The day I met Shiro, somewhat ten years ago…
I remember it like the back of my hand. He was so tiny and the most innocent little boy.
"Akatsuki come on, we're waiting for you."
I run over to the little black hatchback and open the back door. Climbing in I buckle up and the engine of the car starts. I close my door and look out the window. I'm rather excited to be going over to meet Shiro. I've met his parents Toshiaki and Yuriko once; a lovely couple they are.
"Did you get everything Akatsuki?" I turn my head and look at my mother as she reverses the car out of the cement driveway. Her short curly blonde hair swishes about when she turns her head to me.
"Yes, they are all in the boot."
"Thank you dear." She glances at me with her bright blue eyes and smiles before straightening the car up and drives off down the road.
I look back at our home seeing the sun just peaking above the buildings and slowly rising. Our home is a little Japanese rectangular building with a fence around it and vines wrapped around the fence. It's a small home but mother is thinking of putting a second storey on top to make it bigger but it won't start happening for a few years from now as we need to save up for it.
My mother is from England. She promises to take me there one day. Their life style is very different from the Japanese way which makes it more exciting to go and visit there. My mother moved here and married a Japanese man; Keisuke, my father. He is a relatively tall man with raven black hair and dark brown eyes.
It's a long drive to Mrs Yuriko and Mr Toshiaki Jujin's home so best to sleep all the way I guess.
I listen to my mother's voice as she sings to the radio quietly. It's soothing. My father isn't with us though. Just mother and I. Father is away on a business trip for a few months so I'm looking after mother. I guess it is getting a little lonely without him so that's why we are going to stay with Toshiaki, Yuriko and their little son Shiro. I'd say it's about a seven hour drive. We live near Tokyo but more on the outskirts and the Jujin's live all the way up in Iwate.
At the moment it is the end of summer. School will start very soon but I will be transferring to a tiny school in Sumita; a very small town in the middle of nowhere in the Kesen District of Iwate.
I reach across to the other side of the seat and grab my pillow. I place it against the cool window then rest my head against it. Its soft insides relax me as I close my eyes. I couldn't sleep very much last night as was too excited about meeting Shiro. I'm almost six years older than him so he could be like a little brother to me.
"Just going to sleep for a bit mother." I mumble.
"Alright well we'll stop off somewhere to have something to eat in a few hours or whenever you feel hungry." I nod and listen to the sound of the radio getting quieter as mother turns it down. She continues to sing sweetly and softly as she drives heading to the highway.
It doesn't take very long before I am in deep sleep.
"Akatsuki…" A hand gently rubs my arm as I start to stir. My eyes flutter open but feel heavy to hold open. "Akatsuki we're here sweetie."
'Here?' I think to myself as I open my eyes more and sit up slowly before yawning. 'Did I really sleep the whole way?' I look out the window and see a man, a woman and a young child clinging to one of their legs behind them. I rub my eyes and stretch before mother helps me out the car. I hold her arm as I'm still half asleep.
"Hello there Akatsuki." Looking up at the woman I recognise her a little; Yuriko. She has amazingly long brown hair which looks like it would have taken a very long time to grow to that length. The man beside her must be Toshiaki then; a strapping young man with short black hair. I smile a little as mother walks us closer to them. I look at the little boy with short brown hair as he tries to hide behind the two more when we move closer.
"Shiro don't be shy." Toshiaki laughs gently and turns and picks the little boy up into his arms. Shiro hides his face instantly in his neck and everyone has a little giggle to themselves.
"Well I guess we should head in then." Yuriko smiles and walks to my mother and hugs her gently. "I've missed you Rachael" After a moment they pull away and Yuriko looks down at me and smiles sweetly. I smile gently back at her as mother holds my hand and walks with me following Yuriko and Toshiaki inside.
I look around the surrounding area. This place really is in the middle of nowhere and is surrounded by a thick forest. I guess living here would be peaceful but somewhat lonely too. When winter comes around this whole land scape will be completely white. From the mountains, to the forest and onto the green grass I walk upon now.
I rub the bottom of my shoes on the door matt and slip them off just inside the door as everyone else does the same. I look around the room taking in the homey feeling and warmth from a burning fire at the side of the room. I can smell something cooking in the kitchen which is filling the room with a welcoming smell. Mother grips my hand a little before letting it go and walking with Yuriko into the kitchen. I stand there awkwardly not sure what to do.
"Akatsuki, why don't you come meet Shiro properly in his room." Toshiaki stands holding the clinging boy Shiro in his arms as he urges me to follow. I nod and tail along behind Toshiaki. I look up to catch Shiro bright green eyes looking at me. He instantly hides his face away again though but this makes me smile.
Toshiaki walks into a small room which I guess must be Shiro's room. Shiro is placed down but he instantly grabs hold of the man's leg. Toshiaki laughs and tries making Shiro let go.
"It's okay Shiro." Shiro eventually lets go but stays near the man. Toshiaki crouches down and kisses his forehead then holds him out in front of him and in front of me. I smile softly at Shiro. He really is a shy little thing.
"Hello Shiro." I bow my head as I greet him. I look back up at as I watch him hesitantly bow back. Toshiaki smiles brightly and stands up again.
"I'll let you two bond for now. Dinner will be ready in an hour." I nod at the man and he walks out the room gently closing the door behind him. Looking back at Shiro he stands there holding his arm and looking down at the ground. I reach out and pat his head. He looks up and blinks in a rather cute way.
"Do you want to play a western card game?" Shiro tilts his head to the side in confusion. I guess this means he has never played with western playing cards before. Well it is to be expected. Mother brought them last year in America and said a lot of kids my age play them. I have never left the country before but mother has brought me home many cool kid toys from different places. "Wait here, I'll go get them."
I hurry out the room and down the hall before looking for mother. I hear her speaking and walk to the door of the kitchen.
"Mother, could I please go out to the car and get the western playing cards to play with Shiro?" Mother turns to me and smiles.
"Sure dear, they're in the small red bag in the front."
"Thank you." I hurry to the door and slip my shoes on before running out to the car. I go to the passenger side and open the car door. There are quite a few bags in the front but I easily find the red bag. Zipping it open I find the cards and take them out. I close the car door then hurry back to the house. I wipe my shoes on the mat and slip them off before going back to Shiro's room.
"Here" I smile at Shiro seeing that he has moved to sitting down on his futon (Japanese bed). I close the door and walk over to him. "May I sit?" Shiro nods a little and moves a bit as I sit down in front of him. "Here have a look. Mother bought these from America last year. It's a very popular game in a lot of countries. It's called Uno. I'm sure you can get them here in Japan but I guess you would have to go to the city. You haven't been to Tokyo have you?"
Shiro holds the cards and looks through the pack then shakes his head no.
"No? Well I guess we'll invite you to stay with us sometime then" I smile happily at him as he looks up at me. A small smile creeps on his face. "Let's play shall we."
Shiro was so shy back then but I did eventually get him to speak. Such pleasant memories. It was from that day I grew a liking to him that has kept me happy.