Japanese tradition says when you finish folding one thousand paper cranes your wish comes true.
I’m only half-Japanese. I plan on folding two thousand cranes to be double sure my wish will come true: that Colten will fall madly in love with me. It’s not because we’ve been thrown against each other since he moved here in second grade. Sure, alphabetically Colten Adams always sat next to me, Piper Allen, in class, but that’s not the reason. It’s because he’s stormy-eyed and swollen-lipped. Sharp-cheeked and soft-spoken. He’s the most beautiful boy in all of Portland. No! In the entire world.
I want him to notice me before he falls for someone else, and I’m tired of waiting around for him.
When Bachan bought me dozens of packets of beautiful, colored rice paper at the Cherry Blossom Festival. She told me she’d folded a thousand cranes back in Miyako, met Ojichan, and the rest is history.
It’s time I folded myself a little history.
* * *
336 cranes are tucked into a shoebox under my bed when I find out through the gossip chain that Colten asked Harlow Rivers to homecoming.
“She’s not even that pretty,” I complain, folding over my math quiz diagonally.
As my friends poke lettuce and cucumbers around on their plates or sip at diet drinks, I crease the bottom strip and wet it with my tongue, tearing away the rectangle shape to give me a nice square to work with.
Veronica Wiseman — best friend and enemy since pre-school —nudges my shoulder. “Harlow’s really nice, Pipe. She let me copy her history notes this week.”
“I love Harlow,” says Molly. Molly Larkin loves everyone, bless her. She comes from a family of thirteen, and they all get along. It’s how cults get started, I’m sure of it. “I don’t even care. She’s super nice and super smart.”
I ignore them both to fold and crease, fold and crease. If I finish these cranes faster, maybe Colten will forget about Harlow by winter break. Maybe he’ll notice me.