In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 68

 "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 68




Lunch in the classroom. Hatsue, Yuka and Eriko are eating together. Yuka is pretty absent/distracted.


Eriko (to herself): "She's been so distant today. Is it that Okumura-san isn't here? I wish I knew what she was thinking? I wish she would let me in."


Hatsue: "Are you doing anything this weekend?"


Eriko: "Hmmm, umm...I don't think so."


Hatsue: "Come on, don't you two want to spend every minute together?"


Eriko: "SHHHHH, not so''s..."


Hatsue: "HAHAHAHA, I love seeing you so embarrassed."


Yuka still isn't paying much attention. Hatsue and Eriko both notice.


Eriko (to herself): "She's been like this more often."


Eriko: "Whatever, what about you?"


Hatsue: "I'm...seeing Toshi-kun."


Yuka rousing to awareness, she and Eriko exchange a wide eyed look at each other and then Eriko turns back to Hatsue.


Eriko: "First name?"


Hatsue is embarrassed but happy.


Hatsue: " know..."


Yuka tips her head to the side imploringly while looking at Hatsue.


Hatsue: "I guess...I guess things are going pretty well."


Eriko (to herself): "What does that look like?"


Eriko: "Is him?"


Hatsue: "Well, yeah."


Yuka is beaming in happiness and takes Hatsue's hands in hers.


Eriko: "And he...feels the same way?"


Hatsue (said softly): "Yeah."


Eriko (to herself): "How does she know? Is it because he can say it?"


Eriko: "Ughhh."


Hatsue: "Hahaha. No need to be jealous."


Eriko: "Wh...what? I'm not..."


Hatsue ignores Eriko, in a fun way, and turns to Yuka.


Hatsue: "So, what about you Yuka-chan? Any plans?"


But Yuka has drifted back to a vacant reverie. She is staring distantly out the window, this question by Hatsue is not registering.


Eriko (to herself): "If I only knew what Kiyoura-chan was thinking, if she could tell me, like Hatsue's boyfriend, maybe I wouldn't feel so nervous all the time."




That night at Yuka's apartment.


Suzu: "When do you want to go tomorrow? Early?"


Yuka nods 'yes' sadly.


Suzu: "It doesn't have to be just us."


Yuka looks questioningly up at her. Suzu smiles back softly and nods towards the phone.




In Aiko's bedroom at the treatment center. She's staring out the window.


Aiko (to herself) "Tomorrow is the anniversary. After all these years, I wonder what she's feeling? Will she take Arishima along too?"




Eriko walking up to Yuka's apartment door.


Eriko (to herself): "I wonder if she's told Kiyoura-onee-san that we're...going out? Is it okay to call it that? Is this something we can tell people?"


Eriko sighs. She gingerly knocks on the door.


Eriko (to herself): "I still don't understand why they invited me."


When it opens it's Yuka, in a full yukata.


Eriko: "Kiyoura...chan!'re..."


She blushes and looks to the side.


Eriko: " beautiful."


Eriko (to herself): "Should I have said that, on such a sad day?"


Yuka gives a small, blushing smile and after a shy pause, reaches up to turn Eriko's face, pulls it down to hers and kisses her gently on the lips. Eriko freaks out, turns beet red, and pulls back exclaiming:


Eriko: "Out....outside...we're still...and...people...!"


Suzu comes into the entry hall wearing a yukata as well.


Suzu: "Oh, Eriko-chan, you're here? You poor thing, you're face is all red. Is it really that cold out?"


Suzu (to herself): "Sure, like that's what it is!"


Eriko: "I, um...good morning."


Eriko stiffly bows to get out of answering the question.


Eriko (to herself): "It's like I'm meeting her family...all of the first time."


Suzu: "Ha! Good morning!"


Eriko: "I'm sorry...I didn't know that I should dress up."


Suzu: "Don't worry about it, we're just honored you're going with us."




Aiko is in the therapist's office at the treatment center.


Ihara (the therapist): "You've been here nearly a week now. How are you adjusting?"


Aiko: "You're staff are very caring, thank you."


Ihara: "You're always so formal, where did that come from?"


Aiko (to herself): "Do I even know anymore?"


Aiko: "Is this what we're supposed to be talking about?"


Ihara: "You tell me?"


Aiko: "Aren't you paid to dig up every one of my demons and..."


Ihara: "...and what, exactly?"


Aiko: "How should I know?"


Ihara: "Hmmm, same here."


Aiko: "So you have no plan? No cure?"


Ihara: "No cure...hmmm...that might be the hardest part of all this...coming to terms with the fact that you used and you may always be tempted to use again in the future. It means you have to accept that you're vulnerable, that you have weaknesses, that you hurt and you suffer, and you will hurt again in the future, and that puts you at risk."


Aiko: "I can control myself."


Ihara: "Can you?"


Aiko: "I'm only here because of my father."


Ihara: "Your father?"


Aiko: "Yes, so I wouldn't embarrass the family."


Ihara: "I see, so he insisted on you coming?"


Aiko: "Actually, was my sister."


Ihara: "Your sister?"


