Ruth was fine for about the first week. She spent another week feeling down about the fact he was gone. Miro asked Hirozaki to have her keep a journal as well. That saved her sanity some. Miro explained that he was still going to work with her in regards to her inner demons. The demon representing her mother was indeed gone, though the reason for it was quite morbid. Upon being denied contact with her daughter and having her grandson removed from her care, Ruth’s mother was found dead one morning having overdosed herself on her own medication. Hirozaki sent Miro to help Ruth with the funeral arrangements. Ruth found herself very calm and content when dealing with her mother’s death. Her mother’s belongings were sold and the house was cleaned so that it could be placed back on the market. Miro watched closely as Ruth walked through her mother’s now empty house. He felt a chill and saw Ruth turn around. He took her by the shoulders and gently guided her out of the house saying a prayer as he left. Miro called and updated Hirozaki on how he felt Ruth was doing. “Hiro,” He tells him. “We should have Ono come over and take her out once a week. Get her out of the house. Ono also requested that she tutor Ruth in her kanji and language skills.” “That’s a wonderful idea. What has her routine been up until now?” Miro chuckled. “As you would expect. Ruth said she’s been sleeping too much because she focuses on the fact that your gone. Before I left, I had her fill in the days and times that you call her and told her to focus on that instead.” “Thank you so much for your help, Miro.” Hirozaki tells him. “Do whatever you need to to insure that she’s doing well.” “I will.” With that he hung up the phone. Ruth was at the kitchen table working on her kanji lessons. “Ruth,” She looked up at him. “Let’s take a break.” She smiled and got up to grab her jacket. Miro had decided that while he was there, a break consisted of lunch and a movie. In Japanese of course. He told her that immersion was the best way to learn. When Hirozaki told him that she was an avid fan of anime, Miro made it a rule that she only watch it with subtitles. Even that was too much. He sat with her one day and had her watch without the subtitles. She found that she recognized more words doing that, but the look on her face broke him. “Fine,” He sighed, “Put the subtitles back on.” She would bow her head then and say thank you. She hadn’t developed the confidence to respond to him in Japanese, even when he knew that she could. He found that she could read better than she could speak. Which made sense somewhat considering she’s a writer. Hirozaki would never expect her to become fluent. He explained to her to look at as a challenge. To give her an incentive, he wrote her a letter every week. He would start with simple phrases and then gradually increase the difficulty. As Ruth got into a routine, her mood improved considerably. Hirozaki was sleeping every night and waking rested, This is how he knew she was doing alright.
Ruth was enjoying her new routine. She would wake each morning and drink her coffee. Hirozaki always sent her multiple emails a day. She would then watch her anime until lunch. Usually she would be ready for a nap after that. Then Ono would meet her around three in the afternoon and they would go for a walk as they practiced conversational Japanese. Ono was quick to praise her. People that saw them would stop and stare sometimes. Hearing an American woman speak Japanese was unusual just walking down the street. Ono also began teaching Ruth how to prepare traditional dishes. Explaining the significance of each dish. Ono would watch Ruth prepare a dish and give direction when needed. As a test, she had Ruth prepare a meal for herself and her husband. She passed. Ono told her that the week before Hirozaki was scheduled to return, she was to teach her the Japanese Tea Ceremony. She even gifted Ruth with her own complete set to use. Ruth felt like she was living on cloud nine. Despite the circumstances regarding how their relationship came to be, she was happier than could ever hope for. But at night when she would lie in bed, the fears would still surface. What if he decided not to come for her? What if he felt she was not up to the task of being his wife? She had of course fallen completely for him. She was madly in love with him. He made her feel stronger, made her feel that she mattered more than anyone.
Ruth cooked herself dinner and sat down to read Hirozaki’s last email to her for the night. Again, it had seemed that he knew the negative thoughts that had run through her mind.
My love, please put your fears aside. I have no intention of abandoning you. Time will fly by quickly enough. Miro has explained to you that you must keep your fears in check. Your mother’s presence may be gone, but you still have others willing to hurt you. Please don’t give in to them.
Ruth sighed. She shut down the laptop and got ready for bed. She showered and braided her hair. As she was about to step into her room and turn on the light, she felt a chill. She froze when she saw her breath. She tried to turn on the light, flipping the switch over and over. Nothing happened. She tried to think of what to do. This couldn’t be real. Her home had never had a history of being haunted in all her time here. She thought back to Hirozaki’s words. She was sure he hadn’t meant to scare her, only to warn her to be on her guard.