The La-Iin Series
“Heart and Mind”
“What are you doing that’s making so much nooooooise!?” Gen-Reiya whined.
“You said you wanted fruit smoothies. So deal with it!” His mother called back.
“I hope you’re not merging flavors!” Gen-Reiya called. He heard his mother make a noise as if she had messed up and flinched. ‘No, no, it’s really loud, maybe I heard that wrong….’
“Oh, good morning, Mi-Yagi!” His mother called. Gen-Reiya peeked into the kitchen. Mi-Yagi was staring at their mother as she made the smoothies, her expression blank.
“You should have Dad do this,” she said.
“But he’s at work right now. How could I have him do this?”
“I still think it’s pretty awful he’s forcing his wife to make smoothies for him….or is Gen-Reiya forcing you?”
“Nobody’s forcing me! If I didn’t want to make smoothies, I wouldn’t be!” She said cheerfully. “Mi-Yagi, why don’t you go and sit at the table? Once the smoothies are done you can have one!”
“Fine,” she sighed. She walked over to the table and sat down. Gen-Reiya sat next to her.
“Good morning, Mi-Yagi,” he said.
“You don’t look very happy. Anything I can do to help?”
“Not much that can help when you’re thinking about injustices,” she sighed. “It’s stressful seeing as something as small as Mom making smoothies is the result of society–”
“Mi-Yagi, please,” Gen-Reiya sighed. “I thought you were mellowing out…”
“You haven’t been nearly as happy as you used to be. Well, not that you were happy….but you didn’t seem sad, is what I mean. Really, I want to try and help you, but it’s pretty hard to do that when everything I say to you goes in one ear and comes out the other.”
Mi-Yagi glared. “I’m sorry!”
“So many days I wish I had a little sister,” she sighed. “Or at least a different little brother. But a little sister would be better.”
“You’re so mean, Mi-Yagi…”
“And you grew up with a bad influence for a friend.” Mi-Yagi sighed and rested her head on the table. Gen-Reiya tried to look at her expression, but she moved her chair a small way away from him. He took it as a sign that she didn’t want him to look.
“Gen-Reiya, can I rely on you just this once to not make fun of me or talk about this with someone else?” Mi-Yagi asked.
“With how surprised I am that you’re even asking me this, of course.”
Mi-Yagi gave another sigh. “I’ve been wondering lately….is it even worth it for me to devote so much of my life to fighting even the smallest, most supposedly insignificant injustice? I get stressed out. I’m not like the poor people who have it so hard because they’re everything the world hates and it’s so bad for them that they want to kill themselves because….”
Gen-Reiya tuned Mi-Yagi out for a short while. ‘How many of those people are actually as unfortunate as they claim….’ He could remember a friend of Mi-Yagi’s who claimed to have a rough life who wore golden shoes.
“…..and it’s totally not fair, but the thing is, the world’s really overpopulated, so there’s so many people committing injustices and being the subject of injustices that it’s so hard to keep up with them all. You try to look up one on the internet so you can voice your opinion, and then you end up seeing ten. And then there’s the one people tell me I have no place speaking on. And maybe they’re right, but there are plenty I feel I could help with.”
Mi-Yagi paused for a short while. “Is that all you wanted to say?” Gen-Reiya asked.
“No. I still had a little more to talk about. Anyway, there’s so many injustices it’s really hard and super stressful to keep track of them all. There are ones people tell me not to voice my opinion on. And then there’s so many places in the world, too. I mean, I think if I scream loud enough someone will pay attention to me, but in the end how do I know that some guy in Manemica’s gonna care about what some Vaelis girl has to say? I mean he should ’cause he’s probably committing plenty of injustices himself, but I mean…who’s gonna care? Vaelis isn’t the most common language in the world. I mean, there’s a lot of people who speak it, but not many places have it as their primary language it feels like. So people won’t even understand me anyway. And it’s not exactly my place to learn other languages….”
“Mi-Yagi, I don’t mean to be rude, but you know I don’t always understand exactly what you’re going on about. Could you dumb it down?”
“As soon as you apologize for saying dumb….damn it,” she said.
“Er, I’m sorry,” Gen-Reiya said begrudgingly.
