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tough Ama

I can’t get the thought out of my head, that in this cold and dreary climate the Ama is forbidden to wear clothes while everyone else gets to bundle up. Of course I can’t be sure of it but why would she spend all that time looking at the clothes in the window? I desperately want to ask someone why this is, maybe ask her myself. But my Japanese is so poor, I’m sure to bungle it. Plus -- maybe no one is allowed to even talk to her, except on business. I don’t want to violate any local taboo. Weird as it seems. I wish I had access to the internet so I can look this up. I’ve ransacked the Professor’s library but there’s nothing more to be found. There is a book on local history, but it has no mention of ama.

When I see her out diving now, I’m overcome with sadness. I so want to help her. But I’m not absolutely sure she’s unhappy. The people here are poor and she does seem to have a secure job, miserable as it is.

I saw her in town yesterday, around lunchtime. She was eating fried clams again, sitting across across the street from me, as I sipped some tea. It was a chilly day but she paid it no mind. As she munched she looked absently down the street. She stretched her tough bare foot out onto the bench, her vagina open to anyone who cared to look, though no one did. I was thinking that she was offending people by her nudity, flaunting it, out of revenge, at not being allowed to wear clothes, but now I’ve changed my mind. She’s not shoving it in people’s faces, or showing off. She simply is a stranger to feelings of modesty. No part of her, inside or out, is considered “private”. Every part of her is public, and no one thinks about it, including her. She’s obviously lived without clothing for a long, long time. How many years? Her entire life? The encyclopedia said ama (small “a” now) would begin training at age twelve. It’s hard to guess the Ama’s age. She’s no teenager, that’s for sure.

A quick squall overtook the town. This happens quite frequently here. The sky darkened, thunder, a few drops, and then the sheets of water came down. Everyone fled under the canopies, myself included. But not the Ama. She continued calmly eating her now-soggy fried clams as pellets of cold water hit every part of her. Cold water on her body was something she was quite used to. Rain dripped off her nose, off the toes of her extended bare foot, off the lips of her spread vagina, and off her huge, hard nipples, which seemed to stick out even more, as if pointing at the townspeople in accusation.

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