Hachiko - A Hachishakusama Story
After all that, we headed down the street towards the fabric shop that Maki mentioned. I never noticed the store before so I almost ended up walking past it until Maki started pulling on my hand again.
“Young man, young man.”
“What’s up shrimp?”
“Stop Kazu! You almost walked past the fabric store.”
“Sorry Maki, I didn’t know this was it. I’ve never been here before.”
“Do I have to show you everything, young man?”
“How long is she going to keep this ‘young man’ stuff up?”
Before I knew it, Maki was dragging me into the fabric store but I had my eyes on something in the window.
“Hey wait. Maki! Wait!”
“They have the same stuff inside that they have outside. Let’s go!”
“Did I just get scolded by the shrimp?”
“Come on. Come on. Let’s go.”
“Alright Maki, stop rushing me.”
“Kazu! I always wanted to come here!! THIS! IS! AMAZING!”
If this was an anime, you’d be looking at a panning overhead shot circling overhead as Maki is looking at everything in the store and pointing at everything she wants. But it’s a book, so you know, imagine it.
“I want that one and that one and that blue one. Ooooh!! That red one would look nice too.”
“I want that pink ribbon too. It would look nice on my new dress.”
“This place is amazing, Kazu! You're going to have to work a lot of overtime!”
Almost forgot how forward the shrimp could be. My fault for spoiling her I guess. I grabbed her by the head. Not like some super strong grip or anything. It was kind of like putting my head on her head and bending my fingers in like I was going to grip her head, but of course I’d never hurt her. I don’t know what you’d call the look I gave her. Was kind of angry but awkward. Like an uneasy smile? Just believe me, it was awkward.
“I’m going to do what now, shrimp?”
“You’re going to pretend your cute little sister didn’t say that.”
“Sounds about right.”
“Sooooooo...we came here for material to make something for your not girlfriend right?”
Maki put her head down like she was just punished for getting out of line and started rifling through the materials. I wasn’t really mad, I just wanted to keep her in line. Maybe I did trample on her excitement. I always did this thing where I would run my hands through my hair rapidly, kind of like what you’d do if you saw a fluffy dog. Kind of like a nervous tick or something.
“Alright Maki, I’ll get you something but don't go crazy.”
“Kazu, do you see that black roll, WAY UP THERE, TO THE RIGHT!?”
Maki was pointing to a roll of lycra on the top shelf which to her probably looked like it's a mile away. I guess she didn’t hear what I said. That’ll be easy on my wallet.
“You mean this one?”
I just reached up and pulled it down like it was nothing, It wasn’t like I had to stretch or anything. I just raised my arm, grabbed it and pulled it down. But I guess Maki wasn’t expecting it to be that easy so she started pouting.
“Ummm... yeah… that one… I could have got it, you know...”
“I know you could.”
“Don't go thinking that because you're taller than me that you have an advantage.”
“I know Maki.”
“Are you patronizing me, peasant?”
“You really are spoiled. Maybe I should stop buying you ice cream.”
“No. No. No. No. No. I’m sorry.”
“I know she’s joking but sometimes she does take it too far. Just have to check her once in a while.”
“How much do I ask them to cut?”
“Nothing. We’re taking the whole thing.”
Maki motioned for me to come down to her height so she can whisper something to me.
“Kazu. Your not girlfriend. Ummm… she’s kind of… not skinny. I’m going to need more material.”
Maki pulled out the measurements that I wrote down and pointed at the hip measurement.
“And this hip measurement and the thighs. She’s ummm… curvy. Then add in her height and it’s a lot of material.”
I looked her dead in the eyes like I was going to ask her the most serious question ever.
“Are you saying she has a big ass?”
Maki started laughing so loud that others in the store could hear her. Didn’t realize it would make her laugh that hard.
“Hahahahahahahaha. Yes Kazu.”
“Too loud. Ssshhhh!”
Maki was one of those people who makes you laugh when they start laughing. Kind of like a virus or something. Infectious, that’s it. She had an infectious laugh so I started laughing. I was trying not to but whatever it is about her laugh got me. I grabbed her hand and led her towards the ribbons but she was still giggling at that point.
“It wasn’t that funny. Anyway, grab the ribbons you wanted so we can get going.”
“Thank you Kazu! You’re the best!”
Maki started grabbing ribbons and I started adding up the cost in my head with each one she picked out.
“Hey shrimp. Why so many?”
