In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 21

"In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" is my yuri comic. But I can't draw, so until I find an artist who wants to collaborate (do you?), you'll have to settle for reading the scripts. I hope you enjoy.

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

Chapter 21

"A Place To Call Home - Part 1"

Wednesday, May 13th (use the dates throughout):
Eriko is awake but still in bed. She rolls from side to side, eventually looking at a clock which shows that it’s after 9am.

Eriko (to herself): “They’re already in classical Japanese class by now. I wonder if she’s paying attention at all?”

Some recalled images of Yuka looking out the classroom window, not paying attention, her hair lightly haloing her head in the backlighting, she turns and smiles. Eriko blushes at the thought.

Eriko (to herself) “Why do you do that to me? ARGHHHHH! I don’t get it.”

But Eriko is still smiling at these thoughts anyway. She tosses and turns a few more times, pulls the blankets over her head.

We see scenes of her helping Heizo in his shop, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, walking around town during the day, etc...

It’s night time now, she’s eating dinner with Heizo. They watch some TV together. She sits on the back stoop looking up at the sky.

Thursday, May 14th:
It’s the next morning, she’s still in bed, rolls over, the clock shows 8:43am, she rolls over and goes back to sleep.

Scenes of her grocery shopping, more scenes working the front desk of the shop, night time and she’s just laying in her bed with the moonlight coming through the window.

Friday, May 15th:
It’s the next day (3rd of her suspension), she’s asleep outside under the overpass by the canal.

Next she’s lying on the floor of her room staring at the ceiling, it’s only the early afternoon (on the clock), she’s clearly bored. Next she’s eating dinner with Heizo, they’re watching more TV at night.

Saturday, May 16th:
It’s morning again, it’s early, only 7:30ish.

Eriko (to herself): “ early! What day is it?”

She rolls over, pulls the covers over her head, rolls around, throws them off, and finally gets up.

She comes into the kitchen. It's empty, Heizo is elsewhere.

Heizo (from another room): “Oh, you’re up early for a Saturday!”

Eriko: “Hmmm...too much sleep lately.”

Heizo (to himself): “Hmmm, it has been calm lately, at night...”

Heizo (from another room): “There’s some food ready, just heat it up and get some rice out of the cooker.”

Eriko peeks around the corner at him.

Eriko: “Umm, thank you. I’m not hungry. I’m going out.”

Heizo has a sly look.

Heizo: “You’ve been going out a lot this week. Is that really allowed when you’re suspended?”

Eriko: “I’m sorry. I won’t go out...if it would trouble you.”

Heizo: “Ho ho! You may not believe this, but I'm sure you had a good reason for what you did. It’s not for me to decide whether you should stay in or go out. I trust you.”

Eriko is a bit shocked.

Eriko: “Oh...Ummm, thank you.”

Eriko puts on her shoes and leaves the house. Heizo goes back to working.

Heizo (to himself): “Oh Eriko-chan! What on earth is going on with you? Some days I feel like you’ve come so far, and others I worry that you’re slipping back to what you were like when I found you. Where will you end up...?"

Outside, Eriko is on the road, she turns back to look at the front door of Heizo’s shop before turning again and walking down the street.

Eriko (to herself): "Coming and going from's starting to feel normal. So different than back then..."

March 28th:
Eriko and Heizo on a train together. They're coming back from the hospital (even though we don't know it yet) and she's wearing strange fitting clothes that are too small and old fashioned (we find out later they were borrowed from his deceased wife). Eriko’s hair is still very very long (unlike current time where it's long but not crazy long). Eriko is sitting on the train looking hyper-vigilant, always on guard. Heizo is just calmly dozing. The city passes by out the windows. It's dusk with a beautiful yellow/orange light coming through the windows. People are getting on and off the train at various stops. There’s a space left around Eriko that no one is really entering (but Heizo is right next to her none the less) like people are avoiding her as well as a metaphorical separation from others. There is bustle around them while they are like the eye of the storm.

