In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 13

"In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" is my yuri comic, but I can't draw, so you'll have to settle for reading the scripts (unless you'd like to be my artist?!). Enjoy!

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

Chapter 13

"Flowers - Part 1"

Students are getting off a bus in a nature preserve/national park.

Teacher: “Alright everyone, get into your groups of four. Please make sure you complete the assignments, don’t get lost, and be back here before the bus leaves.”

The students get into groups and begin walking off in various directions.

Random girl: "Ughh, who's going to get stuck with the scary girl?"

                Random girl 2: "I can't believe she even came."

                Random girl 3: "Harder to get caught smoking out here."

They're all laughing at this. Eriko is ignoring them and starting to walk off on her own. Someone grabs her hand. She turns quickly to see that it's Hatsue and calms down.

                Hatsue: "Hey, where are you going?"

                Eriko: "Oh, um, I...I wasn't sure...I thought you might..."

Hatsue: "Please, I...I was hoping, I mean, in case we ran into any strangers in the park..."

Hatsue is not looking confident. Eriko recognizes this in her and turns gently to her.

                Eriko: "Oh, um...okay then."

Hatsue looks up brightly.

                Hatsue: "Really?! Thank you."

Yuka comes bounding up next to them, and stops and tips her head to the side questioningly with a little grin like "hee, hee, I can tell something is up with you two..." (but doesn't speak, obviously)

                Eriko: "Good...good morning..."

                Hatsue (to herself): "It's a start, I guess."

Aiko follows behind and comes up.

                Aiko: "Is this our group?"

Yuka is nodding vigorously.

                Aiko: "I guess that makes it easier than last year."

                Hatsue: "What happened last year?"

                Aiko: "No one in our class would talk to her."

                Hatsue: "Why not?"

                Aiko: "Do you need me to spell it out?"

Hatsue: ", I get it...ARGHHH Girls are so mean sometimes! But Okumura-san, you're pretty popular, with volleyball and everything? So if you were friends with Kiyoura-san..."

Aiko: "None of them were in our class either."

Right then Hatsue, Aiko and Yuka turn around at a loud cracking/thud sound. Eriko has punched a tree and is breathing hard.

                Hatsue: "Are...are you okay?"

                Eriko: "Fine."

Yuka comes over and tries to look at her hand. She takes it in hers and moves a finger over the scratched knuckles. Eriko blushes and pulls it away.

                Eriko (to herself): "Don't make me think..."

                Aiko: "I'm going."

Aiko starts walking off. Yuka scampers to catch up. Hatsue looks at Eriko.

                Hatsue: "Ready?"

As she says this, her other friends are calling over and waving to her.

Chitose: “Ha-chan! Ha-chan! Let's go!”

Hatsue: “Sorry, Chi-Chan, I made a promise to Eriko-chan that I’d go with her today.”

Satomi (to herself): “Eriko-chan? Since when did they become so close?”

Kaori: "Awww, who's going to be the fourth in our group?"

Hatsue: "Sorry, sorry..."

Eriko and Hatsue walk off to follow Aiko and Yuka.

Eriko: “You...You didn’t have to...”

Hatsue is a bit shy and sad.

Hatsue: “I really wanted to go with you today.”

Aiko turns back to see Eriko and Hatsue with Hatsue looking cute and shy and awkward.

Aiko (to herself): “What’s with those two all of a sudden?”

Yuka is also looking back lovingly with a cute smile on her face at Eriko and Hatsue’s shy dialogue. Eriko looks up and sees Yuka smiling and blushes herself. Aiko, seeing this exchange just says:

Aiko: “Are you joining us or not?”

Hatsue’s other friends watch in disgust as Hatsue's group leaves.

Chitose: “I can’t believe she chose them over us! What’s she thinking?”

Satomi (who is the leader of the pack) looks manipulatively at Hatsue leaving.

Satomi (to herself): "I wonder?"

Kaori: “I know, Ha-chan’s really changed lately. Do you think she’s just taking pity on them?”

Chitose: “Maybe she thinks she’s better than us now.”

Satomi: “Forget her, she’s going to get what she deserves hanging out with those freaks.”

