Chapter 27 - Kurumi's birthday
“KURUMI! WAIT!” I yelled after her. She didn’t even look back.
“She doesn’t have anyone to celebrate with?”
For a while, I fell silent. “She always avoided questions when it came to her family.
“Shouldn’t she be in the orphanage then?”
“Yes, she should. Maybe her parents are alive after all. Where are they, though?”
“They could be anywhere. Perhaps Ku fleed away from home, or one of her parents is in prison. We can’t tell you what happened. Or Kurumi ran away from the orphanage. If we call someone from social support, they could take her away. Besides, we don’t know what’s wrong. Or she does have parents alive, but doesn’t have good relationships with them.”
I experienced empathy toward Kurumi. “I wish to go after her...”
“I think she prefers to be alone.”
“No.” I objected and followed the same path Kurumi choose before. Mizuki got left standing there. “I hope he doesn’t do anything stupid....”
I walked and checked every corner, trying to find Kurumi. Around me grew sakura trees.
Although December arrived already, rain with snow already fell. Luckily not at the moment. It appeared a mystery why in Japan and this early. I stopped running, needing to catch my breath. Where did she go? I eyed every direction possible and checked almost all places. I’ll go to the left side now.
As I was about to give up, realizing she probably ran home, I noticed someone sitting under a tree. It’s Kurumi! She is sitting in front of the tree with her head lowered!
The way Between her and I blocked a river and a smaller bridge above it. I circumvented the water, not wanting her to see me right away.
I showed behind and slowly sat next to her. “Kurumi?”
She hasn’t heard me and now twitched. I saw tears in her eyes. The place resembled a mini island. The river flowed below us, and the sky darkened.
“What do you wish for?!” she snapped.
“I just wanted to talk.”
“Go away, Pablo.”
“Don’t you know what go away means?”
“I just came to say that you could celebrate Christmas with us.”
“I never celebrate. What for?”
“I don’t want you to be alone.”
“What? I’ll be alone, anyway. Christmas is just for couples –”
“And aren’t we a couple now?” I interrupted her.
“Well... I... I... I’m sorry I just...” she shook her head, unable to tell me what bothers her. “Yeah. Nevertheless, I still thought I’m going to be a burden.”
“What?! You’re not a burden! You were never!”
Kurumi only lowered her head a bit more. “I’m so sorry.”
I hesitated before kissing her on the lips. Kurumi blushed in surprise, wrapping her hands around my back.
“You’re never going to be a burden, do you understand?”
“Yes, I do...”
“Remember, you can always celebrate something with us. You don’t have to be alone.”
“Thank you.” Kurumi’s face appeared as red as a tomato, and it made me laugh while I held her hand. “Hey, cheer up.”
“I’m fine, I’m okay.” she smiled. “I guess I didn’t desire to be that much alone after all.”
“Of course, so don’t forget you’re invited.”
“Really? Do you promise?”
“I do,” I promised, and she hugged me once again. I grabbed her hand and walked back to find Mizuki. She sat on a bench.
“Hey, I apologize how I fleed earlier.”
“No, no, I’m the one who should be sorry.” Mizuki corrected Kurumi.
“We’re both apologizing...”
Mizuki laughed, “Yeah, I know. Why don’t we hang out for a while and later go home?”
“I accept.” Kurumi grinned.
“Hey, it’ll be Kurumi’s birthday soon,” I mentioned, as I sat at a table with Mizuki.
“You’re right. We can greet her.” she agreed.
“I want to make a little smaller birthday party for her. And give her some presents.”
My sister blinked in surprise; my words raised a smile on her face. “That’s really nice!”
“Because I don’t want to act like we don’t know regarding her birthday. I’d rather surprise her.”
“That’s a very awesome idea! What would you give her as a present, though?” Mizuki asked.
“I am not sure... Something cool. I’m not sure what does she like. Could you ask her? And I’ll ask too.”
“I’ll ask her what does she like at school.”
At school, Kurumi excitedly mentioned World War II. “Well, the Japanese once committed a massacre during the Second World War. The Japanese went to Nanking and tortured, killed, and raped everyone, even though they told us not to do such a thing. Our soldiers raped all the women or sexually assaulted them. The army also slaughtered tons of people. Then Japan got bombarded because we got warmed and still didn’t stop.
That’s why Europeans call us the cruel nation! Europeans like anime, and I guess it makes us a good reputation, but I bet they know nothing of this history. If people knew what happened in Japan's past, they wouldn’t dream of visiting, or would they? Most people call us because of anime, and they’re interested in our culture. I feel bad for the people in that village. I wonder if we will learn about the Nanking massacre because our teacher may share it with us. I’m very interested!”
