Maybe (short story)
Creators: Wakako Yamauchi
Short story by Wakako Yamauchi about a middle-aged Japanese American woman working in a sweatshop with a group of undocumented immigrant workers from Latin America. Divorced after twenty-five years of marriage, Florence wanders into a garment factory with a help wanted sign and is hired on the spot and given a relatively responsible position despite her lack of qualifications due to what she thinks is the owners' stereotype about "Japanese." In her first person voice, she introduces various workers as well as the owner's much younger Colombian immigrant wife who takes an immediate disliking to her. She befriends a young couple who were forced to leave their young son back in Mexico and are unable to bring him to the U.S.; the husband semi-jokingly asks Florence to marry him so that he can get a green card. At the end of the story she recalls her and her family's confinement in a wartime concentration camp.
Originally published in the 1984 Rafu Shimpo holiday edition, "Maybe" was reprinted in Yamauchi's 1994 collection Songs My Mother Taught Me: Stories, Plays, and Memoir as well as in other literary anthologies.
For More Information
Yamauchi, Wakako. "Maybe." Rafu Shimpo , Dec. 22, 1984, 28+. Reprinted in Home to Stay: Asian American Women's Fiction , ed. Sylvia Watanabe and Carol Bruchac (Greenfield Center, N.Y.: Greenfield Review Press, 1990): 252–61; Wakako Yamauchi, Songs My Mother Taught Me: Stories, Plays, and Memoir , edited and with an introduction by Garrett Hongo, afterword by Valerie Milner (New York: Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 1994): 146–52; Literature, Class, and Culture: An Anthology , ed. Paul Lauter and Ann Fitzgerald (New York: Longman, 2001).