In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 37

"In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" is a yuri comic I wrote. I can't draw, so I'm publishing the scripts here in weekly installments. I hope you enjoy!

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

Chapter 37

A large manicured psychiatric hospital building seen from the outside at a distance. This is the same building Aiko visited several chapters ago. People in wheelchairs are being escorted around the lush front grounds by orderlies. We see a close-up shot of the front nameplate which shows it’s the “XXXXX Psychiatric Hospital” (or something like that).

Inside we see a windowed secured entrance in a grand old lobby. People are being buzzed in and IDs checked. Past this we see long rows of windows in a high ceilinged room with people in bathrobes and hospital gown sitting in chairs staring out of the windows, listless, lifeless.

We see some people engaged in games of chess or Go or Othello, or cards, or similar types of games. We see other people clearly languishing in silent dementia. We see rooms of people silently sitting around a single old TV, barely paying attention. There are occasional doctors or nurses or orderlies moving people around, having conversations, giving medications, etc... This is not necessarily a bad place, just quiet and slow and supporting very psychiatrically ill people.

We’re inside a room and we see a slender woman, with silver streaks through somewhat thin dark hair sitting in a chair by a bed looking out the window. Light gauzy curtains blow in a delicate wind. Her eyes are vacant; she's not really looking at anything. There is a knock on the door. The woman doesn’t turn towards it, she remains motionless. The door slowly opens. We see that it’s Aiko entering the room.

Aiko: “Hi mom.”

In the classroom. Hatsue is sitting in front of Eriko, turned around to face her. Eriko has her head down on her desk again. She’s looking particularly beat-up today.

Hatsue (to herself): “Should I ask her about the injuries? I don’t want to seem nosy, but I wonder what trouble she gets into when she’s not with us. Do I really want to know?”

Hatsue: “Are you okay? It doesn’t look like you slept well?”

Eriko (not unkindly): “Its nothing, I’m fine....Thank you.”

Hatsue (to herself): “I hope you'll tell me in time. Just don’t get yourself into any real trouble, whatever it is you’re doing.”

Hatsue: “I’m going to try and go shopping after school, want to come?”

Eriko: “Walking?”

Hatsue: “No, not yet, Tetsu is driving, but Shibata-san will be there too.”

Eriko: “You’re getting along then?”

Hatsue: “'s actually pretty cute, the way she likes Tetsu so much.”

Eriko looks up and gives a small, kind smile.

Eriko: “I’m glad.”

Hatsue (to herself): “How could Kiyoura-chan not fall for her when she can make that sort of face?”

The bell rings.

Hatsue: “Think about it okay?”

Eriko acknowledges and puts her head back down.

Eriko: “hmmm."

At the shoe lockers at the end of the day.

Hatsue: “So, will you come, Eriko-chan?”

Eriko: “I should study...for the finals. I...I missed so much time.”

Hatsue: “You don't want to have to take summer classes.”

Eriko: “I...I hadn’t thought of that!”

Hatsue; “Hahahahahaha, besides, if you spend all your time in make-up classes, you’ll miss going down to the shore, a chance to wear your new bikini...”

Eriko displays mock fury and cuts her off.

Eriko: “Only you’d wear something like that!”

Hatsue: “You mean, you weren’t just thinking of frolicking with Kiyoura-chan at the beach?”

Eriko blushes and waves her arms in front of her.

Eriko: “No, no, that’s not what...”

Hatsue: “Hahaha, calm down, calm down.”

Eriko: “But anyway, wouldn’t be able to join us at the beach...isn’t that too many people for you?”

Hatsue: “Well, you’re probably right. I don’t want to push things too far yet. But that shouldn’t stop you from going.”

Eriko: “I have to actually pass the finals first.”

Hatsue: “So it is all about the frolicking then?!”

Eriko makes a mean look, then hits Hatsue with her bag, and they start laughing.

Eriko is waving goodbye to Hatsue as Hatsue drives off in Tetsu’s car. Shibata Megumi is waving back from the front seat as well.

Eriko (to herself): “I’m glad for them. But I’m still worried what will happen to Ha-chan if he gets married though and moves out. Keep fighting Ha-chan!”

Yuka runs up towards Eriko from behind. Just as she’s coming up, Aiko yells out to her from the front of the school.

