It would seem that I’m being haunted by a ghost.
I’ve just realised recently. Lots of things have happened that make me think so. For example, on my way home from seeing a client, I stopped by a family restaurant to eat a late lunch. When they asked me how many people and I said “one,” for some reason, they brought out drinks for two. Another time, on a busy train, the space next to me was open and yet nobody sat there. I was honestly worried that maybe I smelt bad.
Yet another time, when I got home from work, something about the house seemed off. Turned out that all the furniture and ornaments had been moved just slightly. And one time, my shoulders felt so stiff, and it was followed by this cold sensation of air passing down my back.
But what really nailed it was something that just happened. I happened to glance at the mirror and in it I saw a woman’s hand resting on my left shoulder. When I looked directly at my shoulder, nothing was there.
“Y-You’re here, aren’t you? I know you are!” I screamed without thinking, panicking. If she answered I probably would have died of a heart attack, but thankfully there was no response.
Ever since then, strange, supernatural occurrences have been continuing. It’s not like she looks like Sadako or anything, but I can sense “her” in the apartment, regardless. There is one thing I’ve come to understand, however. Although this spirit is haunting me, it doesn’t appear to mean me any harm. My body is healthy and I haven’t had any psychological problems either. My fear and wariness have also started to fade.
“Today was so cold.”
One day, I finally started speaking to her. Of course, she didn’t answer, but it felt like I was no longer alone. Having a ghost comfort my loneliness was like some type of black comedy. Then at some point I realised that I was treating her like a real girlfriend. I probably thought of her much like otaku think of their dolls and figures.
“Which tie should I wear today?”
Someone watching me speak to an empty room would probably think that I’d lost it.
But… why is she haunting me? That I don’t know.
From the moment I realised she was, however, things started going really well for me. I started doing better at work, and my relationships improved. If I lost something, I’d always find it again. It was like she was helping me, and although I can’t say that for certain, I truly believed it. I could always feel her by my side. She had to be my guardian angel.
The following year, I was promoted to business manager. It was a single position only given to those on their way up in the company. I drank some sake at home with her to celebrate. I’d even stopped drinking with my colleagues on my way home. I wanted to return home as soon as possible, because spending time with “her” was the most important thing to me. I was acting like a married man, so much so that my colleagues were doubting whether I was still single anymore. I wondered how they would react if they knew that she was a ghost? Imagining it made me laugh, but I was also curious.
Shortly after I became the section manager, there were talks of arranging my marriage. The daughter of a company president we dealt with often came to see me. She was beautiful and intelligent; I failed to see the problem with it. The only problem was… “her.”
When I got home that day, she was oddly quiet. Normally she’d play jokes, like knocking my shoes over or opening doors, but on this day, nothing. Was she upset?
“You’d rather I be happy, wouldn’t you?” I called out to her. Then a book on the shelf above my head fell down. …So she was angry. A ghost, jealous of a living human being. I struggled to understand it.
The formal marriage interview went terribly. “She” kept getting in the way. She knocked my tea over and caused me to trip over nothing. In the end, my bag zipper got caught in my potential partner’s expensive clothes and ruined them.
“Get a grip!” I screamed when I got home. She rattled the drawers, trying to convey her own anger at me. I screamed back, asking her what she wanted from me, what I should do, there was no way we could ever be happy together…
“Just get out!” I screamed, full of emotion. At that very moment, the atmosphere in the room changed.
…She was gone. I could feel it keenly. Next thing I knew, I was crying. Huh? Ah… I really did want to be happy with her. But that would never be possible. Not only could I never touch her, I’d never be able to see or hear her. How could we be happy together?
This way was better. But, inside, I didn’t want to let her go. It was like some part of me was now missing. I knew I was just being selfish. I was alone all that time before her, so it would be like going back to those times. No big deal. I knew I was just bluffing, but that was what I told myself, anyway.
I lay low after that. The arranged marriage didn’t work out, my position at work worsened, and it even affected my relationships with other people. As my work results declined, I was blamed for mismanaging those beneath me and forced to resign. Was all of this because “she,” my guardian angel, was gone? I feared it was, but there was no point lamenting it. I had to look forward.
I found a new job and threw myself into work. Day and night, I worked myself to the bone. Even when those around me told me I was working too much, that just spurred me on even more. Maybe it was my form of atonement to “her.”
Just like that, time passed me by. I had no time to look back. And before I knew it, I had forgotten about “her.”
One day, a newspaper headline caught my eye. “OO Corporation Petition For Bankruptcy.” It was the client I used to work with, the CEO with the daughter I was supposed to marry. If the marriage had gone ahead, then right now I’d probably be in over my head with troubles.
Thank god “she” stepped in. No… Maybe she had known from the beginning and this was her way of warning me. It had to be. And I’d said all those horrible things to her. I felt both regret and annoyance with myself at the same time, but there no way to apologise to her now.
That night I had a dream. Amongst the throngs of people at Tokyo Station, I saw a woman of my age bent over in pain. Nobody tried to help her. How cold Tokyo people were. I approached her.
Then I woke up. I was covered in sweat. …Then I remembered. When I went to Tokyo on business once, the exact same thing had happened as in my dream. That woman was taken to the hospital. That woman was “her.” I had no proof, but I fully believed it.
That weekend, I got on the bullet train and went to Tokyo. I wanted to check what happened to that woman after she went to the hospital. Thankfully, I still remembered which one she went to.
Not that it mattered, because they wouldn’t tell me anything. It happened several years prior, and even if they did remember, it was private information. There was no way they could tell me.
…But there was still a reason for me to be there. With that in mind, I left the hospital.
…I sensed something behind me. When I turned around, a woman wearing hospital garb stood there. I was crying before I knew it. So was she.
…It was “her.” No doubt about it.
We finally met.
“…Are you okay? Can you hear me!? …His heart’s stopped. Get the ASD! Someone, call a doctor!”
…She grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the light. It was the first time in my life I’d ever felt so… full.