We see scenes of the various groups walking down paths in multiple cultivated and natural landscapes and gardens (like an arboretum/botanical gardens) looking through the plants, bugs, and animals, they periodically write things down in notebooks and take pictures (doing their assignments). Also lots of laughing, some splashing in stream water, etc…

We start to follow Eriko and Yuka’s group more explicitly.

                Hatsue: "What was that back there?"

                Eriko: "What?"

Hatsue: "Do you remember punching a tree? Or is that just habit for you?"

Eriko: "Oh...just...thinking about...her being alone."

Hatsue: "Kiyoura-san? You got angry for her, just like you got angry for me. You're really amazing."

Eriko: "I'm not ama...!"

They are walking down a wooded path that suddenly opens up into a big field full of flowers. Hatsue cuts her off, distracted by the beauty.

Hatsue: “Wow, it’s so beautiful”

Yuka and Aiko catch up to where Hatsue and Eriko are standing at the edge of the field. Yuka’s face just beams, the golden glow of the flowers and morning sun illuminating it. Eriko is just staring at her, transfixed. Aiko sees this, closes her eyes in disgust, then turns to Yuka and gives her a little shove from behind to scoot her into the field. Yuka runs into the field and is twirling in the wild flowers, falling down, and laying up looking at the clouds passing. Eriko just can't take her eyes off Yuka's smiling face.

Eriko: “ beautiful...”

Hatsue: “Eriko-chan, let’s go over...”

But she stops talking when she notices that Eriko is watching Yuka intently.

Hatsue (to herself): “She’s so obvious!”

Aiko sees this too and starts to leave.

Aiko: “Come on, we have work to do and Yuka probably won't be much use with all the bugs to play with.”

Hatsue turns to Eriko.

                Hatsue: "Did she just make a joke?"

Eriko shrugs, uncertain.

Hatsue and Aiko walk slowly along, doing their assignment, making notes etc… Eriko is following slowly behind them. She keeps checking back over at Yuka. Hatsue nudges her and whispers.

Hatsue: "Go...go...!"

Eriko is a bit shocked, but Hatsue just turns back to Aiko.

Hatsue: "Oh, did you see this over here? Is this what we need for this part?"

Hatsue and Aiko keep walking doing their work, Eriko is just standing watching them go. Finally, Eriko goes over and sits with her knees pulled up to her chest, head down on her knees (just her eyes peeking through her ragged hair) next to Yuka who is lying in the tall grass/wild flowers. Yuka looks up at her and smiles. Eriko blushes, averts her eyes, and looks off to the side. Yuka’s hands are resting on some flowers. She looks over, and stats fingering a purple flower, she closes her eyes.

Young Yuka (about 3 or 4) and a man, presumably her father, in a beautiful idyllic natural setting. Dragonflies, ponds, streams, trees, clouds, mountains in the background, valleys etc…

Young Yuka: “Daddy, daddy, look what I found!”

She brings over a beautiful, soft purple wild flower.

Tohaku Kiyoura (Yuka’s dad): “Wow Yuka! That’s the Shirane-Aoi*, it’s awfully beautiful, isn’t it?”

(* Ed Note: Japanese wood poppy, Glaucidium palmatum)

Young Yuka: “Yeah, it is! It’s my favorite thing ever!”

Tohaku: “You know what would make it even more beautiful?”

He fixes the flower into her hair,

Tohaku: “There now, that’s got it.”

Yuka is beaming with pride, she spins around, laughing, her eyes shining.

Tohaku: “Now just because you can make even a beautiful flower more perfect, doesn’t mean you should go picking them. It’s important that all people have a chance to see just how beautiful they are. Okay?”

Young Yuka: “Okay!”

Scenes of them eating lunch together in the field, her dancing amongst the wildflowers and tall grasses. Scenes of them picking up bugs and looking at them and laughing together. Holding hands while they walk, etc...

It’s raining out, a funeral, black umbrellas, people milling around talking. We see a woman (Yuka’s mother, Rieko) sobbing, being embraced by relatives (her face not clear to us, hidden in people's shoulders). People are gossiping in whispers on the sidelines.

Person 1: “What’s she going to do now with two girls and no income?”

