? ? ? ? ?

And so the seasons trickled by.

Spring became summer. Summer melted away into autumn. Autumn gave way to winter.

Still, he found himself subconsciously searching for her figure.

At the intersection.

In the corner of his book.

Within the shadows of the trees.

Even though he knew he wouldn't find her there.



He had been one hundred percent certain that this chocolate cake was the one.

The bittersweet treat from many years ago, which she loved and shared with him.

But after one bite, it didn't turn out the way he expected.

The search would continue.

And he was fine with that.

Because he still had the rest of his life to keep searching for pieces of her.



After a firm press of his fingertips, the latest folded paper crane was complete.

He set it on his window ledge, peeking outside with his six brethren.

Jade eyes scrutinized the office interior.

As expected, he needed to find a new place to store his paper cranes... it was very messy here.

One thousand granted one wish. Two thousand granted two wishes.

His hand reached for another piece of origami paper to fold.

He had about several more to go before he reached ten thousand.

If his wish was granted, he would be by her side.



How much more time needed to pass before he could see her again?



The playground of his childhood was empty and still.

Despite the late winter season, it was still quite warm in the desert.

The swing creaked as he settled himself down.

An unopened letter was in his hand.

Fingers that were experienced with opening correspondence easily made short work of the seal.

The paper was carefully unfolded.

Jade eyes scanned the words within.

And then he smiled.



I hope the desert is still warm. I don't like snow very much!

And I hope you will continue to have good health! No more convenience store food, okay?!

I can't wait until spring comes again so I can wear my new clothes.

Looking forward to your reply, as always!



Velvet lids softly closed shut.

In his mind, he could see the grasslands stretching out as far as the eye could see.



He was learning to walk, just like her.

There were times he stumbled, but he held on.

This was the path he was going to take.

The path he decided for himself.



One day, his path would lead him back to her.

The End