In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 45

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

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

Chapter 45
"Introductions and Invitations"

We see a cow made out of an eggplant and chopsticks and a horse made of cucumber and chopsticks being played with like toys. These are the traditional offerings for the shoryo-dana - or in this case, are to be placed on the alter with Yuka’s father’s picture. [Ed. note: The horse is to help the spirits of the dead arrive quickly for Obon and the cow is to help them depart slowly at the end.]

Suzu: “Okay, okay, time to stop playing with those and put them on the altar.”

The camera/framing backs up to see that it is Yuka playing with the animals she has made and she lets out a big grin.

Suzu: “Well, you’ve certainly been in a good mood lately. What’s gotten into you?”

Suzu (to herself): “Not that I can’t guess.”

Yuka ignores her and puts the food-animals on the altar with the photo of their dad.

Suzu: “Here, help me hang these lanterns.”

They assemble and hang up some lanterns above the alter.

Suzu: “Looks pretty good, huh?”

Yuka nods an enthusiastic 'yes.' She rings the bell three times. They clap their hands and pray for a moment.

Suzu: “Alright, let’s go, time to visit father.”

Suzu (to herself): “I wonder if anyone else has been there.”

Hatsue, walking outside, looking a little sheepish. She's glancing around a bit at people passing. She's definitely still uncomfortable being outside alone.

Hatsue (to herself): “I think he said he had practice today.”

Hatsue comes up to the ball field where Toshi and his team are practicing. Hatsue stands at the fence, behind some plants that are partially obscuring the outfield fence and she’s peeking around them watching from the left field side of the outfield. We see some game action (it's an inter-squad practice).

Boy: “Alright Toshi-kun, you’re up next!”

Pitcher: “Think you can hit me Ishihara-san?”

Boy 2: “Be nice to your kohai!”

Pitcher: “I’ll show you nice!”

The pitcher lets a fastball right down the middle leaving Toshi swinging.

Boy: “Hahahahaha.”

Toshi calmly breaks the dirt off his cleats with the bat.

Pitcher: “Aren’t you the cool one?”

Toshi: “Don’t worry about me, just pitch.”

Pitcher: “You asked for it.”

The pitcher lets another one rip, Toshi doesn’t even swing.

Umpire: “Strike!”

Boy 3: “Come-on Ishihara, don’t let him get to you.”

Hatsue is leaning in to see, suddenly as she’s leaning, the plant she’s hiding behind gives way and she falls forward making noise. She quickly gets up and hides behind it again, but Toshi subtly notices her and gives a quiet little smile to himself. He steps up to the plate and calls his shot (by pointing his bat to the outfield fence where Hatsue is hiding).

Pitcher: “Oh, that’s the rudest thing you could have done. You’ve asked for it!”

Toshi nods to the pitcher. The pitcher turns red and lets one rip. Toshi swings, making perfect contact and sending it over the fence. Hatsue gasps in amazement.

Hatsue (to herself): “Amazing! He’s amazing!”

The ball lands beyond her in the street. She watches Toshi run the bases, he looks out in her direction as he nears third base, she slinks behind the bush again. Toshi crosses home plate.

Team captain: “You know what the penalty is for hitting a home run in practice, don’t you?”

Toshi: “Yeah, yeah, I’ll go get it.”

The captain then congratulates Toshi quietly as he jogs past.

Team captain: “Nice job kid.”

Hatsue sees Toshi jogging to the opening in the fence, she looks both ways to see how to escape from him. But, he’s there too soon. He's standing in front of her. They are both shy and blushing around each other.

Toshi: “Um, hi.”

Hatsue: “Oh, um, hi.”

Awkward silence between them.

Toshi: “I don’t suppose you saw the ball anywhere?”

Hatsue: “I think it’s over there.”

Toshi: “Oh, thanks.”

Toshi goes and retrieves the ball and starts to jog back. He looks over his shoulder at her as he’s leaving.

Toshi: “Um, tomorrow...”

Hatsue: “Tomorrow?”

Toshi: “The festival, I don’t’d want to meet me there, maybe?”

Hatsue: “”

Toshi: “That's okay...maybe some other time.”

Hatsue (quietly): “Okay.”

Toshi: “Right, bye then.”

He turns around dejectedly.

Hatsue: “No, I mean...”

Toshi turns back around to see her.

Hatsue: “...I’d like meet you there.”

Toshi lets out a huge smile.

Toshi: “Here, give me your phone. I’ll put my number in it so you can send me a place to meet.”

Hatsue hands over the phone and Toshi enters his email/phone number. Suddenly a shout from the field:

Random player: “Hey, loverboy, get back here, your side’s in the field.”

