashi. Our child being a girl it is my responsibility to teach her proper manners, what is allowed and what is not allowed. You only have to decide the punishment, our punishment. I’ll accept whatever you say, knowing you didn’t really use the knife, anything less will be a mild sentence. And Sumiko will accept as well. May I see your stomach child?” There is no bleeding, just a very red fresh thin scar. Her mom continues “We must renew our traditional values, adhere to the strictest interpretation of the moral values, show the proper respect to superiors and maintain a strict dress-code. But saying all this without asking permission from the head of the house shows how sloppy we have become. I ask for apologize husband.” Her dad says “There’s no need to apologize. We must not go so far as we stop communicating. Only if arguing or talking all at once without listening I will use my superiority. It is clear, dear wife, you know exactly what needs to be done in renewing our values. I trust that you can teach Sumiko how to behave. And Sumiko will have plenty of time to listen and learn, because her punishment is that she will have no more time on her own. By this I mean she has to go straight home from school each day, not staying to chat with friends, no detour around the shopping center and no sudden visits at schoolmates. She can take friends with her home if mom allows, but there will be no visits out of the house without one of us participating as well. School is the only exception for leaving the home without being accompanied by either mom or me. And of course that means staying on school grounds during breaks or if the break is sufficiently long going straight home to the spend the break here. We will stay with these rules for the rest of your time with us, which means to right after the coming-of-age ceremony in just over a year. At that time I will have arranged for a marriage to take place as soon after the ceremony as possible. Mom and I, not having expected this incident, have not discussed your marriage yet. I can only say that I’m against a large age difference and I wish you a husband, you will come to love. And I’ll check if this Hatsuto is serious and of good family. Last, the official version when your schoolmates or neighbors ask about the new rules of family life is that your coming-of-age ceremony is now so close that more strict behavioral control is necessary to ensure you’ll be an attractive wife, and this is how it’s done in the province where my father was brought up. If there are no more comments mom and I will go back to bed. You won’t be able to sleep I’m sure Sumiko. You might as well dress and work on your essay until you’re able to sleep many hours from now.” Sumiko gets up and puts her arms around her dad’s neck saying “I’ve behaved completely wrong, and I’ve been a fool not realizing how considerate and forgiving parents I have. As mom said your punishment is far too mild for what I’ve done. I’ll obey unconditionally and without any exceptions. I love you dad. And you too mom.” Sumiko steps back and makes a many seconds long 90 degree bow to her dad to indicate complete subordination, before repeating facing her mom. Her parents leave and her dad is right, she is tired, perhaps exhausted, but unable to sleep. She dresses completely in fresh clothes including hood and gloves before sitting down to read more Lancerattle.
The next morning she is waken by being shaken by both her parents standing in her room. She has been sleeping on the cushion her head and upper body resting on the desk. Her mom is fully covered like for going public with black gloves, black hood and a black face scarf only showing eyes. Her dad says “Working hard will help you get over it. I see you immediately understood that proper dressing from now on means fresh, newly ironed clothing including gloves and hood even at home. Your mom dresses likewise and in addition is wearing face scarf only to be taken off for female visitors or to eat. I’m leaving for work now. Have a nice day both of you.” Sumiko quickly gets up to bow deeply to her dad, who then leaves. The next two days are very busy. Sumiko has to finish her essay, but her mom still requires from her a normal amount of housework. Sumiko is used to work gloved and hooded from school and her mom, although looking submissive and behaving more submissively to her dad, is following Sumiko much closer and makes a sound or starts pointing as soon as Sumiko deviates from what she expects of her. But at the middle of the next week her new life has become a routine. And when she gets the result of her essay she is proud and her parents are proud. She has got top rank. Her parents say that their her new lifestyle has brought results right from the beginning. Her teacher’s comment is ‘At your age and considering the wide gap between current society and the time and culture of Lancerattle your work shows an eminent insight in the fate of the young couple, described as it was something self-experienced.’ Sumiko had at the end of the thick book reached a tragedy of two young lovers, Rumeu and Mulie.
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