Episode 2: Frozen memory
Midori is told by the hospital that she will be admitted the next day. Mishima explains the surgical procedure and risks involved to her and Jun. He will completely excise the caudal lobe because her liver function is deteriorating but this may result in massive bleeding or liver failure. Either scenario would bring about death. Midori would have a 70% chance of surviving five years. Already a bundle of nerves over the difficult surgery, Midori is set on edge by Mishima’s detached tone. Furthermore, the extra tests he orders on the eve of the surgery increases her anxiety.
Midori tries to sound cheerful over the phone with Kenta, but when she next sees Mishima along the corridor, she calls him out for the matter-of-fact manner in which he had spoken to her and Jun. Cancer and surgeries may be an everyday affair for a doctor like him, but it would naturally come as a shock to a patient. Could he truly be a world famous doctor, she wonders. Mishima bristles. “I’ll have you know that I’ve operated on 3,812 patients,” he tells her indignantly. Midori’s voice gets louder as she grows increasingly agitated. “You don’t understand your patient’s feelings at all!” Their exchange is broken up by a hospital staff and Mishima walks off. Back in his room, he laughs softly at the evidence that Midori has not changed one bit.
That night, Mishima sees Midori telling her son that she will be “all right” over the phone. Knowing that she is concealing her anxiety, he tries to set her at ease by asking her to entrust the surgery to him and he will make sure she is able to walk home. Although the two of them try to keep their distance as doctor and patient, there are occasional glimpses that show signs of nostalgia for their high school days.
When Jun comes to visit her on the day of the surgery, Midori tells him about her secret savings in a tin inside a kitchen drawer that he can use if she fails to wake up. Then, she says with confident smile, “Don’t worry. I’ll definitely be able to go home.” Jun reaches over to give Midori a hug just a nurse comes in to get her ready for the operation.
In the operating theatre, scenes of the past go through Mishima’s mind as he begins the surgery: Midori playing the piano, Mishima lending her his homework, Midori’s gift of a handknit scarf, Mishima’s compilation of a tape of songs including Stevie Wonder’s ‘Stay Gold’, and the day that Midori’s mother passed away … …
Not long after that, Mishima looked Midori up. Suspended from school because of a fight, he was told by his father to quit school and take over the family’s liquor store business. However, the death of Midori’s mother seemed to have affected him, for he declared to Midori that he would study very hard and become a doctor. It is a vow that he has made good on.
In the present day, Midori appears to wake up from the same dream … …
The surgery is a success. Grateful to Mishima for saving the life of his beloved wife, Jun gives a deep bow, but remains unaware of the past between the two of them. However, Hirose Koji, a family friend as well as a classmate of Midori and Mishima from high school days, picks up on Mishima’s name when Jun discloses Midori’s cancer surgery and the doctor who operated on her.
On the other hand, Mishima watches Jun sit by Midori’s bedside in the ICU as a conflicted look plays across his face.
Midori makes a quick recovery. One day, as she goes outdoors for fresh air, she spots Mishima walking across the hospital grounds while simultaneously eating a hotdog and reading a book. That sight brings a fond smile to her face as she recalls the past. She has to stifle a laugh and avert her eyes when she later sees him with sauce stains on his doctor’s coat.
Jun enthusiastically declares that he will bring a bouquet of Midori’s favourite tulips and carry her from the hospital ward to the car like he would a princess despite her vehement protests. But on the day of Midori’s discharge from hospital, Jun is forced to deal with an urgent issue because of trouble at work and is unable to pick her up at the arranged time. After trying to contact Jun several times but finding herself redirected to the voice message system, Midori decides to go back to Shizuoka on her own and walks to the bus stop outside the hospital.
Mishima, who has just finished lunch with his ex-wife, Ebina Sachie, spots Midori as he returns to the hospital. Pulling up in front of her, he takes charge and makes her get into his car so that he can send her home. Along the way, they pass a florist where Jun has stopped to buy tulips … …
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