I shut the door to my room with a soft click and spin around, screaming. I tried to hold my calm all the way back to the giant castle-like building that we all live in, but it’s bursting to come out. The power is too much, I just can’t hold it in, so I let it out, tearing the room apart.
The wind swirls around me like a funnel, whipping my hair into a wild frenzy. The furniture can’t withstand my tempest and slides across the floor, resting when it hits the walls. I squeeze my eyes shut, gripping my head in my hands as the power surges through me.
I’m not ready for this…
I feel tears on my face but I don’t bother to wipe them. My stomach flips as I sink to the floor and rest on my knees.
Suddenly I feel a cool hand on my shoulder and the energy courses through the contact, escaping me without me even trying. I feel it being sucked away and I look up to see Kaze sama, brightly glowing as he grips my shoulder lightly in his hand.
The swirling wind slows to a breeze as I stare up at him. He smiles at me and kneels beside me.
‘You are so young for such a power. You still don’t have the control you need to maintain it. As you grow and become more familiar you will become accustomed to your newfound strength. Until you’re ready, please channel what you can’t hold through me. I can act as a medium for you.’
He wipes the tears from my cheeks and rests his brow against mine. I’m left speechless. My body trembles from the storm of power. I’m always scared, everything is so new! I feel my chest constrict as I think of all the familiar things back home in Japan. My shodou (calligraphy) set, my belongings, that cafe, Yuu kun…
“Nihon ni kaeru koto wa dekimasu ka?” [Can we return home?] I ask in a trembling voice. My eyes threaten to release more tears as I think of home.
‘Hitomi hime, we need to move forward. You had no plans back home. I know you are feeling a culture shock. You had no time to prepare… but perhaps…’ his eyes drift to the window and I think I know what he’s thinking.
He holds out a hand and I take it as he lifts me to my feet. ‘Let’s fly for a bit.’
I nod, staring into space as we meld. I feel the wind tear at my skin and I leap out the window in my dragony form. I spin through the sky, higher and higher, trying to get my bearings. I tear through the clouds, higher still than the dragons cliffs below and then I see an endless ocean of clouds, their tops fluffy and orange in the setting sun. I feel the direction of the winds, the way they spin and then off we go.
Together, Kaze and I are faster than the regular wind, together we are gods, or I guess we are magicians. I’m not sure what to believe anymore. It’s not an hour before I dip below the roof of the sky and glimpse the little island country of Japan. The sun is gone, but it soon will approach the sleepy nation. I feel I could weep with joy.
We descend as we get closer and closer towards Kyuushuu and Nagasaki and my mountain. I am both fearful and curious. Last time I was here I was not safe, but now I am expectant. I send out tendrils of wind to scan the area, a thing I’ve never done before.
I sense nothing in or around my abandoned home so I approach, still with caution. The shoji rattle as I land and separate from Kaze and the trees shake and bend with the leftover wind. I take a deep comforting breath of my familiar home and sigh happily, feeling tears in my eyes again. Happy tears.
I run into the house spinning with my excitement, just so happy to see the tatami floors and smell the sweet smell of the bamboo. I drop to the floor and heave a heavy breath. Home.
Kaze approaches, smiling. ‘It’s good to see you happy again, but let’s not linger too long.’ He reminds me. I pout at his words.
“Wakarimashita” [Fine.] I say, sitting up. It’s time to gather. I run about the house, gathering a single bag of things. Some clothes, my shodou set, my favourite teacup, and a few other things. When I’m set, I pull the bag over my shoulder and throw on an extra sweater that wouldn’t fit. I stand before Kaze sama, ready.
“Ahh, Matte ne, ano… Yuu kun wo mitai.” [Ah, wait a minute, I want to see Yuu kun.]
Kaze sama thinks on it a moment before he agrees. We meld again and then zip into the early morning sky and over the mountainside until we arrive in his hometown. I remember him telling me where he lived, though I’ve never seen it before, so I use my tendrils, like I did to check my house, and find his presence in a house on the side of a mountainside near to the heart of the town.
I descend and we divide again. I pull out my phone and send him a LINE message, hoping his phone is on. It’s only a minute until I see his face in the window looking down, surprised.
He comes to the door in his pajamas and a wide smile. “Hitomi! Genki desu ka? Dou yattekita no?” [Hitomi! How are you? How did you get here?]
I hesitate, not sure if I should tell him, but I want to… for once I actually do. I set my mouth into a firm line and nod. “I flew,” I say in English.
