In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 67

 "In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" is a yuri comic I wrote, I can't draw, so I'm posting the scripts here for your enjoyment.

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

Chapter 67

"Things To Talk About"



Aiko and Shiori step out of a taxi at the front building of the addiction treatment center. They enter somewhat solemnly with only a single small suitcase for Aiko. They are greeted by two staff, one male and one female.


Shiori: "Thank you for having us. I'm Shiori Handa and this is my sister, Aiko Okumura. We'll be in your care."


Staff 1: "It's a pleasure to meet you both. You've had a long trip, you must be tired."


Aiko: "Thank you for your concern, but we were able to sleep on the train."


Shiori (to herself): "She's starting to sound like herself again. That's good, I guess."


Staff 2: "Why don't we move to my office where we can talk about your stay."


In the office, the four are sitting around a small table.


Staff 1: "Your day will be a mix of individual and group sessions designed to help you understand your feelings, the cravings they provoke, and how to overcome them."


Staff 2: "We understand you will be with us for several weeks, but please know this is a lifelong process. We talk about being in recovery, not recovering."


Aiko is staring off to the side as they speak.


Shiori: "Aiko, are you listening?"


Aiko: "Yes, please go on."


Staff 1: "Almost all our staff here are in recovery themselves. That being said, it is important that we focus on what we can do going forward, and not dwell on what we did in the past..."


Aiko's thoughts drift to into multiple, jumbled up flashbacks [Ed. note: these should be mixed all together in a pastiche]:


[Flashback - Chapter 49 SCENE 6]:

Aiko: "I don’t know any more. Tell me what I’m supposed to do?"


Yuka starts to place her hand on Aiko's chest.


Aiko: "I'm not sure there's room for us both in there."


Yuka looks up at her pleadingly and is shaking her head 'no'.


Aiko: "I...we...need some time...some space. Make sure she's really worth it."


[Flashback - Chapter 62 SCENE 7:]

Aiko: "No, not like that. I love you. I want to be with you. I don't want to share you with anyone."


Yuka slowly let's go of Aiko's hands.


Aiko: "It's too late for that, isn't it?"


Yuka nods 'yes.'


Aiko: "You're really with her now, aren't you?"


Yuka nods 'yes.'


[Flashbacks end]


Shiori's calls rouse Aiko out of this reverie:


Shiori: "Aiko...Aiko, you need to pay attention to this."


Staff 2: "It's alright, it's a lot to take in. We'll be having her join a group orientation later as well."


Staff 1: "I'm sure you're both overwhelmed. Why don't we show you to your room, and you can get settled and say your goodbyes."




Aiko and Shiori are setting up her room, putting her few items of clothing away in the drawers.


Shiori: "It's pretty sparse, isn't it?"


Aiko: "I don't need much."


Shiori: "Don't talk like that, you're a rich girl!"


They both share a knowing smile at this joke.


Shiori: "I like seeing you smile. It's been twice in one day."


Aiko: "I don't remember smiling before."


Shiori: "Hmmm, there was that one from this morning...Tayama-san was it?"


Aiko: "Shut it."


Shiori: "HAHAHAHAHA. He was pretty hot. You could do worse."


Some awkward silence. Aiko turns away from Shiori.


Aiko: " all happened so fast."


Shiori: "You mean coming here today?"


Aiko: "Yes, but...I mean...everything."


Aiko sits down on the edge of the bed and continues (still not looking at Shiori though).


Aiko: "I had things under control."


Shiori: "And now nothing is in your control, huh?"


Aiko: "I...I still don't remember what happened...that night...just...just that he...he almost..."


Shiori: "The doctors assured me, he didn't."


Aiko (to herself): "One less thing to hate myself for."


Shiori: "You never told me how you got out of there."


Aiko: "I...I don't really felt like..."


Aiko (to herself): "Like I was floating, being carried almost...the feeling of being so light..."


Shiori: "It's okay, don't push yourself."


Aiko finally turns to face Shiori and she's crying.


Aiko: "When...when did it all go so wrong?"


Shiori: "Oh, Aiko!"


Shiori grabs her and embraces her as Aiko truly cries it out for the first time.




Aiko in the main entry hall seeing Shiori off. The two staff from earlier are standing a little ways back.


Shoiri: "You'll be okay, I know it."


Aiko: "Of course I will."


Shiori: "Good, glad you've gotten some of your attitude back."


They both smile warmly with each other while holding each other's hands.


Aiko: "You'll visit?"


Shiori: "If I can, but Kazu..."


