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|"Amber lights :|
They luster and glow,
- Compassion was written by candle light during the blackout caused by hurricane Sandy.
While a storm rages outside, a young Asami finds comfort with her mother. She appreciates everything about the amazing woman.
Branches snapped and gusts of terrible wind rattled the shutters. The storm howled its dreadful shrieks. Nature broke away from its chains and unleashed raw power, holding nothing back. Yue Bay ripped and roared, battering the helpless wooden docks with crashing waves. Lightning pierced the dark sky and subsequent thunder left Republic City petrified.
Fascinated green eyes admired the swirling chaos. Captivated by the furious wrath, she let the wind whip through her raven hair. Rain danced unpredictably to the thunderous percussion. She breathed in the charged atmosphere. For some reason, air tasted fresh during a storm. The little girl stood freely, mesmerized by the beautiful madness.
"Asami! What are you doing out here in the pouring rain? Get inside!" A concerned mother stood in the doorway. Her face was stern yet tender. Like all mothers, she cared deeply for her daughter.
The young girl returned to the safety of the mansion, leaving a trail of puddles and a very confused mother. Dripping wet from head to toe, she smiled:
"I was just watching the storm."
"Darling, you may watch the storm from inside...after you dry off."
The mother's serious facade melted away as the tiny footsteps scampered up the flight of stairs and out of sight. Life passes by so fast. Watching her daughter evoked memories of her childhood. They were alike in so many ways. In appearance, they shared the same ebony hair and fair face. Behind the superficial exterior, they shared the same passionate drive in everything they did; they were perfectionists. Sometimes, the child's pursuit of the world got her into trouble. No matter what kind of mess Asami caused, her mother could only laugh because not so long ago she would have done the same thing. The storm picked up. She closed the door.
In front of the mirror, Asami twisted the water out of her dark locks. She found a particularly appealing towel and proceeded to dry. Changing into a warm pair of pajamas, she realized how cold she had been. Taking a brush in her hand, she began to run it through her mangled hair. Her brow furrowed in determination as she battled the knots. After a violent exchange between brush and hair, the girl admired her finished reflection. Then everything went black.
Her heart skipped a beat. There was nothing. Everywhere she looked was pitch-black. She tried blinking; closing her eyes was the same as opening them. Was she dead? No, she could hear herself breathing. Where was the door? She panicked.
She cried out, "Mommy!"
Nobody responded. Tears built in the corners of her eyes. A pit choked in her throat.
The knob turned and the door opened. A candle illuminated the inky darkness of the bathroom. Asami buried herself in her mother's arms, knocking her back. They hugged close and rocked back and forth.
She cooed, "It's okay. Shhhh. The power just went out, that's all."
Asami knew that her tears were ruining her mom's favorite dress, but she didn't care. She only hugged tighter.
The patient woman waited for the child to calm down. Then, with the soft fabric of her sleeve, she dabbed at the tear-streaked face:
"Come on, let's wait out this storm."
The absence of light turned the familiar mansion into a whole new world. Where there was once life, only stillness remained. The telephones became useless pieces of plastic. Enchanting radios no longer filled the house with lively voices. The marvelous inventions of Hiroshi Sato stood like emotionless statues. The comfort of home seemingly vanished. Now, the howling storm caused Asami to shudder.
Mother and daughter cautiously navigated the hallway and found the stairs. Step by step, they descended. The tiny eyes focused intently on the fleeting flame. With each step, the flame wavered weakly and her heart jumped in fear that it would go out. Her mother smiled. The young girl was brave in the face of a raging storm, but she was still an innocent child, afraid of the dark.
They settled down in a cozy corner of the family room. The mother lit the hearth with the candle. The lonely logs gradually caught until the fire blazed all shades of orange. The newfound warmth helped Asami breath easy again. They found old blankets and wool quilts, some hand knitted. They moved the couch into the radius of the fireplace. The storm-watcher plopped safely in her mothers lap. Asami's features glowed in the homely light. Gentle fingers ran through her dark hair. Her mother hummed a smooth, mellow tune, one she recognized.
Charmed by the simple melody and warmth, the bundle of blankets slumped contently against her mother. The darkness melted and the tempest faded away. The two hearts beat slowly together. Cracking and laughing, the burning wood released a burst of a thousand glowing specks. The white ashes flittered to the ground and a subtle smoky scent drifted through the air. Asami's spirit lifted. She felt the comfort of family. Staring into the red-hot embers, her eyes grew heavy and relaxed. The voice whispered:
"You were always pretty, even as a baby."
The weight leaned against her mother.
"I don't remember when I was a baby. What was I like?"
The lovely woman tilted her head and sighed, "Hmmm. You had stunning dark hair and big green eyes. I remember I could hold you with one arm. It felt like holding air; you were so small."
"Nooooo, not what I looked like! What did I do?"
She fixed thoughtfully into the hearth, "Oh," She paused, "Well, you were very curious. I remember you started crawling around by yourself before you were even a year old. Your father and I called you the explorer. You were fascinated by everything you found. Whenever you discovered something you turned it over, twisted it, looked at every angle, smelled it, tried to eat it, banged it on the floor..."
"I tried to eat things?"
Her mother laughed her angelic laugh, "Of course! All babies eat things. It's how they interact with the world. In fact, you preferred eating anything but your food. We took you to the beach one summer and I had to hold you in my lap because all you wanted to do was eat sand!"
"Ewwwwwww," Asami groaned.
"But that's not the worst part. You caused us a lot of trouble, missy. Your father was convinced a burglar broke in and stole the blueprints in his workshop. He called the police and started a full investigation. It turns out; you took all of his papers and hid them with your toys. I don't even know how you managed it, since someone was always keeping an eye on you."
The mom playfully pinched her, "You gave your father a heart attack."
Asami giggled, "I don't remember doing that! And it wasn't my fault! I was a baby!"
"You will always be my baby."
Tucked away on her mother's lap, wrapped in a bundle of blankets, Asami felt safe and sound. Her mom always knew how to make her smile. Even in the darkness, her company was light and kind, like the hearth. Asami admired her because she was perfect in every way. Her rich, life-giving laugh brightened a room. Her hair was soft as silk and her eyes were gentle. Plus, she always smelled sweet. The child concluded there was something magical about the woman. She had an ability to be everywhere at once. Oh, and she knew everything, too. But, above all things, she was an indescribable balance of simple and elegant. Asami wished she would grow up to be just like her.
The daughter closed her eyes and listened to the lovely voice.
"Holding you in my arms for the first time was the most breathtaking experience of my life. You immediately stopped crying when you looked up at me. Your face was round and your eyes were wide open. And when I smiled, you smiled back. Before long, we both started laughing. I still don't know why."
The beautiful woman delicately kissed her daughter's forehead.
"From the day you came into the world, you have never ceased to amaze me. You are wonderful in every way, Asami. Don't you dare let anybody tell you otherwise. I can't wait to see you grow up into a brave, smart, heroic young woman. I've seen your talents and intelligence. Not many people have an opportunity like you. Don't be afraid of the dark. Be afraid of how much you can change peoples' lives. You've certainly changed my life for the better," She smiled, "I would love to grow old in a world cared for by Asami Sato."
Surrounded by warmth and love, the little girl forgot about the darkness. The soothing cadence of her mother's voice caressed like a gentle breeze. She felt safe, wrapped in the caring arms. Embraced by the simple glow of the hearth, she secretly wished that the power would never return.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
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