When Cherry Blossoms Bloom

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It Begins Apace

Ruth was fixing herself a sandwich when she heard a knock at the door. When she opened it, there was a young college kid holding a vase with three roses in it. “Ms. Ruth?” He says. “Yes,” Ruth answers. “These are for you.” Ruth took the vase from him. “Thank you.” She tells him. He nods. “Have a nice day.” She smiled as she shut the door. She set the roses on her table and pulled out the card. It read, ”Ms. Ruth, these flowers are for you. Please enjoy them. Then below that was his email address. She blushed and hugged the card to her chest. He was so sweet. She grabbed her laptop and decided the first thing she needed to send him was a thank you. She saved his email address. And opened a new email.

Thank you so much for the flowers. They were beautiful. I am looking forward to getting to know you. I appreciate that you gave me your email. Since this is more of a medium I am both familiar and comfortable with. You have been most gracious and patient.

Ruth

When Hirosaki checked his email before bed that night, he was pleased to receive a response from Ruth so soon. After reading what she had written. He sat back in his chair and smiled. Iruko was watching him. “What have you been up to today?” “Nothing much.” His friend knew better. Hirosaki closed the laptop and prepared for bed. A whole week before he would be needed at the university. He intended to make good use of his time. He intended to show Ruth that she meant something to someone. But in his own way and in his own time. He only hoped that the physical need he began to feel towards her didn’t interfere with his plans. Or derail them all together for that matter. He undressed and went to bed. Ruth must be sleeping soundly tonight because no nightmares plagued him and he slept just as peacefully.

Iruko woke to the smell of fresh Miso soup, for a second, he did a double take. He dressed and walked into the kitchen. Sure enough his friend had fixed an early lunch. Though the smile on his face was definitely out of place. Iruko sat down and rubbed his eyes. “For a second, I thought I was dreaming.” Hirozaki just looked at him. “You act as though you’ve never seen me cook before. I actually did this quite often when we attended University together.” Iruko nodded. “True, but never with a smile on your face.” Hirozaki stopped for a moment. His friend was right. He hated cooking, and yet he was the best one out of all their friends to do it. “So what do you plan to do today?” He asked as he sat back with a smile on his face. His friends brow furrowed for a moment. “I’m going to introduce Ruth to a game.” Iroku looked at him. “A game? Are you serious?” “Quite,” Hirozaki stated. Iroku waited knowing his friend would begin an explanation any moment. “We are each going to learn more about each other by doing different activities that I have planned.” “Such as?” His friend pressed. Hirozaki placed a bowl of soup in front of both of them and sat down. “After lunch.” He said simply. Iroku nodded his head. After they had finished his friend sat him down and explained what he had in mind. Iroku’s eyes widened the more he outlined his plan. “You’ve put a lot of thought into this.” He said. “But,” Iroku frowned. “What happens if either of you refuse to do the activity?” “I haven’t thought of that yet. I’m hoping it doesn’t happen.” “Well, I did tell you to have fun. Leave it to you to come up with something so damn elaborate.” This was going to be fun, even for him. He was going to see a side of his friend that he never knew existed. “Are you sure you’re not going through a midlife crisis or something?” He asked, just wanting to be sure. This was so abnormal. Hirozaki just smiled this time.

Ruth had been writing diligently when she heard a knock on the door. She closed her laptop and sat it down. When she opened it, she found a package on her steps. A large white box tied with a large purple bow. She brought it inside and sat down. Attached to the top of the box was a folded note. She opened it. Check your email. She opened her laptop and checked her email as she had been instructed. It read:

We are going to play a game. An inventive way for the both of us to not only get to know each other better but learn more about each other’s cultures. Spring break starts today and lasts for about a week. So each day we are going to do a different activity with each other. It may be fun, but also challenging...for both of us. My friend Iruko will be helping me set things up. All you’re required to do is follow my instructions. Be assured that no activity will be inappropriate. I can’t guarantee that there won’t be some embarrassment involved. But when that occurs, it will be shared equally, I assure you. Each email after this initial one, will provide you with the location of where we are to meet and the time. You will be provided with the materials needed for each activity. Transportation is provided.

Activity 1: East Meets West

Inside the box you will find a full kimono along with all the necessary accessories. In about fifteen minutes, there will a knock on your door. A friend of Iruko’s is going to help you get ready and bring you to our first meeting place. See you soon.

When Ruth opened the box, she found a beautiful kimono. Peach with cherry blossoms. She was about to touch it when, as promised, there was a knock on the door. Ruth sat the box down and went to answer it. An older woman stood outside and bowed when Ruth opened the door. Ruth motioned for her to come in. “My name is Ono,” She says, “Please go and take a shower and then we can begin.” Ruth nodded and took a quick shower. When she had finished, she returned to find the kimono lain out neatly. She motioned Ruth to a chair and had her sit first. Her hair was then dried and fixed in a simple style. It took some time for Ruth to get ready, but when she looked in the mirror, she barely recognized herself. She actually looked beautiful. She blushed.

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