It had been three days since Kinuyo’s mother had gone out to buy some eggs from Mrs. Yamamoto, a friend from across the town. She hadn’t returned.
Her mother left in the early evening. Kinuyo chopped the green onions and heated the rice; she fried the fish and boiled the tea. Then she waited until the tea grew cold and the sky became dark. The late autumn wind sent a shiver through her thin shawl. From somewhere deep in the streets, someone cried out, someone scampered like a rat over the road. Leaves rustled. A lone dog howled.
And still her mother didn’t returned.
The second day, Kinuyo swept the house and mended a tear in her mother’s slippers. She bought soba from a small shop nearby for dinner.
“Maybe some trouble on the street kept her from coming home last night,” she told a scruffy orange dog sniffing the maple tree in front of their house. “Perhaps there was a scuffle between the imperial troops an accused and a Shougitai spy. I’d say a robber, but,” Kinuyo smiled briefly, “they don’t seem to be good at catching them.”
The dog gazed out into street. It barked once, then went back to sniffing.
(Continue after the Break)