Kawaakari

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I absolutely love this word. It is so poetic! 

Kasumi Kuro felt her eye lids drooping. There was a heavy feeling in her head that caused her bow up and down, like the nodding dogs you would often see at the back of cars, or in shop windows. Her long black hair fell like a curtain over her face, obscuring the afternoon sun from her vision. She had been sitting on the bench by the Haru River for over 3 hours now. She had run straight from school to ensure she was in time. Today, December 22nd, was an important day, and, she couldn’t be late.

The river before her was a murky brown colour. The water lapped over the edges of the sandy banks at a moderate speed, carrying with it more debris as it ran along. Reeds, bushes and trees grew by the sides of the river, giving it a wild, untamed look. Many of the towns people had pushed to have concrete walls built by the sides, but Kasumi had rather liked disorderly look, believing it gave the river more character. Her grandfather had once told her a story about how the River Haru attracted strangers from distant lands. They came on pilgrimages to bathe in its then blue waters and ask the water spirits for help and guidance.

She shuffled uncomfortably on the cold, wooden bench. Despite the glorious, golden sun in the sky it was the winter months and it was very frigid at this time of year. Her legs ached from the crisp air, indeed her whole body felt sore. She rubbed her hands together blowing on them for a little warmth. She was a wisp of vapor escape her mouth and was immediately transported back to a memory of her childhood. She thought fondly of how her and Akita Nee-san would exhale fiercely into the cold winter air and pretend to be dragons.
“I am the dragon of the West!” She would say loudly.
“Well, I am the dragon of the East, and he is more powerful!” He would tease, running after her and exhaling his breath over her face. She smiled slightly at their stupidity, at the childish games of young children, and, at how unremarkable and weak humans really were. She thought of how she was smiling in her memory and realized it had been a long time since she had smiled like that. There was not much cause for happiness in the Kuro Family since the passing of its eldest son, 5 years earlier. Akita Kuro had been coming home from university when he had died tragically in a motorbike accident. Since that day, Kasumi had become very withdrawn and barely spoke to other members of the family. She was now the sole heir of the Kuro family wealth and business, but to her it meant nothing without Akita by her side.

Kasumi was pulled away from her thought by a buzzing in her coat pocket. She pulled out her small, pink cellular phone and flipped it open.
“Yes,” She said curtly into the phone.
“Kasumi Hime, your father requires you at the house immediately.” She recognized the voice of her fathers obnoxious secretary. A small man called Yuichiro who wore round black glasses and predominant a stern face. She hung up the phone before answering, turning it off and slipping it back into her pocket. It jingled loudly from the noise of the many charms attached to its side, though she ignored this as she was well used to the sound. Her cheeks were slightly flushed from anger as she thought it was quite typical of her father to forget that today was the anniversary of Akita’ death. Tears clung to her eyes but she held them back, this year she had promised herself she would not cry.

She wiped her face on the sleeve of her coat and watched a parade of Christmas cosplayers* cross by the nearby bridge. The were shouting merrily and one drunken man dressed as Santa was singing western Christmas songs at the top of his lungs. Kasumi did not care much for Christmas, especially since Akita had died. Her family did not traditionally celebrate Christmas being Buddhists; however, as with all western holidays in Japan, it had become a novelty, and the two siblings loved spending the Christmas holiday together. The year Akita had died was going to be a Christmas they spent apart. Kasumi had furiously yelled at him down the phone for wanting to spend the day with his new girlfriend instead of her.
“Do what you want, Nee-san!” She has cried unhappily down the phone.
“I’m on my way to see you now,” Akita had said in an almost pleading voice. Kasumi hadn’t cared about the hurt in his voice and spat back.
“I don’t care if you come or not,” Hanging up the phone furiously. She had spent days after wailing in despair about that very moment, wishing it were different. Kasumi watched as the sun sank lower into the horizon.

A delicate pink hue spread across the sky which reflected into the river before her. She watched as a family of ducks rushed from the middle of the water into the near by reeds, not wishing to be caught out by the night. It was almost twilight for stars could be seen twinkling in the skies above. As thr last flame of red disappeared past the horizon a flash of white reflected on the River Haru. “Kawaakari.” Kasumi whispered quietly as she watched the light dance around on the water before it to disappeared. She felt a little sad that another anniversary had come to an end, but part of her also felt a little hopeful that her big brother Akita was watching over her. As she turned to get up she saw a pale figure standing in front of her. It was translucent and glowing against the now night sky. A long arm outstretched holding out a hand for Kasumi. She took a step back, fearfully, recognizing the face that stood before her. “Nee-san?” She heard herself say quietly.

*Cosplayers: “Cosplay (コスプレ, kosupure ?), a portmanteau of the words costume play, is a performance art in which participants called cosplayers wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character or idea.”

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