Aiko: "I know, I understand. I'm looking forward to getting to know him better when this is all done."


Shiori: "We'll all be there waiting for you."


Aiko: "Bye."


Shiori hugs Aiko supper tight, then backs away, wiping some tears from her eyes. Gives a big smile.


Shiori: "Bye bye."


Shiori turns quickly and dashes out the door waving behind her, clearly trying to put on a good face while also being really upset. She gets in the taxi that will take her to the train station.


Shiori (to herself): "The worst things, but they brought you back to me."




Aiko is sitting in a circle of folks, some are young like her, most are middle aged, some are older. Some are put together, but a few look pretty strung out. There are two staff in the circle as well.


Staff 1: "Welcome everyone. Let's start with some introductions, we've got a couple new faces with us today."


People are going around introducing themselves. It comes to Aiko.


Aiko: "I'm Okumura. Aiko Okumura. Thank you for having me."


Staff 2: "Welcome, welcome."


Staff 1: "Before we get too deep, we need to talk about our most important rule for this process, and it is a process, a process you'll be going through for the rest of your lives. When we share our feelings and the things we learn, it is important we don't dwell on what happened before, like how it felt to use, the situations we used, nothing like that. We're going to be focused on how to stop those feelings and break that cycle, so we don't want to trigger anyone else here by talking too much about those memories. Okay? Starting today, you are in recovery. We're all here to teach each other how to stay in recovery."


Aiko sighs.


Aiko (to herself): "So this is my life now?"




Aiko and other patients are standing in line in the cafeteria getting dinner. Aiko is looking questioningly at the food being served.


Kishi Mizukawa (a patient): "It's actually pretty tasty."


Aiko turns to acknowledge her.


Aiko: "Oh, thank you."


Kishi: "You might have forgotten from earlier but I'm Mizukawa, but you can call me Kishi, we're all pretty much friends here anyway, whether we like it or not."


Aiko: "mmmm"


Kishi: "You're pretty quiet, aren't you? I guess that makes sense on your first day. For me, I've almost forgotten what that was like. It's been so long."


Aiko (to herself): "Ughhh, I think she wants me to ask."


Kishi: "I'm pretty much a lifer here. I mean, not really, I usually stay for a few months, go on my way, then, hit some roadblock, and find my way back here. But it's not so bad. Good thing the old folks keep paying, huh?!"


Aiko: "Yes, if you'll excuse me."


Kishi: "Oh, sure, see you later?"


Aiko (quietly): "As if I could avoid it."


Kishi: "What?"


Aiko: "Nothing, good evening."


Kishi: "Bye bye Okumura-san!"




Aiko laying in bed at night. Snow is falling outside the small window. It's a single bed, in the small single bedroom, nothing much on the walls. Just a simple desk and dresser, a nightstand and the bed. She's lay on her back with an arm over here eyes.


Aiko: "Oh, god, Yuka. I don't want you to think of me like this. I...I can't believe you're out there and I'm in here...But at least, at least in here...he can't..."


She drifts off to sleep.



Aiko: "Hey, wait!"


Memories of being attacked by Hidaka.


Aiko: "Stop...I!"

[Dream ends]


Aiko wakes up crying out. It's the middle of the night now. She sits up on the edge of the bed. Puts her hands over her eyes and cries hard.




Students are walking into school for the first day of the third trimester. They're bundled up in the cold. Eriko is sitting on a bench, her usual spot, blowing onto her hands. She's unaware as Yuka comes up and grabs onto her hands. Eriko startles to attention. Yuka smiles at her, Eriko blushes.


Eriko: "Goo...good morning."


Yuka pulls Eriko off the bench and runs with her into the school, Eriko trailing and being led by the hand, but smiling none the less.


Eriko: "W..w...wait!"

They're in class, students are shuffling in. Eriko has her head down on her arm on the desk like normal. Yuka is drawing. Eriko is quietly watching her. Aiko's desk is empty. Hatsue walks to her desk in front of Eriko's.


Hatsue: "Good morning Yuka-chan, Eriko-chan!"


Eriko: "Mmmm, morning."


Hatsue: "It's okay, go back to staring at her."


Eriko: "W...what?!"


Hatsue and Yuka are laughing and smiling at each other at Eriko's expense.


Hatsue: "HAHAHAHA."


Eriko: "I...I didn't mean to...I'm sorry."


Yuka gets up and goes over to Eriko and gives her a hug overtop of her back since Eriko is still resting on her arm.


Eriko: " front of...!"


