Ken didn’t want to go to the festival this year. He didn’t think there was going to be anything different than last year. Plus, he didn’t have his best friend to go with him. It wasn’t going to be the same. When Kiko told him she’d only have a year, he didn’t want to believe her.
She didn’t even last the year.
Ken watched as his family got ready to go to the festival. They wanted to dress traditionally this year and wear yukatas. His mother hung one out for him just in case he decided to join them.
She asked him before they left if he was okay.
“Daijobu desu. I’ll be okay.” He said before she walked out.
Ken stared at the yukata hanging in the closet. She would have wanted to wear one too, he thought. That was something she always liked to do.
Ken didn’t want to go to the festival, but he realized that she would want him to go. So, reluctantly, he put on the yukata and got himself ready to chase after his family.
He decided to walk around with his little brother. This was the first year his little brother really understood what a festival was and all the fun it encompassed. They stopped off at each of the small vendors getting food and playing some games. His little brother really enjoyed playing the games.
Ken stumbled upon a machine as he waited for his brother to finish playing a game. It was this giant fish with the mouth closed. Ken looked and found no one around. He walked up to it and pressed the only button on the machine. The fish’s mouth opened wide and in the center was a goldfish swimming in a tiny glass bowl.
Ken quickly grabbed the bowl and took it out of the machine before it closed its mouth. It wasn’t a regular looking goldfish. It had some black spots on the face. Ken chuckled as he looked at the goldfish swimming around, opening and closing its mouth.
The spots looked like freckles… just like Kiko.
“It’s nice to meet you.” Ken said as he held the bowl in front of his face. For a second it looked like the fish was staring back at him.
“What’s that, ni-san?” His little brother asked as he walked up his game-winning prize — a koi plush.
“I don’t know, I just found it –” Ken looked to where the machine was, but it was no longer there. “Here. Where did it go?”
“Where did what go?”
“There was a machine… right here…” Ken looked down at his hands and the goldfish was still swimming around in the bowl. “I got the fish right from the machine.”
“I think you’re imagining things.” His little brother said as he continued to walk. “Come on! Let’s get some ramen!”
Ken nodded as he followed his little brother. He tried to take another look back at the machine. The spot was still empty… he couldn’t believe it.
The goldfish was swimming happily in the bowl as Ken and his little brother ate ramen. His little brother was watching fish and chuckled as it stopped to watch him eat.
“What are you going to name it?”
“I don’t know yet.”
“I think it looks like Kiko-san!”
“Huh? Yeah. I see it, too.” Ken looked down at the goldfish, I guess he wasn’t imagining it either. It really did like like his friend.
“Maybe it is Kiko-san.” His little brother said quietly. Ken looked over to him and saw that he was close to tears. Ken forgot how Kiko was really nice to his little brother. She always said hi to him and would talk with him before they did their homework. He forgot that his brother was missing her, too.
“Should we name her Kiko?”
“Okay, it’s settled.” Ken said as he took the noodles into his mouth and slurped them in. His little brother wiped away the would be tears and continued eating with a smile on his face.
Ken was glad he decided to go to the festival.
He met up with his parents before the fireworks started. They all sat on their own bamboo mats.
“Mama, we found a goldfish! And decided to name it Kiko. Doesn’t it look like Kiko-san?” His little brother showed his mom the fish. His mom looked at it and nodded.
She had a gentle smile on her face as she spoke, “Looks like she didn’t want to miss the festival either.”
The fireworks began with a sudden bang and Ken retreated into his thoughts as he watched the fireworks brighten up the dark sky. He couldn’t believe it’s almost been three months since she passed.
Kiko promised she’d be here for this, “I’m going to watch the fireworks one last time, I promise.”
Ken caught a tear escape onto his cheek. She already looked so weak when she made that promise. He knew it wasn’t going to be possible. On her last day, he came to visit her at the hospital after school. She apologized to him.
Ken said it was okay, but he felt differently. He really didn’t want to believe that would be his last moment with his best friend.
Ken looked down at the goldfish swimming happily in its bowl. He nodded. His mom was right. Kiko kept her promise.
Thanks to my awesome friend Corinne for supplying that writing prompt!! I had a lot of fun figuring out what to write.
Give this lovely lady a follow on her own blog: corinneiskorean.com!