All the other players are watching Toshi and Hatsue and laughing. Toshi turns bright red, so does Hatsue. He shoves the phone back towards her and starts running back to the field. But just before he reenters the gate, he looks back and gives a little wave. She gives a little wave back and clutches the phone to her chest.

Kitchen in Arishima’s house. Eriko walks in to see Heizo preparing food.

Heizo: “Ah, Eriko-chan, here, help me bring this in.”

They carry the various foods and fruits in to the where Heizo has set up a shoryo-dana near the shrine with the picture of his wife.

Eriko: “What’s this?”

Heizo: “Didn’t your family ever make...I’m sorry.”

Eriko: “umm-mmm, it’s okay.”

Heizo is putting the foods and other items around when he starts a coughing fit.

Heizo: “Cough, cough”

Eriko: “Are you okay? Are you getting sick?”

Heizo: “No, no, I’m fine.”

He puts some more of things on the shoryo-dana. Eriko picks up the picture of his wife.

Heizo: “I’m going to clean their graves today. Would you come with me? I’d like to introduce you.”

Eriko looks up at him with slight bewilderment.

Heizo: “It’s only right for family members to meet each other.”

Eriko: “But I’m not...”

Heizo: “You are family. Come, come.”

He shuffles out of the room leaving Eriko to stare at the picture of his wife.

Yuka and Suzu are cleaning off the grave of their father and his father and mother and some other relatives. When they first arrive it’s a mess.

Suzu (to herself): “It’s still a mess. Looks like she didn’t come this year either. I don’t really know what I was expecting.”

Scenes of them washing it off (pouring water over it, scrubbing it with brushes, putting flowers on it, lighting incense). Yuka also playing with bugs that are crawling on it, butterflies landing on her hand, etc...

Suzu: “Do you remember him much?”

Yuka nods 'yes.'

Suzu: “I’m glad. I wish you had had a chance to meet grandpa too. You would have liked him. Dad was so much like him.”

Yuka looks up at her. Suzu sits down and Yuka does the same across from her.

Suzu: “Grandpa was a professor in a prestigious college. I think that’s where dad got his love of reading from. But, dad, well, I guess he didn’t want to follow grandpa into academics. I don’t know why, he always seemed to know everything and he was always teaching us about stuff. Grandma wasn’t happy when dad said he was going to go into computers. I think grandma thought it was a dead end!”

They’re both laughing.

Suzu: “I know, I know. But grandpa supported him. I guess I was about the same age when grandpa died as you were when dad died. But still, I remember visiting them, all the books, stacked everywhere in their house...”

Suzu is drifting off into thought. We see the faint outline of a person standing in the distance, watching them. The girls don’t notice the person. Yuka puts a hand on Suzu’s knee.

Suzu: “I’m sorry, maybe I shouldn’t bring these things up.”

Yuka nods 'no' as in: 'it’s okay, go on.'

Suzu: “Mom was always in the kitchen with grandma back then, but I don’t think grandma liked mom very much. One night, I overheard mom crying. Dad was consoling her. She was saying how it felt like grandma was always scolding her, that she would never be good enough to be his wife. I didn’t really understand it at the time.”

Just then, Yuka looks up, She sees someone in the distance, who quickly turns and disappears.

Suzu: “Yuka? What's wrong?”

Yuka gets up and starts to run towards where the person has been standing.

Suzu: “Yuka!? Yuka!?”

Suzu is following, eventually Yuka stops and is looking around, there are a few other families scattered around, tending to graves, but overall it is empty. She didn’t find who she was looking for.

Suzu: “What was it?”

Yuka just nods 'nothing.' Then looks up at Suzu and smiles.

Suzu: “Should we go? Maybe too many stories about dead people for one day.”

Suzu (to herself): “Although only dad is dead, the other might as well be.”

Eriko is standing under a tree while Heizo is cleaning off the grave of his wife and child (different cemetery than Yuka's father's). It’s a really small grave since all their prior relatives were buried in the hometown and they were so poor too.

Heizo: “Come over here, there’s someone I’d like you to meet.”

Eriko walks over to the grave.

Heizo: “Kinuko, Yasuo, this is Eriko-chan. She’s been the one keeping me from getting lonely.”

Eriko looks bewildered for a second and unsure what to do.

Eriko: “Um, it’s...nice to meet you.”

Heizo: “Hahaha. Now, now, Kinuko, don’t be jealous. I don’t think she’ll marry me even if I asked, so you don’t have to worry.”

He says this winking at Eriko who blushes and turns away making a face at him.

Heizo: “Ho ho ho, see, I told you she was fun to have around. Keeps me on my toes.”

Eriko: “ to she can hear you.”

Heizo: “That’s because she can.”

Eriko: “What?”

Heizo: “Just because someone has died, doesn’t mean they aren’t still with us. I tell her all about my life so that when we see each other again, we can pick up right where we left things.”

