January still haunted us, that month-long game of make-believe that wrapped us up in role-played characters and taught us about the dark corners of ourselves. We had lived out the winter on an island as the children of cunning and manipulative society. I had smoked the dreams of friends and enemies and shivered in ecstasy at the pure passion therein. For all of January, I played Ayuki Kurosawa, and once the month faded, Max accused me of still carrying her with me.
Until March I would deny it. But in March I realized that she had always been there. She had always been there reaching out her dream fingers from the dark recesses of my cortex to pull the ribbons tying my life together. And when I realized what I was doing to Max—when I realized what Ayuki was doing to him—I left.
January still haunted us. And I told myself I left Max because Ruth needed me, because she needed somebody to ease her suffering. So I turned to her and I held her in my arms but it was Ayuki who ran her fingers through her hair, and it was Ayuki who whispered “I love you” in her ear. It was Ayuki who told me we all needed each other. January’s make-believe hours took hold of the base of my neck and wrapped themselves around my spine, until they found me screaming in the stairwell at two a.m. because a boy looked at me and smiled.
And that March if you were to ask my name, I would say “Amy Weston,” but I would think, “Ayuki Kurosawa.”