Talked to a Stranger On Valentine’s Day

From artbook [FAUSTUS], Misako Oba: (The page cropped.)

[Behind the story]                                – Japanese follows: [裏話] 日本語も下記に続きます。

It was in the late afternoon and it seemed I was the last patient at the hospital. This happened in New York City in 2006. It feels like a long time ago, but I clearly remember the moment the doctor said it, and I felt devastated in my mind while I kept staying cool in front of him. Do I really need to have my finger amputated?  It was out of the blue. I asked him many questions. He didn’t give me the exact name of the medical condition, but he was so sure that my right pinkie should be amputated. Soon. Right after our dialogue was done, nurses who didn’t know our conversation came in to the doctor’s room and left boxes of the chocolate on his desk. I glanced at it. He was smiling at them and getting ready to leave and go home. On my way out at the hospital, everyone looked happy and saying, “Happy Valentine’s Day!♥”  Yes, it was Valentine’s Day when my journey of this right pinkie thing started.

As I left the hospital, I figured it was too much to tell this unexpected thing to anyone who are close to me. I didn’t feel like telling. I needed to digest by myself at fist about what’s happening. If I told  my family or close friends, they would be definitely worried about. I just didn’t want to make them unnecessarily worry while I was still hoping that there should be the another option.

Yet, my heart was very heavy.  I don’t why, but interestingly and to be surprised myself, I talked to a stranger sitting next to me in subway, and chatted and told my situation. The person cheered me up with the bright attitude and I felt easier a little bit. I knew I would never see this person again. Thinking back, maybe that is why I felt ok to talk to. Hope no burden on him. Also, on that night, I happened to meet a group of people who will later on become my good friends.

Once in a while, Valentine’s Day still reminds me of those things.

And, the story goes on….



診察が終わると、すぐに看護師たちが入ってきて、ドクターの机にチョコレートの箱を置いていった。「あー、今日はバレンタインデーだ…」。ドクターはチョコをもらってニコニコ笑っている。それらを横目で眺めつつ、人が指を切断しなきゃいけない危機にあるというのに、この人たちや他人にとってはひとごとだし、別に大きなことじゃないんだな〜、と思いつつ、帰りがけにも、病院内のスタッフたちが、うれしそうに「Happy Valentines’s Day! Have a good evening!」と声を掛け合っているのを聞きながら、病院をあとにした。重くのしかかってきた事実をどうやって受け止めればいいのか —-




そしてその時、その日から、突然の日常が壊れ、病院・医師探し、正確な病名は? 自分の小指はどうなるのか….困惑、迷いのジャーニーが始まったのだった。




一方、この『FAUSTUS』より先に、米国で私家版としてまとめた写真集The Gift of Lossは、ドキュメンタリ—風のフォトエッセイになっていて、ジャーナリズム的なものだ。編集の仕方も違い、別の写真もたくさん入っている。




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