When I was small, there was one shopping mall in the city centre of my hometown where my mother regularly went to buy clothes and other nonperishable items. In the spring when I was turning six, I accompanied her to the mall and found a large selection of stationary items designed for first graders. A new school term was about to begin.
I was still in kindergarten, but these stationary items were interesting to me. While my mother lined up at the checkout, I spent my time exploring the stationary shelf in great detail.
There was one item that immediately caught my attention. It was a bright red box-shaped pen case with Sailor Moon characters drawn in the front and in the back. The surface was smooth and shiny. When I touched it, I felt a soft cushion beneath the surface cover. I had never seen such a beautiful pen case before. I wanted it badly.
I knew that my mother was not going to buy it for me. Whenever we went out for shopping together, she made it crystal clear that she was not going to buy me anything because the purpose of the shopping was to get our family’s daily necessities. But I could at least mention it to her.
“Mommy, I found a really beautiful pen case over there. It even has Sailor Moon pictures on it.”
“Is that so?” My mother responded with a straight face, packing the shopping items into bags.
“I’m not saying that I want it,” I continued eagerly. “But I just wanted to tell you about it because it’s the prettiest pencase I’ve ever seen!”
The next time we came back to the store, I again went to the stationary section and spent a long time gazing at and touching the Sailor Moon pen case. My mother came to pick me up when she finished paying and packing.
“Come, Sweetie, we’re going now!”
“Mommy, this is the one I was telling you about!” I quickly showed her the Sailor Moon pen case. “It’s so cute!”
“It looks good,” my mother said after taking a look at it. “Now, let’s go!”
And so it continued. Whenever we went to the store together, I stood in front of the pen case until my mother came to pick me up. April came along, and my mother finally said something delightful.
“So, Sweetie. I see that you really like this pen case. Is that right?”
I eagerly nodded.
“Your birthday is coming up. Though it’s a bit early, I’m buying it for you today as your birthday present.”
I jumped with excitement. Finally, my dream was coming true!
We brought the Sailor Moon pen case to the checkout counter, and soon, it was resting in my hands. The pen case was my own now. I no longer had to come to the store to enjoy its beauty.
From that day on, I started using my Sailor Moon pen case. One year later when I became a first grader, my pen case was slightly more worn out than others’, but I was always proud to display it on my desk.