A Japanese woman’s long face, wrinkled with age. Her hair, black and in place. Stern. Mature. Wise. She does not speak, but waits.
She wears her best kimono. It is a formal dark-blue and she has worn it since she was a young bride of only fifteen. It is very appropriate for one who waits.
Soon he will come, the one she is waiting for. She will serve him tea. She is a Tea Mistress and her abode is this tea house, where she waits. This tea house that is seven generations old. But now she waits.
She never smiles for smiling is not in her nature. She knows the things she knows, how her karma has brought her to this life. And she is serene.
She was born to a rice farmer in the north. It was cold there, very cold during the winter season, cold enough to write a haiku about. She remembers the chill of that place, how she could never get it out of her bones, that chill. But that was the way of things there.
When the war took her son, she knew it was the way of things.
After her husband dishonored himself and his Emperor, surrendering his command to the Americans, he committed seppuku, the ceremonial disembowelment. She knew it was the way of things and she was serene.
When she was chosen to be the Tea Mistress of this Tea House, she knew it was the way of things. She was serene.
Now she stands here in her best kimono, the one her father gave her fifty years ago; she stands in this seven-generations-old tea house and she is serene as she waits for him.
Soon the Emperor will come. And he will come to drink her tea. And she will be serene. It is the way of things