This diary entry is part 2 of 25 in Lily's diary dated 27 - September 2023

Hi! It’s me! Lily!!!

And OMG what a day it was!!!  So much happened today!!! This is going to be a really long post!!! Maybe a book in itself!  Hahaha!!!

I don’t even know where to start.  I mean, I really don’t.  So much stuff happened today I’m not sure how I’ll fit it all into a post!!!  And… I’m all cried out…

Anyway, this morning, everyone but me and Sabby got all dressed up and headed out somewhere.  I didn’t know where.  Sabby dressed up in a nice dress I didn’t even know she had, and I spent a lot of time getting ready, because I’m a girl and girls take their time to get ready, right?  Well, I’m no exception, I guess.

Finally around noon or so we were ready to go.  First we went to pick up Yuki.  She doesn’t really have a car, she takes ridesharing everywhere or transit (transit’s pretty bad in Austin, so ridesharing it is.)  I guess her host family takes her places sometimes.  She tells me she really misses Japan’s trains.  Don’t blame her.  She told me she felt underdressed after seeing us, but Sabby said she was fine.  I didn’t know if she was or not because they still didn’t tell me what was going on!  Then Sabby drove over to the place that we told my “benefactor” to meet us.  Sabby chose pretty well, it was the main entrance of Lakeline Mall.  I guess if they were to pull anything there, at least it’d be on video and stuff.

But it was almost anticlimactic.

My benefactor was standing next to a T-Mobile store with their “guest”.

She was a rather short, grey-haired older woman with a no-nonsense military bearing and kind eyes.  She was wearing a more-fancy-then-usual business casual outfit, and the only way you could tell that there was anything more to her was the earpiece.

I know her name.  But I’m not supposed to tell you.  So I’ll just call her Mrs. X.  I’ll never be allowed to tell you that, but it’s okay.  I know, and that’s the important thing.

She introduced herself with her title, and apparently she really is really high up in the government.  Deputy chief of something or other at one of the three letter agencies.  I didn’t quite catch it and maybe I’m better off not remembering.  She introduced the guest too.  She told me her name, but nothing more.  We all shook hands.

Sabby asked if we could take her to where the party was.  It was phrased nicely.  It wasn’t a request.

Mrs X nodded and spoke something into her earpiece.  A couple of guys with a military bearing came out of the woodwork and nodded.  

“I would prefer to have one escort,” she said.  “As you can imagine, security is important.  I promise he will stay out of the way.  His job is to protect me, nothing more.”

Sabby nodded.  “I can accept that, but you understand we’re going to a party where there are children and teenagers.  He needs to stay out of the way and be as unthreatening as possible.”

Mrs. X nodded. “Acceptable.”  she nodded at her escort and he nodded back.  “Understood, ma’am.”

“There will be forces following at a distance,” she said.  She chuckled darkly.  “They’re good at their job, but they do cramp my style sometimes.  It’s all part of the job.”

Her escort was impassive.  He was actually not bad looking.  Lots of muscles and certainly looked like a coiled snake, ready to pounce.  Kind of the opposite of Jack, I guess.

So, we all piled into the car.  Sabby and I sat in the front, Yuki sat behind, and Mrs. X, guest, and escort sat in the back row.  Luckily we have a wide car with a lot of room.

Sabby pulled out, and the escort muttered “We’re moving, follow at a distance”.

While we were driving, Yuki was looking really confused.  “Umm…  Lily, what’s with the military guy?”

“I’ll explain later,” I said.  “You’re not the only one with an interesting life.  Don’t worry.  They’re on our side.”  She nodded but still looked pensive.

A few minutes later we pulled into a fancy hotel parking lot.  We all got out of the car.  I wondered what was going on.  The escort said “We’ve stopped.  Looks safe.  Secure the perimeters.”

I looked at him.  He at least had the decency to look a bit abashed.  “That just means we’re keeping an eye on all the entrances.  Just in case.”

I looked at Mrs. X.  She shrugged.  “That’s his job.  He’s probably pretty frustrated right now.  He’d probably have loved to search everyone in the hotel and have armed soldiers at each entrance.   But… we come in peace, as I said.”  His face really didn’t betray any emotion, but I think he was agreeing with her.

I shrugged.  In for a penny, as Dave says.