Aiko: “Yuka!”

Hearing Aiko, Yuka turns to look at her and ends up crashing into Eriko. They’re both on the ground holding their heads, Eriko is still facing the other way though and doesn’t know that it was Yuka who ran into her.

Eriko: “What the hell?!”

She turns with a violent look in her eyes, but then notices its Yuka and blushes looking into her eyes.

Eriko: “I...I mean...Are, are you okay?”

Yuka gives her a big smile back and holds a book out for her.

Eriko: “Oh, is this mine?”

Yuka nods affirmatively.

Eriko: “I must have left it, you had to bring it out.”

Yuka nods back and forth like “it’s no problem.”

Aiko catches up to them and helps Yuka up.

Aiko: “You’re a mess! Let's go, the driver should be here by now.”

Yuka gets up and dusts off and waves goodbye to Eriko. They walk past Eriko who is now also standing up. Aiko speaks to Eriko quietly as they pass so Yuka can't hear what she says.

Aiko: “You’d better pass, don’t make her worry about you.”


Hatsue: “Shi...Shibata-san, I don’t think I can do this.”

We’re staring up at a huge mall with people swarming everywhere. Hatsue is sweating and panicked already.

Tetsu: “Ha-chan, you don’t have to push yourself. Megumi-chan knows everything. It’s okay if you can’t go in.”

Megumi (Shibata): “Don’t listen to him. He just wants you all to himself. I’m trying to give you the world!”

Megumi spreads her arms wide in a gesture to emphasize that statement. Then she turns and makes a silly face at Tetsu, Tetsu makes a silly face back.

Hatsue (to herself): “They’re cute together, aren’t they?”

Hatsue: “I...I don’t know...there’s so many people.”

Megumi: “We’re right here by your side.”

Hatsue: “O...Okay...let’s....”

Things start to go blurry.

Tetsu: “Ha-cha....”

Then it goes all black.

Hatsue wakes up in Tetsu’s arms as he is gently laying her in the front seat of his car (it’s his fancy two-seater with fold down front seats so people can get into the back, Megumi will be sitting behind Tetsu’s side since Hatsue’s front seat is tipped back to allow her to lay down).

Hatsue: “What...happened?”

Megumi: “Hmmm, I guess I pushed you too hard. I’m sorry Hatsue-chan.”

Hatsue: “No, no, Shibata-san, it wasn’t you...I...”

Tetsu: “It’s okay, it was a good try. I’m proud of you.”

Megumi: “We both are.”

Eriko is in her bedroom, sitting on her bed, using the house phone to talk to Hatsue.

Eriko: “I’m sorry I wasn’t there.”

Hatsue: “Don't be, you've already done so much. I have to stop relying on everyone else. I'm just going to keep trying to get used to the world again.”

Eriko (to herself): “You really are so strong Ha-chan.”

Hatsue: “Anyway, how did the studying go?”

Eriko: “mmm, I ended up helping in the shop...instead”

Hatsue: “You’re never going to get to the beach this way.”

Eriko: “It’’s not about the beach!”

Hatsue: “I know! Why don’t you ask Kiyoura-chan to help you study again?”

Eriko starts sounding expasperated but trails off quietly by the end.

Eriko: “What?! I...I couldn’t do that.”

Hatsue: “Why not, kill two birds with one stone, spend some time with her and pass your finals? It worked before.”

Eriko: “She...she’s got better things to do...”

Hatsue: “What, than spend time with the girl she loves?”

Eriko: “L...Loves!? There’s...there’s no way.”

Hatsue: “No way huh? It really will be hopeless if you don’t start believing in yourself more.”

Eriko (to herself): "Believe...what is there to believe about myself?"

We see/hear a phone ring and an older male hand reach over to answer it. We see that person from behind talking on the phone in a rich expensive office fit for a high executive. We don't see his face at first until after he identifies himself.

Jutaro Okumura (Aiko’s dad): “This is Okumura.”

Voice on phone: “This is Dr. M from the XXX Psychiatric Hospital. I’ve been working on your wife’s case recently.”

Okumura: “Yes, get on with it.”

Voice on phone: “I’m sorry to say but recently your wife has been experiencing fewer moments of lucidity. We would like to start her on a trial of...”

