Sensei hands out Diego petals, like those from the Okinawan song she’s teaching us. One per pair. My partner, a warm Italian man, is content to let me claim ours.
Later, Sensei makes me read a line from our worksheet. I read the Hiragana clumsily. Usually meaning comes with each word as I say it, but today my thoughts flutter like so many cherry petals, blossoming in the wind.
Sensei makes me repeat. The words don’t come out of my mouth right.
“What did I say?” My voice is sharp, grating.
She counsels a patient, feminine response;
“I…am a woman.”