Aiko: "She forced him."


Ihara: "Why do you think she did that?"


Aiko: "I..."


Aiko (to herself): "Can I let myself think it?"


Aiko: "...don't know."


Ihara: "You don't, huh?"


Aiko: "You're playing games with me."


Ihara: "Hahahaha, maybe, maybe...but why are YOU here?"


Aiko: "Like I said before, because my..."


Ihara: "No, I mean, if you're only doing this for someone else, it probably won't work. So what do you want out of this? When things get hard, how will you be personally invested in your success?"


Aiko (to herself): "So I can...someday...look her in the eyes...again..."




In a cemetery. At a gravesite. We read the name, it's Yuka's father's grave. There is a small bunch of flowers and some incense already lit.


Eriko (to herself): "I shouldn't be here...this is...this is too personal."


Suzu goes up and gently touches the flowers.


Suzu (to herself): "Were you already here, mom? Did you leave these for him? What are you thinking showing up after all this time?"


The three of them are weeding, cleaning the grave off, pouring water over it and scrubbing. Putting more flowers in and lighting more incense. Yuka goes up first to pray. She starts tracing the letters of her dad's given name with her finger. She slips into memories:




Tohaku Kiyoura (Yuka's dad): "First we have to pull all the weeds."


He shows a 3-year-old Yuka the weeds in his hand.


Yuka: "Deez?" [Ed note: "These?" said like a toddler]


Her dad smiles kindly.


Tohaku: "That's right, good job."


Yuka: "Why deez weedz?" [Ed note: "why are these weeds"]


Tohaku: "That's a very smart question. Plants are only weeds if they come up where you don't want them to. That means that a lily could be a weed if it's in the wrong spot, and the itadori isn't a weed at all when people needed to use it for medicine."


[Ed note: itadori refers to Fallopia japonica/Japanese knotweed - an aggressive invasive species that also has medicinal properties]


Yuka: "I a weed?"


Tohaku: "Hahahaha, never! You are always wanted! Wherever you go, you will always be wanted and loved."


[Flashback over]


Yuka is still gently tracing his name with a slight tear in her eye. Suzu and Eriko are standing back watching her.


Eriko (to herself): "To see these other sides of night on the beach..."


Eriko turns to look at Suzu.


Eriko (to herself): "Should I...could I...ask her...if it was real?"


Eriko is fidgeting, Suzu notices and turns to her.


Suzu: "Come on, let's take a little walk."


Eriko: "Me?"


Suzu: "Yeah, just us."




Suzu and Eriko are walking past some other graves in the cemetery. Suzu is comfortable in the silence, but Eriko is awkward and hesitant.


Suzu: "Sometimes I can't believe it's been 13 years since he died. She was so young. I wonder how much she really remembers about him."


More silent walking.


Suzu: "So, you looked like you wanted to ask me something back there."


Eriko (to herself): "Am I that transparent?"


Eriko: "I...has she...I mean..."


Suzu: "It's okay, whatever it is, I'll answer it if I can."


Eriko (to herself): "Kiyoura-onee-san is really amazing, like her sister, but...different...mature, but still sad..."


Eriko: "Is Kiyoura-chan...okay?"


Suzu: "Okay?...That's a tough question."


Eriko: "I mean...sometime...once...did she...I mean, she seems happy."


Suzu: "Yes, she does, doesn't she? I wonder what that's all about anyway?"


Suzu smiles knowingly at Eriko as she says that. Eriko blushes and looks away.


Eriko (to herself): "Does she...she must know...but could I...could I really be making Kiyoura-chan happy?"


Suzu (to herself): "You really do like her, don't you?"


Eriko: "Was she...always...happy?"


Suzu: "No. Not always. You know that dad died, obviously. But mom...that's another story. She fell apart after dad died. She..."


Eriko: "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked!"


Suzu: "No, it's okay. But do you want to know? It might be hard to hear about someone you care about being hurt."


Eriko: "Hurt?"


Suzu: "After dad died, mom would go out, sometimes for days at a time, sometimes alone, sometimes with random men. When she was home, she would mostly ignore us. But sometimes...sometimes she just couldn't. She never really hit Yuka, not really....not like she did me...But maybe ignoring Yuka was even worse. She was so young, she needed a mom, a mom who would hold her and love her and protect her. But mom couldn't even take care of herself anymore."


Eriko: "Is...Is that why..."


Suzu: "Why Yuka stopped talking? I don't think so, it actually started the night mom left us. She hasn't spoken since. No matter what we've tried."


Eriko: "Did she...on the beach...?"


Suzu: "The beach?! Why do you ask?"


Eriko: "No, it's's just that...sometimes, when we're there, I feel like..."


Suzu looking off into the distance.


Suzu: " she'll just walk into the water and never come back?"




Aiko is reading a book on a sofa in a quiet common room of the treatment center. She looks up and stares out the window.


Aiko (to herself): "How are you feeling today? Do you miss him still? It's the first time in a long time that I'm not there with you. you miss me?"


Kishi comes in.


Kishi: "Oy, Okumura-san, there you are! I've been looking all over for you, have you been avoiding us all day?"


