It all starts with my birthday, usually the best time of the year for me. But I wasn't happy. My parents own a restaurant called Cherry Blossom Garden, but lately it has lost it's popularity. Yesterday, a restaurant critic came round and described it to be 'dingy' and 'unwelcoming'.
Cherry Blossom Garden has been passed down from generation to generation of the Tomita family. He said that if it doesn't drastically improve in one week, it will be closed down and everything we've ever earnt will amount to nothing.
"Happy Birthday Haruko!" My parents burst into my room, catching me off-guard and scaring me half to death.
I may have been surprised, but that was not enough to hide the fact that both my mum and dad had big fake smile plastered over their hidden, weary faces. They sat either side of me, squashing me in the middle of my small bed. "Thanks!" I grinned, trying to put my worries behind me.
Mum handed me two presents wrapped in newspaper (as we were on a tight budget). One was big, and the other, small. However worried I am about current life situations, I love presents! Just the thought makes my body tingle with excitement. I slowly opened the big one, trying carefully not to rush. There were two things, a floaty jet black top with emerald green butterflies daintily fluttering along the top and bottom.
"It's beautiful" I breathed.
Underneath the black top was a pair of matching black sneakers with the same emerald green laces, and silver butterflies around the sides. My face lit up naively at the thought the wonderful presents were mine.
"I'm so glad you like them darling" mum whispered weakly. She looked as if she hadn't slept in weeks.
"Here's your last present Haruko" said dad, his false smile growing scarily wider. He handed me the smaller one. I unwrapped it painfully slowly, savouring the growing curiosity. I found a silver charm bracelet, it had; an elegant gold star; a sleek black cat's face; an emerald green eye; a cherry blossom; and the letter 'H' (for Haruko).
I had never really liked jewellery, but this was perfect in the way each charm meant something to me. I turned to my mum, totally speechless, and gave her a huge hug.
My parents left me to get changed into my new clothes before breakfast, when I heard a soft purr. My head shot up to see Midnight, my little black beauty admiring my presents.
'Aren't they lovely, Midnight?"
"Meow" she agreed.
"The green matches your eyes" I whisper.
Once I was changed, I gazed contently at my new clothes in the mirror and then took Midnight with me to have breakfast.
Breakfast was my favourite, my mum's chicken noodle soup! But birthday or no birthday, we all had to go over to Cherry Blossom Garden for my parents to improve the restaurant, if we wanted to keep our lives.
So I decided to go for a walk around the garden.