Following breakfast, as promised the old man leads Miyama-Kun and I through the garden towards the bamboo field beside the estate. The fresh scent of earth reaches me and I’m left paralyzed by the chains of nostalgia that wash over me and I close my eyes. Fear and emotions I thought I’d long ago given up on, tugging at my heart and I couldn't help but wish for Atlas' warm hands in mine. I don't know when she became such an important anchor for me but right now, at my most vulnerable I couldn't help but wish for her. The creaking as the bamboo trees dance in unison with the wind. The birds singing their early morning tunes. Mother loved these woods. Whenever it rained, she'd always come out for walks and sometimes she'd even take me with her.

"You remember don't you, boy." My eyes open to find the old man and Miyama staring at me, sympathy in both their eyes. I hate those eyes.

"I do."

"When she died, I knew I couldn't send her back to America you see. I loved her t


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