Eriko: “ did...”

Heizo: “Cough cough, sorry, what was that?”

Eriko: “How did you know?”

Heizo: “About Kinuko?”

Eriko: “mmm hmmm”

Heizo: “That’s always the easy part. When you meet someone and suddenly there is this gaping hole in you that you never noticed before and the only thing that can ever make you feel complete again is having them by your side, well, that’s when you know it’s love.”

Eriko: “ that.”

Heizo: “There’s also the love that creates a family.”

Eriko: “What do you mean?”

Heizo: “Family is a bond that no argument, no struggles, no sadness can ever break. You know it’s love when someone who was once a stranger becomes family just like your parents or siblings.”

Eriko (vacantly staring off): “Family...”

Heizo (to himself): “I feel like that about you Eriko-chan. You’ve become like a daughter to me, in such short time. But I don’t know if you are in a place to hear that yet. I don’t want to scare you away.”

Heizo: “I’m sure your family is out there, and miss you dearly. But, I hope I’ll do for now.”

Eriko: “I...I’m sorry...thank you for everything.”

Heizo: “No need to thank me, After all, I get to brag to all my friends about living with someone so young and pretty.”

Eriko: “Don’t say that in front of your wife!”

Heizo: “Ha ha ha ha, cough, cough...don’t worry, she’ll forgive me. Shall we go?”

They’re walking back through the cemetery. Eriko passes a grave monument and suddenly gets a sharp pain and a moment of blackness. She hears:

Voice: “Wait, please, nooooooooooo!”

She shakes her head. Heizo notices.

Heizo: “Are you alright?”

Eriko: “Yeah, I...I’m fine. It’s nothing.”

Heizo (to himself): “Will you ever get your answers? Just stay close so I can help you when you do.”

That night, Hatsue is on the phone with Eriko, both sitting or lying in their beds.

Hatsue: “Will you come with me?”

Eriko: “I still can’t believe you.”

Hatsue: “It’s all thanks to you.”

Eriko: “You’re really amazing, I...I wish I was like you.”

Hatsue: “Are you kidding! I’ve been trying to be more like you! That’s where I’ve been getting all my courage from. So will you come?”

Eriko: “I’d be a third wheel.”

Hatsue: “It’s just...”

Eriko: “What’s wrong?”

Hatsue: “There will be so many people, and I don’t really know him. What if...what if...”

Eriko: “Shhh, it’s okay, I’ll be there. I’ll always be there to keep you safe.”

Hatsue: “I promise, it won’t be like this forever. Besides, why don’t you invite Kiyoura-chan?”

Eriko: “I...I couldn’t.”

Hatsue: “I’ve noticed you two seem back to normal.”

Eriko: “You might have had something to do with that.”

Hatsue: “I don’t know what you’re talking about. So, will you call her?”

Eriko: “Ummm....okay.”

Hatsue squeals in delight at their cuteness and Eriko being willing to acknowledge and taking action with Yuka.

Hatsue: “AHHHHHH!"

The phone rings. Suzu picks it up.

Suzu: “Hello, Kiyoura residence.”

Eriko: “Um, hi, it’”

Suzu: “Eriko-chan! I’ve missed you. Where have you been?”

Eriko nearly drops the phone at the Suzu's excitement and exuberance before collecting herself.

Eriko: “Oh, um, a...around.”

Suzu: “You want to talk to Yuka?”

Eriko: “I, I guess.”

Suzu: “Okay, let me get her. Hold on.”

Suzu (to herself): “Hee hee, she called. I’m so glad. I shouldn't be relieved. I still don’t understand what happened at the beach.”

Suzu knocks on Yuka’s door. Yuka opens it sleepily, wiping her eyes.

Suzu: “Did you fall asleep at your desk again?”

Yuka just nods 'yes.'

Suzu: “This might wake you up....Eriko-chan is on the phone.”

Yuka looks up brightly, fully awake and holds out her hands with fingers wiggling for the phone.

Suzu: “Eriko-chan? Here’s Yuka, I’ll stay nearby in case she wants to say something, okay?”

Eriko: “Oh, um, okay.”

Eriko (to herself): “So embarrassing. I’m not sure I can do this, especially with Kiyoura’s sister listening.”

Eriko: “H...hi, Y...Yuka-chan?”


Eriko: “Um, Ha-chan and this...boy...they’re going to the festival tomorrow.”

Eriko (to herself): "Is she there? This is so hard."

Yuka is listening intently with the phone held in both hands, tight to her face. Her eyes are big, expectantly.

Eriko: “So, um...I’m help she’s”

Suzu (to herself): “Come on Eriko-chan, you can do this.”

Eriko: “Well...If you want...maybe you can...go too?”

