In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 10

"In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" is a yuri comic I wrote. I can't draw, so you'll have to just make due with reading the script (unless you are, or know of, an artist who wants to collaborate!). Enjoy chapter 10 (of 82!)

In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - by Jaime Lustig

Chapter 10

"What is love, anyway?"

It's sunset now in the shopping district. Suzu and Yuka are waving goodbye as Eriko goes in the other direction.

Suzu: “I really like her. Why don’t you invite her over sometime?”

Yuka nods vigorously and takes Suzu by the hand. They walk off together in the other direction.

Eriko is walking by herself towards home.

Eriko (to herself): “What was that? I wanted to be alone today was sort of fun, I think. Is it okay for me to have fun?"

She thinks back to Yuka looking at herself in the mirror with the hair clip and then trying to put the necklace on Yuka's delicate neck. As she thinks about this, she sees the scar, then she flashes to the blood splatter. She's holding her head. Eriko has stopped walking, she opens her eyes and looks out into the distance, then begins to walk again.

Eriko (to herself): “Why am I always thinking about her?”

She enters her home and she takes off her shoes at the front entrance.

Eriko: "I'm home"

Heizo responds from the kitchen.

Heizo: "Welcome back. Come in for dinner.”

Eriko enters the kitchen with its small table for two. Heizo turns and looks at her. She's standing sort of shyly.

                Heizo (to himself): "Hmmm?"

Heizo: “Did you have fun with your friends?”

Eriko: “What do do you...?”

Heizo: “Ho ho! An old man can old man can tell!”

Heizo walks over to the shrine in the main room. He puts a small dish of food in front of the shrine which has a picture of a beautiful woman, presumably his wife. There is also a small wooden toy. He claps. He then comes down to sit with Eriko.

Together: "Thank you for the food" (ed note: "Itadakimasu")

They start eating, in silence.

Eriko (to herself): "I've been here for a few weeks, but he's never talked about her. Is it okay to ask?"

Eriko: "Arishima-san, what was...your"

Heizo replies warmly with a smile.

Heizo: "It's Heizo, you know! When are you going to start calling me by my name? We're family now.”

Eriko: "Oh...ummm..."

Heizo laughs at this.

Heizo: "Hmmm, but Kinuko, you say?...Ah, she was radiant. Simply an angel who descended and forgot to return to heaven.”

Eriko blushes and has wide eyes at this.

Eriko (to herself): "Isn't he embarrassed to say things like that?"

Heizo: “It’s always the same for everyone in love, doesn’t matter how old you get!”

Eriko: “How did”

(Ed. note: all of Heizo’s story below should be illustrated)

Heizo: “I was just a field-hand before the war. But, that never mattered to her. She would pass by the fields each day. Our eyes would meet. And eventually she started to bring me lunch. Oh, how I was teased by the other workers. But I didn’t care! They were just jealous anyway. And who wouldn’t be. She was truly something special.”

Eriko: “She...she brought you lunch?”

Eriko thinks back to eating lunch outside together with Aiko, Yuka, and Hatsue. Heizo knowingly teases her.

Heizo: “Lunch, you might know a little about that now, huh?”

Eriko: “Wh...what!?”

Heizo just ignores her and continues on.

Heizo: “A perfect lunch, wrapped in a silk scarf, she wouldn't stay, she'd just leave it for me, but I knew it was from her.”

Eriko: “When...I did you...know that you...”

Heizo: “Loved her? Well, when the war came, I served, like everybody did back then. Horrors you don't need to hear from an old man. But when I returned, half the size as when I left - if you can believe there was ever any weight to lose - expecting to find her married...or maybe forced off with a GI...but there she was, in the same fields I had always worked, working herself. Her hands had gotten rougher, her clothes dirty, and tired, but still a goddess. The rice couldn't hide that, the hardship and the years couldn't hide that."