“Well, you know that hat you got? I want to make a band for each outfit. Then I want to make a nice belt for her too. And these are for me and you’re not allowed to ask about those.”
“Ok Maki. I’ll get those for you. You earned it.”
“Yay! I can’t wait to show Kimiko and Asuka.”
“How long have you been friends with them?”
“I think it’s been about 6 years.”
“Hmmmm...maybe I should get them something to thank them for taking care of my sister.”
“So pretty much since you started going to school?”
“Yeah. I didn’t know the other kids and Kimiko came over and talked to me.”
“She does seem like the type who would do that. That girl would probably talk to a parked car.”
“Asuka was sitting in front of me reading some nerdy science book and Kimiko grabbed her chair and spun her around. They started calling each other names but you could tell they were friends. I started laughing and they both looked at me and said ‘That’s not funny!’ at the same time. They were so in sync I couldn’t stop laughing. Then we all started laughing together and they kept coming to say hello to me after that.”
“You guys do seem to get along well.”
“I love my friends Kazu. They’re the best.”
“I wish I could still be as innocent as them. I hope the world doesn’t change them.”
Since Maki was picking out ribbons, I got an idea. I wanted to do something for her, more than just buy her ribbons for her dress.
“Hey Maki. I want to get something for you and your friends. What about something like matching hair accessories?”
Maki looked up at me, looking like she’s about to cry.
“Really Kazu? You’re not joking right?”
“I’m serious Maki. I wish I had good friends like them when I was a kid. I want to thank them for being such good friends to my little sister.”
“Wow Kazu. You need to get more not girlfriends, you’re usually such a cheapskate.”
“Nothing. I didn’t say anything at all Kazu. You’re hearing things.”
“I know I can be strict with money sometimes Maki but I don’t have anyone helping me out. If something happens to me then I have no way to take care of you.”
“Stop it Kazu or I’m really going to cry.”
Maki grabbed 3 matching ribbons and accessories but they were different colors.
“3 different colors? Are you guys the Power Rangers?”
“Kazu. If some guy showed up somewhere with you and was wearing the same thing, wouldn’t you feel weird?”
“I guess so. Maybe?”
“3 different colors so we can stand out but since they’re the same, we still stand together.”
In my head I still pictured the Power Rangers but she was right. The only thing I could do was stare at her with a kind of shocked look. This was just a shocking day for me. My little sister was acting a lot more mature than she usually does. I really was shocked. The more the day went on, the prouder I was.
“When did my sister get so crafty and mature?”
Maki smiled and walked over to the register and put everything she was holding on the counter.
“Hurry up Kazu! Let’s go!”
Easier said than done, shrimp. She had ribbons and I had a giant roll of lycra. This thing was heavy, maybe 100 pounds. Even when I got it on the counter, the cashier did a double take. She was probably thinking I was crazy. Who brings a whole roll of this stuff to the counter.
The cashier was nice about it but I could feel her looking at me like I had a screw loose, “Do you want me to have this cut for you sir?”
“No. We’ll take the whole thing.”
“Are you sure, sir?”
“Ok sir, that will be 24900 yen.”
At that moment, I felt my soul leave my body.
“Wow. You sure Maki?”
Maki had her head down but a few seconds later, she looked up at me and frantically nodded.
“My poor wallet. I’ll miss you, friend.”
I proceeded to pull my wallet out and paid for it. But as we got ready to leave the store, Maki took some of the black ribbon she bought and started wrapping it around me. Then she motioned for me to give her the lycra roll and I had a feeling she was trying to be helpful but giving her the roll wouldn’t go well.
“Heaaaaaavy. Kazu I need you to hold this, like this please.”
Maki continued wrapping me and the roll together. She was making it so the lycra was more like a lycra backpack instead of me carrying it. She bought extra ribbon just to do that. I thought it was part of her plan.
“Wow! Maki you’re kind of amazing! This is much easier to carry now!”
Maki ran in front of me and looked up at me with her hands on her hips and a very smug look on her face. I mean, reallllllllly smug. Then she pointed at me before saying...
“Amazing? That’s right, I’m amazing! Don’t you forget it!”
Maki turned around and started swinging her arms higher as she walked, she was holding her head up higher too. I tried not to laugh, I really did. But I couldn’t hold it in anymore and just burst out laughing.
“Kazu? You okay? Did you lose your mind?”
“Sorry Maki. I just couldn’t hold it in anymore. What’s with that walk!?”
“Ummmm… it’s the I’m so amazing and my brother finally realized it walk.”