His eyes grow wide with disbelief and his mouth drops open. I know he’s not sure if I’m lying or not. He leans forward, looking around me to see if there’s anything else around. We are quite alone. He beckons me in and takes me up to his room. I’m suddenly nervous, entering his room. I remember I hardly know him, except from school.
“Hitomi chan, you have to tell me,” he speaks in English and I listen hard. I’ve been doing this a lot lately. I want to get better.
“What do you want to know?” I ask.
He pauses as I speak in English, then smiles. His eyes seem to sparkle. “You’ve been practicing, haven’t you,” he says, rather than asks. I nod. “I leave for America in the morning. How did you know?”
“I didn’t know,” I reply.
He frowns. “Then why did you come?” he asks.
I wanted to see him. I wanted to make sure he was ok. I wanted to check. I can’t bring myself to say any of these things, so I smile instead. “I want to tell you. But … “ I hesitate. “I am scared,” I don’t know if I can say it in English.
He watches intently, waiting. “Kowagaranaide kudasai. Kiku tsumori desu. Boku wa anata no yuujin de wa arimasen ka?” [don’t be scared. I will listen. I am your friend, aren’t I?] he asks in Japanese.
“Sou desu ne. Ano… Watashi wa… kaze no kami imasu.” [That’s right, umm, I’m a wind god.] I’m sure it’s wrong, but what else do I say? “Tobu koto ga deki, kaze wo sousa suru koto ga dekimasu. Ima, toiki ni sunde ori, Nihon ni hairaremasen.” [I can fly and control the wind and now I am living far away and I cannot stay in Japan.]
I do a terrible job of explaining. I dive into how I was taken and how I met Kaede kun, and Nik kun in the desert. How Andrei kun saved us and how Selene san and the others gave me more power by ‘awakening’ me.
Here he stops me. “Sore wa doudatta?” [What was that like?] He asks, leaning on the edge of his bed staring with interest.
“Sore wa kowakattadesu. Tabako no puuru de nemutta nochi, watashi wa me wo mabataki sa se, kurai basho de me wo samashita. Tenjō ga takaku, seiun no me wo motsu otoko ga imashita. Nihongo de hanashimashita, to omou. Kara ga watashi wo tesuto shimashita! Watashi wa Nihon de gakkō ni tōtte ite, daremoga taifū no sai ni soto ni imashita. Taifū ga tsuyoku natta. Hitobito wa fukitonde imashita. Osorete itanode, karera wa subete shinudeshou. Ryuu ni naru, sorera wo tsume de toraete, subete anzen ni hakobimashita.” [Scary. I lay in this pool of smoke and then I blinked and I awoke in a strange dark place. The ceiling was tall and there was a man with stars for eyes. He spoke in Japanese, or so I think. Then he tested me! I was in Japan, at school and everyone was outside during a typhoon that kept getting stronger and stronger. People were blowing away and I was scared they’d all die, so I became a dragon and I caught them in my talons and carried them all to safety.]
“Sore kara, kurayami ga sono tochi ni shinobikomi, sonomichi ni aru subete wo nomikomu. Subete ga nani mo nakunari, hitori de houchi saremashita. Nanika wo shinakereba naranakatta, hitobito wo modosu tame ni nanika wo shinakereba naranakatta! Hidoi arashi wo tsukuri, kurayami wo touzake, kakusareta mina wo akiraka ni shita.” [Then, there was a darkness creeping over the land, swallowing everything in its path. Everything was becoming nothing and I was the only one left. I was terrified that I too was being taken, but instead, I was left alone. I had to do something, anything to bring the people back, so I created a terrible storm and pushed back the darkness, revealing everyone was just hidden.]
I pause before the last tale, not sure if I want to tell him, but Kaze sama watches me closely, listening with fatherly eyes. He nods and this gives me courage. I continue.
“Shoshite, anata wo mita.” [And then I saw you.] I stop. He stares at me, speechless.
“Me?” he points to himself. I nod, though he wasn’t in his pajamas.
