01 | a hundred roots

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arc one, all the lights we see
chapter one

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During your ninth summer, following the death of your mother, your father decided to part you from Tokyo for a new start in Shizuoka. New roots, new land to stretch limbs and new opportunities to exploit. Where the trees were lush and abundant, growth was a luxury for everything and everyone.

Around this part of the town, the birds chirped louder and there's no skyscraper in which you have to tilt your head all the way back to see its roof. Most of the buildings here were modest and painted in muted colors. Their awnings hung too low to your personal liking, too low that you could graze their flaps if you jumped on full force. Everything redolent with age, and you were seven going eight, you were too young to settle in dust.

There was not much to do here, really.

Now, you loved Shizuoka. Two days following your arrival the rural surroundings had been growing you at an abnormal rate. Who would have thought that this dull of a city would paint over past experiences in new colors?

Tokyo, you see, was different. You could love these uncharted wonders of another land, the shadows between the woods, but different place means different people, different circumstances, different everything. You loved but it is different and this unfamiliarity scares you.

But if someone told you to pick your favorite part of Shizuoka, then you would proudly claim it was the bakery from across the street.

Ran by a man with salt-and-pepper sprayed head and soft laugh lines belying his real age, the bakery was winter in the form of minimalistic architecture, all glass and white alphabets in baroque print your immature mind failed to register. It's your favorite because, in a way, it reminded you of your Tokyo, where instead of paper sliding doors they were automatic glass doors and motion sensors, flat-surfaced roofs instead of slanting concrete.

Also, they baked the best anpan bread, as proven from the rare smiles your father showed despite his stoic demeanor.

And it was odd, really, to see it being squeezed between rundown structures like it didn't quite belong. Like it should have been somewhere grand and metropolitan, neon lights and loud music.

Your father was a fickle being. He had been in one of his rare good moods when he brought you to visit. As the glass doors parted, overhead a bell chimed to announce your arrival.

Being seven and brimming with vigor, as soon the warm smell of bread wafts, you immediately maneuver your way through each isle and set your voyage to a halt upon finding out they had ran out of your favorite variety.

(Father called it anpan, an-pan, he said, tongue carefully stepping on each syllable. Your heart twinged. He helped push the bread out of the paper bag, wiped when the filling stained the corner of your mouth. Thumb callused but gentle.)

Being eight meant lacking in experience; whether that life in general, or something more personal. Like masking your true emotion. You were disappointed upon finding the designated tray of said anpan empty. Deeply disappointed, no chasm could compare. You gave way to the sentiment, let it creased and scrunched your entire face into a frown so ugly, you heard the humorous huff of laughter.

You've reached the end of published parts.

⏰ Last updated: Nov 18, 2021 ⏰

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