I lay in bed with a million thoughts running through my head, unable to fall asleep.
I’ve always wondered whether I had an older sister. The first time the thought crossed my mind was when I was around ten years old. My mother had accidentally left me unsupervised at the library, and I came upon an old dictionary (class three material). In Harmony School, we had talked about how our names reflected our parents’ wishes and expectations, so I wanted to know what my name meant.
“Sa” had three definitions, ‘dawn’, ‘early’, and ‘young’, but I didn’t know which one mine was. Since I was still a kid I thought it was obvious that I was ‘young’. Next I looked up “ki”. ‘Very young’, ‘time’, ‘little’… Just when I thought that the two words meant exactly the same thing, I noticed the last definition.
Of course, this wasn’t definitive proof that I was the “youngest child”. But my mother was more sensitive to the meaning of words than anyone else. I got the feeling that if I were the oldest child, I wouldn’t have had “ki” in my name.
As I thought about this, dim memories from my childhood began to resurface. I think I was two or three at that time. There was a person who always took care of me wherever I went. That person was older than me, but much younger than my mother. My parents called me Sacchan and that person Yocchan.
That’s right. My sister’s name was Yoshimi.
There was no evidence that this wasn’t just a false memory created by autosuggestion, but after hearing my mother cry that she didn’t want to lose another child, the idea that I once had a sister was becoming more and more convincing.
If this was the truth, then why was my sister no longer here? Had she really been eliminated? And did it have some connection with what was going on with Shun?
I couldn’t come up with any conclusions. I was trapped in a cycle of convoluted thoughts.
Then I heard something hit the window.
My head jerked up. Moonlight shone in through the open curtains and I saw someone floating outside of the second-floor window.
For a second I thought I was having a paranormal experience and felt my legs go weak with fear. Then the light fell on a head of red hair and I realized it was Maria.
“What’s wrong?” I opened the window.
“Sorry. I dropped by the park but there was no one there. I got a good scolding when I got home earlier.”