“Apology accepted, but only ’cause I’m feeling grateful. Anyway, I’ll give you the explanation that even someone like you with a super-thick and well-off skull would understand. Basically, lots of bad things happen in the world. Mi-Yagi wants to scream at people so that bad things stop happening to people who don’t deserve it. But Mi-Yagi is told not to yell at people all the time because it’s not her place to yell at them. Understandable. Mi-Yagi wants to yell at people outside of Vaelyn too. But Mi-Yagi only understands Vaelis. Things are hard, and I’m getting stressed out.”
“Tell anyone about all this and you die,” she said.
“I won’t! I won’t!” Gen-Reiya raised his voice slightly to be heard over the whirring of the smoothies. “I actually wanted to say something in response to all that.”
“Yes? You’re not going to make fun of me, right? ‘Cause I’ll kill you for that too,” she said.
“I won’t, okay? Anyway, what I wanted to say is, you don’t have to worry about this sort of stuff all the time. I don’t. I mean, there are things that are unfair in the world and make me sad. I still can’t watch documentaries about Dasdoria the whole way through. But if I focused all my time on those things, I’d be a very miserable person.”
“Are you saying I’m miserable!?” Mi-Yagi yelled.
“No, I’m not! I’m just trying to say, first off, you shouldn’t worry about this sort of thing all the time. You should have fun as well! Spend time with friends and not talk about injustices for once, play a game, color, do anything fun! Just take breaks from thinking about this stuff all the time, or you could really stress yourself out. You might even get grey hairs!”
“Second off, you shouldn’t have to worry about counteracting every single injustice out there. We’re Normals. Normals don’t live as long as some other species. Sure you might make it over one-hundred. But you won’t be around for thousands of years. Even Vampires don’t have all the time in the world to counteract injustice. There are so many people like you said that it would be near impossible. And again, you’d stress yourself out. If you want to counteract injustices–and actual injustices at that, not Mom making smoothies–then do it. But remember your limitations, and that you’re not the only one doing it. There will probably always be bad things in the world. If you can contribute to making the world a better place, then the bad things won’t go away, but there might be a little more good.”
“So what I’m trying to say is, don’t stress yourself out. Don’t set your goals too high. Fight real injustices like, oh I don’t know, the kind of stuff Dasdoria does, or corrupt laws or whatever. Not women making smoothies. And make time for Mi-Yagi. Knowing you, you could probably go with a nice long break before you try to pass a certain law you’ve been talking about lots.”
Mi-Yagi had a blank expression on her face. Gen-Reiya braced himself for her to tell him he had said something wrong, but instead, she smiled.
“I’ll take your advice, Gen-Reiya,” she said. “Thank you.”
“Is today the apocalypse!? Mi-Yagi, thanking me!?!? Smiling!? AAAAAAAGH!”
“Oh, shut up,” she snapped.
The sound of smoothies being blended died down. Their mother walked over to the table with a tray that had several cups full of various flavors of smoothie inside. Gen-Reiya stared intensely at a deep purple one.
“Take whatever flavors you like,” their mother said. Mi-Yagi reached for a yellow smoothie that had several small fruits floating inside. Gen-Reiya took the one he had been eyeing and took a huge gulp, then sighed and relaxed in his chair.
“Such bliss….” He sighed.
“Men,” Mi-Yagi groaned. Gen-Reiya glared. ‘Well, things won’t change overnight….just be glad she’s taking your advice in the first place.’
He felt surprisingly happy as he sat there with Mi-Yagi and his mother, drinking smoothies and sharing them.
“I’m happy for Mi-Yagi,” Gen-Reiya said. “I think she might finally be breaking out of her mindset. It took some time. And I think it’s still gonna take more time. But maybe she’ll finally be able to find peace…”
He flinched when he heard Mi-Yagi’s voice. His sister was standing right behind him. He paled.
“Gen-Reiya, you’re just like I thought. You can’t do anything right, you shi–”
“Sorry gotta go Xhen-Wu!” He hung up and dashed out the room. Before his sister could catch up to him, he crashed down the stairs.
“Serves him right,” Mi-Yagi huffed.