Aiko (to herself): "If only it were that easy."


Kishi: "We're playing mahjong, come join us, we need a fourth. You look like you're probably great at it, real good upbringing you must have had. I can tell by the way you walk. Yup, real solid upbringing on that one! But that's okay, mahjong doesn't care how you've been brought up, and I'm pretty good at it. So don't say I didn't warn you..."


Aiko: "Do you ever stop talking?"


Kishi: "What? Me, no, sorry, never have, some say it's a problem, but others say it's one of my good points..."


Aiko: "Let's be clear. It's a problem."


Kishi's face falls.


Kishi: "Oh...I, I see...I'm sorry I bothered you...I'll...I'll find someone else to join us."


Kishi ducks out of the room quietly, clearly hurt. Aiko starts to read from her book again.


Aiko (to herself): "Dammit!"


She throws the book against the wall, and turns to stare out the window into the darkness.




Eriko is rinsing off in her bathroom. She's slowly soaping over the scars on her back, rubbing her tired, aching muscles, rinsing the water across her scars. She gets into the bath tub to soak.


Eriko (to herself): "In the end, I just couldn't ask Kiyoura-onee-san whether what I saw in my dreams was real. Was Kiyoura-chan so unhappy that she would take her own life? It's hard to imagine, the way she's always smiling. But...but these past months...with Okumura-san...she looks so sad sometimes. There's so much she must be thinking. I just want her to tell me all the things she's keeping to herself. Someday, will you tell me?"


Eriko sinks under the water. As she goes under, the feel of the water lapping at her head brings back the feelings of the waves on the beach. She slips into a dream.



We get the blackness of the "cave" dream. There is the faint light in the distance.


Narration: "I have to get there. I can hear someone calling"


Voice in the distance: "Stop!...Come back...!"


Hands crawling, dunking into water causing ripples. The sounds of the waves getting louder.


Narration: "Are those waves? I'm almost there."


The hand pulls something up out of the water on the floor of the cave.


Narration: "What is this...oh god, oh god, what's in my hand?!"


Bloody feathers are thrown, hitting the cave wall.


Voice in the distance: "Don't you dare...!"


Narration: "Get up, get up, you fool, RUN!"


The light has been getting bigger the whole time, suddenly it opens up into a full sky, the endless ocean. Then it pans down to two figures on the beach, one lying down on the sand, unconvious, eyes closed, another bending over her. It's Yuka and Suzu after Yuka had been pulled out of the water.


Suzu: "Don't leave me!!! Don't you dare leave me!!!"


[End dream]


Eriko breaks out of the bathwater gasping. She's breathing hard.


Eriko (to herself): "All this time...all these dreams I've been having? Was...was I there?"


Suddenly she notices that there is blood on the surface of the bathwater. We turn to see the blood streaming from the scars on her back. She puts her head in her hands, sobbing.


Eriko (to herself): "What's happening to me? What's happened to me!?"




Heizo's bedroom, he's rolling around in bed, coughing, blood on his hands and handkerchief. He can't stop. He's trying to muffle it the best he can. Finally it stops, and he's left gasping for air. He finally sighs a big sigh and closes his eyes.




Yuka in bed, asleep. She is dreaming. Random scenes from her past.



The voices are overlapping, random scenes from the past, their dad's funeral, their mom going out, angry moments in the home, etc...


Voice: "That poor woman, no one will want a widow with two children."


Voice: "Such a burden, so young..."


Voice: "Who's that?"


Voice: "I thought I told you to stay in your room!"


Voice: "Mom, look what I made."


Voice: "!?!?!"


Voice: "Shut up, you just need and need and need. I've got nothing for you, there's nothing left, can't you understand that?"


Voice: "You never mentioned you had kids."


Voice: "Let's just go to your place then."


Voice: "Tohaku...why did you leave me...?"


Voice: "I miss you, I miss you so much..."


Voice: "Will this do anything? Will this pay the bills?"


Voice: "You should be proud of her. You should be a mother to her!”


Voice: "Stop, stop, don’t hurt Suzu, don’t hurt her! Stop hurting her!”


Voice: "Wait! What are you going to do?"


Voice: "Please, oh please!"




Aiko, in bed at the treatment center. Asleep. She hears the door open. In comes a shadowy figure. It gets down on top of her, puts a hand over her mouth. She's screaming in silence. She's thrashing and moving. Finally she sits up in bed, awake, gasping for air, it was just a dream. She's crying.


Finally after a few minutes, she wipes her face on her sleeve. Gets up and goes into the kitchenette for some water. She's standing there, in the glow of the moonlight through the window above the sink, drinking water when a voice comes up behind her.


Voice: "Need something stronger than water?"


She turns around but there is no one there. She sets the glass down on the counter, her head bowed, her long hair falling down in front of her shoulders as she is slumped, bracing herself on the counter. She finally turns around, slumps down against the cabinets and pulls her knees up, wraps her arms around them and puts her head down on her legs.


Time passes. She's asleep on the kitchenette floor. We see someone drape a blanket over her.

(to be continued...)

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