Black Tears

A proverb by Brigitte Doss-Johnson

     Haku lived hundreds of years ago. Her name means pure, white, snow, but her legacy fights that. She had a gift, to see the latent talent in others.



  Haku’s father oversaw the garden of God, helping to rake the pearly pebbles into flowing patterns near the trimmed balls of boxwood. You have never seen this kind of rock. Centuries ago, the earth produced unmarked strains of white granite and marble. He told Haku that the garden represented her.


     Foreigners came into town looking for work, a tall couple who stood out amongst the shorter native inhabitants of Snow Mountain. This man, Akira Tsukino, and his wife, Chiyo, were expecting their first child in several weeks. The city had need for a planner of streets and land divisions. He claimed he had learned his trade of surveying, mapping, and drawing specifics from his father and had all of his father’s tools. He accepted the position and began mapping the region the same day.







     Haku encountered Akira and Chiyo at the town tea party of the August moon. Akira’s earnestness and intelligence flooded her awareness of him, sending her a vision of a conductor of a traveling animal circus. Happiness warmed Haku, more than the tea. Akira would spread joy and unite communities through his entertainment and love for animals.


     At first, Akira received Haku’s pure energy and grasped her vision. He had always loved animals and knew that animals trusted him. He started training a hawk and planning his traveling show. Chiyo, in gratitude for her husband’s inspired state, made Haku a pendant of carved mother of pearl.





    Near the time of their infant’s birth, Akira’s fears of not being able to provide for his family defeated him. He forsook his passion for animals and delved into his work as a city planner. Haku went to the Tsukino’s house in hopes of tapping their faith in their true calling, but Chiyo demanded of Akira to declare his position. Haku, with disbelief erupting like a mushroom cloud in her aura, ceremoniously took off Chiyo’s pendant and walked away from Snow Mountain forever. Haku had witnessed in her mind what Akira would trap himself into.





     Her sense of failure doubled every time she dwelled on what mistake she missed. This severed Haku’s gift and she knew it was a final event. With her insides shredding and her eyes watering, she wiped her tears, black tears, like the heavily pigmented ink used in the traditional calligraphy of ancient brushstrokes. She sat in the garden of God with her knees folded under her, crying pools of black. Her shame for dirtying the white stones added to her shame in letting her father down. She ran through the garden, dropping more tears. She fell and as she slid down the steep slope, her streak of black penetrated the mountain and she dissolved into a stream of ebony dye.




     To this day, when the moon shines, for Akira’s last name means moon field, the black specks in the granite and the dark veins in the marble throb, pulsating the depth of the darkness Haku still feels. The curse of the black tears will last a thousand years, for chi means thousand and yo means years.

Remember your own gifts, for when you forsake yourself, you forsake others. Akira, in his doubt of his abilities and denial of faith, led a life that divided communities instead of bringing them together.


     In the end, a parent’s true wish is for their child’s eternal happiness.

2011 Brigitte Doss-Johnson