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Nantonaku Mee

Nantonaku Mee published on

On Saturday, no one came to pick Conan up after her class. This is the third time this has happened, so I was annoyed, but not really surprised. I asked Mee, “Where’s Mama? No Mama today?” Mee said distractedly, “No. No Mama.” Mee’s class is right after Conan’s, so as I did the first couple times, I brought her into the classroom with her sister.

Mee enjoys having Conan in there, partly because I have to include her in some of the games to keep her happy – which means I have to dial back the amount of actual studying that goes on – and partly because she secretly enjoys showing off her little sister’s cuteness.

As I was getting out a coloring sheet and crayons for Conan, Mee and I had a conversation.

MEE: Sarah, Sarah. Heart, heart.

ME: “Hot.”

MEE: Hot!

She opened the window, and stood there leaning out it for a second, peering contemplatively down at the side of the building. The classroom is on the the third floor.

MEE: <It’s good to go in and out the window… I didn’t come in the door! I came in the window.>

ME: Really? Well, please don’t jump out the window.

MEE: <It would be good if you climbed in the window – and then when you left, you went down a slide. That would be perfect! A slide would be perfect!>

ME: If you say so.

I didn’t think anything in particular of this conversation until class was over. Mee and Conan’s mom came stumbling in, out of breath and looking panicked. “I couldn’t come for Conan,” she wheezed. “The door was locked.”

“- the door?”

“The first floor door was locked!” She made a locking gesture for me, looking frantic. “Someone locked it! I couldn’t get inside!” Zuzu had come in with her, looking hot and sulky, very similar to an eight-year-old who’d had to stand out in the sun waiting for someone to let her in.

Mee and Conan were standing behind me. I would have expected Mee to ask a lot of questions about this, as it’s the sort of thing that would appeal to her imagination, or at least to make fun of her mom for panicking. Mee is the family’s sanguine temperament, and her mother is the melancholic. (Conan, who throws the foam ABCs at me and then cackles, is obviously choleric.) But she just walked calmly past us towards the manga shelf. Conan, taking her cue from her sister, followed her.

Mee-Mama, whose panic hadn’t worn itself out yet, noticed a sign on the wall about the mock-Eiken test and grabbed Mee’s shoulder. “Oh, Mee! I don’t think we’ve signed you up for your test yet -” I got the manager to help her with that, and applied myself to chasing Zuzu around the couch until she smiled. I guess Mee-Mama must not have had the school’s number in her phone, so she had to go look it up or something to call the office.

After they’d gotten themselves sorted out and Zuzu was safely into her juku class, I asked the manager, “How did the door get locked?”

“I don’t know. But it really was locked.”

I considered Mee’s claim of “No Mama.” I considered her abrupt fascination with the idea of entering and leaving buildings through their windows. And I considered her uncharacteristically quiet reaction to the news that her mother had been locked out.

“…Maybe it was Mee,” I said.

“Maybe,” he agreed.

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