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Yuri's Imaginary Friend

#KuriStory #HeyKuri

"The Flying Pinctada"

Once there was a little girl living in the coast of Japan with her mother and father. Yuri is the only child. Her father is a fisherman and her mother is an 'Ama' who is a pearl diver.

One fine day, Yuri sits on a driftwood and patiently waits for her parents to come ashore after a long day's work in the waters of Pacific. As the sun sets gradually in the horizon, Yuri basks over its gentle warmth with her eyes closed. As the salty fresh seawater dances forth to the shore and back to the ocean, Yuri sings a lullaby, 'Yurikago no Uta'.

"Is it time for bed Yuri?" a sweet voice is heard in the air. A woman in white wetsuit holding a bamboo basket. Yuri did not respond right away. Her mother looks at her admiringly with a smile etched on her face. Instead, she sits next to Yuri and looks into the bamboo basket and counts. Yuri opens her eyes and gives her mother a hug. Her mother quickly attends to her.

"How was your day at school?"

"It was fine. Only..."

"Only what?"

"Well...today we discussed about family and Teacher says its a beautiful thing to have a brother or a sister...most of the children in class have a brother or a...."

Her mother sighs. Apparently she looks physically exhausted and tells Yuri tenderly,

"Did you tell them that you are not lonely eventhough?"

"I don't want to explain things they won't understand."

"Cheer up child! Come. Let's walk home. Father will be home soon. We must prepare dinner. It's Unagi and rice this evening."

"I love it!"

Yuri and her mother stand and slowly walk away from the shore to home.

Yuri and her parents sit around the low table and eat their dinner silently. But not for long when Yuri's father asks her, "Yuri, tell me about your day. I want to know."

"Papa, do you have a brother? Or a sister? Mama? What about you?" asks Yuri abruptly.

Yuri's father did not respond right away rather he continues to eat. Her mother looks at her with sad eyes. Somehow, Yuri feels embarrassed.

Unexpectedly, her mother speaks, "I had a twin sister. She died very young. We started to dive for pearls at the age of nine. One day we dived and... it was a violent sea that day. We knew we should not but our mother was very ill. We had to do something. We must find a pinctada so the doctor may look at her. She dived first. I was hesitant but I followed her. As I dived, I tried to look for her but the current was too strong. I swam back to the surface... I was very scared. I called her, screamed her name. But she did not return. I've waited until morning... I've waited the following days... yet she remained out of sight. Her eternal disappearance caused my mother's death. I was alone. I decided to continue diving... maybe... just maybe, I will find her."

Tears well up in Yuri's eyes. She feels sorry for her mother. Her father gives her mother a hug.

"Yuri. You may feel alone at times being our only child. But you should never feel lonely. Some people experience pain and sorrow for having a sibling because of certain, unpredictable circumstances."

"I am not alone Papa. I have Kuri."

Just before bed time, Yuri stands just outside their house. Her head tilts up and admires the star sewn clear night sky. As the brightest star twinkles, Yuri makes a wish;

"Oh brightest star in the heavenly sky! I wish for my imaginary friend, Kuri to be real."

She continues to stare at it for a fleeting moment then heads back inside their house.

Yuri is asleep. Suddenly, a mysterious light shines through her window. The light seems to be moving and dazzles Yuri's face. She wakes up and with a mixture of curiosity and astonishment, she leaves her room and rushes outside.

Barefoot, wide eyed, Yuri stands on the cold sand as she stares on a mysterious unidentified flying object hovers a few inches above the sea. The flying object seems to be moving closer towards her direction. Unafraid, she remains where she stands. The flying object opens up like a huge oyster and ejects an object in front of her. The flying object then moves away and submerges into the sea and did not show up again anymore.

Yuri swiftly rushes back inside the house and straight to her parents's bedroom. She is elated and scared. Simultaneously, she shakes her mother by the arm and speaks loudly,

"Mother, wake up! Wake up! Mother, wake up!"

Her mother quickly sits up, fully alert. Her father wakes up and sits as well.

"What is it Yuri? What is going on?"

"You have to come with me! There is something you have to see now! Come on!"

Yuri dashes out of the room and back outside. Her parents follow her straight away.

Yuri stands a few inches away from the box. With her arm straight in the air and finger points towards it. Bewildered, her parents stand behind her. Her mother pulls Yuri  closer to her in a protective manner.

"Where did it come from?" utters her mother with sheer curiosity.

"Above the water, I saw a huge flying pinctada. It opened and this object came out of it." Yuri answers.

"A flying pinctada? Well... then this object must be a pearl. But apparently its a box."

