Kogure and his mother on a spring day. A ficlet written for the Slam Dunk 20 Themes, #3: Uniform.
Kogure washed his high school uniform himself, after the graduation ceremony. His mother laughed and said something about boys not knowing how to do their own laundry, and how he'd be all right on his own.
"Just throw this out," she added, lifting the jacket. Her hands were small and pale against the black fabric. "Ah, you're so grown-up now."
"I still want to keep it."
The lines around her eyes deepened. He remembered a time when her skin was still smooth, like Chinese porcelain, when he used to touch her cheeks to see if they were as cold as they seemed. She'd laugh and cup his hands with hers -- until the day she pushed him away, not unkindly, and told him he was a big boy now.
Sometimes, it was as if the cross she wore around her neck was the only familiar thing that remained of his mother. He wondered if she felt the same way about him, or if she still saw the child who begged her for bread to feed the sparrows.
"You'll have to -- oh, I'm out of mothballs," she said, frowning. The wrinkles on her face trebled with worry, and he felt a pang of loss.
"I'll go and buy some." Kogure didn't touch her, but he tried to remember the way she used to smile at him. "It's about time I do more for you."