Arrietty’s Smile

By Idyllicdream

Adventure / Romance

Funeral day

Rain.

Just when she thought the rain had let off for a day or two just in time for the funeral, the sky showered upon them again.

The thought seemed almost cruel to her. Because the same rain had taken her father away from her.

Her father, the most dependable Borrower in the world. Be it a broken foot, being spotted by humans, moving to a new home, putting up with Mama’s tirade - even when things had turned to the worst and their whole life was in jeopardy, Pod was always the calmest. She and her mother Homily often looked to him, for not only borrowing but also the comfort in his stern wisdom.

But now he’s gone. Gone from their life the instant that flooding stream next to their home had swept him under it and took him away.

Their neighbors helped them hold a small service in honor of his memories. Saying the farewells that couldn’t be said. Mama, of course, was sobbing. She had been quiet as fellow Borrowers paid their last tributes, but soon she broke down and cried loudly, as was natural for her. Arrietty only placed a hand on her shoulder as she wept, but the gesture was heavy and empty on her part. Her hand tightened on leaf she was using to shield them both from rain; her eyes trailed on the bundles of soft pale yarrow flowers laid on her father’s memorial. Her mind was filled with the image of her father.

Soon, she knew they would have to move on. Simply adjust to a life without Papa in it. Arrietty would be the breadwinner. And their neighbor Spiller was very reliable, often sharing his hunting spoils with the Clocks. They would get by. Only Arrietty didn’t want them to. It would make it seem easy to forget Papa was ever there, even though memories were only painful at this point.

As her tears spilled down her cheeks, the teardrops became just like any other raindrop. And what was she but another droplet in the sea. So small as to be insignificant in so big a world.

A Borrower’s life has always been frail. One could always be eaten by a toad or a cat or a tanuki, or crushed by some huge falling object, or fall from some great height. It was a fine line. Many fell. She knew because her parents would always be telling her those stories to reign in her curiosity as a child.

So she supposed her father would be the same - another tale some other Borrower would use to frighten their kid.

How she’d often scoff at those, dismissing them at the back of her mind! They were all real Borrowers who had lived and laughed and met a tragic fate. Now no amount of regret could right their mistakes.

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