Nera is just an orphan. She is a skinny little nobody, with no past, a bleak present and no future.
But she doesn't know how wrong she is.
Her past reveals itself. Her present will soon be in chaos. The future awaits her.
I watch with an unwavering gaze, as the fiery red orb of light slowly sinks beneath the horizon. Threads of light linger in the sky, as though they were accidentaly left behind. It dyes the heavens orange, then red, then dark blue, until all that is left of the sunset is a chalky mauve. The sun seems to realize that it left some light in the sky, and proceeds to drag the last rays of daylight, like a mother dragging her children from a candy store. The myriad of colors melts away as stygian darkness creeps upon the sky.
As if playing a game of hide-and-seek, the stars come out of their hiding places, one by one. They wink down at me exhaustedly, tired of playing all day long.
A cherry blossom drifts carelessly onto my lap, carried by a light breeze. I cup it gently and bring it up to my cheek. I feel its soft petals. Breathe in its intoxicating fragrance.
To me, the cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life. When the cherry blossom trees bloom for a short time each year in brilliant force, it's a reminder that life is overwhelmingly beautiful but that it is also tragically short. It shows me how precious and how precarious life is.
What wouldn't I give to be here forever? Here I feel more complete somehow, like the meadow is a part of me, yet it only fills a part of the void in my heart.
I have no memories of my past. Not even the tiniest shred. All I know is my first name. Nera. 'Nera, The Orphan', as I am so famously known in the streets. 'The Orphan' has become my last name.
But I'm not the only one. There are others my age, others younger than me, others older than me, with no family, no connections to anyone. They are all alone, with no one and nothing in the world to call their own. I'm just one of them.
The orphanage is the place I have been living since the past eight years. Not my home. It has never been my home, and it will never be. A home is a place where you belong, where you are safe, where you are loved, and where you love in return. I've never felt like I belonged, like I was wanted, like I was loved in the orphanage. If anything, my life was the exact opposite.
The brook that runs through the meadow glows an ethereal silver. It bubbles along happily, in contrast to the peaceful meadow. Tucking the cherry blossom gently in my hair, I walk up to the brook.
A girl stares back at me. A girl of sixteen to be exact, but she looks older because of her hardships. Hunger has stolen the curves of her body. Her cheeks are sunken. Her raven black hair cascades down to her waist, curling slightly at the ends. She has emerald green eyes, which once sparkled, but now it is dull, lifeless, as if something had slowly sapped the life out of it.
She is me. Nera, the nobody.