In his memory we see that she looks up from her work seeing him backlit in the setting sun. She wipes the sweat from her forehead. She cautiously moves closer. Heizo bows to her. Her eyes widen. She half-runs, half-stumbles, over to him.

Heizo: "She looked at me like she was looking at a ghost. She ran right into me. I was so weak that I fell to the earth with her. And there we were, together, laughing, crying, laying in the moist soil."

Heizo (to himself): "We were pleading with the world to be healed the only way we knew how."

Heizo: "We were married that spring. Most of our family was gone by then, so few attended...”

                Eriko: “But didn't stay and farm?”

Heizo: “We had nothing to our names, but I had picked up a new trade in the army. It turns out these thin fingers were good for something after all. It sure hadn't been farming. But there was nothing other than farming for us in our hometown....nothing but memories of..."

He looks over at the wooden toy on the shrine, his eyes distant for a second, but then he comes back to the present.

Heizo: "The next year we made our way here, where we've been ever since...ever since he...”

Heizo looks lost. He shakes his head and perks up.

Heizo: “Well, that’s enough about me. You're too young to be bothered by the stories of an old man! You’re in your prime, you're so beautiful, surely you've got your eyes on someone special!"

Eriko just gasps and flails her hands and blushes.

Eriko: "No, no...there's no one!"

Heizo keeps teasing her.

Heizo: "Hmmm, you've been cooking lately. I guess I thought it might be for someone. I thought you had fallen in love. My mistake."

Eriko: " don’t know...what love is...I could someone...?"

She looks up desperately at Heizo with tears forming in her eyes.

Eriko: "I don't even know who I am!"

Heizo goes from his teasing face to a kind, compassionate, worried face.

Heizo: "Oh, Eriko-chan. It will all come back in time, my dear. I'm sure of it.”

Eriko: “But...what if...what if I’m...”

Heizo: “Eriko! You are a wonderful young lady, and even if you haven’t realized it yet, I’m sure someone out there has. Maybe there's a young man out there who's already noticed you?"

Eriko (to herself): "A man?"

Eriko: "I...I doubt that."

Heizo: "You might be surprised. You certainly make a strong impression! HAHAHA."

Eriko looks at him with wide eyes.

Heizo: "Besides, you never know what might give your memory a jolt."

Eriko: “What do you...?”

Heizo: "I worry that you're afraid to live."

Eriko: "I...I don't"

Heizo: “I didn't either, until I saw her again. Then, in that field, well, we pretty much figured out how to live right then and there on the spot!"

Eriko gasps and blushes strongly, eyes wide.

Eriko: "Y...YOU...DIRTY OLD MAN!”

Heizo starts laughing, Eriko stifles a smirk then starts laughing with him.

Heizo: "Ho, ho! it's nice to see that smile once in a while. I'm glad you can smile here."

Eriko: “Thank you...for telling me...about her.”

Heizo: “I don’t think we’ve talked like this, since you came. I hope that means we’ll talk more.”

Eriko looks off to the side, uncomfortable, then she stands up and starts clearing the dishes.

Eriko: " should rest...I'll clean up."

Heizo: "Rest, rest, what is this ‘rest’ thing? I think I'll give that cranky old TV that T-san brought in today another try, see if I can get it working for him."

Heizo goes over to a crowded workbench filled with electronics and tools and begins tinkering with a broken TV, mumbling to himself under his breath, maybe a few sparks flying, a little glow of light across his profile from his work light. Eriko looks on at him sort of lovingly from the kitchen doorway.

Eriko (to herself): "Is this feeling love?"

Suzu and Yuka cooking dinner together.

Suzu: “So, Arishima-san...?"

Yuka looks up from cooking and smiles and goes back to cooking.

Suzu: “She said you met at school, it sounds like she’s new this year?”

Yuka nods 'yes.'

Suzu: “I like seeing you make new friends. You two seem pretty close already.”

Yuka blushes and lifts her hands together (with the cooking utensil between them), closes her eyes for a second. As she does this, things in the pans start to go wrong because she's not paying attention (boiling over, or burning, or spitting oil...)