Jutaro cuts him off.

Okumura: “Fine, do whatever you want.”

Voice on phone: “Of course, but I needed to speak with you about a few side effects that may come up with...”

Okumura: “You’re the doctor, do what you feel is necessary and do not disturb me for such trivial things. Good day.”

He hangs up the phone and goes about finishing paperwork, signing things, etc...

Aiko and Yuka are sitting on a bench under a tree outside a building.

Aiko: “How did I let you talk me into this?”

Yuka just gives a funny shrug.

Aiko: “You and I don’t even need extra study for these exams.”

Aiko (to herself): “I know that’s not the point, at least not for you. I only came so that I can babysit and keep things from getting any worse.”

Aiko: “Anyway, where are those two? It’s bad enough we have to waste our day helping them study, the least they could do is show up on time.”

From down the street, we see two figures walking towards Aiko and Yuka.

Aiko: “What on earth is that?”

As the figures get closer, it’s clear that one is Eriko and the other is Hatsue in her hoodie, sunglasses, surgical mask, and baseball hat disguise.

Eriko and Hatsue arrive in front of Aiko and Yuka.

Hatsue: “Sorry to keep you waiting.”

Aiko: “What’s with that getup?”

Hatsue: “Well, I...”

Eriko: “Leave it. She’s trying.”

Aiko: “It’s hard to tell whether she’s succeeding or failing.”

Eriko starts to get red and angry, about to say something back.

Eriko: “Hold on...”

But there’s a stifled laugh and then full-on laughing – it’s Hatsue. Suddenly Yuka starts laughing (silently).

Hatsue: "HAHAHAHA you're right, you're so right!"

Deflated, Aiko and Eriko look confused at those two and drop their antagonism of each other. Aiko turns to walk into the building.

Aiko: “Let’s get this over with.”

Scenes of the group studying in the library. Yuka and Aiko next to each other, Eriko across from Yuka, Hatsue across from Aiko. Eriko and Yuka periodically look up over their books and make eyes at each other and blush. Aiko gets annoyed watching this.

                Aiko (to herself): "It's sickening."

Eriko turns to Hatsue to ask a question.

Eriko: “I...I don’t really understand this one.”

Hatsue (to herself): “Perfect!”

Hatsue: “I don’t know this one either. Kiyoura-chan, will you help Eriko-chan?”

Yuka nods readily and gets up and comes around and sits next to Eriko, Eriko blushes at the proximity as Yuka leans over to see.

Eriko: “Oh,’’s this one...”

Aiko (to herself): “Are you shy or is it an act? I don't get you."

Eriko and Yuka both go to reach for the pencil at the same time and their fingers touch. Eriko pulls her hand back quickly. Yuka scoots her chair closer to Eriko, grabs the pencil and works on the problem. Eriko can scarcely even pay attention because of how close Yuka is.

Eriko (to herself): “She’s so close. I can feel her body heat.”

Yuka is looking up at her expectantly having gotten ready for Eriko to do work. Eriko looks down and notices the problem is done.

Eriko (flustered): “I...I’m sorry, I...I wasn’t paying attention.”

Aiko turns away in disgust at their display.

Aiko: “Ughhh”

Hatsue is giggling to herself, trying to hold it in. Yuka just nods her head slightly and smiles, and starts doing the problem again, slowly and looking up each time to check with Eriko, being a kind and patient teacher.

Hatsue: (to herself): “It’s so perfect! What does Kiyoura-chan really think about Eriko? I wonder...”

Aiko: “I’m going to get something to drink”

Aiko is at the vending machine in a hallway of the library, she’s standing there, drink in hand.

Aiko: “Arghhhhh!”

She kicks the vending machine. Hatsue comes up from out of sight.

Hatsue: “Not very lady like.”

Aiko: “Why do you keep pushing them together?”

Hatsue: “They’re my friends, and they clearly love each other, I’m just giving them a little nudge.”

Aiko: “Love? You’re the expert in that alright. You think what they feel is love?”

Hatsue: “I...I guess I’m not one to talk...”

Aiko feels badly at having hurt Hatsue by bringing up her past trauma but moves on quickly.

Aiko: “Besides, what do you really know about either of them?”

Hatsue: “I guess I don’t, not really. But...”

