“Kira-Kira” by Cynthia Kadahata. How did she do it? No matter how awful everything was, my sister focused on the bright side... No, not just the bright! She noticed what's kira-kira, glittering.
I can still hear her telling me that the sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason. And some people's eyes are kira-kira.
I was just too young to understand. Lynn explained to me why people were unkind to our parents when we moved to Georgia. After all, it was only 1950 when we left our Japanese community in Iowa. Our family's grocery store closed, and mom and dad had heard that they could get jobs at the poultry processing plants. So we went there, and they did. Lynn went to school at first, but I was too young. When she came home in the afternoons, she always had time for me and told me about the world, especially the kira-kira things.
Mon and Dad worked all the time, two jobs each, to save money to get a house for us. Then Lynn got sick. After the funeral, I cried and admitted to my uncle that I had gotten angry with her when she was sick. He told me about his son, a cousin that I never knew I had, and how we have to live for those we love.
So I went to school, and I did like I'd seen Lynn do before she got sick. And I had her diary! She had kept it for 4 years and wanted me to have it, and her dictionary and her encyclopedia. At the end of December we drove to California and as I walked by the sea, I could see kira-kira again ahead of me.