Suzu: “Wah!”

The spell on Yuka breaks and she hurries to save the food.

Suzu (to herself): "Eriko Arishima-san, who are you? How did you manage to break through with her?"

It's nighttime now, Eriko is taking her clothes off to take a bath. She's still wincing in pain as she lifts her arms to take her shirt off. She looks over the scrapes and bruises and cuts on her arms. She turns her back to study it in the mirror. There are two long perpendicular, messy scars (old ones) running about 6 inches apart from her upper to middle back. She sighs.

Eriko: "Where did I get these? They look so awful, I don’t remember least I don’t remember the pain of getting them...or anything, before Arishima found me.”

As she goes to take her pants off, she feels the little gift bag/box in her pocket. She takes it out and turns it over in her hand.

Eriko: "I almost forgot. Is it really okay for me to have this? Why would she give me a gift?"

She slowly opens up the drawstring on the bag and turns it upside down so the little box falls out into her hand. She carefully takes the top off the box. There, inside, is the hair clip that Yuka had been looking at. Eriko blushes.

Eriko: “How did Kiyoura-onee-san know? Did she see me staring?”

Eriko remembers the look of Yuka wearing it in the store, how happy and beautiful Yuka looked. Eriko holds the clip against her chest, closes her eyes and a small smile appears, a little tear too from her closed eye. She is at peace and happy for a moment.

Eriko: "What is love...anyway...?"

In the classroom between periods. A bunch of girls are standing around Hatsue fawning over her, she's sitting at her desk, they're almost draped over her, she's the center of attention. Eriko is looking over at her from under her hair (as her head is on her arms like normal). Hatsue winks at her and goes back to talking with the other girls. Another girl runs over to Hatsue all excited.

Kaori: "Ha-chan, Ha-chan! Isn't this your boyfriend?"

The girl shows Hatsue a magazine with an advertisement that includes Tetsu modeling in it.

Hatsue (to herself): “Tetsu didn’t tell me this was coming out today.”

Hatsue: "Boyfriend? Well, I don't know if I'd go that far..."

Satomi: "Don't be so modest. You're always with him, he drops you off at school every day in that amazing car!"

Chitose: "You're so lucky to have someone like that so in love with you."

Kaori: "How'd you do it? How'd you get him to fall in love with you?"

Hatsue: "He just...I know...?"

The girls are all squealing and giddy.

Kaori: "Oh my god, they're so in love!"

Chitose: "I'm so jealous!"

Satomi leans in close to Hatsue and whispers, a bit provocatively,

Satomi: "So, have you done it yet?"

Hatsue blushes and is shocked. At that moment Eriko is yanking Hatsue by the arm out of her desk and taking her out of the room.

Satomi: "Hey, freak, what are you doing to Ha-chan?! We were talking!"

Hatsue apologizes as she's being pulled out of the room.

Hatsue: "Sorry, sorry, It's okay."

In the hallway far away from the room. Eriko finally lets go of Hatsue's arm. Hatsue is rubbing it a bit. Eriko is fuming.

                Hatsue: "Arishima-san?"

Eriko: "S...sorry...about that.”

Hatsue: “What are you apologizing for?”

Eriko: “How can you let them...they can’t...they shouldn’ to you like that.”

Hatsue (to herself): “Did she do that to save me from being embarrassed? She’s sort of unexpectedly cute that way.”

Hatsue: "Oh, Arishima-san! Thank you, I'm actually glad you got me away from there. They mean well...but...”

Eriko not making eye contact.

Eriko: "So, umm, anyway...You know a lot...about love, I mean...right?"

Hatsue starts nervously fidgeting.

Hatsue: "I don't really think so, not really."

Eriko: "Oh, I just thought...I mean...You're always talking...about boys ...and stuff, with the other girls.”

Hatsue: “It’s just talk, I promise you, it’s not really like that at all.”

