Chapter 3

“Nene! Wake up Nene! Mum! Nene doesn’t want to wake up! Nene should be punished!” the screaming. Again. Every morning there was screaming. Always. I watched one of my older sisters annoy the one older than her till she waked up. Nene is such a heavy sleeper. I sat in the corner long awake.
“For the love of all mornings, could you just leave me alone?!” Nene cried, while the others laughed.
The sun was high in the sky, the birds singing and the bells ringing. Today was perfect. Today we celebrated Nene’s coming of age. She is to wear the dress specially ordered by mother, she was to walk down the garden; through the doors of the glass house to the lake and say her womanly vows. She will make the most beautiful woman in the world in only few hours. The girls were cheering her on; bringing her food and their gifts, getting her brush ready and her underdress perfectly fluffy. The little sparrows chipped on the windows, they must have enjoyed this warm and happily noisy atmosphere. When mother walked in, everyone was silent they looked at mother as if the mother of all angels has just entered this chaotic girls room. Jaws dropped, eyes widened, hearts beating in perfect silence of admiration.
“Mother” Nene greeted her and mother smiled. That was it; that was the official announcement that getting ready should begin! Each girl had her own task; ones brought the shoes; the others the dress. And entire storm wouldn’t be able to wipe the smiles of their faces.
In no time Nene was up and ready to go. Her flawless hair tied in a braid dropped down her slim body. The dress was floor length as the recognized sign of her coming of age. She left the room after mother and the girls followed in order – well the order was as I recall ‘who loved Nene the most’ a rather silly order since someone had to be the last. But then again that place has already been occupied by the families forever ‘at -he-end-of-the-line’ daughter.
We walked down the garden. It was a fine celebration, people were everywhere! It was time for Nene to move on. It was time for me to move on.
My eyes broke wide open, I could see a bit of light to my left. I instantly got up and saw the koi-fish school in the distance. They went in the direction Mr. Frog told me to go. I shook my head to wake up. That was one happy fluffy dream, thought to myself. But it was only a dream; a dream and nothing more than a dream; a distant memory.
I rubbed my face and put my hair behind my ears, clearly awake and kneeling on the rock I watched the koi-fish swim into the remoteness of the water. I recalled what Mr. Frog told me, he said that koi-fish can only swim in the shallow water and that their path is the most accurate one, as it is obviously the only path I could possibly take – by foot. The rest of the water gets deeper and deeper to infinity, or so he thought. It was time for me to leave my lovely rock behind. My dreams and my tears would stay with it. A peace of me would stay with it; with this hard cold peace of matter that’s sticking out of and even colder matter – the water. Wherever I went – whether the garden or the glass house or my dreams – a part of me stayed there. A part of me will always stay there. Resembling a connection maybe, a connection to a memory, to an experience, to a feeling.
I slid off the rock into the water – it was unnaturally cold. My legs weren’t as cold as my heart and mid where. It was unusual for the water to be cold like this. I guess this is that “it’s coming” statement, after all just now was the 183 cycle.
I said my goodbyes to the rock, though they weren’t enough. I leaned in by a stringer force of will from within my heart and I kissed it lightly. The rock became warm under my lips and I held steady for a moment or so than I gently pulled away as if it was the most fragile thing in this blackness. I straightened out to my fullest height. I inhaled once deeply, held my breath, turned around and let it out as loud as possible.
It’s always hard leaving something behind – even a rock in my case. I took slow and careful steps in the water. In a few steps I found the shallowest part – knee deep – and declared it the Koi-fish path, thus the path I will take. A quick look back at my rock wasn’t going to harm anyone, but when I turned my head around, it was pitch black. Everything was pitch black; what was behind me and what was in front of me. Right now the only thing I could possibly rely on where my own two feet and the imaginary Koi-fish path.
I could swear I walked for days and days on, without sleep, without food without anything to go on. Must have been a dream. In no time I came across the famous - less so than the Koi-fish but famous nonetheless - stranded "dying leaves". These were non other than huge surfaced, departed lotus leaves that floated away from their flowers when they were of no use any longer.

-Iwa K.