Yuka shakes her head vigorously 'yes.' Suzu answers from nearby.

Suzu: “Eriko, she says she’d love to go.”

Eriko: “We’re going to the one in Ha-chan’s neighborhood. Is that okay?”

Yuka nods 'yes' again.

Suzu: “Looks like that should be fine.”

Eriko: “Oh, okay then, well...I guess we should meet there?”

Silence but Yuka is waiting with baited breath.

Eriko: “How about, at the entrance?”

Yuka nods 'yes' and hands the phone back to Suzu.

Suzu: “Okay, she’ll see you there at 8.”

Eriko: “umm, bye.”

Suzu: “Bye bye Eriko-chan. Don’t be a stranger, okay?”

Eriko: “Uh, yes, bye.”

Eriko flops back in bed, with an arm covering her eyes, she's blushing.

                Eriko (to herself): "I thought I was going to die."

Yuka is holding her hands on her necklace with her eyes closed and a peaceful smile on her face.

Suzu (to herself): “Look at her. Eriko-chan. I’ll kill you if you break her heart, or if you’re too oblivious to recognize that you’ve even got it to begin with.”

Aiko, sitting on the window seat in her bedroom. Staring out into nothing.

Aiko (to herself): “I didn’t get out to the grave yet. I need to do it tomorrow.”

The phone rings. Aiko looks down, it’s her father’s number.

Aiko: “Father?”

Woman’s voice: “Aiko Okumura-sama? This is XXXX, I’m your father’s sec...”

Aiko: “Yes, I know who you are. What do you need?”

Secretary: “Your father asked that I remind you to clean the family grave. He wanted me to ensure that you understood the importance of it being cleaned and well cared for.”

Aiko: “Yes, yes, I know: ‘nothing can besmirch the Okumura company name. Tending for the rest of our forbearers demonstrates our commitment to the principles of family, community, and honor.’ There, good enough?”

Secretary: “Thank you, I’m sure your father will be comforted to know that it is being taken care of.”

Aiko hangs up on her abruptly.

Aiko (to herself): “God damn him. He can’t even call me himself.”

She starts to think about the empty stands in the volleyball tournament when she was looking for him (and Yuka).

Aiko (to herself): “I really thought he might have come. I don’t know why I let myself think that way anymore. Anything I expect from him just disappoints me.”

She thinks back to the volleyball tournament, at the end when they had lost:

                [Flashback - between chapters]
She scans the bleachers, there’s no one there for her, she walks off the court to the locker room. She’s changing and the other girls from the team walk in, in solemn silence. Aiko hears the door of the locker room open. Aiko half turns around to look.

Aiko: “Yuk...?”

Nagashima: “Um, Okumura-sempai?”

Aiko: “Oh....You did well out there.”

Nagashima: “Th...thanks. You too. We couldn’t have gotten that far without...”

Aiko: “Bye.”

Aiko gets up and walks out on them, leaving the team members all stunned. Kiko puts a hand on the girl’s shoulder.

Kiko: “It’s okay, just leave her be.”

Aiko walks to the outside of the venue, still no Yuka.

Aiko: “Where is she? This isn’t like her. I hope she’s okay. I better call Suzu-san, something must have happened.”

She calls Suzu:
Suzu: “She’s not with you?”

Aiko: “No, I haven’t seen her since this morning.”

Suzu: “I’ll call Eriko-chan’s house, see if she knows anything.”

Aiko: “Okay, I’ll call Fujimaki-san then.”

She’s calling Hatsue.

Hatsue: “Hello?”

Aiko: “It’s Okumura.”

Hatsue: “Oh, Okumura-san? This is rare!”

Aiko: “Have you seen Yuka?”

Hatsue: “Um, actually, I just left her. Eriko-chan was going to bring her home.”

Aiko (to herself): “I’ve been worried about her and she’s been with Arishima-san this whole time?”

Aiko: “Okay then, thank you.”

Hatsue: “Is everything okay?”

Aiko: “Yes, everything’s fine. Bye.”
                [Flashback ends]

Back to Aiko’s room and the present, she’s still staring out the window. Her phone rings again. She looks down at it. It’s Yuka’s number. She turns it off without answering.

Yuka sighs and gives the phone back to Suzu.

Suzu: “Sorry, maybe she’s just asleep already. I'm sure she'll want to go.”

Yuka nods and goes to her room. Eventually she falls asleep but is tossing and turning.

She's dreaming. We see dreams of her mom, just fleeting glances with the face unclear (like a long-lost memory). We also get images of the shadowy figure in the cemetery, her mom drunk on the couch, coming home with guys, hitting Suzu. A mysterious figure looming, blood splattering.

The sleeping Yuka has tears coming down her eyes.

(to be continued...)

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