(Author’s note: Life gets busy. And when you get a new case handed to you with a whole bunch of things going on to get fixed, priorities come up. However, I am glad to finally have some time to write. Here’s this week’s Fictioneers entry!)
The Last Emperor
by Miles H. Rost
Forced into a position where I didn’t want to be.
Father was deposed, My powers slowly stripped over 3 years, an Emperor with no empire.
Sure, they made me a king. But being subject to the whims of a larger emperor, a king in title only, was more than humiliating.
What will the history books say about me, Sunjong son of Gojeon? A prisoner in my own palace by the hands of two foreign usurpers.
Like my life, the palace is worn down. I’ve lost many years here. I never thought I’d be a gilded bird, caged in bittersweet splendour.
The number of years since Gary Takamura left high school and went to a new country to get his bachelors. He would eventually get his master’s and then his doctorate. Three universities around the world took him in, and gave him a lesson in education. Yonsei University gave him his Bachelor’s, then National University of Singapore for his master’s, and finally Monash University in Melbourne, Australia for his final doctorate. At 34 years old, he was a social sciences doctor, dealing with statistics, cause and effect, and other such sundries. He had gone very far in his life.
However, in his whole mind, he was unable to leave Rehoboth High School behind. His home for four years in the middle of the Colorado Rockies, Rehoboth was where his greatest triumphs and his shattered dreams all came from. He specifically looked back on one event. Rather, he looked back on a two year event with great warmth and with great heartbreak.
He was reminded, every day, of Becky Franklin. His one and only girlfriend in high school.
15 years had passed since he had left Rehoboth for Korea, and while he was successful in his job, he saw that there was that nagging hole, a hole about the size of a fist, lingering where his heart should have been. He remembered the soft curves of her face that were perfect for his cheek to rub against. He remembered her laugh, and how she would roar at the hint of a bad pun. He remembered her spirit, how she fought for everything in school and succeeded where many had failed before. Finally, he remembered her faith. Unwavering, unshaking, a faith in Christ that he never could understand or imagine.
His memory turned to a night, the last night they were together.
“I received an opportunity. Full ride in South Korea,” he said, with brightness in his eyes.
“But what about us? I thought we were going to head to Oregon, go to the U of O together…” she replied quietly, with disappointment and sadness in her voice.
“That was the plan. A full ride, though. And it’s one of the top schools in Korea,” he said, oblivious to what she was talking about.
“I…see,” she simply responded, dejectedly.
15 years after that night, Gary looked back as he sat in his apartment in Los Angeles. He was successful in just about every venture he had. He should have been happy with where he was and what he was doing.
The hole that was in his heart ached that night. A longing that was indescribable. He felt lost, and so full of regret for the past. He wanted that feeling back. The feeling of bliss, contentment, and simple human contact. He wanted Becky back. As he closed his yearbook, putting it on a glass table near the window where he looked over the LA Basin, he smiled a mournful smile.