Chapter 8:

Family Ties: Akiyama


"You wanna know about my past, fine. I'll go into a bit more detail. 

Mom was raised in Oda, some small rest stop village before you head to Osaka. Its whole purpose was to be a place for travelers to sleep before hitting the jazz clubs. Her name was Suki. She knew her place at an early age, having most of her hopes dashed by being a local in some unknown village. As she grew older and saw her childhood friends leave for university, or for work, Suki wondered why she was so afraid to leave. The farthest she would go was Osaka. Lucky her, she found a job in those clubs as a bartender. After a few months of working there, she ultimately decided that Oda was her place to be. She couldn't go anywhere else. 

My mother won't tell me anything about my father. My guess is he's just another sleaze from the bigger cities. He probably fell for some asshole, and she did what she had to do. All I know is, he wasn't in the picture. I was still out, however. She tried to raise me, but she mean to me sometimes. She would yell at me for being outside too long or being inside all day. She would beat me for small infractions like talking back. 

Was it because I looked like him?

Was my skin too dark?

She'd never tell me. 

When I was a teenager, Mom got bold. She started to bring the dudes home. I was mad because they weren't my father. I said slick shit under my breath when I was a bit weaker. That wasn't long. I worked out and joyride in my free time, so I was pretty strong by then. I picked fights with the pricks to test myself. Was it immature? of course. After 5 fights, she threatened me that if I fight one more time, I'm out, she's kicking me out. I took it, and just left during the night. 

It just meant more time for joyriding. 

I found some open dirt track one time when I was walking. Some old man offered this car if I do some yard work for him for 6 months. His name was Levi. I took it, why not? I got a free rally car. It was in bad shape, though. I thought myself to fix a little bit of the car. It was functioning by a miracle. I just taught myself to drive using this open field, maybe a retired arena path.  I got my license and used driving as a way to release stress. I practiced how to drift and push every car to its limit. It got to the point where I wanted to test myself again. I wanted to push this car till the wheels fell off. I wanted to race in street venues once I got a tip by Levi one night while I was making better and better drifts. Funny enough, He used to do the same thing when he was my age. He said I had talent if I was able to do turns that good with that trash heap of a car. 

With the help of Levi, we made the most of what we had, scrapping up the yen we had from doing odd jobs. Everyday after school, I would run straight to Levi's house to make this car the best it could be. I figured out with conversations that Levi was from Holland. He moved to Japan after a recent terrorist attack took his home. He took his wife and daughter over here. The daughter's name?


She was...Stunning. The platinum blonde hair, the pale skin, the bright blue eyes, her rosy red cheeks, the bright red lips. I couldn't keep my eyes off her. We talked after a day of fixing the car. She didn't care about where I was from, all she cared about was who I was as a person. What she saw was a funny, brash, and maybe cocky kid from a small town. I think the best part about her was the way she spoke Japanese...She had a soft spoken tone to her. I was totally into it. Within a few weeks I was dating her. Levi was happy to accept me. 

I convinced Elin to ride with me a few times when I practiced on the paths. She liked the rush it would give her. She was completely into racing after those sessions. 

It was the night before my first race. I remember we were sitting on top of the car, looking at the night sky. It was a full moon. There were so many stars, it was like the whole universe was looking at us. I remember saying it was our two month anniversary. I was happy have her lay her head on my shoulder.  I was so full of emotion after she expressed how happy she was...I blurted it out. I said I loved her. I was in love with her. I was love with everything about her. She said she felt the same, and we kissed. We soon did it on the car.

You wanted to know Elin?

Elin was the perfect woman. 

There's no way she could've..."

Joe Gold