Person 2: “She can’t possibly take care of them by herself and her parents are gone too. Poor thing.”

Person 3: “He was so young, a heart attack, just like his father. How is she going to get by without him?”

We see teenage Suzu (14ish) and 4-ish year-old Yuka in black dresses, sitting on a bench with their umbrellas over them. Suzu is holding Yuka who is sobbing uncontrollably.

Person 1: “Look at that display, doesn’t she know how much her mother is hurting, going on like that, despicable.”

Suzu just puts a hand over Yuka’s head and turns it into her chest.

A really messy apartment. Garbage everywhere (lots of prepackaged food containers), empty bottles of sake and beer cans. We see a woman sitting on a couch staring out a window. There are no lights on, only the dim afternoon light. She looks thin and a bit haggard or unkempt. Throughout the scene we never clearly see her face (maybe she's backlit or something). She takes a drink.

Yuka (5 years-old now) comes in the door, kicks off her shoes.

Young Yuka: “I’m home!”

She takes off her bag and coat and runs towards her mom.

Yuka: “Mommy! Look what I found! Look, look! Mommmy! ... Mommmy?”

The woman, Yuka's mom, turns fiercely to Yuka. Her face is still obscured (either dark or featureless or even scratched out - like Yuka can't quite remember what she looks like).

Rieko: “Would you shut up already?! You’re so loud.”

Rieko turns back away.

Yuka: “But mom, look what I got! I think it’s wing is...”

Yuka runs over to her and opens up her hands to reveal a hurt baby bird (alive, and cheeping, but hurt).

Rieko: “Ah, disgusting, get that away from me!”

Rieko hits away Yuka’s hand and the bird goes flying into the wall and then hits the floor with a dull thud.

Yuka: “Birdy!!!”

Yuka bursts out in tears and runs over to it. Young Suzu (15ish) is just coming into the house and has witnessed this. She silently and softly goes over to Yuka and helps pick up the bird (clearly now dead).

Rieko: “Get that thing out of here, now!”

Suzu guides Yuka away to the front door. She turns back and looks at her mom who has gone back to staring out the window, drinking. She gives a long, hard look, then turns back and walks out the door with Yuka.

                Young Suzu (to herself): "You're the disgusting one."

They’re outside now, in a neighborhood park. At the base of a tree, Suzu is digging a hole.

Yuka: “Can we take it to a doctor, like daddy?”

Suzu: “I’m so sorry Yuka, but even an animal hospital won’t be able to help her.”

Yuka: “So she’s dead?”

Suzu: “Yes, she died."

Yuka: “Daddy died too."

Suzu looks at her in horror.

Suzu: "But, I'm sure she knew you cared very much about her."

Yuka: "Did daddy know that too?”

Suzu: “Oh, yes, Yuka, of course he did. He knew we all loved him very much.”

Yuka: “Will birdy see him in heaven?”

Suzu: “I’m sure they'll find each other.”

Yuka: “Could I find daddy that way too?”

Suzu looks horrified, but relaxes and recognizes the innocence in her question.

Suzu: “Someday, a long time from now, we’ll all be with dad again. But he wants to look down from above, and see you smiling and growing and learning. He doesn’t want you to miss all that, okay?”

Yuka: “Okay. I’m glad daddy will have a new friend to keep him company.”

Suzu: “Why don’t you give the bird a message to send to dad?”

Yuka looks up at her in wonderment, then whispers something to the dead bird. They take the bird and lay it gently in the hole with a single flower over it. They push the dirt over it. They say some prayers, bow and clap, etc…

They walk away, heads down, hand in hand. A cat comes over and starts scratching at the grave, but then wanders off without really disturbing it much.

It’s dark out, young Yuka (5) and young Suzu (15ish) are sitting at the dinner table in the messy apartment eating more prepackaged foods. No mom in sight, the apartment is still dirty. They’re silent while they eat. There is just a single overhead light on, the rest of the apartment is dark, maybe just some moonlight coming through the window in the living room. Suzu has a school book out and she’s studying while she eats.

The door bursts open, we hear crazy laughing in the entryway, and Rieko is falling into the room, tripping over the step between the entry and the floor. She’s drunk, she’s being dropped off by some guys. We never see Rieko's face clearly.