Hatsue: "Hey, where's Okumura-san?"


Yuka straightens up, releasing Eriko, and shrugs sadly. She goes back to her desk.


Hatsue (to herself): "Hmmm, that's the second time. Does she really not know?"


The teacher comes in.


Student: "Stand, bow..."


The class rep is taking attendance:


Student: “Niijima-san?”


Niijima: “here.”


Student: "Okumura-san?"


Teacher: "Actually, very exciting news. Okumura-san's father has sent her to Hong Kong on behalf of company business. She will be spearheading a project there for the next month."


Hatsue turns to Yuka and whispers.


Hatsue: "Did you know about that?"


Yuka tips her head side to side (like she's considering), while making a thinking face (deciding whether to go along with the lie or not), she then sadly shrugs again instead. Yuka turns to look out the window.


Eriko (to herself): "There's that face, like that night on the beach. So distant."





Aiko, in her boarding room, getting ready. Just plain clothes. She standing in front of a mirror, brushing her hair out.


Aiko: "Is this what I really look like? I can't stand to even look at myself anymore...I...I don't remember myself anymore...I don't remember who I used to be..."


In morning group at the treatment center. Kishi comes and sits down next to Aiko.


Kishi: "Morning neighbor!"


Aiko: "Good morning."


[Ed note: Aiko uses a very formal and cold version of the phrase]


Kishi: "It's Kishi, in case you were having trouble remembering."


Aiko (to herself): "How could I forget?"


Kishi: "Man, I slept like a rock last night. How about you? It's usually hard your first night, but you look pretty composed. I remember my first night..."


Aiko (to herself): "Does she ever stop talking?"


Kish: "...and then the staff had to come in and..."


Staff: "Good morning everyone. So let's talk 'triggers.' We're going to look at the things inside you and the things outside you that trigger your cravings. Once you know these triggers, you can get in front of the cravings before they start..."




The students are walking out of school. Eriko and Yuka are at the shoe lockers. Eriko is watching Yuka take out and put on her shoes. Hatsue is watching this interaction.


Eriko (to herself): "These half days are too short, I...I don't want to leave her so soon."


Hatsue (whispering to Eriko): "I know just what you're thinking."


Eriko blushes and turns to face Hatsue, not having realized she was right there watching.


Eriko: "Wha...what do you mean?"


Hatsue: "Nope, not going to tell you. You're on your own now that I know you can do it."


Hatsue smiles connivingly and walks away waving goodbye as she goes.


Hatsue: "Bye bye."


Yuka is standing next to Eriko now, having nonchalantly come up. She starts waving goodbye to Hatsue. Eriko suddenly realizes Yuka is standing there and startles a bit.


Eriko: "Oh...!"


Yuka smiles at her. Eriko asks, not making eye contact with Yuka:


Eriko: "Um, want to...get lunch...or something?"


Yuka takes Eriko's hand, Eriko turns to face her (blushing), and Yuka vigorously nods 'yes' - and Yuka leads Eriko out like she led her in in the morning.




A staff is opening a door to a private office for Aiko.


Staff: "You're counselor will see you in here."


Aiko walks into a small office, it's got a window that's looking out onto the snow covered hills behind the building. There's a tall bookshelf with books, a desk with some paperwork, and the small space where they are seated to talk.


Ihara (counselor): "Okumura-san, I'm Ihara. I'll be doing our individual sessions during your stay."


Aiko: "Thank you, I'm in your care."


Ihara: "Can I get you anything?"


Aiko: "No, thank you."


Ihara: "So I understand that your group spoke about triggers this morning. How was that?"


Aiko: "It makes sense."


Ihara: "And you've had a chance to start thinking about some of yours?"


Aiko gets some visions of her mom sick, her dad (in general), her sister leaving the family (college age), Yuka and Eriko together (exchanging loving looks)...


Aiko (to herself): " many can one person have? But, doesn't everyone have their own baggage? Why am I so weak?"


Aiko: "I suppose."


A planned pause by the therapist, hoping Aiko will open up more. When she doesn't:


Ihara: "It's strange, isn't it?"


Aiko: "How so?"


Ihara: "One day you're leading your life, the next you're here."


More silence. Aiko turns to look out the window at the snow falling.


Ihara: "What are you thinking about?"


Aiko keeps staring out the window.


Aiko: "It doesn't snow so much, where I live."


Ihara: "Tell me more about your home town."




Eriko and Yuka are walking out of a little cafe. Yuka is happy and skipping next to Eriko.


Eriko: " was good."


