Your Present To My Heart

This year my classmates invited me to spend the holidays in Hokkaido. But, just one day before the trip, Ayu, my eight-year-old little sister who’s been in hospital, collapsed suddenly. “I’m sorry,” I told my friends. “I have to look after my sister this Christmas.”

The nurse told me that another had been playing in the snow too much lately.

“Sorry, Haru,” Ayu said in her bed. “I’m causing you trouble again.”

“It’s ok. I’m your big sis, after all.”

This hospital room was where Ayu had stayed ever since she turned six. It had always felt like my room, too, since I was often here. And, as one might expect of a room shared by two sisters, we could barely keep it tidy. So the head nurse always gave us an earful.

“Haru, I got you a present,” said another. “Can I give it to you now?”

I helped her pull out a giant cool box from under the bed and opened the lid. “What?” I gasped, on seeing the inside full to the brim. “Snow? How?”

“I sneaked it in bit by bit.”

I scooped up some with both hands.

Ayu put two handfuls on her face. She giggled. “So cold.”

So fluffy, I thought, digging my hands in and feeling a smile on my face. We had so much snow, we made a bunch of snowmen. Then, Ayu said she wanted something sweet, so I added fruit juice to make shave ice. And we had a snow fight with the leftover snow.

“Haru, Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas,” I said, dumping the last bit of snow on her head.

That day the nurse was super mad at us for messing up the room.

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