I’m devastated. Sort of. I think. Maybe heavy-hearted best describes. I don’t think it’s the end of the world, but sure feels like it. Crossroads to Somewhere has been abandoned. Without so much as a sayonara or parting fare-thee-well. So, okay, I guess I am devastated, after all is said and done. Now I know how it must feel when left at the altar. Or in the lurch, wherever that may be. Need I tell you the source of my woe?

The phantasmagoric O-bah-kehs, Haruo and Haruko, have disappeared!

Gone. Kaput. Vanished.

It’s been 13 months since the first strange tap-tap-tap on my apartment door, nine since the strange interruptions became an almost daily early morning occurrence. Now, they no longer come to call. Poof. Missing persons. I can’t believe it. So much so, I can’t accept the possibility of their dissolving into thin air. But I had an inkling, a premonition.

When the knockings began to taper off a month or so ago, it got me to wondering: Would this unique experience come to an end as suddenly and without warning as it began? Worse yet, before explanation or solution?”

=  *  =

I first started religiously charting the a.m. taps in May. There wasn’t a day missed for a while, waking me twice, sometimes three separate times. Adding to the mystery were single rings of the telephone, followed by immediate silence. Never two rings. A review of June shows there were only four absences. [There was always the possibility of having slept through a knocking, no matter how sensitive my hearing; I mean, shoot, there are times when I can go almost two straight hours without waking up!] Two tap-tap-tap episodes were the daily norm.

It should also not be forgotten there was a distinct and unmistakable rapping on my hotel room door during an overnight trip to Las Vegas. As if to remind that distance and location were not deterrents.

In July, I installed a hidden camera in a lame attempt to photograph the unknown, still unsure if the visitor wasn’t human; this maneuver coming after periodic checks of the hallway security tapes produced nothing but a darkened corridor at the exact time of the taps. The August scorecard began to show intermittent absences as well, but nothing of special note or pattern to hint of an imminent departure.

September was when I became firmly convinced the nether world had captured my life; that the question was definitely now why and who, rather than if. I even gave them a name: H2O. I was also convinced they were aware of my every action and thought, even though communication was nil. And during this time of search amid doubt, numerous readers volunteered their thoughts, ideas and possible explanations.

If you will recall, this was also when I described all of the macabre and unexplainable happenings that were going on in concert with the visitations: a frozen refrigerator, a falling lamp, two suddenly dysfunctional television sets, a clogged kitchen sink. The taps also began to vary, from very loud to barely audible and timid. The most memorable experience, of course, was being awakened one early a.m. by three soft taps on the shoulder!

The first five days in October were a string of no-shows, an ominous forewarning of possible future O-bah-keh no-shows. But the usual cadence was picked up and the thought of losing them again waned and put on the back burner.

Starting Thursday, Nov. 1, there were single visits five straight mornings and then nothing, zip, nada, silence and total absence ever since! With each passing morning quietude since, I held out hope they were merely on hiatus, a temporary assignment somewhere else, maybe. After such a long time together, how could they be gone? So I said nothing to you all (in print) and maintained a silent hope. CR2S was not prepared to let go. Can you blame me?

It’s certainly not like a death in family or circle of friends. Besides, we’re not talking about yu-rei or common ghosts and phantoms? No one dies twice, right? Maybe Haruo & Haruko were figments of a wild imagination. Regardless, the questions of how and why still loom large and unanswered.


 W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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