I was just 10 years old when my family sold me to the Geisha House. My parents could not afford to feed me, let alone feed themselves, but they promised to come back for me. Their reasoning for letting me go made more and more sense to me as I grew up, but not coming back for me after their success is unforgivable. My name is Haruko, I was born in the spring with the cherry blossoms.
In fact, that is what my name represents, spring child. I can still remember the smell in the air as I ran through the hillsides of our farm. But after one bad season, we no longer had food to eat and could barely get by, that’s when mother and father decided to trade my life for their survival.
I didn’t resist, because I didn’t know what was happening. They said it would only be for a little while. They lied. Luckily the Okiya accepted me, I don’t know where I would be otherwise. The training was intense, equal to that of the samurai but in a different capacity. My sisters treated me well, I learned plenty of art forms, formalities and discipline. Even still, every night as I lay my head to rest, I dreamt of the glistening reflections of cherry blossoms on the rice terraces.
My studies kept me busy and I truly enjoyed what I was learning. Twelve years went by and I finished my training. I was now a full-fledged Geisha. One day, while hosting a tea party with a few elite businessmen, I learned about my parent's successes. It was then that I learned that one of the most successful rice farms that year, was ours. It was then I chose to turn my back on my sisters and ran off to find them. I needed answers!
Having betrayed my sisters I had to cross over mountains and valleys as a shadow, just to find my parents. Once I made it to the farm, I saw mother and father arguing as a silhouette of a woman ran out the back of the house. It was then I learned, you could have it all, and still not have anything at all. My father, a man full of character, vanished with his troubles, replaced by an empty shell desperate for attention. He pushed my mother to the ground and walked into the house; her husband, my father, a cheat. I could feel my mother's pain as she wept into her hands.
Father kept a sword in the house to defend against thieves when I was younger, both humans and creatures alike. But I could never imagine what was about to happen next. I will never forget the sound of my mother as he slashed her from behind, on her knees as she cried. He tossed the sword next to her and left her there to die. I ran down the hillside as fast as I could. Reaching my mother, I lifted her face, through her soft and fading breath she apologized for abandoning me, words I will never forget. “Forgive me Haruko, I wanted to find you, he wouldn’t let me.” She took her last breath before her soul was finally freed. Full of rage and confusion I picked up the sword and went inside.
As I opened the door to go inside, all I could see was a shadow. I slashed it with the sword, I knew it was father, but father did not know it was me. As he fell into the light, I walked towards it. His eyes stone-cold in confusion, “Haruko” he said, “what have you done?”. He wasn’t dead yet but his eyes were lifeless, his soul ripped apart by his constant betrayals, “No father,” I replied, “what have you done! I have brought nothing but honor to this family, through it all I have honored us. But you, you are a disgrace!” It was at that moment that I was reborn, I knew what my calling was. From here on out it will be my life's work to destroy all those who do harm. In his last breaths, he replied “In that, you are causing pain to others”, “on the contrary” I said, “I am bringing peace to the noble, peace to the betrayed, and I will shamelessly sit atop the skulls of my enemies.”
My father came back into his body, his breath becoming shorter and shorter, he said, “I am proud of you.” As the life left his body, I fell to my knees, tears in my eyes, “forgive me father, but I did what I had to do”. I closed his eyelids and walked off into the sunset.