Rice Buns

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The light crept into the room quietly, carefully, as if to allow her to sleep longer. She opened her eyes. The rays of sunshine met her gaze, and her nose tingled from the extra heat. The scent of rice buns seeped from under her door, enticing her tastebuds, allowing her heavy limbs to carry the rest of her asleep body into the kitchen; unto a chair, head on the table.
“Ay-ya, wake up already! The sun has been out for so long. I had to go to the chicken coup by myself, and you know that’s a two-person job,” tut-tutted Mama under her breath. Direct criticism was unintentional, Ai was smart enough to see her own mistakes.
Their silence was not forced, it was comfortable and enjoyable. The words lingered in the air, dancing with the steam from the rice buns.
Ai could eat at least a whole steamer full of them in one sitting, but she knew how hard Mama worked on every single one, crafting each pinch like an artist. Instead, she tore tiny pieces off and carefully placed them in her half-open mouth, as a traditional sign of respect. The time stretched out, the moment lasted, while the two sat peacefully, splitting another bun.
Mama knew when the time for their morning relaxation had to come to an end. In an instant she was cleaning up, sweeping the floor, planning for the day. It usually took Ai sometime to snap back into the reality of their hectic lives, but today seemed tranquil enough for her to ignore all their problems; today was the day to detach, to cleanse, to reflect.
The weight of her limbs lifted. Her body was in serenity. The tingle she felt on her nose, she felt at the tip of her rough fingertips, at the top of her head, to the tip of her dry toes.
Ai floated outside of their home, looking out into the light blue sky, seeing the mountains engrossing her, feeling the heat of the sun toast her bare shoulders. She closed her eyes. Breath in, breath out






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