Aiko: “But what?”

Hatsue: “But, they’ve both shown me more real kindness than anyone outside of my family. That’s enough for me.”

Aiko (to herself): “Kindness...”

Aiko looks away and calms down a bit, leans back against the vending machine and stares out the window at the end of the little nook they are in.

Aiko: “And it doesn’t bother you that they’re both girls?”

Hatsue: “Not really. It bothers you doesn’t it?”

Aiko (to herself): “Probably not for the reasons you think.”

Aiko: “It will only make Yuka’s life that much harder. She’s got enough challenges to overcome.”

Hatsue: “Are you sure they’re really hardships?”

Aiko: “You have no idea what she’s been through, what it’s taken to get her here, to keep her going!”

Hatsue (to herself): “Her...or you?”

Hatsue: “I’m just saying, maybe you should let Kiyoura-chan decide what she can handle. She might surprise you.”

Aiko (to herself): “She always surprises me.”

Aiko: “Whatever, I’m going back. We’ve left them alone long enough.”

They come up and see Yuka and Eriko studying, their chairs are close, their heads are closer; they’re blushing and smiling at each other as they work. The light is coming through the big picture windows into the library illuminating the dust like little stars. It’s a cute and intimate and beautiful and simple scene.

Aiko waits a moment at the threshold to the room, watching, Hatuse standing behind her. Then Aiko enters and sits down in a bit of a huff, making a bit too much noise for the library and shaking the other two out of their reverie.

Aiko: “Are you almost done?”

Eriko awakening from the moment.

Eriko: “Um, yes...I think"

She turns to Yuka.

Eriko: "Thank you, um...Kiyoura-san...for helping me.”

Yuka is smiling huge and shaking her head 'yes' and she grabs Eriko’s two hands in hers in congratulations at Eriko's success. Eriko is shocked, see's others there, and blushes and pulls her hands back behind her back.

Hatsue: “So what should we do when Eriko-chan passes? Maybe we could go somewhere to celebrate?”

Yuka is shaking her head 'yes' vigorously.

Eriko: “What...where?”

Hatsue: “What about that new amusement park?”

Eriko: “But, how will you do....with the crowds, I mean?”

Aiko: “Yeah, it’s not like your disguise is going to be much help. You can barely even walk down the street now.”

Hatsue: “Just you watch! Getting there will be like my final exam. You’ll keep helping me study for it, right Eriko-chan?”

Eriko: “’ll pass...I know you will.”

Aiko: "Disgusting."

Eriko, Hatsue and Yuka (silently) all start laughing at Aiko when the librarian shushes them.

Librarian: “Excuse me ladies, please respect the other patrons”

Hatsue: “Yes, yes, sorry.”

Aiko: “I’m going now. Yuka?”

They’re outside now, Hatsue waves goodbye as Aiko and Yuka walk away in one direction. Yuka looks back and waves. Eriko shyly waves back standing with Hatsue.

Hatsue: “So when are you going to confess?”

Eriko (coughing): “Co...Confess!?”

Hatsue: “It’s a little cliché, but maybe when you’re on the Ferris wheel?”

Eriko: “ you really think?...what would she say?”

Hatsue: “You don’t know until you try. Are you really okay if things just stayed the way they are now?"

Eriko (to herself): "I get to be with her now, but I want...more."


Teacher: “Akutagawa-san?”

The teacher hands out a graded test to a student.

Akutagawa: “Yes, thank you”

Teacher: “Arishima-san?”

Eriko goes up to get her paper. Hatsue is nervously closing her eyes and crossing her fingers wishing Eriko good luck. Yuka is looking up expectantly. Eriko looks at the paper as she is walking back to her seat. Her face is pale and drawn, she’s in shock.

Aiko (to herself): “I knew it, there’s no way she’d pass. She’ll have to take the extra classes now. Serves her right.”

Eriko sits down in her seat, stunned. Hatsue turns around.

Hatsue: “I can’t take it anymore, how’d you do?”

Yuka leans over the aisle to see/hear.

Eriko: “I...I...I passed.”

She shows the papers for each test and she scored in the low 70s on them all.

Aiko (outloud): “I don’t believe it!”

Hatsue breaks out laughing.

