When they’d had enough swinging, they went to Himeko’s house. Even though her parents were a little stricter than Cerys’s, it was quieter there– especially this close to bedtime. Himeko only had two siblings, brothers, and they were both away at college, so that let her to contend with only her parents and the family cat for a quiet space in the house. Cerys, meanwhile, had two brothers as well as two sisters– all of them younger than her. The youngest was a nine-month-old baby, and as adorable as he was, he was a handful. Cerys felt lucky that her mother had promised her time away from the chaos every day.
They sat down on either side of the coffee table and laid their bags on them. They weren’t purses, but rather what they carried instead of purses. At the same time, they weren’t the stereotypical canvas bags that other people carried. These bags were hand-made, sewn years ago and lovingly cared for ever since. The girls had sewn most of them with their own hands, but had traded here and there so that some parts were shared; a symbol of their friendship, they called it. Both bags had a lot in common, but were also distinct from one another.
Himeko’s bag represented her Japanese ancestry. She had been conceived and born in America, but her oldest brother had been born in Japan, and her middle brother was, well, in-between. Their mother had been pregnant with him when they had cover over from Japan, and gave birth to him a few months later, right there in that house. But that was a story for another time. Himeko’s mother had been so happy to finally have a daughter that she learned how to sew kimono on her own, and their house had bolts of Japanese cloth all over the place.
She had found a scrap of pale blue cloth one day, with tiny peach blossoms floating through it like flowers raining down from the sky, and had used it and several other remnants to make the royal-looking kimono worn by the girl sewn onto her bag. The background had a quilted look, and was make from a larger remnant of very formal navy blue kimono cloth. It was the same cloth used for the handles. Both girls loved the look and texture of it.
Cerys’s bag was made from various brocade pieces that she had wheedled out of one of the merchants at the renaissance festival, as well as a few lucky finds at the local fabric store. The girl on her bag wore a fifteenth-century French gown and looked like she came from the ranks of the peerage. Cerys was charmed by the way the dark red brocade of the dress reminded her of cherries with their stems and leaves, heavily stylized though it was. She adored cherries, and thought buttons were the most adorable things, so her addition to Himeko’s bag had been a series of tiny buttons that each looked like cherries in some way.
Himeko, in turn, had added a cherry blossom tree to the background of her friend’s scene. When Cerys had asked her how the medieval girl had come across such a tree, Himeko reminded her about the ones in Washington, D.C. It was not such a far-fetched idea, after all.
That evening, they pulled out their journals from those bags and traded with one another. The journals had been gifts, one for Cerys from her mother on her birthday, the other from Cerys when she noticed how much Himeko admired the journal; she had bought her one just like her own, but green instead of blue. They were leather-bound, the kind one might see an elf carrying in some fantasy movie or another, the paper thick and rustic. The girls had even purchased pencils that looked like twigs to go with them.