“It’s kind of goofy.”
“That’s okay. I have to back up my amazingness with an amazingness walk.”
“I’m glad we had this day together Maki. We need to do this more often.”
I kept walking and didn’t notice that Maki stopped in her tracks. Her voice did trail off but I thought nothing of it at first. I turned around and she was standing there, a few steps behind me, with her head down, trying to hide the fact that she was blushing.
“Hey shrimp, what’s up?”
Maki picked her head up and pointed at me like she’s Phoenix Wright or something.
“Don’t say something so nice to me when I’m not expecting it.”
“But I’m really enjoying our time together.”
“Stupid nerd boy. Shut up.”
“That’s not going to change my mind.”
I walked over to her and put my hand on her shoulder and gave her a gentle push.
“Come on Maki. You don’t need to be embarrassed. I’m your brother.”
“That’s why it’s so embarrassing!”
“But you’re okay holding my hand?”
“Shut up! D-d-d-d-don’t…..”
“Maki, one day you’re going to grow up and not want to hold my hand anymore.”
“That won’t happen Kazu!”
“Even when you’re 19 and I’m 28?”
“Okay. You might be right on that one. I wouldn’t want an old man holding my hand.”
Maki put her head down again because she was slightly embarrassed that she didn’t think of that. After a few seconds, she extended her hand to me.
“Just shut up and hold my hand. Okay?”
So we continued on our way, to this store Maki mentioned that sells clothes for basketball players, holding hands. But I couldn’t let this opportunity to keep teasing her, get away. What kind of big brother would I be if I did that?
“It’s okay, Maki. I like you the way you are.”
Maki started walking faster as we got closer to the store she was talking about. Since she was still holding my hand, she was kind of dragging me along. Then she came to a dead stop.
“There. That’s the place. They make the stuff for the basketball players so they should have something we can get her.”
“How do you even know about this place Maki?”
“I saw it on TV and just happened to remember it. Some of them are close to 8 feet right?”
“Yeah, a few of them are.”
We walked into the store and Maki already had her eyes on something. I wish I was that lazer focused when it came to shopping for clothes. It was a black Adidas tracksuit. She started pulling me towards it and gave me the ‘this is it’ look.
“I think that’s the one, Kazu. But….. Ummm…. Do basketball players have hips like her?”
“Probably not Maki. Have to assume they have big sizes and if it’s not big enough it’ll just be tight right?”
“Yeah. I guess so. As long as she can get it over her hips we should be fine.”
“Her hips aren’t THAT big Maki.”
She pulled out the sheet on me. She reached up and put it in my face.
“You sure? Look at the number that YOU put on that sheet.”
“Okay, she’s just kind of thick.”
“Kind of?? And she must have a big... wait hold on.“
I’m pretty sure she was thinking something like, “I don’t think he’s going to let me say that word and live.”
“Alright, alright. Maybe you’re right. But I’m sure there’s something here that would work. I hope. Maybe...”
That started my search. I just started looking for the biggest thing they had. I didn’t know what to get her but even if they had something it may end up being short. I took the longest jacket and pants off the rack. Then I realized she had nothing to go under so I grabbed a bunch of sports bras. Again, I just went for the biggest they had. She does have some large breasts so...
“I wonder how all this will fit her. I think the jacket might work if she keeps it open. Not sure on the bras though, she is kind of well developed. Those hips though, that might be the killer, will the pants fit? Hmmmm…”
“Okay. I think these will work. I hope.”
“Are you sure Kazu? Because she has a big…...”
“Yeah, yeah. I’m pretty sure. I think.... It’s not like I’m buying a whole wardrobe or anything.”
“Do you think one of these suits would look good on me?”
“Are you saying you want one too, Maki?”
Maki put her head down, grabbed my and led me towards the counter.
“Let’s go. I don’t need anything else.”
While I went to make the purchase, Maki kept looking back at the Adidas track suits. I was such a push over when it came to her.
“Her birthday is coming soon, maybe I’ll have to get her one.”
“You ready to go, shrimp?”
“Yeah Kazu. I’m ready.”
After that, we walked out of the store. Maki wasn’t really paying attention to where she was going and walked right into the woman from before. She bumped her so hard that she fell back into me. I had to catch her before she fell. She regained her balance but was rubbing her head. I guess she did fall into me kind of hard.
“I’m sorry ma’am. I wasn’t paying attention.”