Anyway, we all walked into a conference room, and… everyone was there.  I mean everyone.  My family, Liz, Rebecca, the owner, Emiko and family, the pastor, half the church…  the room could hold a couple of hundred and there were at least that many.  Apparently they did a mini church potluck because there was a table full of all of the potluck staples.  You know, that tuna dish that’s really tasty but no one knows what it is?  Check.  Those yams with all the marshmallows on them and gives you diabetes just looking?  Check.  Those green beans with the crumbled onion like things?  Yum.  And lots of really decadent looking desserts  with lots of chocolate.  Sabby also clearly did some catering.  The room was pretty garishly decorated with lots of pink and balloons, but it wasn’t too much overboard.  About what you’d expect for a girl like me

Well, when we walked in, everyone stood up and applauded.  EVERYONE.

Oh.  My.  God.

How did they plan all this without me ever knowing even a thing???  I mean, it’s not like it’s a surprise party!!!  I knew it was happening!!! I just didn’t know when or where!!!


But I couldn’t think about it much because they were looking at me like they were expecting something.  Sabby nudged me.  “I think they’re hungry.”

“So am I”, I whispered back.

“Well… you’re the guest of honor,” she said…

Oh?  Ohhhh… OH!!!  “Let’s eat!,” I said.

And everyone did.  It was delicious.  Even the escort, ever watchful as he is, had a few bites.  I guess it’s hard to turn down a potluck run by old ladies!!!

I’m not speaking bad about the old ladies, btw.  They are old.  They’d even tell you that.  But they’re really nice and they’re always willing to be like the grandmothers of the church, and they always hug me and pinch my cheeks and tell me how pretty I am.  I’m not vain, but a girl likes to hear it!!!  And they put on a mean potluck.

Yuki hadn’t had half of the foods that we had available, so she put quite a bit of it away, and looked pretty satisfied when it was all over.

After we were all fed, they put me up on a little makeshift stage with a lectern, and had me sit in a plush chair next to the lectern.  Sabby stood up.

“Everyone…  as you all know, it’s Lily’s 18th birthday… and we’re going to have a roast!!!”

Oh no!!!

“Just kidding!”

Phew, I almost sagged with relief.  A giggle went through the audience.  Yes, an audience.

Sabby spoke again.  “Lily, do you remember what you did on my birthday, after we adopted you?”

I looked puzzled for a moment… then tears sprang to my eyes.  I remembered.

“I see you do,” she chuckled as I wiped my eyes.  “Well, as much as I really appreciated that, I’ve never quite gotten you back for making me cry.  So…  I asked any of your friends and family that wanted to to write you a letter, like you did me.  They’ll read it up on stage here, and you’ll sit there and cry, if I know you.”

Everyone laughed.  Aww.

“In case you didn’t know,” she addressed the audience, “on special occasions, Japanese people will sometimes write letters and read them in public.  It’s a traditional thing.  We’re doing that now.”  She handed me a piece of chocolate and an exaggeratedly large box of tissues.  “Just in case.”

Everyone giggled.  They all know me.

“I’ll start,” she said, and opened a letter she had sitting on the lectern.

“Lily,” she began to read, “I remember when I first met you.  We had gotten a call from the church about a girl who had just been found, and was in need of a temporary home.  The hospital had just finished up with you and you had no place to go.  We talked about it as a family – I’m probably sure you can guess how that went.  Well, Dave and I wanted to take you in, anyway.  We hurriedly made up a bed for you in the spare room, and then went to pick you up.

I have never seen such a lost and lonely girl before, lily.  Your eyes… you were scared, and… empty.  I’ve never seen such emptiness.  We introduced ourselves to you and said you were going home with us.  You…”  her voice hitched.  “You just said ok, and followed.  You didn’t argue, you didn’t even seem scared.  You just seemed so defeated.  Like whatever happened to you was okay with you because you didn’t have any reason not to.”

She took a moment to compose herself.

“You’ve told this story before from your perspective.  You cried for a week, Lily.  I’ve never heard so much crying.  It…  it tore me into shreds.  But what could I do?  I comforted you as best I could, but I had no words.  I couldn’t fix it, I couldn’t make it better, and still you cried.  It was the most awful week I’ve ever had because I felt so powerless.

“But you turned out to be an amazing young woman, Lily.  The day I adopted you officially was as happy a day for me as the day my other two children were born.  You’re my child, Lily.  You’re my child as much as my other children are.  I’ve never regretted adopting you, and every day I have with you, I just…  I love you more, Lily.

“You’re turning 18 today.  You’re an adult.  You can make your own way in life.  I didn’t really raise you.  I had very little to do with the person you are right now.  Not like with my other children.  But I couldn’t be more proud of you, and you have a home with me… with us…  forever.  Happy birthday, Lily.”

