Kasumi Toyama wasn't really one for after-school activities. She was your typical teenage girl who had friends, a social life, and a big smile that shone. However, what separated her from the rest of the pack was her weird reluctance to involve herself as much in after-school activities. She didn't hate them, nor the people she was participating with, but she just didn't feel a spark that motivated her to push on.
A spark. That's what she was eager to find.
Ever since she went stargazing with her little sister at night, the bright constellations that lit up the voidness of night gave Kasumi a new insight to the world. A shiny sparkling heart-pounding moment, she would say. Like a normal constellation, she felt herself connect to the sparkling stars in the sky, as if something was banging on the doorstep of her heart to open up. That feeling she wanted to find for herself.
She had already graduated from junior high and had not found her spark.
Kasumi was excited. It was a new year, a new school, new opportunities for new friends, and maybe she was going to find that one thing to keep her engines running. Grabbing the door handle, she burst into the room of her little sister, pouncing on her like a stray cat and cuddling with her, awaking her half-dead sister who had planned to sleep into the morning.
"Aa-chan!" she yelled, the younger sibling visibly irritated by the sudden shock. "Wake up! Don't you know what day it is?"
The older Toyama kept bothering the younger, despite the relationship status, it always felt as if Kasumi herself was the youngest of the two. Asuka groaned, pointing to the calendar hanging on her wall. Yes, it was indeed Kasumi's first day at Hanasakigawa, but for the high school students whereas the junior high school students were permitted to have the day off. Asuka, who is a member of the swim team at Hanasakigawa's, managed to mutter a few words to her older sister. Something along the lines of 'It's my day off,' and 'I'm going back to sleep.'
The entrance of Hanasakigawa felt like a tourist attraction to Kasumi. She came here a year before for her sister's cultural festival but soaking in the feeling of actually being a student at this school felt much more special. New school buildings, new uniforms, new topics to learn-- never mind. Kasumi could only look in awe. That was until she realized she had to actually step into the school to find out which class she was posted to. She scanned the board amongst her peers, searching for her name. Sa, Shi, So... Ta, Chi, Tsu, To! Toyama!
"Class A! There's my name!" she said to herself in glee. Turning around, she suddenly bumped into someone. Another student was about to be on the move. "Ah!" Kasumi exclaimed, bowing, "I'm sorry about that!"
There wasn't any need for an apology as the student didn't mind any accident. She waved it off and apologized too, "Are you a new student? I never saw you around during middle school," the alumni said, offering her hand to Kasumi for a handshake. Kasumi shook her hand and bounced, smiling. "Yep! You see, my sister goes to this school and I came here last year to check it out and it looked so cool! Especially the uniforms!"
"Ha-ha, it's always the uniforms isn't it?"
Kasumi nodded enthusiastically. She stared at her new classmate and then sniffed out a scent. It smelled of delicacy, the sweet smell of homemade pastries that you'd usually save your pocket money for down the street.
"Is that bread?" she sniffed some more.
"Huh? Ah... yeah, it is," the student replied. "My family runs a bakery down the street nearby," she answered. Kasumi's stomach growled at the same time. She chuckled embarrassingly, "Sorry, I was so excited about school today that I forgot to eat my breakfast," she scratched the back of her head." Saya dug into her bag and handed some candy to the starstruck girl, "I don't have bread today, but, I do have some candy if you'd like some," she generously offered, Kasumi digging in like a dog with treats.
"What's your name?" Kasumi asked the girl. "Ah-- It's Yamabuki Saaya. What about you?" she returned the question. "Toyama Kasumi! What class are you in?" she asked another question, Saaya simply pointing to the bulletin board. Mi, Mu, Mo... Ya! "Yamabuki! I see it! This is great, I get to be classmates with my new friend!"
"You're really quick to decide on your friends, aren't you, Toyama-san?"
"Is that a bad thing?"
"It isn't. I'm just surprised by how quick you are, let's head to class shall we?"
Kasumi made quite the impression during her class introductions. As usual, her expressive, cheery personality gained her some more new friends. As usual, she added some tangents about how great her little sister was and the cultural festival she attended last year. It wouldn't be Kasumi if she didn't start talking about the--
"--Stars went shiny, sparkly, and heart-pounding! And this year in Hanasakigawa, I'm going to find that spark again!"
Quite the introduction indeed, leaving some of her classmates interested in her extravagant confidence, a black-haired girl staring in awe.
Kasumi went around different clubs on her own, Saaya having to help out at home. She tried out several clubs such as volleyball, and tennis. Having a go at the technical sides of life such as shogi, or chess. What about the tea ceremony club? No. She went to different clubs and had fun, but none of them had that extra oomph she was hoping for. Her search for the spark that lit her life up was at its dead end. Kasumi groaned when she reached home, greeting her sister with a look of despair and sadness.
"Have you found a club yet, sis?" her sister asked. Kasumi shook her head, "All the clubs were great! Like the volleyball club, and shogi club... but they just don't have their sparkly shining heart-pounding thing I'm looking for."
"Sparkly shining... what..?"
"Remember when we went out to stargaze as kids--"
"You mean when we went camping without asking mom and dad and we got punished for it?"
"Yeah!" Kasumi shamelessly answered, "I saw a bright star and it was calling out for me. I could feel my heart thumping--"
"--That's a heartbeat."
"Not now Aa-chan!" Kasumi exclaimed after being interrupted. "I felt like it was destiny calling for me! Ever since then I've been looking for that spark. But none of the clubs at school has anything great to offer. Why can't I find that sparkly shining heart--"
"I'm going to bed."
Kasumi's troubles of finding her heart-pounding spark continued without avail, and yet, another day passed by without success. The walk home wasn't quiet, in fact, Kasumi had more fun checking out other clubs and activities, but she was a bit disheartened to not have found her desire. Walking down the street, she noticed something glimmer at the corner of her eye.
"Huh?" She went towards it, picking it up. There was another glimmer at the corner of her eye. She looked towards the direction of stars. It pointed her to one direction.
This must be it. This has to be the spark I'm looking for!