The plane's cabin was quiet except for the low hum of the craft's engine. In the dim light of night, the lulling sound was both soothing and calming. The boisterous snores and low breaths of the passengers blended into the sounds. Only one passenger remained awake; he gazed wistfully out the cabin's small window, looking out into the darkness. The young man wore a small smile on his face, a slight flicker of excitement. Finally, he had the chance to fulfill his dream of going to America, and the farther the plane traveled away from Japan, the more real his once fleeting dream felt.

Yet, in spite of his bubbling ecstasy, he still closely embraced the tinge of uncertainty that most people felt when traveling to a foreign country for the first time. Excitement and worry: a murky cocktail of feelings. However, it was what was waiting for him in California that added to those incoherent feelings. That thought troubled him the most. The reason he had decided to go to America in the first place was to see his mother. The one who had supposedly left him when he was a child for "selfish reasons," as he had often been told. He would be meeting the person he had not seen in sixteen years again-the one whose memories evaded him and whose static presence he only briefly felt through birthday cards he would send him each year without fail. He remembered each of them were stuffed with an American twenty-dollar bill, and the same recurrent phrase was written in his mother's handwriting: "Happy Birthday, Arashi. Yumi." She never referred to herself as "mom." It was as if she wanted to disassociate herself from the title or perhaps, from him. The insignificant detail was enough to almost make him doubt his mother. He had always wanted to believe that his mother had not left him for the reasons people so blatantly claimed. In spite of what his father and step-mother's family said, he wanted to believe in his mother. He was wanting to cling onto this fleeting faith and grasp onto his own dissipating imaginations.

The thin-framed man walked speedily through the serried Los Angeles Airport. The amount of luggage he carried with him appeared to weigh his small body down, bending him forward like frail limb. However, the weight he carried was light compared to the burden that pressed down on his chest. The chattering voices and staccato announcements swirled about his head adding more to his anxiety. He had only been concerned with finding his mother and leaving this place, yet, after some time, with so many people and no clear destination, Arashi began to realize he was clearly lost. His amber-colored eyes shifted about him, seeking out a familiar face, but as expected, there were none. He stood awkwardly in the center of the airport, being brushed and pushed by the crowd of people whisking past, their presences just as passing as his mother's. There was no one he could call. Besides his mother, he knew no one in California, and it was not as if his cellphone would work anyway.

With a disheartened sigh and his baggage suddenly growing heavier, Arashi took a seat nearby. Exhausted, he slumped into the metal seat and let his eyes wander while he tried to think of a solution. He had barely begun to sift through his thoughts, when a soft voice cleared out the mud of confusion he had begun to waddle in. He could recognize that the Lord had said something. "Go outside," was all that rang through his mind as clear as the announcements being broadcast overhead. Yet, Arashi's only thought was a simple: "Why?" Just being in the congested airport was overwhelming enough, but to go outside, on the street, into a city he did not even know was unsettling. There was nothing else he could do, though, aside from sitting there. He decided it was worth a try. Awkwardly, he ruffled his bowl-cut, black hair and rose from his seat. Slinging his luggage over his shoulders once more, he mustered some strength to move toward the entrance. The bright sunlight was nearly blinding as he stepped outside the airport. Shielding his eyes with his hand, he looked around for the mother whose face came as a blur to him both in memory and in photographs.

"Where is she?" he muttered under his breath, feeling anxiety cling to his throat. He swallowed hard as he looked around slowly. As he did, his eyes fell upon a lovely woman, young in appearance. Her dark, brown hair cascaded along her shoulders and over the white shawl she wore over a mauve dress. Listlessly, she leaned against her sedan, her eyes hidden behind a pair of large, black sunglasses. She seemed approachable but at the same time, she wore an air of elegance that precluded contact. She felt distant. Arashi, though, was drawn to the woman, and unconsciously, he began to make his way over to her. He soon found himself standing in front of her, gazing at her with curious eyes. Startled, the woman glanced up at him and lowered her sunglasses, revealing a familiar pair of warm, amber eyes. A smile slowly spread across the woman's face as she leaned forward from the car and looked up at him from her short stature. The pair stood awkwardly opposite of one another, wordlessly.

The woman removed the sunglasses that had become shield from the reality now standing before her. Yumi gazed up at the young man, amazed at how much he had grown since the last time she saw him. Nothing seemed to have changed about him, even down to his tasteless hair-cut he currently sported. Seeing him brought forth an overwhelming flood of emotions, ranging from joy to regret, and she cupped her hand over her mouth, replacing her sunglasses in their rightful place. Arashi simply watched her quietly. Even before she had put the sunglasses on, he could see the tears forming at the corners of her eyes. The solitary tear that streamed down her cheek erased any doubts that he had fostered. The woman from the past, he had been disconnected from, he had found her in his present. That gap between them, he suddenly felt determined to bridge. Without a second thought, he reached out to her, wrapping his arms around her thin shoulders and embracing that motherly warmth that had evaded him for so long. "Mom," he spoke softly; the words rolled off his lips as if he had said them for years.

A/N: This story is being edited. If a chapter has a title name, it's been edited unless it's chapters above Chapter 32.