Have you ever loved a man much older than you?
I have loved him for as long as I can remember. In fact, ever since I first saw him, I have wanted to belong to him. It was a childish wish at first, but as the years went by, the girlish flutter in my heart grew deeper and deeper. Yes, he is older than me, but our ages do not matter to me. He is noble and kind and handsome. He is everything a Japanese man should be. He is my Chairman. He is my dream.
Time and circumstances brought me both closer to him and yet also farther away. I worked tirelessly to become a master at my craft. And I succeeded. He has always considered me extraordinary and special, but now--now, in his eyes I recognize that he also sees me as a woman. It is everything I hoped for. To him, I am the delicate sakura. To me, he is the first snow.
But as much as my heart longs for him, we cannot be. My cherished love was discovered by those who wished to use it against me. They tried to burn it up in flames, not knowing it would only make my desire for him stronger. But love and desire do not matter in our world. I am expected to be connected to others now, and he cannot have anyone at all. We resign ourselves to the fate of our calling. I am not free to be by his side, and he is meant for something greater. The limited contact we have is painful now. He is an elusive dream. But he is still my dream.
And then the war happened.
People said I wouldn't survive the war. People said I was too weak, that I was running away, that I should have stayed and fought. They didn't know that leaving was harder than staying. They didn't know that in order to fight I had to leave.
And then they said the war was over, but I knew that the war was only beginning. It was a new kind of war that took its place. What it meant to be an artist of my craft had changed, and artists like me--they said we didn't matter anymore. They clamoured over fleeting spectacles and said the old way was gone. But I am extraordinary. I am special. I will prove them wrong. I will show them what true beauty is. And I will remember the wise words that were once told me--that victory does not always come to the strong.
He stands in the shadows, waiting for me, and his silent courage gives me strength. Our eyes speak even when our lips cannot, and his eyes are all I need.
So I will fight. For myself, for him, for honor. And I will dance, with grace and beauty and fire. Heartbreak has given me a new story to tell.
I am Sayuri. I am the water that finds a way to carve a new path.
And one day, my Chairman, my prince, will be mine.