That night, for the first time in a year or so, Chisato starts to cry while brushing her teeth.
She barely even realizes it until she hears her mom’s footsteps down the hall. She spits out her toothpaste and tries to wipe her face dry, but her eyes have already gone red and puffy, and she’s breathing in little sobs. It’s too obvious to hide it now.
There’s a knock on the bathroom door. “Chisato? Are you all right? Did something happen?”
Chisato opens the door. “It’s nothing, mom,” she says, with her best embarrassed smile. “I… um… I’m under a lot of stress at school right now, and… well, it’s that time of the month for me, so…”
Her mom doesn’t respond, but her face says she doesn’t quite buy it.