Hatsue: “That’s amazing Eriko-chan! You did it. Amusement park, here we go!”

At the psychiatric hospital.

Nurse: “Okumura-san, it’s time for your medication. May I come in?”

Just silence. The nurse knocks again. All of a sudden there is a clank and a bang (we see a tray fall to the ground in the room).

Nurse: “Okumura-san? Okumura-san?! I’m going to come in now, please excuse me.”

The nurse opens the door to see Aiko’s mom having a full seizure on the ground, with blood pooling under her head.

Nurse: “DOCTOR! Help, someone help!”

Eriko, in the bathtub.

Eriko (to herself): “I can’t believe I really passed them all on the first try. It was all thanks to her. Are we really going to go out this weekend? Like a What should I wear? Should I wear a skirt? That might be too embarrassing...I...I wonder what she’ll wear?”

Eriko flashes back to Hatsue’s question about confessing.

Hatsue: “So when are you going to confess?”
                [Flashback ends]

She splashes water on her face to calm down.

Eriko (to herself): “I couldn’t possibly confess. I...I really do think I love her...but, I still don’t know how she feels about me. I mean...she wears that necklace every day...and the way her eyes always find mine...and when she touches my fingers...but...maybe that’s just me...maybe she’s just being a friend. But, I don’t feel that with Ha-chan. Arghhhhh, I don’t know...”

Eriko flashes back to Hatsue’s second question about whether she’s really okay with things as they are now.

Hatsue: "Are you really okay if things just stayed the way they are now?"
[Flashback ends]

Eriko (to herself): “Am I allowed to want more? With all the baggage I have...with all the things I don’t know about myself...I really might hurt her...I already have hurt her...but...but...I do want more. Is that wrong?”

She just sinks under the water.

Aiko is sitting in a waiting room. She is silent, looking off to the side.

Man’s voice: “Aiko.”

Aiko looks over to see her father standing there. Aiko replies dispassionately.

Aiko: “When did you get back?”

Jutaro Okumura (Aiko’s dad): “This had better be important. I had to cancel several very important meetings to be here.”

Nurse: “Excuse me, the doctor will see you now.”

In the doctor’s office.

Doctor: “...lowers the seizure threshold. Given how long she was on these medications, it was only a matter of time.”

Aiko: “How is she now?”

Doctor: “When she fell, she hit her head causing both internal and external bleeding. We rushed her into surgery and she appears stabilized for the time being. But we won’t know just what long-term damage might have occurred until all the swelling goes down.”

Aiko: “And when will that be?”

Doctor: “It’s hard to know, we’ll continue doing everything we can to make certain she is comfortable and monitor her progress. However, it may be time to consider may wish to make should there be more challenges in the future.”

Aiko: “What do you mean?”

The doctor turns to Jutaro.

Doctor: “Okumura-san, your wife faces a high risk of stroke and extensive brain damage as a result of this cerebral hemorrhage. We had to resuscitate her once this time, in the future it may require more extreme measures, have you considered...”

Jutaro interrupts.

Jutaro: “That’s quite enough. You say she hasn’t woken up?”

Doctor: “That’s correct.”

Jutaro: “And it is likely, that she might not wake up at all?”

Doctor: “Well, yes, that is a distinct possibility.”

Jutaro: “Then do what you will and do not bother me again.”

He starts to get up to leave

Doctor: “I understand how difficult this must be, but it’s not quite that simple...”

Jutaro again cuts the doctor off.

Jutaro: “You understand? Difficult? I have a multi-trillion yen corporation to run and you called me here because my insane wife is now in a coma and unlikely to wake up. I have all the power and all the money in the world. Can it change anything?”

Doctor: “I don’t get what, no it can’t.”

Jutaro: “Then I don’t need to be involved at all any more.”

Aiko: “Father!”

Jutaro: “She ceased being my wife years ago.”

Aiko: “She’s still my mother!”

Jutaro: “Then you deal with it.”

Doctor: “I’m afraid it doesn’t really work that way. If, as her husband, you fail to act, we will have to continue to provide support to her including full life support, even after brain death, if she requires it.”

Jutaro: “So I shall never be free of her...Do whatever you must. You know where to send the bills.”

He gets up and leaves, leaving Aiko and the Doctor in the office alone.

(to be continued...)

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