Spring came, you could tell by the way the world seemed to sing in colors and sound. To nature, the world seemed to run its natural course, unknowing to what was going on.

There was an old myth about a couple that died in each otherís arms. Their bloody bodies at the base of a tree whose fruit was white. But the gods mourned the tragedy and made the fruit of that tree turn deep dark red. In this case all the flowers and fruit of Japan would turn red too. Red from the blood of the people that died in a war that would seem senseless to nature that ran its course.

Spring also meant hope renewed, a means to relive your life, but I canít, not when I lost the man I love under the sword of a senseless killer. With the death of winter also went the death of my emotions. But part of me wonders, will I ever smile again?

Spring came, and I watch children as they play, their innocence lost on me. Theyíre innocent to the what is going on around them. Do they dream? Are their dreams untainted by blood? Let them play for now, let them cherish what childhood they have to live. Thankfully, blissfully innocent to what I do. What if its their father I kill tomorrow? Or their brother? Or their uncle? Or- STOP! I... must... stop... this madness...

Meanwhile, the sane part of me seems to be drowning in a bloody sea of madness. For me it seems that Spring will never come again.

Love has a funny way of twisting the world to make it seem that what itís telling you is "right". And you, under Loveís spell, blindly follow. The same with me. To glimpse the face of my beloved, just once, or even resort to coming face to face with the one that killed him, I did everything that I thought was "right" at the time. So I left my home and my family and went to Kyoto. I joined a group that wanted the same man that killed my beloved dead. Love told me to join, Love told me that it was "right". And so I joined. And part of me wanted, wanted... to be happy. Love shut that part away. That day was also my birthday. Happy birthday.

I wash my hands over and over, but I canít seem to get the smell off them. That metallic coppery smell that I can sometimes taste even when I am off duty. Sometimes I ask myself, what Iím doing. Why am I here? Holding this katana and killing for what someone told me was "right" or what I believed was "right"? After so many deaths, I begin to question what is "right" and I question if what I am doing is right? I donít know, I donít know, I donít know anymore. And part of me is crying out, reaching for the light that dwindles away, part me is crying out: help me, help me please

I lay awake wondering how to approach the man that killed him. Him, I am beginning to forget the way he looked, the way he smiled at me, when spring did mean love, did mean a new beginning full of hope and white flowers. I close my eyes determined not to forget how it felt to beloved. I will not forget, even though I have lost al emotion, I will not forget his love. It is all I have left. I rise and after unsuccessfully sleeping, I decide to go and drink... maybe if I drink long enough I wonít remember how much it hurts.

I rarely drink sake, not enough to get used to the taste and its kick. But today, I ignore all that and drink. Maybe if I drink long enough Iíll drown in sake. Maybe if I drink long enough Iíll forget. Itís ironic that the one place where I can escape from this bloody madness is in a white sake bottle. Forget. Forget. Forget. Please forget.

Tonight it rained blood and it was a sign, I must have drank too much because I saw a sign in the bloody rain. Almost as if nature was crying. But crying for who? And in my drunken state, I also thought I saw him. The one that killed my beloved. The one that Love told me to take revenge on. This morning I woke up and saw him sleep. Heís only a child! It canít be him that killed. It canít be the one that I saw last night. The one that made it rain blood. So I learned to live with him. And in his wild eyes, I saw it, the part of me that cried out to be touched. I saw it in him, the part of him that was curled up, huddled, crying out to be saved. Love began to lose its hold on me.

Even though she didnít smile, she showed kindness, she wouldnít leave me. The person that is stained. Evi- me.

Married, married to the man that killed him, and living in this unreal world in the mountains. Summer had come and gone, Kyoto had burned down with it. So he and I left Kyoto as a married couple. Even though he is younger than me. love scoffed at me for going along foolishly with the plan. You could be his cousin or his sister, love told me. But I agreed with his idea. Fall is ending soon, and Iím here at home, cooking, cleaning, mending! love yelled at me, telling me that this isnít right. I am beginning to question what is "right." And through it all why am I half fearing and half looking for tomorrow and afraid to let go of today? Why does my heart pause when I can hear him come home. Why do I feel happy when I see his eyes sparkle when he plays with the village children? Why do I feel so happy that I am married?

Unreal, so unreal. Can it be that I almost canít taste the blood in my mouth or smell it on me? I can almost pretend that Kyoto doesnít exist, that I lived here all my life, here in the mountains, in this village. I have everything I ever wanted here. Children that look at me with happy eyes instead of eyes of fear. Respect from the village people. This place, it reminded me what it is like to smile again. Even if it is unreal let me cherish every day to remind myself what it feels like to come home to someone with a heart. And part of me holds its breath wondering if this is my salvation... afraid that it is.

Some children came to me their eyes bright holding a leaf in their hands, bright red, and telling me ĎLook! Look! The last leaf has fallen!í The world has grown colder. But my heart grows warm when he comes home. When he comes home with a smile on his face and his clear eyes sparkling with happiness. His voice telling me what happened in the village today, what the children said to him. And part of me wonders if he wants children of his own. I wish that days like these could go on forever. That this perfect world would never end. love tries to talk sense into me but I brush revenge away and prepare his dinner. He turns away to set his herb basket down, and from my heart, I smiled.