A brief step back in the past, observing the main characters before where the story begins
|Prologue ~ Suavi Memoriae
“DO YOU SEE THAT TREE?”
A young boy’s question rang out as the light of day began its descent below the horizon. Soon the long summer day would be over, and the last of the sun’s blazing rays would paint the August sky multiple beautiful shades of warm colors before the stars would begin to shine and the moon would rise and send its silver glow over the sleeping Earth.
The little girl accompanying him focused her gaze in the direction his outstretched arm was pointing. She squinted her rich, dark brown eyes, blinked a few times, and looked up at the boy; a quizzical expression on her face. “There are a lot of trees, Oniisan.” The six year old stated simply.
The boy laughed, and ruffled the young girl’s curly, bouncy brown hair. “Yes, there are, Adelaide.” He agreed, but then stopped, a frown on his face. “And don’t call me Oniisan.” He ordered. The little girl stomped her foot, pouting in reply, “But Oniisan, you are my Oniisan!” She protested. “And I am Imoutosan! Call me Imoutosan.” The boy shook his head, letting out an exasperated sigh. The little girl had picked up others using these terms while they were staying in Japan as part of their parent’s work and ever since had insisted on calling him ‘older brother’ and him addressing her as ‘little sister,’ in Japanese. However, she had it wrong: these were the names used when talking about another person’s family. The proper use amongst siblings would have been her to call her brother “Ani,” and him to know her as “Imouto.” But either way, it wasn’t proper in the boy’s eyes. The reason was they were not even related.
“I am not your older brother, Adelaide.” The boy reminded her, and before she could argue any further, he redirected her focus to the tree. “There are quite a few trees in this field, but there’s a very special one in the very back. Do you see it? At the end of the path?”
Adelaide, easily distracted as most young children are, tried to find it again and jumped up, excited. “I see it, Oniisan! I see it!”
The boy laughed again; glad to see he had made her happy. But he tapped her gently on the top of her head for calling him ‘Oniisan’ again. “Good. And remember, call me Aeden. That’s my name. Now, about the tree…” He took the child’s hand gave it a tug. She followed in his footsteps cheerfully, eager to hear his story as they walked at a leisurely pace down the dirt path through the cherry blossom trees.
AS PART OF THEIR PARENT’S JOBS, THEY HAD BEEN LIVING IN JAPAN MOST OF ADELAIDE’S LIFE.
Aeden could still remember vaguely other countries he had lived in during his earlier years, but had to admit he loved Japan the most. They walked for a few moments together, a soft breeze tousling the boy’s pale blonde hair and the girl’s brunette locks.
The two were not related in the least, but their families had been very close for centuries and always worked and lived side by side. He shared the pale complexion, light blue eyes, and nearly white blonde hair of his family and she reflected the trademark brown hair and eyes of her bloodline. Even though they were not brother and sister, and looked vastly unalike, they could have been such because the two were so close in friendship. After a few moments, they boy continued his story as they walked on.
“You see, the tree at the very end of the path is called the Haruka tree.” Aeden explained. “My sister and I named it that a long time ago, when our families first came here and you were just a baby. In fact, I was hardly more that a toddler. But my sister and I named this tree Haruka because it is the most distant tree in the whole field, and we liked the Japanese word for ‘far away.’ Haruka can also mean ‘spring flower,’ depending on the kanji used to spell it, so we thought it suited the tree.” He paused, looking to see how Adelaide was reacting. Her wide, expressive eyes were sparkling with anticipation to hear the rest. He smiled, and then stopped; and idea had just come to him.
“What’s wrong, Onii—um…Aeden.” Adelaide asked, tugging the boy’s sleeve. “The Ha…Haruka tree is still far away.”
“Let’s go back to the beginning of the path.” Aeden suggested, and then started going in that direction at a brisk pace. The little girl trailed behind him, curious. “What is it, Aeden?” She reiterated. Once they had returned to their starting point, Aeden leaned down to meet the little girl’s eyes directly. “Would you like to race me to the Haruka tree, Adelaide?” He offered. “It’ll be fun!”
Adelaide tilted her head to one side, considering his words. After a moment, her eyes lit up and she jumped up, excited. “Ok, yeah! Let’s race! Race!” She exclaimed. Aeden giggled again. He loved the way she was just so…cute. He adored the brightness in her manner and in her eyes when she got excited. “Alright, on the count of three. One, two..”
Barely after the word ‘three,’ had escaped his lips, the two sped off towards the distant tree Aeden and his real sister had dubbed “Haruka.” The two ran side by side, laughing, cheering each other on. Finally, in the end it was the small hand of the six year old girl who touched the Haruka tree first, with an out of breath Aeden following close behind.
“Wow, you’re fast, Adelaide…but you win!” He gasped, leaning against the tree’s ancient, thick trunk for support as he caught his breath. The breeze, rare but appreciated in the heated summer months, caused a few tiny cherry blossom petals to flutter from their perch and land on the already pink coated ground beneath their bare feet. Adelaide laughed and repeated her ‘brother’s’ words enthusiastically. “I win! I win! Adelaide wins!”
And as the sun completed its descent and the world began to become shrouded in the darkness of night, the two talked and laughed and walked slowly back to home.
These sweet, precious memories full of childhood simplicity would only last for a little while longer…
…but that did not matter, because for that moment and that moment alone in time, the two were truly happy, and they were together.
And that was enough.