Guy 1: “Man she’s smashed, looks like we picked the right night!”

Guy 2: “Quick, get her in before the neighbors notice.”

As they come in, supporting Rieko by the arms, they see Yuka and Suzu at the table. Both parties exchange wide eyed shocked expressions with each other.

Guy 2: “Shit, she’s got kids!”

Guy 1: “Drop her, let’s get out of here!”

Rieko is left on the floor in a drunken heap. She’s laughing, at first quietly as if to herself, then louder and almost maniacally. She looks up at the girls with wild crazed eyes.

Rieko: “You stupid kids! You ruined it, you ruined everything!”

Suzu (quietly to Yuka): “Come on.”

Suzu speaks under her breath as they are getting up from the table and leaving.

Suzu: “Whore.”

Rieko: “What did you say?

Suzu: “Nothing”

Rieko: “That’s right, I’ve got nothing, nothing at all anymore.”

Suzu (yelling back at her): “You have us!”

Yuka is hiding behind Suzu. Rieko staggers up to her feet, she goes over to Suzu, grabs at her shirt (around the shoulder/collar) and slaps her hard.

Rieko: “You’re right, I do have you, and every day I look at you and have to remember that he’s not here anymore.”

She lets go of Suzu and staggers to the couch. She lays down, puts her hand over her head.

Rieko: “Get out of here! And turn off that damn light. I don’t want to see you anymore. GO!”

Suzu and Yuka are in their bedroom, they’re sleeping next to each other, holding each other. Yuka is crying while also touching the red spot where Suzu was slapped.

Yuka: “Does it hurt much?"

Suzu: “It’s okay. I'm used to it."

Yuka: "She didn't used to do that."

Suzu: "Things are different now..."

Yuka: "I don't want her to do that."

Suzu: "Shhh, Don't worry any more. Just try to calm down and get some sleep. You’ve got a big day tomorrow. Are you nervous for the prefectural championship?”

Yuka: “No, not really…”

Suzu: “It’s okay to be scared, we all get scared sometimes.”

Yuka: “I was scared tonight."

Suzu: “I know, me too.”

Young Suzu (teenage) and young Yuka (5) come into the house together, laughing:

Suzu: “ amazing Yuka, I’m so proud of you. First place in the prefectural championship and a spot in the national finals! I knew you could do it!”

Rieko: “Shut up!”

They look up at this to see their mom lying on the couch, surrounded by more beer and sake bottles on the table and floor. We never see her face clearly in this scene.

Rieko: “My head hurts like a sonuvabitch, and you come in here screaming nonsense.”

Suzu: "It’s not nonsense, mom, Yuka won first place at the prefectural math championship! She even beat out the kids going into middle-school.”

Yuka slowly, sheepishly goes over to her mom to show her the certificate. Reiko yanks it out of Yuka's hands. She stares at it blankly.

Rieko: “So what, am I supposed to be impressed? Will this do anything? Will this pay the bills?”

Suzu: “Mom, how can you say that? She’s a genius.”

Rieko turns away from them and says quietly:

Reiko: “So was he…”

She’s lost in thought for a moment. She then proceeds to take the cigarette out of her mouth and light the paper on fire.

Yuka: “Wha...”

Suzu: “MOM!”

Suzu grabs it from her and quickly runs it to the kitchen and douses it with water. It’s just a damp, half-burned, runny mess in the sink.

Suzu: “How could you do that to Yuka? She worked so hard to earn this. You should be proud of her. You should be a mother to her!”

Rieko gets up slowly but purposefully and staggers over menacingly to Suzu with a devilish look in her eye (as always, most of her face is obscured, so we only catch glimpses - it's important for the reader not to know what she looks like at this time). She grabs Suzu by the shoulders and throws her back into the wall.

                Rieko: "You bitch!"

Suzu is dazed. Rieko walks over and begins slapping Suzu over and over again while she's against the wall. Yuka is pleading with her to stop, sobbing and begging.

Yuka: “Stop, stop, don’t hurt Suzu, don’t hurt her! Stop hurting her!”

There’s a brilliant flash of light, but then things fade to black and we have a couple black panels in a row.

(to be continued...)

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