Six Sentences 4: It’s Bigger than I Thought…
“It’s bigger than I thought…” Rin said, huffing and grunting again.
“Let me,” Kakashi answered, “I told you…we had to…move the furniture.”
Jiraiya heard a lot of things hanging out on rooftops, peeping in windows. This sounded promising. He slunk closer to the window of Kakashi’s apartment and waited for an opportunity to venture a peek.
“Ooo. I can’t wait,” she panted.
“Let me unroll it.”
Jiraiya waited and smirked as shuffling drifted from the window. Oh. Yes. Unroll?!
“Look at the size of it! And the artwork. Is that a carp?”
“Mmm hmm. And Kinorta. His eyes look a little funny, though. Needs some repair.”
Well, of course, Kinorta was often shown with carp, they both represented the struggle of survival and…and procreation. Shit.
“Do you think we can get it up?”
Jiraiya couldn’t wait anymore, he peered over the edge of the windowsill, his imagination running wild, heart beating fast. Surely they couldn’t be…Rin had seen his…they had…so…what?
An expanse of unbleached canvas spread across the floor, lifted like the edge of a blanket, obscuring most of the room and the young couple; Rin and Kakashi’s hands gripped the edges at the far, raised side. What? This still didn’t help.
Jiraiya fidgeted and ran his hands over the smooth, painted wood of the sill.
“Let me finish uncovering it,” Kakashi said He snapped the canvas away; it puddled at one corner of the room.
“Have you ever flown it?” Her voice, pitched high in excitement, rang against the walls.
“My parents did, of course. The year I was born.”
Jiraiya slowly raised his eyes over the sill and saw them, arms about each other, faces flushed, eyes dancing—maybe just a little winded—their gazes focused on the square kite that took up most of the floor space in the apartment.
Fully clothed. A shame. Kakashi with his mask up, head band over one eye. Nothing interesting then, but curiosity had kindled in Jiraiya’s brain. He looked at the kite, too.
Oh. That was it, just a kite. Wait. A kite? That was too much! His mouth dropped and he sank back against the wall beside the window, catching his own breath. No, kid!
Kites were often given as presents—congratulation gifts—when couples celebrated the birth of a first-born son. And then they flew them on boy’s day early in May. Rin didn’t look…but that didn’t always mean much. They were just kids, still not quite twenty…and Kakashi probably had no idea what Rin was up to. How women plotted this kind of thing. Dumb kid.
Then Kakashi’s words stopped his old-lady worries and he breathed easier.
“So, Rin,” he drawled. “Why the sudden interest in this? You’re not…trying to tell me something. Are you?” So calm, not a bobble or break in his voice.
Jiraiya would bet that the masked mouth had twitched, though (what man’s wouldn’t have); smart of the kid to stay hidden.
Rin wheezed and stammered. “N-n-nani? Oh, no.” She made a choking sound. Coughed. “No! I just kind of…had an idea.”
“Are you planning something…?”
“Well, yes…but…” she choked again, tittered and coughed. Sounds of backslapping. She coughed again. “No! Quit looking at me like that. It’s not like that.” She cleared her throat, let out a sigh and spoke again. “This kite is supposed to keep you safe, right? Keep bad things away? Well, maybe it’s time…maybe it’s time we flew it.”
Jiraiya managed another quick glance and ducked when Kakashi’s head swiveled his way. They stood with their arms around each other still, her face tilted up toward his, a pink tinge on her cheeks. They suited each other. A pretty picture.
“Yeah, to rid you of…now, don’t take this the wrong way…but I thought it might help rid you of…”
“…your past. Maybe you could even live in your own house without that damn mask on all the time.”
“I don’t wear it all the time,” Kakashi growled so low Jiraiya could barely hear, “thanks to you.”
“Stop. I mean it, Kakashi. I’m never going to abandon you like…like that. You need to trust me.”
“I do trust you.”
“Uh-huh.” She sounded skeptical.
She sighed. “Come on. Do you even know how to have fun? Just do something for the hell of it? What do you say?”
Jiraiya leaned against the sill. Twilight faded into dusk and dropped into a night of glittering stars. The great kite sailed over the rooftops, blotting out the sky while the gentle sounds of laughter and lovers’ tussles wafted up from the green-blanketed park below.
Rin might untangle the kid yet, and it was the best medicine for him. This kind of healing often hurt like hell, but maybe the worst was over.
Still, the start of the conversation was a keeper; he’d have to write it down.
Psst…author’s note: Japanese culture picked up the kite from China in the Nara period (649 to 794 A.D) and put their own twist on things. Kites are commonly given to couples who have had a first born son as a way to say congratulations; they are flown on May 5th (5th month, 5th day) which is known as Boy’s Day. The kits themselves are huge and often take a crew of guys to fly them, but I figure a couple awesome nins could handle the assignment.
Kinorta is a character from Japanese folklore who was orphaned and raised in the forest by bears. He is often painted on these kites and shown with carp–because carp have to swim upstream to lay their eggs. I’ll let you make what you like out of my use of Kinorta. More dry history (that’s a joke…) of Japanese kites can be found here.