Next we see them walking up to Heizo’s shop after getting off the train at the local station.

Heizo: “Well, this is it. It’s not much, but I hope you’ll call it home until you sort things out.”

He goes to open the door and walks in. She’s still standing outside on the sidewalk.

Heizo (said kindly): “It’s okay, come in...or don’t. I’ll still be here...and I’ll still call this your home either way.”

He walks in. She’s just standing outside. She has the eyes of a wild animal, fearful, darting, cautious, hungry, scared. She looks down the street. She takes a half turn and step as if to walk away and not enter the house. She stops, looks up and out into the distance, drops her head. Then she turns back and walks into the house/shop. (She standing in the same spot as current day when she left the house in the morning).
[End Flashback]

Saturday, May 16th:
Aiko and Yuka are driving down the street to Heizo’s house to bring Eriko her homework. (Being chauffeured in a town car)

Aiko: “Remind me again why we’re up so early?”

Aiko (to herself): “And why I’m going with you?”

Yuka just smiles a cute/devilish smile at her. They arrive at Heizo’s shop. Yuka is about to knock on the door. Yuka has a quick flashback of Eriko coming out of the principal’s office after the suspension and the angry look. Suddenly Yuka pauses before the entrance to Eriko's home and looks down shyly.

Aiko: “You can just leave it if you want.”

Yuka looks up at Aiko, turns to the door and knocks defiantly. Heizo opens the door. Yuka is just staring in wonder at the old man.

Heizo: “Yes, how can I help you young ladies?”

Aiko steps around Yuka.

Aiko: “Is Arishima-san home?”

Heizo: “Oh, yes, yes, you must be Eriko-chan’s friends. You came a while back! Come in, come in.”

He’s hustling/scooting them in before Aiko can even object.

Heizo: “Sit, sit, I’ll get you some tea. Ho ho, young visitors!”

The last line is mostly muttered to himself in joy.

Aiko and Yuka are sitting at the table in the main room, looking around at all the junk piled up, the work bench, the little TV, the magnifying glass light, they can see him in the kitchen. He comes out and brings them tea and sits with them. It’s quiet and contemplative, not uncomfortable, as they eat and drink. After a while:

Aiko: “We brought Arishima-san’s work from class."

Heizo: “I’m so sorry, she isn’t actually here right now. But you are welcome to wait for her to get back.”

Aiko (to herself): “You should have just told us that at the beginning!"

Aiko: “Will she be gone long? We don’t need to impose on your kindness, we can leave it and go.”

Heizo: “Ho ho! You’re not imposing.”

Heizo: (muttering to himself) “But how long will she be gone? Hmmm, that is always the question with her, isn’t it?”

March 31st:
It’s the middle of the night. Heizo is asleep in his chair. Eriko’s bedroom is completely empty other than a futon (to show that it is early in her time here and she hasn’t yet made the room her own or even gotten her bed), it's messy but she’s not in it. The phone rings, it startles Heizo awake.

Heizo: “Hello.”

Phone: “Is this Heizo Arishima-san?”

Heizo: “Yes, how may I help you?”

Phone: “This is the X police precinct. We’ve got a young lady here who says she lives with you. She won’t give us her name but she finally gave us your number.”

Heizo: “Oh my, is she alright?”

Phone: “She was involved in some trouble tonight. Can you come down to the station?”

Heizo arrives at the main desk of the police station.

Heizo: “Hello, I received a call to pick up my...a young lady who is in my charge.”

                The officer is nearly asleep (he's the overnight desk clerk)

Officer: “Oh yes, right this way, the detective would like to speak to you.”

They walk back and Heizo sits at the desk of a grumpy, grizzled, veteran officer (cigarettes, coffee, messy desk, etc...).

Detective: “For the record, are you Heizo Arishima-san and are you her guardian?”

Heizo: “Yes, well, not formally her guardian, but she lives with me.”

