May fifth 2008 started off like any other day in my typical five year old life. Waking up to the smells of eggs, playing with my toys, watching cartoons on the tv. When mother said she was going to the supermarket, I wanted to go with her. It was raining, and I remember wanting to go out and play. How was I to know that on the way back a car would loose control because of the rain and head straight for us? How was I to know that mother would run out in front of me, her arm shielding me from the enclosing doom? I didn’t, but it still happened. I still lost my mother at five years of age, and having already lost my father before I was even able to say my first words I had no one to go to. I am an only child, and was never close to my extended family as there was still tensions revolving around my parents affaire. Apparently mother was engaged when she met my father, and as the two got to know one another they fell in love. Father died suddenly in an earth quake, days before they were to be married. Then mother found out she was pregnant with me and though her family wanted her to get rid of the child, she refused. I wasn’t wanted from the moment that a car hit and killed my mother, the glass cutting me and the impact braking a few of my bones. I had to stay in a hospital for a few weeks, just until my injuries had healed. By that time all of my relatives had gotten together and planned a funeral for my mother.
At the funeral was the first time and place I met him. I was in the garden of my aunt’s house, wanting to be away from all of the whispering and looks, the quiet hostility that came from being legitimate. I had hid behind an old cherry tree, not wanting anyone to see my tears. That was when I felt a soft hand touch my head, causing me to start away in fright.
Standing in front of me was a man, his eyes a bright red and dressed in a loose white yakata, his right arm hidden in the sleeve. The man didn’t say a word, just stood there while I examined him, fear quickly turning into curiosity as I saw he seemed to pose no threat toward me. I tilted my head, reaching forward and taking a small step forward so that I could touch him, his yakata smooth in my small hand.
Gently he reaches up his left hand and rubs away the few tears that had stayed, his voice soft and quiet.
“Why are you crying?” He asks, his voice quiet.
“Because mommy isn’t here. She’s gone far far away, in a place that everyone says I can’t go to yet.” I respond sadly, strangely no longer scared of the stranger.
The man hums quietly, giving me a soft hug before whispering in my ear: “Then we are the same.”
I remember looking up at him, confused as he lets go of me, letting out a small chuckle at my face.
“Don’t worry about it. You’ll understand someday.” He says with a small smile, ruffling my light brown hair almost affectionately.
“Hey, what’s your name?” I ask, starting to smile. “Mine’s Mahiru.”
“My name?” He asks smiling slightly, causing me to nod eagerly. For some reason I wanted to be closer to him, and to do so I needed to know his name.
“Sakeri?” I stutter, struggling slightly. Tsubaki nods, his smile widening slightly.
“That’s right Mahiru. Sakeri.”
“Sakeri!” I chirp, my face exploding into a delighted smile. I don’t see it then but Sakeri’s ruby eyes glow slightly, his eyes returning to normal as soon as I opened mine.
“Hey would you play with me? Everyone doesn’t like me very much and so won’t play with me...momma used to always play.” My shoulders slump slightly, my eyes starting to fill with tears again.
“Sure! Why don’t we play hide and seek?” Sakeri suggests, his kind tone and soft gaze warming my grieving heart.
“Yeah! You be it and I’ll hide. Ok?” I chirp, not waiting for a response as I run off, hiding behind the old cherry tree till I hear the melodic voice of Sakeri’s counting. Looking around for a proper place to hide I see some suitable bushes, the leaves just high enough off the ground for a small child to crawl under.
“Ready or not here I come!”
I can’t help but let out a small giggle as I see Sakeri looking around the garden, clearly having no idea where I was as he goes off in the opposite direction. I smile, confident in my hiding place. He’ll never find me here! I think, letting out another small giggle.
Soon I start to get bored, and just as I was about to reveal myself I am picked up from behind, letting out a surprised shriek.
At the sound of Sakeri’s voice behind me I let out a small whimper, tears coming to my eyes as I am placed back down. I let out a small cry as I whip around, burying my face in Sakeri’s chest as I start to sob, my fear from being picked up making me tremble.
Soft arms wrap around me, surrounding me in a gentle warmth I hadn’t known for weeks. Quietly he pets my head, not saying a word as I cry into his chest, just holding me and comforting me as I let all of my grief and fear out.
I apparently fell asleep in his arms, for the next thing I knew I was waking up by the cherry tree, my aunt calling for me.
“Mahiru, time to come inside! Honestly…”
I blink, letting out a small yawn as I sit up, rubbing my eyes sleepily. That’s when I noticed how cold I was, and looking around, I find myself alone by the tree. Sakeri was nowhere to be seen, having disappeared as quietly as he had came.