Having lost almost everything, the strangest experience for the two sisters Ryoko and Kaori, is to walk in the remains of their house – wearing shoes inside what used to be their living room.
In the gym hall, Ryoko is racing across the floor. She sees nothing, except the springboard in front of her. 1, 2, 3, her feet are synced in perfect rhythm, setting off and being catapulted into the air. She’s weightlessly flying, in a long split second. But as she makes a perfect landing on both feet, the ground is giving away under her. Everything is shaking and squeaking. Something is wrong. The tremors become stronger and stronger. Ryoko knows it’s an earthquake. She has experienced it many times before, but never this strong. She can’t get up and run, as it continues to shake.
Kaori, 9, and her sister Ryoko, 12, Ishinomaki, Japan.
The girls around her are screaming and crying. Ryoko tries to crawl to the others, helping to get everyone to sit together and hold on to each other. The ground is rocking under them in what feels like an eternity. And then, finally, it stops. The following silence is deafening, as if they’re all holding their breath thinking “Is it really over?”, without really daring to believe it.
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