|Torn Picture 1|
|Found in||Kurato Hotel|
|Description||a piece of a torn picture.|
|Related memory items||Torn Picture 2|
|Where did you come from? Where are you going? I’m sure you come from some place I don’t know, going some place I can’t follow.
When I was twelve, I came down with a terrible fever that attacked my nervous system. I survived somehow, but lost the use of my legs. Before I was paralyzed, I’d always dream of becoming a prima ballerina. I loved dancing before an audience and basking in their praise. My parents would tell me that my smile lit up the room, kindling the fire of pride that burned so bright in my young heart.
I can’t look back on this time in my life without bringing up Mao. Mao was a neighborhood boy and my best playmate. We shared our dreams, so full of hope for what the future held. Mao aspired to become a botanist.
"Do you know what genes are? They’re what determine the color of flowers in the nucleus of their cells. I’m going to study genetics and engineer a flower with a color like the word’s never seen before!"
I drew a picture that combined both of our dreams, it showed me as a beautiful woman, dancing in the middle of a field of Mao’s flowers. His creations looked like bellflowers that were snow-white by day and that glowed blue at night. I called them lantern blossoms.
When the stars came out, they would light up, making the field a stage all my own.
"A flower that changes color depending on the time of day?" When I tried to show Mao the picture I had drawn, he pursed his lips and gave a slight frown as he thought it over.
"I admit, it sounds interesting. White by day, blue at night, was it? Maybe for the tiny window of time when the sun’s going down, it could burn a dark red."
Mao had given a most wonderful addition to my idea. I considered it a present from him to me. I was so happy! My name is Akane, which means dark red in Japanese.
Mao was a pushover of a boy. He was the butt of the other kids’ jokes and victim of their pranks. They’d toss his glasses in the garbage or hide them in the blackboard erasers.
However, I was the only one who’d get furious at them, while Mao would rejoice in the fact that they didn’t break the lenses. He’d just wipe them clean and put them back on. The boys would think he was being cheeky and tease him all over again, but Mao refused to ever let them get to him.
Mao’s head was filled with facts about flowers, so the boys’ taunts registered as no more than the meaningless buzz of insects. Meanwhile, I spent all my time worrying about the bullying and helping him find his glasses. We’d eat lunch together and partner up during gym class. Still over time, it became apparent that my attentions meant less and less to Mao.
In fact, it was only when he talked about genetics, or what determined colors in flowers that he would truly come alive, and his eyes would sparkle with excitement. As far as Mao was concerned, I was little more than a mirror for him to talk to about his dreams.