Spring day

Excerpt from a Spring Eulogy

“Are you saying that love is a current? Can it really move you?” I asked.

“Seventy-odd per cent water. Ninety-odd per cent lovestruck. I’m an easy weight for the strong current.”

That’s what you told me. It seemed like what you said could only have meant one thing. Every once in a while, I replayed that last sentence in my mind and I realized that it meant more than I realized. You weren’t talking about love, were you?

Every once in a while, I remember. Like a cherry blossom, you had a grey shadow.

Every once in a while, I ask the silent sky: Why did she blush such a pure pink, glowing with that effervescent youth? Why, like the Gemini, did her youthful blush sit back-to-back with the deathly grey of illness?

What you said last spring, pointing to the cherry blossoms, constantly rings through my mind. “They die so beautifully, don’t they?” I still don’t have an answer for you, because I have so much that I want to clarify:

Was it them or their deaths that were beautiful?

When we remember them, do we remember them or their beauty?

If they weren’t beautiful, would we remember them?

I know we don’t have the answers, but if we’re both missing a piece, we’ll fit perfectly when we meet again. We’ll be a happy, solved puzzle, won’t we?

Every once in a while, my ears ring, remembering the piercing, frantic breaths I heard over the phone that day. Your mother’s voice was pained, brittle and weak. She sounded like her tears were suffocating her. Me? My legs trembled like blades of grass in a cruel gust of wind. My arms were strained by invisible weights. I’d argue that they still are. Thank it all that I have the strength to hold these flowers. That's all I can do now.

Every once in a while, regret consumes me. I didn’t grieve for the cherry blossoms as they fell. I didn’t realize that nature was mourning and I don’t think I can adequately apologize for that. Losing you, I realized what it means to lose something beautiful. I assume that nature must have felt the same — explains all the rain we get around this time.

Every once in a while, I cry too.

And, every once in a while, I’ll be here — like spring — to cover the dead with flowers, as the cold chill of winter pricks my back and the warmth of summer hugs my face.


As the petals twirled to the ground, she stretched, an unfurling flower. Across her eyes was a stream of sunshine, and shadows of petals mottled her face.

“How do I look?” she said, pushing up her puffy tiramisu-brown curls.

“I like what you did with your eyes.”

“Those haven’t changed.”

“Really? A bit more sparkly today, no?”

“And why would that be?”

“I suspect it involves me.”

“Look, Mr. Detective,” she said, wearing a faux grimace and propping her fists on either side of her waist. “You need solid evidence of such absurd claims.”

I shoved my hands forward, each with a thumbs-up, then pointed at myself.

“Pretend I’m not here. The sparkle will disappear.”

Her eyes widened.

“Is that a spell of some sort?”

“No, I’ve already got you under one.”

Her face. It essentially read, “Hah! The audacity.”

“Confident, aren’t you?” she asked.

“Just need to keep the confidence bluff up until I win.”

“You revealed your cards. Does that mean you won?”

I nodded. “Your eyes say so.”

“My eyes have a language too, huh?”

“That, or signs that say, ‘Look at me.’ Either way, I’m glued.”

“I can read eyes too, y’know?”

“Here I thought my ability was exclusive,” I said, and sighed. “What do mine say?”

“Say? Little. Show? Hearts.”

“I’m a cartoon, now?”

“Well, you show up every Saturday morning.”

“Blame Friday night.”

She softly punched my shoulder. “No need for blame,” she said. “No complaints here.”

I placed a hand over my chest, and dramatically exhaled. “Thank god. Customer satisfaction is of utmost importance. Rate me a solid five stars, okay?”

Laugher burst out of her, like water rushing out of an open dam.

“One year with you,” she sighed. “How did I put up with this?”

The Reason They Can’t Stay

Sakura petals raced to the ground and children raced across the street, as if the sun’s touch had infused them with a marvellous, indomitable energy. The air crackled with cheery spirit and people shoved past the wind to see the races.

A girl asked her mother, “What’s spring about, mum?”

“Oh, well,” she said, crouching to meet the girl’s eyes. “It’s about growth and life.”

The girl looked a little confused. She turned to the falling sakura petals and then to her mother with what looked like tear-glazed eyes.

“Honey, what’s wrong?” the mother asked.

“Mum, aren’t the petals falling? Doesn’t that mean they’re dying?”

For the shortest second, the mother’s eyes flashed with surprise. Hearing her mother’s silence, the girl inquired further.

“Aren’t all the other flowers alive? Why aren’t the sakura allowed to live?”

The mother knew the answer: death coincides with life. While some live, others die. Weddings and divorces. Birthdays and funerals. They happen in close proximity.

“The sakura are special, honey. Do you see the grass around us?”

The girl watched, as her mother pointed in an arc around herself.

“Yes?” she replied.

“Well, the grass is jealous of the pretty, pink sakura. They’re green with envy.”


“Really, darling,” said the mother. “The sakura is kind and beautiful. So, it can’t stay long. If it overstayed its welcome, it would take away the chance that all the other plants have to shine.”

“Why can’t they all shine?”

“They do all shine. But only one shines differently from the others. And that difference is why the sakura can’t stay.”

“Aww,” said the girl, with a frown.

“But let’s focus on what we can do. While they’re here, we can appreciate them, love them and shower them with compliments. So, let’s do that, okay?”

The girl nodded, unconvinced but powerless to imagine a different approach.