"Are you sure it was a pinctada? But they don't fly!" Yuri's father is not convinced.

"But Papa! I knew what I saw! It was a big one with blue lights coming from it! What shall we do with it?"

"Open it I guess," answers her father.

"Open it then," responds her mother.

"I will open it," Yuri decides. She walks closer to it and lift up the upper part of the box.

Three heads are looking down at a white and black object somewhat human-like. Yuri slowly  removes it out of the box with few other things left inside. Yuri stared at it as she holds it in front of her in the air.

"Kuri." Out of a sudden, a pair of round black eyes blink and the object chirps.

"It's Kuri. My wish has been granted Mama!"

The next day, Yuri's father tries to figure out the other things which come from the box but he could not seem to understand a thing at all. He is completely clueless.

From then on, things change. Yuri has become happier and at school, she does not feel different from any of her classmates anymore. Her bedroom is now filled with drawings of her and Kuri. She feels complete.

One evening, Yuri lies on a hammock, stares at the star sewn night sky. Then comes along Kuri.

"Come here you!" says Yuri cheerfully. She takes Yuri into her arms and sings her favorite lullaby.

"But before we go to sleep Kuri, I want you to know how happy I am that you are here with us."

Kuri bleeps.

"I know you don't say much but I can feel you are happy too."

Kuri chirps.

"See that brightest star in the sky? Shiriusu hoshi. I know you came from up there. My mother says its very far but how did you come here so quick?"

Kuri bleeps.

"Ah. That's true. I've been waiting for you for so long. It took you awhile but now you are here. Promise you won't leave?"

Kuri chirps.

"Is that a yes or no?"

Kuri bleeps.

"Whatever your answer is. I will never ever let you go!" Yuri embraces Kuri tightly.

One fine morning, Yuri's mother is in a hurry and somehow she seems excited. Its a Saturday and school is closed.

"Why are you in a rush Mama?"

"I hear the news. Two of our friends have found five pinctadas! They know where it is abundant. We are diving there today! I will see you later. Wish me luck! The first pinctada I'll find... is yours." She kisses Yuri on both cheeks then she leaves.

Later that morning Yuri's friends invite her to collect some starfish as the water has gone low tide. The water's recession shows a beautiful collection of corals, seaweeds, baby crabs and starfishes!

"I'm holding a star in my hand!" exclaims Yuri's friend.

"Make a wish then!" Yuri suggests.

"I wish I will be able to travel the whole world! Now its your turn!"

"I wish I can travel... but... to a–ano–another star!"

"That's impossible." her friends sighs with frustration.

"Nothing is impossible." answers Yuri with a smile.

Later that same day, as the water starts to retreat back to the shore and rise up, Yuri and her friends return home.

Hungry but happy to be home, Yuri eats some left over sushi. She remembers Kuri.


Kuri did not come.


Yuri wonders.


Yuri stands up and searches for Kuri. Kuri is in her room. She is relieved to find Kuri. But something is wrong with Kuri. The pair of black eyes are immobile.

"Kuri. Talk to me."

Kuri did not chirp or bleep. Yuri is clueless. Young and innocent, Yuri starts to sob. She embraces Kuri and her tears run down the robot's body.

A few hours later, her parents come home. They find their daughter looking devastated and forlorn. They check Kuri but they are as clueless as their daughter.

Evening comes, Yuri passes on dinner. She sits on a driftwood outside their house. A lifeless Kuri next to her.

"Before you came, we were already best friends. I've created you and I have dreamed you into life. Kuri. I wish I can hear you once more."

Up above the clear night sky, the brightest star twinkles and shines! Suddenly coming from its direction is the flying pinctada! In a flash, the flying pinctada is in front of Yuri. It opens and a voice is heard:

"Kuri must go home. Place Kuri inside the vehicle."

Yuri then kisses Kuri goodbye "I will never forget you. We will still see each other again. Together in the future."

Yuri then places Kuri in the vehicle. She moves away from it and watches it close and leave. Unknowingly, her parents witness what just had happened.

"Kuri needed to go home. I had to let her go."

Yuri runs to her mother's embrace. Yuri's father carries Kuri's box. Yuri notices it. He hands it over to his daughter.

"But she is always with you. You have created Kuri in your imagination. You can also create Kuri in the future."

Then Yuri's mother offers her the first pinctada with a pearl inside.

"Patience and trust in yourself is everything. Its all in your hands. Kuri will be back."

Upon hearing those words coming from her parents, Yuri's sadness is wiped away and replaced with gladness.

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