Detective: “And what is her name? She refused to tell us.”

Heizo: “It’s, uhhh....”

Heizo looks around, sees a file on the corner of the desk with the name “Eriko” on it.

Detective: “Could you speak up?”

Heizo: “Eriko...Eriko Arishima, yes that’s it! She’s a distant relative on my brother’s side, she’s staying with me while she finishes high school.”

                The detective looks at him, not really believing the story.

Detective: “Is that so? Well, she was involved in some pretty serious violence tonight.”

Heizo: “Oh my! Is she okay, what happened?”

Detective: “She's fine, it’s the other guys you need to worry about. Seems she was out in the city and ran into some men looking for a good time. Apparently she refused to go with them. From what we can tell, they started the trouble, but she ended up giving them a pretty sound beating. One is still in the hospital as we speak.”

Heizo: “Is he going to be okay?”

Detective: “I’m sure he’ll pull through. But you don’t seem that shocked that she fended off three men by herself?”

Heizo then pretends to be surprised in a very obviously faking it manner.

Heizo: “Oh...oh, yes, yes, how lucky she was! I can’t imagine how she could have done that!”

The detective gives him a wry eye.

Detective: “Yes, she was lucky. But what was she doing out that late all alone? If you’re her guardian, shouldn’t you be watching her more closely?”

Heizo (with mock sincerity): “Yes sir, you are absolutely right. I will reflect on my actions.”

Detective: “Hmmph.”

Heizo: “Is that all officer?”

Detective: “For now. I’ll have her brought out and you can take her home. We’ll call if we have any more questions.”

She’s brought out by another officer.

Detective: “Eriko Arishima, you are free to go, but watch yourself out there. You hurt someone like that again and it won’t matter why you did it. Do you understand?”

Eriko ignores him and looks at Heizo in wide-eyed shock.

Eriko: “E...Eriko?”

Heizo: “Yes, Eriko-chan...let’s go home and get you cleaned up.”

They’re walking out of the building now.

Eriko speaks softly, shyly, almost to herself, trying it on for size.

Eriko: “Eriko....Eri...ko?”

Heizo: “Well, they asked for a name. It was the first one I thought of! I hope it’s okay with you?”

Eriko: “'s fine.”

Eriko (to herself): “I guess I did need a name.”

Heizo: “I was worried you weren’t coming back.”

They’re walking in silence for a bit. They arrive at the train station. They're standing waiting for the train to arrive. Eriko turns to him.

Eriko: “ummm...sorry...for troubling you.”

Heizo turns to her.

Heizo: “Eriko-chan....ha! I like the sound of that. But anyway, Eriko-chan, let me say this to you: you are not a trouble to me. Until you know where you want to go, who you are, and what happened, you are welcome to call me family.”

Eriko blushes slightly, and turns her head away.

Heizo (to himself): “Maybe even after you figure things out, you’ll still think of me that way.”

Heizo: “Well, now that you have a name, maybe it’s time we got you set up for school. Can’t have you terrorizing the town every night! I have a friend who runs a very good school. I’ll give him a call tomorrow.”

Eriko: “School!?”

Heizo: “I wonder how old you really are?"

He studies her, trying to figure it out.

Heizo: "Looking at you, I have this funny feeling that you know a lot more than any school can teach you, but it might be good for you. Maybe you’ll make some friends, take the edge off, maybe even help your memory come back.”

Eriko (quietly, almost to herself): “Friends...”
[Flashback Ends]

Back to the present. It's the same day that Yuka and Aiko visited Heizo. Eriko is walking along the streets (it's why she's not at home). She gets to the canal with the overpass. Her second favorite spot to go. She’s standing on the path on the top of the bank, not actually going down by it. She’s watching people walk by with their dogs or coming back from the market. She sees some small flowers amongst the grass and weeds. She thinks of Yuka a bit, especially the scene of Yuka holding her hand on the flower while on the fieldtrip (from the earlier chapter). She blushes and smiles a little at the memory. She looks down at the long-sleeve shirt covering her arms.

