Sakura no Omoide
Sakura Days Series

Sakura no Omoide
(Memories of the Cherry Blossoms)


created & written by K-chan

The cherry blossoms had sprouted quite late this year, but that didn't make their beauty worth any less. The time of relaxation and nature appreciation began weeks ago, and the aftermath of it all was calming down.

The end of the cherry blossom season was a time I enjoyed the most as each fragment of blossom drifted through the air. Every time the breeze wisped by, the petals came alive, dancing among each other. The pink tint scattered across the canvas of grass, like a drop of water dripping gently on to a surface but with a hint of excitement as it landed.

As I stood there, gazing at the lovely sight before my eyes, a gust of cherry blossom petals entwined with my silky, golden-brown hair. I closed my eyes, hiding them from the quiet kisses of the wind, and with my left hand, I slowly brushed the remains of the flowers from my hair. My lips curled upwards into a faint smile as I stared at the few petals in my hand.

Memories from my days in junior high gradually returned to me, but there was one that was very special. It even happened right where I was standing now, not exactly in this spot but around here. I held my gaze on the very place my brother had stood when I last saw him.

I was just coming out from school with my friends when I saw him waiting for me. He was leaning against the brick wall with his hands in his pockets like a 'cool' guy. Knowing that he hadn't been home for a few days, I was eager to inquire about it so I had to cancel any plans with my friends. After I parted with them, he walked up to me and ruffled up my hair till it looked like I came out from the dryer. It was worse when he wore his trademark grin, and he did that just to annoy me.

I didn't get a chance to say anything when he started walking away. I knew things were not well between our father and him, but I had hope they would reconcile before my brother left for college. But during his last year of high school, the situation escalated from his social life to the choice of career he wished to pursue. The details were never clear to me since everyone did a good job of keeping unnecessary information from me, but I was content that my brother did come home when both sides had calm down.

I trailed behind him a few feet, curious to know his thoughts and his current living state, and I was sure he wanted my company too. If not, then he wouldn't have waited for me after school. My brother never confided anything in me, but I think it was because of our age difference, and I doubted that he had any close friends to speak to as popular as he was in school. He was quite an eye catcher with his soft, blonde hair, his beautiful, blue eyes, and his handsome smile. All of my friends had crushes on him, and they would even make bizarre excuses just to come over to the house.

We eventually came to the park that was famous for its deep pink cherry blossoms. It was also a favorite, childhood place for us, during those times with pure joy and excitement. I wanted to relive those memories again when there wasn't a care in the world, dancing and twirling in the embrace of the blossoms.

I watched my brother knelt down in front of a tree and picked up some remains of the flowery petals. He finally spoke, asking me, "Aren't they beautiful?"

I replied with an affirmative and nod which was pointless since his back was facing me. I strolled up beside him, holding my schoolbag with both hands in front of me. I looked around and noticed people going about their daily activities except for the two of us. Time seemed to have slowed down for only us. And even the air felt heavy and somber like a premonition.

I stared down at him, seeing his casual mask had slipped off. His eyes were filled with fright, and his lower jaw clenched tightly as if he was trying to keep everything in himself. All I could do was call his name, letting it exit my mouth like the whispers of the wind. He had to have heard me, but he suddenly changed his mood and sat back, laughing like a free spirit. He patted the ground next to him, inviting me to join him, and I did.

I laid my schoolbag on the ground by my side and stretched my legs in front of me, relaxing from a day's worth of sitting in class. Out of the blue, my brother asked me, "Do you have a boyfriend?"

The crimson feeling flushed across my face as I quickly defended myself, declaring that boys were rude and immature, but he just laughed at me. I turned my head away, offended from his reaction, but also hiding the truth on my face. To be honest, there was a classmate that I really admired--since childhood, really.

"Yeah, I guess I was like that too," he admitted, thinking about his junior high school days. "But we do grow out of it," he laughed again, "Eventually." I looked at him with a frown, telling him not to change the subject onto me. I urged him to tell me what had been happening to him.

He let out a heavy sigh and finally said, "Take care of mom and dad for me." I wanted to say something, but he continued, "I'm heading over to the States." So he was leaving the country and heading to the nation of opportunities, the United States. That didn't bother me as much as the first statement. Then a dreadful feeling overwhelmed as the thought of never seeing him again occurred to me. My mouth hung open, but no words came out.

Looking at me, he smiled. "I'm working for this company that wants to have a branch in the States, so they're sending me over there since my English is really good." The news made me very happy, knowing that he was doing something with his life--even if it wasn't what our father wanted. "Please look out for them since I won't be here any more."

The pain tugged at my heart, seeing how he wouldn't saying any farewells to our parents. I knew he had thought about it long and hard before coming to see me. After hearing that last sentence again, I wouldn't be able to convince him otherwise. I couldn't imagine what would happen if that ever occur, but it was probably better this way. "I'll write," he promised.

My body started to tremble as I felt the wetness of my eyes trickle down my cheeks. I wiped them away with the back of my hands, but the tears continued to flow as if they would never end. My brother pulled me to him and held me with a warm embrace. He stroked my hair as I tried to suppress my sniffles, scolding myself for being such a baby.

He leaned his head against mine and spoke softly, "Always follow your heart because nothing knows you better than that. When the world fades away, all that is left standing is you." Those were the very words he left me with that day. Since then, I received letters from him but was never able to respond because he never wrote his address on the envelopes. After I entered high school, the letters stopped arriving. Even now, in my last year of high school, I still had no news of him.

"Brother..." My hand brushed against the bark of the cherry blossom tree we once sat beneath. Whenever that time crossed my mind, I wondered if it was ever a dream. It always seemed that way--fairy tale like, as if my brother never existed in this world but had only and always been within me.

"KIYOKO!"

My mind snapped back into reality as the owner of the upset voice appeared before me. I was puzzled to why my boyfriend was frowning at me until he told me, "You're daydreaming again, Kiyoko! I called your name ten times already." I giggled and hugged his arm, leaning against his warm body. "Kiyoko," he said, nervously, feeling embarrassed with many eyes on us. It was adorable to see him squirming like a child.

I secretly gazed up at his face, taking careful notice of his dark-blue eyes. He kept his black hair disheveled, just the way I like it. He was the world to me, and I knew deep in my heart that I wasn't standing alone in this world--in a world where you make your own dreams become reality.