She closed the letter and wiped her eyes.  I sniffled too.  This wasn’t going to be easy.

She then handed me the letter, and said, “Dave?”

Dave stood up and made his way over to the lectern.  He fumbled a bit nervously with his letter.

“I’m a man of few words,” he said quietly.  “So…  what she said.”

Everyone laughed.

“Seriously,” he started to read.  “I don’t have much to say, Lily.  It’s true that I’m a man of few words.  I’m not very good at feelings like you are, and like Sabby is.  But you are as much my daughter as my other children are mine, and even though you can sometimes be impulsive and frustrating,” – he paused for laughter, which he got, and I turned a little red – “you are my daughter, and I love you.”

He handed me the letter, and sat down.

Beth then stood up, and she had a letter to read too.

“Lily,” she said, her voice breaking a little, “You are my sister.  You always have been my sister, even when I didn’t know you, even when I was mean to you, and you will always be my sister, and someday, when we both are dead, may we both come back to life and be sisters again.  I love you.”

Then she handed me the letter, and sat down.

Even David had a letter.  It wasn’t very long and it was so David.

“Lily, I want to be like you when I grow up.”

You know – that was a short and sweet letter, but as good as all the others, in its own way.

Liz stood up and went to the podium.  She seemed a little nervous, but then she’s not really good at public speaking.

“Lily,” she started, “You’ve been my best friend for over two years.  We’ve shared a lot.  Remember when we went to Orlando and…  well, that will stay a secret.”

I blushed.  I knew darn well what she was talking about.  She covered for me with Jack more than once.

“You’ve been the best friend I could have ever wanted, and we’ve shared so much together, and…” she sniffled.  “I hope we stay best friends forever.  I love you, Lily.”  She handed me the letter and gave me a hug.  And whispered into my ear “you owe me”.  I giggled.  That’s so Liz.

Jack stood up – oh no.  What’s he going to say, I thought.

“Lily, I remember when we first met.  You were wearing your swimsuit, and I thought you were the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.”  He blushed.  “You still are.”

“AWWWWW”, I said before I could stop myself, and then turned beet red.  Everyone giggled.

“We’re both eighteen now, “ he said, quietly.  “We’re growing up.  I don’t know what the future will hold.  I know you have plans, and I still don’t know what my plans are.  But I do know that I can’t imagine a future without you in it.”  He walked over and kissed my cheek.  “I love you, Lily,” he said, and handed me his letter and sat down.

Awww.  I broke open the comically large box of tissues and blew my nose.

Emiko stood up and walked to the lectern.

“I gave you up when you were a baby,” she said without preamble.  “It was the mistake and I regret it so much.  But it’s the past, and it’s done, and there’s nothing to be done about it now.”  She paused.  “And I know that very little to nothing of who you are is my responsibility, and maybe you wouldn’t have lost your memories at all if I’d… if I’d…” she sniffled, and her voice broke.  She took a moment to compose herself.  “But all that said, I couldn’t be prouder of you, Lily.  Maybe no thanks to me, but you’re an amazing young woman, and I couldn’t be happier that we’d gotten to know each other again.”  She handed me her letter and sat down.

Robert, of all people, stood up and walked to the lectern.

“Lily,” he said, “I have no right to be here, if we’re being honest.  But I was invited, and here I am.  If I’d have known…  well, that’s no use.  Prior to meeting you, I’d considered my daughter to be my greatest accomplishment.  Now…  even if I had very little to do with it…  I consider my daughters to be my greatest accomplishment.”  He looked at me.  “I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it here, too.  I’m sorry, Lily.”

He handed me his letter and sat down. Oh god I was about to full blown cry.

Crystal stood up.  Her eyes were clearly already watering.

“Lily… I…  I….  I can’t!  I love you Lily!!!” and she ran over and just gave me a bear hug and burst out crying.  Awwww.  I did too.  She gave me her letter.  I haven’t read it yet.

There were other letters.   Rebecca, Diana, even the pastor.  Everyone had something nice to say and I almost ran out of tears.  Allison even came up and thanked me for all the grilled cheese sandwiches.  And Grace just wanted a hug.  But then there were two surprises.

The first surprise was when Yuki stood up and walked to the lectern.  I hadn’t known her for a week, and I did not expect that.  Neither did anyone else, you could see the people who knew me murmur.

