Koemi closed her eyes as she waited for an answer that would never come.
Machiko gazed at Koemi. She proceeded gracefully forward to show she was strong for her sisters. She gently patted Koemi’s head as she kneeled down. They could hear Mayumi’s heavy steps advancing toward them as she joined them on the floor.
“Mom, dad, you have left us alone and without a clue of what to do, but thank you. Thank you for protecting us and leaving me with the two people who mean a lot to me.”
Machiko’s words pierced their hearts but left a sense of warmth.
Mayumi sighed as she spoke remembering what she had just seen.
“Machiko basically summed it up,” she paused for a moment. She wasn’t sure how to say how she felt but she let her words slip out.
“Uhh… I will continue on strong without you but I will always remember and fight for you.” Mayumi said.
“I don’t know what to do. Are you in heaven now? Is grandma there too? Koemi asked.
Suddenly Koemi began to cry once again.
“Thanks for taking care of me and Machiko and Mayumi, and for doing my hair and packing my bento when Machiko didn’t want to. Also for tucking me in when Mayumi wasn’t home yet.” Koemi said as she faced her mother.
The three girls let each other’s words sink in. Koemi turned toward Mayumi reaching her arms up once again. Mayumi nodded. She carried Koemi to her bedroom. In the back of her mind Mayumi knew this was not the end.
She tucked Koemi in bed once again, turning on her nightlight so there would be some brightness in the room. Mayumi walked towards Machiko’s room. The wooden floor of the house slowly creaked as she approached Machiko’s door. To her surprise the door was wide open. Machiko was always one for privacy, keeping her door shut at all times as she read, studied or talked on the phone. Mayumi peeked into the room, feeling like she was a peeping tom. Machiko sat near her window, peering out at the dark sky as she started to sing. Her voice was beautiful as it carried the song’s sweet melody like the wind carries leaves. Mayumi stayed outside of the door and placed her back on the wall as she slid down to the floor, her ears open as she listened.
“Furui arubamu mekuri
Arigatou tte tsubuyaita
Itsumo itsumo mune no naka
Hagemashite kureru hito yo
Hare wataru hi mo ame no hi mo
Ukabu ano egao
Omoide tooku asete mo
Yomigaeru hi wa nada sousou”
Machiko sang passionately. Mayumi could feel the emotion pouring out of her words, reminding her of when their mother sang to them when their grandmother died. Machiko finished her song and turned toward the door.
“Enjoy it now you little sneak, you won’t be hearing that again.”
Mayumi lifted herself off the floor before entering Machiko’s room. The moon finally popped out of hiding and its light made Machiko’s green eyes shine like rare emeralds.
“What are we going to do now?” Machiko sighed.
Mayumi slowly walked toward her and sat on her bed. She sat there for a moment thinking of what to say or what they could do. She waved her hands across the soft sheets.
“I don’t know. We have to bury them,” She said as she stopped moving her hands and planted them behind her back to keep herself upright.
“Yeah we need to do that, but I mean where do we go from here? I’m not sure if I’ll be able to support all of us with just my job. Can we stay in this house?” Machiko’s voice decressendoed as she closed her emerald eyes.
“Maybe we should just sleep and see where the morning takes us.” Mayumi said.
She got off the bed although she felt tired and wanted to stay acquainted with the soft sheets.
She walked up to Machiko as she softly whispered “Whatever we do, it’ll be together.”
Mayumi turned, not even looking back to see Machiko’s reaction, but as she left she could hear Machiko’s voice echo “Goodnight.”
"I whispered "Thank you" while turning the pages of the old photo album
Always, always in my heart, a person who encourages me
On any days, clear sky or raining, that same smile emerges on your face
Even when my memories of you fade away, I would search through my mind again,
And on days when you come back to life in my memories, Tears Flow Endlessly"