In another time, a little Nari awoke on her porch swing. The sun was just rising, and she smiled as a cool breeze drifted lazily through her front yard. She imagined what it would be like to be the wind. Totally free; no limits, no to-do lists. Completely invisible, watching the world and the people. She imagined, though, that once the thrill of the freedom wore off, it must be rather lonely. Of course, you get to whisper with the leaves--but what happens in winter? There are no leaves to whisper with. If she were wind, and got lonely, she would probably be a cold and bitter wind, biting and whipping things about everywhere, too. That's why winter winds are so harsh, she decided. Because their friends are dead. But right now it is summer, and the wind is friendly again.
"Nari!" Someone called out. She recognized her mother's voice. "Nari!" she called again. Finally, she came outside on the porch. "There you are. Your breakfast is ready and waiting for you. But you better hurry, before it gets cold."
"Thank you, mom," she said, standing up and stretching. The wooden slats on the swing had left bright red patterns on her legs, where they had rested. She frowned a little, wondering why they looked so angry. Shrugging, she followed her mother back inside the house, to the dining room.
The table was still set for three, like it always was, even though it was just Nari and her mom now. When she had asked why they still set the table that way, her mother had replied sadly, saying that it was a reminder that her father was always there in spirit, even if he couldn't be in body. She had understood, and now helped her mother to set the third place, because she never wanted to forget him.
Nari was uncertain of what exactly had happened to her father. She wasn't sure if he was dead, or if he had simply vanished. All she knew was that there came a morning when she awoke, and her father was nowhere to be found. After two years, she gave up hope that he might be alive, but could never bring herself to admit that he could be dead.
Nari remembered well the lazy afternoons in which she spent upon her father's lap in his study, sharing a book. He would read a sentence, and she would repeat it, thus learning how to read. Her father's old wooden desk took up a large portion of the room. Her father would sit in a large, smoky colored leather office chair. There was a big window behind him, so that on a nice day, the sunlight would filter in through the panes of glass, illuminating the whole room.
On either side of the desk, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves lined the walls. Nari never understood what it was exactly her father did for a living, but she knew it involved books--lots and lots of books. The books closest to her father's desk were off-limits to her, which was okay with her. Most of them looked boring anyways. But closer to the door were the fairy-tales that Nari loved, and the exciting mysteries her mother favored. Nari was only allowed access to the study if she'd been invited by her father.
When she was younger, these occasions were frequent. But leading up to her father's disappearance, these affairs became more and more rare, until they stopped altogether.
Nari had never once thought to set foot in her father's study again, operating under the same rule; her father must have invited her. As far as she knew, the study was just the same as her father had left it four years ago.
Nari was brought back from her memories as her mother set a plate of hotcakes in front of her. Her stomach growled, in agreement with her conclusion that they must be delicious, and she was eager to try them. However, she waited patiently for her mother to finish with grace before tearing into the them. Her assessment had been correct; with warm syrup, the first bite melted in her mouth.