A Blue Flower

The spring I entered junior high school, the whole first year went on an overnight trip to the northern part of our prefecture. It was a trip our new teachers organized for us as a radical icebreaker, giving us a chance to get to know our new friends outside of the school environment.

Each class was divided into small groups, and on the first day of the trip, each group travelled to the destination following the plan they’d made, stopping at different locations for sightseeing.

My group went to visit a famous waterfall in the area not far from the final destination. After watching the fall and eating the traditional Japanese dumplings at an outdoor tea house, we stopped by at a local glass workshop. There, under the guidance of a senior craftsman, we made our own glass vases.

I was happy that we were making a vase. Back home, we had an altar for my late little brother, and I thought the vase could be used to display the flowers from our garden in summer. When it was time for us to melt colourful glass chips into the base of the vase, I chose the combination of green and white, following my brother’s favourite colour.

Once our vases were done, we briefly visited the store attached to the workshop. Inside the small cozy store were rows of beautiful glass objects all handmade by the local craftsmen. As I walked around the aisles, one shelf caught my attention. Glass flowers. Colourful glass flowers filled the little shelf like a real flower field.

I took one of them in my hand. It was a small pale blue flower, the curve of its petals delicate like a real flower. Something about it felt special.

Suddenly, my name was called, telling me that it was time to go. I quickly purchased the blue flower and slipped it into my bag.

Two days later, I was sitting with my mother at home, unpacking my bag and telling her all the stories from the trip.

“Oh, and I have something special!” I reached for the paper bag of the glass flower. “Look!”

The small pale blue glass flower shined brightly in my hand.

“Wow, that is an amazing glass flower,” said my mother, revealing her surprise. “How beautiful!”

“It would be good on his altar.” I walked over to my brother’s altar crowded with different toys, placing the flower in the tiny glass vase my mother had found. “This way, he’ll always have a flower.”

Both the glass vase and the pale blue flower continue to add a shine in my brother’s altar to this day.