Yuka looks up and smiles at her happily.


Eriko: "Did...have you ever been here...before?"


The smile fades on Yuka's face as she looks out in front of her, not unhappy, just more vacant and lost in thought.


                [Yuka flashback]

It's toddler Yuka and pre-teen Suzu with their mom and dad at that cafe. Their mom and dad's faces are blurry and obscured in the memory. They're all eating and laughing and having a good time. Yuka is covered in food. The waitress brings out a piece of cake with a candle in it.


Mom and dad: "Happy thirteenth birthday Suzu!"

[End flashback]


Yuka turns to look up at Eriko again, and she has a small, sad smile on her face and nods 'yes.'


Eriko (to herself): "What aren't you saying? What are you holding in?"


As Yuka is about to turn back to face forward she catches a glimpse of a mother and child from behind (and standing far in the distance behind Eriko and Yuka, facing away), holding hands, walking down the street, the mom has a ponytail. We don't see anything else since they are so far away. Yuka pauses at this. Eriko turns back to look the same direction as Yuka.


                Eriko: "Do you know them?"


Yuka shakes her head 'no,' turns forward, and starts walking, with Eriko racing to catch up.


                Eriko (to herself): "I want to know what you're thinking."




Eriko unlocks the door to her house.


Eriko (to herself): "That's strange, I wonder why it's locked in the middle of the day?"


She walks in and takes her shoes off.


Eriko: "I'm home."


Silence, the house is dark. Eriko walks into the front shop, then into the workshop and finally the living room, they are all dark.


Eriko (to herself): "Where is he? He hardly ever goes out."


She checks the kitchen, the bathroom and finally his room. All are empty.


Eriko (to herself): "Why does my heart feel tight all of a sudden?"


The sound of the door opening. Eriko is sitting in the living room at the table. Heizo walks in.


Heizo: "Eriko-chan, you're home early."


Eriko (to herself): "He doesn't have any bags, so he wasn't out shopping."


Eriko: "We didn't have class after the entrance ceremony."


Heizo: "Did you have lunch, are you hungry?"


Eriko (to herself): "I feel like he's ignoring the obvious."


Eriko: "I'm okay, I stopped with Kiyoura-chan."


Heizo: "That must have been fun. How is she?"


Eriko (to herself): "I just want to ask him."


Eriko: "She's fine."


Heizo: "What is it dear?"


Eriko (to herself): "Why are things awkward right now? Why aren't you just telling me where you were?"


Eriko: "Nevermind, I...I'm going to go out for a bit."


Heizo: "Okay, will you be back for dinner?"


Eriko (to herself): "Will you?"


Eriko: "Sure."




Eriko is walking down the street, to the canal area where she would frequently nap when it was nicer out (reminder, it's still early January). She stands, staring out at the water, noticing how it forms mini-waves against the bank due to the wind. She thinks back to the night at the beach, Yuka looking so sadly out at the waves, that face she made when she was lost in thought.


Eriko (to herself): "What were you thinking that night? I wish you could tell me. I wish I could know."


She keeps watching the small waves, she shivers in the cold. She thinks back to the shared memory she had with Yuka on the beach, of Yuka walking out into the water, the wave crashing over her, swallowing her up. 


Eriko (to herself): "Did you really try to take your life? Why did I see those things? Were they your memories? We're you trying to tell me something?"




Aiko is eating dinner at a small table alone in the treatment center cafeteria. Other people are having dinner with each other. Kishi is laughing with a group at another table.


Aiko (to herself): "Ughhh, she's so loud. How can she be so happy when she's in here? Doesn't being here mean that her life is a wreck like mine? What's there to be so happy about?"


As Aiko is finishing her food and getting up to throw it out, Kishi comes over.


Kishi: "Okumura-san! We're going to watch a movie in the lounge if you want to join us. I think we're going to watch that new romantic movie that just came out. They're pretty good here about getting us recent things, keeps us up on the real world, so when we get out, we don't feel like we've been left behind. What do you think, want to join us?"


Aiko: "I'm amazed at your breath control."


Kishi: "Huh? You're funny. Did you know that? So, what do you think?"


Aiko: "I'm sorry, I'm quite tired, I think I'll go straight to bed."


Kishi: "I totally understand, first day huh? Pretty hard stuff. It gets easier. You can talk to me anytime though. It's Kishi by the way."


Aiko: "Thank you, good night..."


Aiko walks away. As she's walking, she turns around and says:


Aiko: "...Kishi-san."

(to be continued...)

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