The movers worked quickly to get all of the Suzuki’s belongings into their new home. Things were moving swiftly thanks to the help of the first-time home owners. Mr. And Mrs. Suzuki carried as much as they could. And even their daughter Minami helped pull her weight by bringing in as many of her stuffed animals as her arms could hold.
The young family had saved for years and made many sacrifices to get to this day, but their dream had finally come true. They now had a home they could truly call their own. Gone were the days of living in drafty apartments or having to deal with noisy neighbors and landlords that turned a deaf ear to their pleas for help.
When all of their things were safely inside, the Suzuki family began moving boxes into their appropriate rooms. This task became difficult as Minami was opening every box she came across all in the name of finding the playthings that belonged to her and her alone.
Sneaking up behind her daughter, Mrs. Suzuki tickled her ribs and sent Minami into a wild fit of laughter. “What are you doing, Minami?” she asked.
“I’m looking for my crayons,” replied Minami, who never bothered to turn around to face her mother. Instead, she continued searching wildly for her instruments of art. “Where did you put them? I want to draw a picture of our new house.”
“They’re in one of the boxes in your room,” replied Mrs. Suzuki.
Learning of the whereabouts of her things, Minami sprinted off to her room.
Mrs. Suzuki made her way to the kitchen to take a well deserved break with her husband. “Minami’s already so comfortable with our new house,” she said, taking a seat at the table. “It looks like the move wasn’t as hard on her as we thought it was going to be.”
“Kids are hard to read,” said Mr. Suzuki. “One day they’re happy, the next you can’t get them to say a word. I just hope she doesn’t wake up tomorrow angry with us for moving her away from all of her friends.”
“What choice did we have? We were outgrowing our old place. It was time for us to move. Besides, do you want to go back to that apartment? It smelled like dirty socks in the summer and it was colder inside than outside in the winter.”
With so much going on, Mrs. Suzuki had lost track of the time. Lunchtime had passed hours ago, and she was sure her dear Minami was in need of food. So she quickly made a sandwich and took it to her daughter’s room.
Reaching the top of the stairs, Mrs. Suzuki could hear clearly that Minami was carrying on a conversation inside her room. Treading ever so carefully to the door, Mrs. Suzuki listened intently to what her daughter was saying.
“We used to live near a big park and there was a tree that I used to climb every day with my friends,” said Minami. “At first I was afraid to climb it, but when I got older I got brave and I could make it all the way to the top. I bet you could make it to the top too if you tried. I’ll take you there some day. That way you can meet all my other friends.”
“Minami,” said her mother, opening the door. When she entered, Mrs. Suzuki found her daughter sitting on the floor playing with a doll. Another doll was lying on the floor a few feet away, looking as if it had been put there for someone else to play with. “I thought you might be hungry, so I brought you something to eat.”
“Thank you, mommy,” said Minami, accepting the sandwich.
“Minami,” said Mrs. Suzuki, staring at the other doll lying on the floor.
“What?” asked Minami, mouth full of food.
“It’s nothing,” said Mrs. Suzuki, a smile upon her face.
That night over a late dinner, Minami’s parents had a discussion about the behavior their daughter was beginning to display.
“I told you something like this was going to happen,” said Mrs. Suzuki, rubbing her now throbbing forehead. “I knew she would show signs of being depressed, but I never thought she would start talking to herself.”
“What’s wrong with that?” asked Mr. Suzuki. “When I was her age I had an imaginary friend. And look at me, I turned out fine.”
“I’ve tried so hard to make sure our daughter doesn’t grow up to be like you, and now I see that my efforts were wasted. Why did we learn how to raise a child from a book? That’s not how God intended children to be raised.”
“Hey, that book came highly recommended,” replied Mr. Suzuki. “Besides, Minami’s going to be fine. You worry too much about her.”
“But you didn’t hear what I heard. She was talking about where we used to live. That shows that she doesn’t like it here. She’s repressing everything.”
“When did you become such an expert in psychology?”
“The way she was talking,” said Mrs. Suzuki. “She really thought there was someone else in that room with her.”
“Just give her a few more days,” insisted Mr. Suzuki. “If she starts showing more signs that something’s wrong, then we’ll do something about it.”
Unbeknownst to the two, Minami had sneaked downstairs and was listening to every word that her parents were saying about her.