She stood there for a moment, and you could see the emotions warring on her face.

“I don’t have a letter,” she said.  “I met Lily on Monday.  I didn’t know what this would be like, and… neither did Lily.”  She gave a watery eyed smile.

The room was so quiet.

“You probably don’t know me, but you might know of me.  I am very famous in Japan.  I was a JPop idol.  I have performed in front of tens of thousands of people.  I cannot step off a plane in Japan without people recognizing me and mobbing me.”

She sniffled.

“In fact, in a variety show, I was in this very scenario.  They dressed me up in a bride’s outfit, and had a bunch of my fellow idols write letters to me, very much like this.  There were tears and hugs…  and when the cameras turned off, so did the tears.”  She sniffled.

“There are no cameras here.  No production crew, no makeup crew, no director.  This isn’t a stage.  This…  this is a room where every person in this room has come for the sole purpose of telling a…  rather special woman, it seems…  that they love her.”

The tears were running down her face.  “I would have given everything for this, Lily.  I still would.  There are no lies here.  No lies.”  She sniffled, and seemed to have a hard time forming her words.  “I am… so privileged… to be a part of this, Lily.  Even if you didn’t expect me to speak.  I’m sorry.  I just… I just…  I’m sorry,” she said.  “I shouldn’t have…  Thank you, Lily.  Thank you so much.”  Then she ran off the podium and out of the room, sobbing.

I looked at the pastor.  “Can you tell a story, like you do at church?  I’ll be right back.”  He agreed, stood up, and started going on with one of his convoluted but very funny jokes.  I ran out of the room as fast as I could in heels and went to find Yuki.

I found her in the restroom.  I could tell it was her by the ugly crying sounds coming from one of the stalls.


No sound but sobbing.

“Yuki?  It’s alright.  I understand.”

The door to her stall opened, and she ran out and hugged me.  “I didn’t know your story, I’m sorry, Lily, it just… it got to me, that’s all… I’m embarrassed… I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.”

“No,” I said.  “It’s alright. That came from the heart.”  I sniffled.  “It meant a lot.”

“But all I did was talk about me,” she sniffled.  “I’m selfish, I’m greedy, I’m…”

“You’re human”, I said.  “It sounds like you didn’t have very much human where you came from.  It… must be overwhelming.”

She sniffled.  “I guess not.”

“Fix your face and come back.  You’re among friends.  No one will think worse of you. I… I’ll tell you why later.  Come back to the house with me and I’ll explain.”  I took her hand.  “It’s alright.”

She sniffled.  “Okay,” she said, in a very small voice and went to the sink to wash her face.  I went back to the room, where the pastor was just finishing up his joke, to a smattering of laughter.

I went to the podium.  “That’s my new friend Yuki,” I said.  “It’s okay.  I understand her.  Please welcome her.”

Then… the second surprise.  Mrs. X. stood up and made her way to the podium.

“You don’t know me,” she said, clearing her throat.  “My involvement in Lily’s life has been, and is, very complicated.  There are things about her that are… very special.  Clearly you all know that,” she chuckled, “but even by the standards of people in my line of work.”

She paused for a moment.

“I may be one of the few people who have read every single one of the entries in her diary.” [this diary!] “I have watched her grow from a scared, lonely young girl to a confident young woman who has somehow managed to get an entire roomful of people to sit in a conference room and tell her how much they love her.  Even I, with my vast resources, cannot accomplish that.  I suppose I could get them to tell me,” she chuckled, “but I could never make them mean it.”

The room giggled, but a little uncomfortably.

“You are eighteen, now, Lily.  The world is your oyster.  Don’t waste it.  And know that I, and those I represent, are always on your side.”

Then she sat down.

Finally, I was asked to say a few words.  I stood up from my plush chair and went to the podium.

“I was not expecting this,” I said.  “I love you all too.”  I said simply.

Then came presents.

OMG the presents.  Too many presents.  Jack gave me a diamond hair clip – with real diamond.  Allison gave me a squish mallow (I’d never seen one of those and that surprised me)  There were too many gifts to name.  I will have a lot of thank you cards to write.

Anyway, this entry is already 4,000 words, and I’m not even halfway done.  I still have to tell you about what Mrs. X and her guest wanted to tell me, and I also need to talk about the conversation with Yuki after, and…  I’ll do that tomorrow.  I’m all cried out tonight, and Sabby wants to take me to a birthday dinner (even though my actual birthday is tomorrow).

Love you all!!! ❤️

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