“Can’t you let her rest for a bit?” my mother pleaded.
“No…I can’t. It’s an emergency, especially since they’ve asked you to come on such short notice.”
“It’s okay, I’m not that tired,” I tried to sound energetic.
“Alright, let’s go in dad’s canoe. Saki, you can rest for a bit until we get there.”
My father’s canoe, the one he used outside of work, was twice the size of Hakuren 4.
My mother wrapped a blanket around my shoulders and I closed my eyes, but my heart was thumping too quickly for me to fall asleep.
There was someone waiting for us when we arrived in Hayring. It was the same middle-aged lady who had greeted us after we came back from summer camp two years ago, but this time she didn’t meet my eye.
I followed my parents onto the snowy street.
The office of the Board of Education was next to the library where my mother worked. It was surrounded by a wall of bamboo that prevented you from seeing the inside.
We entered through a side door, and although it was still snowing, the courtyard had been cleared and kept dry with cantus. The path was paved with stepping stones and it was about thirty meters to the entrance hall.
Inside, a narrow hallway stretched on indefinitely. Although the outside of it was quite different, the inside was similar to the Ethics Committee’s building.
“Only your daughter may proceed from here.” the middle-aged lady said to my parents.
“As her father, and as the mayor, I’d like to represent her on her behalf. I’ve brought a petition.”
“You are not allowed to accompany her,” she ignored my father’s words.
“As the person entrusted to manage the town’s library, I must do my duty to record this event. Will you make an exception?”