Himeko had written a haiku that day, but Cerys had no idea what it meant.
Soaring above clouds
All elements as though one
Wind water air flame
“This one is like a riddle,” Cerys complained. “What is it about?”
Her friend only grinned at her. “I thought you would have figured it out by now.”
“But I haven’t!” she groaned dramatically. “Why won’t you tell me?”
“It is more fun to watch you try to guess,” Himeko replied with an air of playfulness. “I am really surprised that you could not see it.”
They only had a few more minutes to giggle together before Mrs. Takamori came downstairs and said that it was time to get ready for bed and quiet reading. Cerys thanked her for having her over as she put away her journal and stood up. She slipped on her shoes at the doorway and said her goodbyes, and then headed down the street towards her own home.
The city that she lived in was a quiet one, no different from the park. Most of the people were in bed already, and anyone who wasn’t would have been somebody that Cerys knew. Most of them were friendly, and anyone who wasn’t was no more harmful than a typical grouch was. Nothing more exciting than college acceptance letters ever happened in her town.
Walking home only meant going a few blocks. Cerys’s house was a two-story brick-and-mortar marvel, built better than most of the homes that were being constructed those days. It had been painted blue, with white trim, and Cerys loved the way it reminded her of something from a storybook. In the kitchen, the old bricks were exposed, the varying shades of maroon giving the family a homey feel that was very comforting to live in. She was glad to call that house her home, even if her city was a little on the boring side.
Her room was downstairs, just off of the storage and laundry. The family’s basement was nicely finished, with solid walls instead of pain wooden beams, and just the right amount of insulation. Cerys’s mother had agreed that if she did her part for the family, she could have the room, paint it, and have her fun. The bottom of her walls was a pale blue, but it faded as it got towards the ceiling to a rich indigo reminiscent of the night sky. She had even taken silver paint here and there to add a starscape. It wasn’t much, but it made the room feel like her own.
The rest of the house was family space; the main floor had a living room filled with all sorts of toys, even a couple video game consoles, and a playpen to keep the baby from getting into things that she shouldn’t. What had once been a guest room, and then an office, was now her fifteen-year-old brother’s room. The second floor was where everyone else slept.
When she got home, Cerys was relieved that it was mostly quiet in the house. Her little sisters were already in bed, and her mother had gotten the baby settled down. She preferred to enter through the kitchen door, where she found her teenage brother his usual evening snack.
“Cheese and crackers again?” she asked him.