“Hai, Anata desu. Kōri no daiken wo motsu otoko ga anata wo nusundanode, anata wo oikaketa. Kare wa anatanokokoroni tanken wo unten shi, anata ga shukketsu shita toki ni watashi wa sakenda. Watashi wa naite, kare wa watashi wo tsuketa. Kare wo korosu tame ni douryoku wo ataenakereba naranakattaga, dekinakatta. Kare wo waki ni oshite, kare wo kaze no musubime de musunde, anata no soba ni ikimashita. Anatanokokoroni watashi no te wo oki, anata no inochi wo watashi no iki de futatabi ataeta.” [Yes, you. A man with an icy dagger stole you away and I chased after you. He had you tied up and waited for me to find you. He drove the dagger into your heart and I screamed as you bled. I cried and then he turned on me. I had to power to kill him, but I couldn’t. I pushed him aside, tying him in knots of wind and I went to your side. I placed my hand on your heart and I gave you life again with my breath.]
My hands shake as I reveal my dream to him and I feel like I might faint from saying something so personal. I can’t bear to see his response so I close my eyes and scrunch my face, shaking with embarrassment.
I feel a breeze on my skin, and I know that’s me and my feelings going wild again. I hear papers rustling and I try to suppress the feelings but it just gets worse. I go to open my eyes and suddenly I see him, Yuu, his face is centimeters from mine, his big eyes looking at me. He closes them and I feel his lips on mine. I feel hot and tingly and a million thoughts explode inside my mind.
It’s over in a second and he pulls away. “Sumimasen, Hitomi chan.” [I’m sorry, Hitomi.]
I shake my head without a word.
“Anata no hanashiwokiku to watashi wa shiawase ni nareru, sore demo anata wo iekunaito. Nihon ni deru to anata wo watashi ga kanashi ni naru. Itsu, watashi no LINE wa anata ni ageta, anata ni kimoshi ga amrimashita. Watashi wo wasuranaide kudasai. Itsu, Amerika ni iku, wasurenaide kudasai.” [Your story is very special to me and I feel I must tell you too. I am sad to leave you and Japan behind. I admit I had feelings for you when I asked you for your LINE. I didn’t want you to forget me. When I go to America, please don’t forget me.]
My mouth drops open with his confession and I think I’ll never speak again. I hear Kaze laughing, almost rolling on the floor behind us and I don’t care, for once.
“Hitomi chan, nanika osshatte kudasai.” [Hitomi chan, please say something,] He says looking nervous.
I close my mouth and twist my hands together. I honestly don’t know what it is I feel. I know I care about Yuu kun, but I don’t even know what love is. I can’t even accept friends. Can I say I love him if I don’t know? I don’t want to confuse him, but then, I don’t want to say no either. What do I do!?
I start to panic, short shallow breaths and I the room seems to spin around me. Next thing I know, I see both Yuu and Kaze sama in front of me, holding me by the shoulders.
‘Hitomi hime, breathe! You’re ok!’
“Hitomi chan, Gomen ne. Yurushite kudasai. Watashi ga itta, wasurete kudasai.” [Hitomi chan! Forgive me! I was much too forward. Please, disregard what I said.] Yuu kun says.
I look up at him sadly as I catch my breath. I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but I don’t know what I feel yet. I should say the truth, right?
I look to Kaze sama and it’s as if he can read my thoughts. He smiles and nods encouragingly. So I turn to Yuu kun.
“Gomen ne, Yuu kun. Anata ga… suki, totemo suki, demo, ima wakaranai. Watashi no yūjindeari tsudzukete kudasai.” [I’m sorry, I like you very much, but I just don’t know. Please continue to be my friend.] I beg. I need to have one friend. I need him there, just in case, but I’m not ready for what he wants. My heart aches as I say the words, but I know I have to say them now.
Yuu smiles sympathetically, if not a little sad. “Wakarimashita. Shinpaishimasen.” [I understand. don’t worry,] he says. I sigh with relief.
I look up as the sun peeks in through the window and I know I’ve been gone much too long. I sadly stand, gripping my bag on my shoulders and wave goodbye. “Ano… Watashi wa ittekunaide, demo… Amerika de tabun, mou ichidou ni aimasu,” [I have to go, but, I’ll come visit you, in America sometime.] I say. He smiles happily and walks me down to the front door.
“I look forward to it,” he says in English as I step out into the morning sun. I turn around and I swear I see him gawking. Why would he do that? I shake my head and smile.
“Bye-bye,” I reply, staring off and melding with Kaze sama. I distantly see his shocked expression as I faded away. I’m not sure if he can see my dragon form or not, but either way, my fading is just as magical as this. I sadly twist through the clouds and zoom back to the Guild, tears in my eyes and an aching heart, a few questions on my mind.
Why does it hurt when I think about him? Why did I dream of him during the test? What does it all mean?
Maybe I’ll never know… That would be sad though. I want to know. I really do.
By Kayla West