Honestly, I wasn’t interested at first, until she mentioned the torture and rape.
“You’re interested in rape?” Kurumi probably noticed.
I stared at her, speechless, until bursting into laughter. “Rape?! No! What does being interested in rape mean in the first place? However, I never heard this before, so I was interested.”
“Oh, I see. I’m still surprised; how can you not know.”
“By the way, what things do you like?”
“What things do I like? Hmmm... I like plushies a lot. Don’t judge me; I like playing with toys. Also, kittens and puppies. And comics. And you?”
“Puppies, manga, headphones, my phone, videogames ... I like a lot of things. What are your favorite sweets or pies?”
“I love chocolate, candy, pies, and cake. I love it if the cake is cream, strawberry or peach jam on it—also fruits in the pie. As goes for candy, anything with chocolate. And we should stop soon because I’m almost drooling. And you?”
“Uh, jelly beans and gummy bears. I like takiyaki. I’m not sure if it’s a cake or a pie at the moment. Also, the sponge cake, cheesecake, and chocolate rolls.”
“It’s a fish-shaped cake. Damn, you’re making me hungry!” she giggled, seeming to be in a great mood. We continued talking about food before both of us salivated.
Once or classes ended, Kurumi hugged me, saying she needs to buy some goodies, and disappeared. I disappeared to stationary and bought a notebook. I sat at my desk at home, holding a pen, and made a list of the food with my choppy handwriting.
Kurumi likes Plushies, chocolate, chips, cookies, puppies and kittens, comics, animations, politics, history, languages, literature, geography, drawing, sakura jelly, cocoa, pies with jam and cream.
I bit the pen’s top. Did I remember all of it? Or did I miss or mistake anything? I hope this is enough... If she’s into the plush toys, I can buy her one. Possibly two.
I checked my wallet, where I had storaged some of my money. I rarely spent it on anything—some of the money I received from parents, grandparents, or Mizuki.
Finally, the money will be useful once, and only three days left for Kurumi’s birthday. I’ll have to visit a toy store instead of studying. Oh well, who cares. I don’t.
I left the house, telling my parents where I am going. I always had a note with train arrivals and departures; thus, I knew precisely how the trains arrived. “I hope I’ll find something perfect.”
I got off the train a couple of minutes later, crossing some streets, until I found myself in front of the toy store. It feels nostalgic. When I last visited this place, I don’t remember when I thought as I entered the building.
I reached the section with plushies. The toys stood on shelves; on the lower shelves, toys of smaller size and the tallest ones. I first noticed a white cat plushie with blue eyes and a blue ribbon on its neck. “Hmm... It’s like a cat version of Kurumi. I’ll check more of these and then decide. I need something special.”
Besides, the white cat lay a grey cat eating a cookie, a teacup pomeranian plushie, resembling a big fluffy ball (which I loved, but decided not to buy it), and a much more. I couldn’t decide which to purchase and sighed. I continued wandering for thirty minutes.
Something caught my attention, a hardly noticeable box on the shelf. Most people didn’t even stop to eye it, as if they couldn’t see it.
I came a bit closer. In the box lay plush toys I never saw before.
Two plushies of demons, who resembled twins – a girl and a boy. They had a very light purple skin, maybe white, and pointy elf ears. Their eyes appeared pink, almost red. The boy’s black horns were a bit lowered, and the girl’s more up. Both of them had a thick heart-shaped tail. I saw that the boy had a brown wave, half dyed in mauve purple, and the girl mauve purple hair with brown buns. They wore a pink uniform with a black tie and suspenders. On the box, he now noticed “Mary & Sean.”
“So they have names, huh. That’s extremely cool! Are these some anime characters? Or a cartoon? I’ve seen dolls but never this. Come to think of it... This would make a great gift!”
“What did you buy?” asked Mizuki out of curiosity when I returned home. I showed the gift to Mizuki. “Huh? Cute! They look like twins.”
“I think they are twins. So I bought both of them. They’re cute, and the fact they’re twins makes it cuter. Have you got any wrapping paper?”
Mizuki brought me some wrapping paper with a picture of the night sky, which was unique, and a light blue ribbon. I snatched a big enough box, placing the toys inside. Mizuki helped me wrap the present.
“There!” she smiled. “I’m sure Kurumi will like it. And she’s going to be thankful because we haven’t forgotten her birthday!”