Hayasaka Erika: Who?
Behind the Lies

Kimiko thought for a while back to the various conversations she had had with Erika. Mainly, she thought about the ones concerning Piro.

<Welcome home! How was work?>
<Entertaining. Your generous admirer was living in Inokashira Park.>
<He what?>
<Seems his friend got tired of supporting him and tossed him out.>

<What's his name?>
<Piro, I think.>
<Odd name. Is he an American?>
<I think so. Know him?>
<Well, no... Do you remember when I lost my rail card, then some guy handed me his and walked off?>
<Unfortunately. You bring it up at least once a week.>
<That's him. I swear, that's him.>
<Let me guess... You want to pay him back the 3000 yen you feel you owe him... I don't think you should bother.>
<Why?>
<Because it's like saying, "I don't want this from you, go away.">
<Don't be so cynical. That's not what I meant...>
<Doesn't matter. Guys like him are pathetically oversensitive.>
<What's wrong with paying him back for his kindness?>
<He'll take it the wrong way. Let the guy have his "Ooh, I did something nice for a pretty girl" fantasy. Don't shatter his dreams.>
<Hey, Erika... What kind of guy is this Piro-san you work with?>
<Quiet. Otaku. Nice guy. Loser.>
"There's a 'Beer Garden down the block that your friend will probably like. My treat this time."

How could Erika have known all that about him? It didn't all seem like knowledge one would pick up while at work.

So how could she have known all that?

---------

Erika thought back on her life. She thought back on everything that had happened to her. Everyone she had happened to... The memories flooded back, a storm of time, a storm of pain.

Erika had grown up in Japan. But she had always dreamed of going to America. Her hopes and dreams had lied there. Her hopes and dreams, all those lies and more, had always lied in America. She wasted valuable time on a set of lies, nothing more. Wasted. She wouldn't be able to regain those lost years...

Powerful was her wish to go to America, though, and so she learned English. Over time, she became as fluent in English as she was in Japanese. When she was 18, she went to America. There she learned all the untruths she had been lead to believe. She learned what America really is, as compared to what everyone is told.

She managed to stay there for an entire year. She managed to stay in the place that shattered all her hopes and dreams for a whole year. She managed to prevent herself from breaking down for an entire year. But it was hard. Eventually, it became too much for her, so she returned to Japan. But not before meeting them. Not before meeting the two people who would change her life.

Piro and Largo. She watched them during the last month before she left. Especially Piro. She watched, but they didn't know. They never knew she was watching them. Because she didn't want them to know. It would have been terrible if they knew. Because, for all the lies, for all her hate of the lies, she would eventually have to admit she had been lying to herself.

"It's pretty common," she had heard. "for people to lie to themselves about their feelings. They'll think up excuses, mangle truths, and do pretty much anything in order to conceal the truth from themselves." How true it was...

She knew she had to stop decieving herself eventually. She knew she couldn't keep this up too much longer. So, instead of staying in the United States and continuing her watching of Piro and Largo, she gave up. She ran away. She went back to Japan. And she continued the deception.

With time, she forgot about them. They hadn't meant anything to her anyway. Or was that what she was lying about? Things were always so confusing when you weren't sure if you were lying to yourself.

Erika thought she had gotten over them. But she was wrong. It was proven to her when, a couple of years later, they showed up again. Piro and Largo. In Japan. It was a fantasy, a nightmare, a dream, a horror.

She had to stop lying to herself.

She had to tell herself the truth.

She had to admit that she loved Piro. She wanted nothing more than for him to succeed. Largo was interesting, but it wasn't the same. Piro, though... She didn't care how, but she wanted him to be happy. She loved him so much that she didn't care that it looked like her own roommate was going to get him. As long as he was happy, she was fine.

Or so she thought.

The lies rage on, never ending, never stopping.

It is all we can do to hope something good will come out of all this.

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