Standing alone on the porch, I gazed out at the trees and the lake beyond. The waters were calm as usual, and the sun was just beginning to set, lighting the glittering surface on fire. Above, birds chirped and sang rhythmically. I drank in the peaceful scene.
The flow of time that summer had been intense – so much had happened. But every second had been worth it. I knew that now. There was still much more ahead, but I had learned the value of taking stock, of turning away from the future to enjoy the present and the past – and right now, there were much more important things on my mind. It was pointless to wonder what might happen next; time would not stop for me.
That being said, at the end of the month, I was planning to go home. Summer wouldn’t last, and besides, I had things to take care of. Re-evaluating my life, for one. Reconnecting with old friends. Learning to cook. Saving up for a guitar. For once, I had plans, actual plans – things I wanted to do, places I wanted to go, people I wanted to see – and not before it’s too late, but because they were long overdue. There was something new I was chasing now, and I refused to be stopped. For the first time in a long while, I was feeling inspired by an image of myself – and there was no one to ride that momentum forward but me.
Someone called my name from inside the house, bringing me out of my peaceful thoughts. Sighing lightly, I gave the lake a bit of a lingering glance. Part of me wanted to hike down to the shoreline – but now was not the time. I turned around and went into the kitchen.
Katsumi was sitting on the living room couch, one of his acoustics resting on his thigh. Tadashi was seated across from him. It was a full week since he’d returned home from the hospital, and he was feeling up to singing again. He looked up as I walked over and gave me a slow, gentle smile.
“Where’s Aliyah?” Katsumi asked, looking around.
“Hold on, I’m coming,” her voice called.
Footsteps pounded down the stairs, and then Aliyah joined us in the living room. She waved her phone at Tadashi, displaying a digital calendar. “I just called. You have therapy tomorrow, but I have a company meeting, so I can’t take you.”
“Thanks,” Tadashi replied softly. “Katsu will take me.”
Katsumi grinned. “Anyway, sit down. We’re ready to start.”
“Oh, okay.” She came over to sit beside me.
With little hesitation, Tadashi tapped out a slow beat and started to play. After a moment Katsumi joined in. I watched and listened as they began to sing, a combination of music and voices that I hadn’t heard in a long time, and I couldn’t help but smile.
What a wonderful thing, I thought to myself. I’m glad it’s not over yet.
It’s not over yet…
At least, they weren’t. And neither was I.