Eriko: “'re in love...right?"

Hatsue: "I...I guess..."

Eriko: "When did you know...umm...that you were in love?"

Hatsue blushes.

Hatsue: “Well, actually, the thing is...I haven’t told anyone...but, the truth is...”

The bell starts ringing for class. Hatsue looks relieved.

                Hatsue (to herself): "Was I really going to tell her?"

Hatsue: "Never mind, we'd better get back to class. Come on!"

She turns and rushes back to class leaving a somewhat confused Eriko.

Scenes of class passing by. Yuka at the board doing crazy math again. Eriko looking at her, studying her. Yuka tips her head to the side to think about something she's written. As she does so, her hair falls away exposing her neck. Eriko is transfixed on this, but thinks back to her fingers running over the scar on Yuka's neck when she was trying to put the necklace on.  There is a flash, then there are the blood spatters, a scream in the distance:

Voice: "NOOOO"

Eriko grabs her head and groans in pain, blacks out, and falls out of her chair onto the ground.

Hatsue: “Arishima-san!”

Eriko wakes up in the nurses office.

Eriko (to herself): “Uhhhh, where am I?”

She looks around.

Eriko (to herself): “Oh, the nurses office."

She rubs her head.

Eriko (to herself): "Why does that keep happening to me? It's like something is trying to force itself out of my head."

The nurse comes around the corner.

Nurse: “Arishima-san, you’re awake. It seems like you fainted in class.”

Eriko: “”

Nurse: “It’s nothing to apologize for. Your friends brought you down.”

Eriko: “F...Friends?”

Nurse: “Yes, three of them, they were quite worried. But you don’t seem to have a fever, are you in any pain?”

Eriko: “”

Nurse: “So...I know it’s not why you’re here, but I noticed those bruises and cuts...?”

Eriko (tersely): “It’s nothing.”

Nurse: “If someone is hurting you...”

Eriko: “I said I’m fine!”

Eriko jumps out of bed and pushes past the nurse to leave the office.

Nurse: “Wait, Arishima-san, I just want to help...”

Everyone is in the science lab except for Eriko. Hatsue is making a mess, blowing things up, and her crowd of fans is fawning over her. She's like a happy ditz. Aiko and Yuka are working hard with their lab glasses on. Finally the class ends for the morning and it's lunchtime. Students are leaving the lab and returning to the classroom.

Eriko is sitting at her desk with her lunch out, just staring at it.

Eriko (to herself): "I...I wonder if we'll eat...together...again?"

Hatsue comes through the classroom door with her other friends. Then she spots Eriko sitting at her desk.

Hatsue: "Arishima-san! I was so worried, the nurse wouldn’t let us stay.”

Eriko (to herself): “Us? She did say three people...”

Hatsue: “Are you feeling better?”

Chitose: "Come on Ha-chan, let's go."

Eriko is shy but curt.

Eriko: “Sorry...I’m fine...ummm...about earlier, you were going to tell me...something...I mean...could"

Kaori: “She’s eating with us today!”

The three girls are staring down Eriko.

Hatsue: “Oh, I’m so sorry Arishima-san. I wasn’t sure if you’d be feeling better, so I made plans with these girls today."

Chitose: "I see you've finally come to your senses."

Eriko: "It’s fine...I understand!"

Eriko gets up quickly and walks out of the classroom, Aiko and Yuka are watching this unfold from the doorway, Eriko walks right past them out of the room. Yuka is puzzled, and looks quizzically at Hatsue then turns as if to follow Eriko. Aiko just puts her hands on Yuka’s shoulders and sort of stops her from going after Eriko.

Aiko: "Leave her be. They need to work it out for themselves."

Yuka wrinkles her nose at this and looks up at Aiko. Aiko walks into the room.

Aiko: "Let's get our lunches."

Hatsue speaks softly, as if to herself.

Hatsue: "Sorry, I'm really sorry."

