White Umbrella

From above, she would have been nearly invisible. On the phone, she completely was. Tenma could hear his breathing, but he hadn’t said anything for nearly a minute. She waited. The thick, wet snow fell in rice-ball-like clumps. There was wind, too, and it swirled the flakes around her. The white umbrella offered little protection.

This is not what she imagined her birthday would be like. The ceremony, she admitted, had been beautiful. Yet here she was, waiting for her father to apologize, her ear sore from being held to her cellphone.

She had stopped, listening to his shame, but now she began walking. She stepped carefully along the hastily-dug path, reminding herself that she had difficulty walking in geta even on sidewalks.

“I guess I’m just sorry you couldn’t be here,” Tenma finally admitted. It was part honesty, part bait, but she felt tears starting. “It would have meant a lot to me,” she said, giving him ten more seconds.

“Tenma-” and she ended the call, leaving his voice to float like a snowflake.

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