Eriko (to herself): "So disgusting underneath these clothes..."

She hugs her arms in tight, nearly doubling over, then arches her back and looks up into the sun, her hair flying behind her. A tear running down her cheek and neck.

March 30th:
It’s early morning (her second morning and third day since arriving to live with Heizo). The sun is just rising. Eriko wakes up in her futon in her still empty room. (Her hair is now shorter – still long, but the current length, not the it's never been cut before length)

Eriko (To herself): “It didn’t happen last night. Thank god....But...It’s morning already. What am I going to do? He said...”

Flashback (within the flashback) to Heizo suggesting they go clothes shopping.
[Heizo: “I’ll put out some more of Kinuko’s clothing. But, I suppose we’ll have to get you some of your own. Tomorrow maybe?”]

[Eriko: “T...Tomorrow?”]

[Heizo: “Yes, tomorrow. We can go out to the shops and...”]

Back to current scene (but still in flashback to Mar. 30th), Eriko is blushing and a bit angry/obstinate.

Eriko (to herself): “How can I keep depending on that old man this way, after all he’s already done for me? I’m so useless. He doesn’t even know me...I don’t know who I am, I don’t know why I’m here, and I’m letting that old man take care of me...stupid...pitiful...”

She gets up, picks up some of Kinuko’s clothing and looks at it, puts on the borrowed clothes which don’t fit quite right (Eriko is a too tall and lanky for them), and sneaks out of the house quietly. Heizo is still in his room, but he’s awake and hears her leaving, hears the door opening and closing.

Eriko (in her ill-fitting borrowed clothes) is out walking, it’s still early, so there really isn’t anyone out. She walks past a dog which barks at her, she jumps a little into a defensive attack pose, then gives it a death stare. The dog whimpers into submission and she keeps walking.

She passes by the fence of a nursery school. There are children in the courtyard playing. There are some boys running around. One of their hats falls off. As they are running, the boy with the hat off intentionally steps on a sand castle from one of the girls. She starts crying. Some of her friends come over to console her. The boy is off rough housing with his friends. One of the girls goes up to the teacher to complain, pointing at the boy and the sand castle. The teacher is scolding the boy. A loner girl playing by herself has witnessed all this, has found some worms in the dirt and in a bit of revenge, puts them in the hat of the boy who trampled the sand castle. She does this without ever having played with the other girl. She is always the loner – but wants to connect and she does it in her own way. Eriko sees this happening, the girl looks up and sees Eriko seeing her do it. Eriko just bows her head slightly (acknowledging the “good” deed). The girl puts on a stone face and turns and runs away.

Eriko eventually gets to the canal. The sun is still low in the sky (maybe around 8am) We see her laying on the ground under the overpass. The sun is higher now, she is asleep. The sun sets, it’s dusk. She wakes up and sits up.

She remembers Heizo asking from the night before: “I suppose we’ll have to get you some of your own. Tomorrow maybe?”

Eriko (to herself): “Sorry.”

It's really late now, the door to Heizo's shop opens but the person coming in is in shadow. It's Eriko slowly making her way into the house, quietly. She gently takes her shoes off. She tiptoes through the main room, but Heizo is in his chair, sleeping, except he secretly opens an eye as she walks past and has a small smile at seeing her.

Heizo (to himself): “So you did come back. That’s a good start.”

Eriko goes to her room (still sparse, just the futon and cover), there sitting next to the futon are a few shopping bags (like the paper ones with handles from nice stores). She looks around in confusion (like: “what, are these for me?”), kneels down and opens one. She pulls out a pretty long sleeve shirt (it’s the same one that she touched in present day when she was at the canal). She blushes some more, hugs the shirt tight against her, and starts silently crying and shaking.
                [Flashback Ends]

(to be continued...)

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