Eriko bursts through the roof door of the school. She throws her bento which breaks open spilling food everywhere. She's red in the face and embarrassed and fierce and angry. She drops to sit against the wall. She looks at the food spilled everywhere, you can see the effort that had gone into it.

Eriko (to herself): "What's wrong with me? I'm so stupid. Why would I ask Fujimaki-san about those things earlier? No wonder she wouldn’t want to eat with me after that."

Back in the classroom, Hatsue is eating with the girls, she's looking out the window and sees Aiko and Yuka eating, but no Eriko.

                Hatsue (to herself): "I wonder where she went?"

Kaori: “...chan, Ha-chan! Are you even listening?”

Hatsue: “Oh, sorry, what was that?”

Kaori: “I was just saying...”

Hatsue: "I’m sorry, I have to use the bathroom."

Hatsue gets up and rushes out of the classroom

Kaori: “That was rude? What’s up with her lately?”

Chitose: "Morning sickness?"

Kaori: "You're so dirty? But do you really think?!"

Satomi: "The goodie-two-shoes? Hmmm...Hell, I might do it too if I had a boyfriend who looks like that."

All the girls bust out laughing.

Back to Eriko, she's sitting with her head down on her arms on top of her legs. A finger taps her on the arm. Eriko's head flares up with wild eyes. Although her eyes are wide, they're also bleary with tears. They soften as she recognizes Hatsue.

                Eriko: "Fu...Fujimaki...san?"

Hatsue: "I'm so sorry about lunch Arishima-san."

Eriko: "I...I shouldn't have..."

Hatsue: "Will you come home with me after school today? There’s something I want to tell you."

Eriko just sort of looks questioningly/skeptically, half confused at her. Hatsue bends down in front of her and wipes a tear off Eriko’s face with a finger. Eriko blushes.

Hatsue: “You’ll come home with me today, right?”

Eriko: “Um...okay.”

Hatsue and Eriko are on the train, it's awkward between them, not like normal. Hatsue doesn't seem her normal bubbly self, she's fidgety, and staring out the window, turning her head away from Eriko. They get off at a stop and walk to Hatsue's house. When they enter the house, there is a pair of men’s shoes in the entry way.

Hatsue: "I'm home"

Tetsu peers out from a doorway, his shirt is off and a towel is around his neck like he’s just gotten out of the shower.

Tetsu: "Welcome home, and you've brought a guest! This is quite the honor."

Eriko blushes at the beautiful half-naked Tetsu.

Eriko: "Sorry...I’ll go...I didn't know..."

Hatsue: “What are you apologizing for?”

Eriko: "But, you”

Tetsu: "No, no, I'm not company, I live here."

Eriko (shocked): " live together?!"

Hatsue: "No, not exactly....I mean yes, we do, but ... well, you see... that’s what I wanted to tell you.”

Eriko: “You’ your parents know?!”

Hatsue: “Wait, you’ve got it all wrong...he’s...sigh...he's my brother."

Eriko turns red and angry and escalated.

Eriko: "Wait! What?! You''re dating your brother...doing...that stuff...?!"

Hatsue: "God! No, no, that's disgusting! That’s what I wanted to tell you...we're not dating at all...I just...sort of let people...think that he's my boyfriend."

Eriko (confused): "Wait...Why? I don’t understand...Why do you let them think that...when they talk about that?”

Tetsu: "I’m sorry to interrupt, but please, be kind to Ha-chan. There's more to it than that. Please, don't think poorly of her."

Tetsu turns to Hatsue

Tetsu: "I won't make you tell her, but you brought her here. You had to know she'd find out if you did. Maybe you shouldn't keep it all in anymore?"

Hatsue looks awful, she looks up at Eriko, Eriko blushes. Then Eriko just takes Hatsue's hand. Hatsue just starts bawling and falls into Eriko's arms sobbing. Eriko is shocked, her arms out to the sides, but then she puts them around Hatsue. Hatsue just keeps sobbing.

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