Maki looked up and realized it's the woman from before. She started pulling down on my hand like she does when she wants my attention.
“Kazu! Kazu! Kazu! It’s the lady from before!!”
“Maki. I can see that. Stop pulling.”
“Oh. Sorry Kazu.”
The woman had a concerned look on her face. I mean would too if some shorty just ran into me and almost knocked herself out.
“Are you sure you’re okay, little one?”
“Yes ma’am! I’m okay!”
“Looks like you and the young man have been doing a lot of shopping.”
“Yes ma’am. The young man has been shopping for his not girlfriend and he bought me a few things too.”
“Young man, you should be proud. Looks like the little lady loves being with her big brother.”
“He’s okay. I guess.”
Okay, I had to interject that time, “Maki, I’m standing right here.”
“By the way, little one, what is a not girlfriend?”
“Just ignore the shrimp. It’s her way of making fun of me for buying something for a friend who is a little less fortunate.”
“So you’re helping this person, young man?”
“And she’s not your girlfriend?”
“Young man, I hope your parents are proud. They raised a proper young man.”
“Thank you ma’am. I appreciate your kind words.”
“Well, young man, I will let you and the little lady get on your way.”
Maki jumped in front of me. I guess she thought she was being left out or wouldn’t get a chance to say anything.
“Don’t worry ma’am. I will make sure the young man gets home okay.”
The mystery woman tried not to laugh but could barely hold it back. Then I bowed to mini princess and said, “Thank you Princess Maki. Thank you for making sure I get home okay.”
Then the mystery woman couldn’t stop laughing. I probably would have laughed too if I was watching us.
“You two really do get along well. I hope nothing ever comes between you. Family means a lot.”
“You’re right ma’am. That’s why I’m going to take your advice from earlier.”
Since Maki wasn’t part of that conversation, she started pulling on my hand again and asked, “What’s that, Kazu?”
“I’m going to call mom. Maybe we can meet up one day. It’s been long enough.”
Maki started bouncing up and down. She was excited to possibly see our mother again.
“Really?! I miss her Kazu! Do you think she misses me!?”
“I'm sure she does little one. Anyone would miss their daughter.”
“We… had a problem at home...and my brother moved out, he took me with him. BUT he took me to protect me.”
“Awwww, that sounds very sad. I hope you guys can work it out.”
Maki started shaking her head frantically, I think it was because she stumbled on her words. I guess everyone in my weird family has some kind of nervous tick like thing.
“WAIT! It wasn’t our mother that was the problem! I hope I didn’t make you think that. It was this guy she was seeing. He….”
Maki grabbed onto me and I realized she wasn’t able to tell her. So I took over for her, even though I’m going to be rehashing something I already talked to her about but Maki doesn’t know tht. So we acted like the previous conversation didn’t happen.
“Yeah… you see… our mother was seeing a man who didn’t treat Maki right. So when I moved I took her with me to protect her. He seemed like an okay guy at first but I couldn’t let him treat Maki that way.”
“I see. Is that why the little one is so attached to you?”
The mystery woman bent down to Maki’s level.
“Hey. It’s okay. Isn’t the young man here, taking care of you.”
Maki nodded in agreement and loosened her grip on me.
“Was he really that bad?”
Maki nodded in agreement again.
“Poor baby. Can I give you a hug?”
Maki nodded again and the woman gave her a hug.
“Don’t worry little one. Your big brother will protect you.”
Maki looked up at me and then turned back to the lady. And said, “I don’t know. He’s kind of a nerd.”
Maki and the lady both started laughing while I started to walk away. I wasn’t going to leave Maki but wanted her to think I was.
“Kazu! Don’t leave me, you jerk!”
I shouted back, “Well, it sounded like you guys didn’t need me anymore!”
“Young man, you get back here right now! Don’t go home without me!”
“Ok little miss, I think we might have teased him a little too much.”
“Yeah, you might be right. I better go or he’s going to take away my gummi bears.”
“Awwww… She’s so innocent. You’re doing a good job Kazuhito.”
Maki hugged the woman and said “Bye ma’am. I hope we see you again.”, and ran to catch up to me.
Maki ran to catch up to me and grabbed my hand. They both turn back to wave to the mystery woman.
“Bye! I hope we meet again.”
“Take care of that precious little one, young man.”
We started heading home and the mystery woman headed back to her place or so I assumed anyway.
“Can’t believe I bumped into them again. My babies have really grown up. I hope you keep your promise Kazuhito. Your mother misses her babies.”