Episode 3: Secret place
As Mishima sends Midori back to Shizuoka in the car, he sets foot in their hometown for the first time in 16 years. On the way to her home, he gets lost on the road and stops the car. The two of them get out of the car, and as Mishima gazes at Mt Fuji in the distance, he muses how he never thought he would feel nostalgia for it. Both Mishima and Midori grow quiet, each lost in their own thoughts of the past.
It was the time when Mishima passed the entrance exam for a medical university in Tokyo. Midori, who thought that he would forget about the town once he went to university and got busy with his studies, said just as much to him. But Mishima refuted the suggestion before he pulled her into his arms and kissed her. “I’ll never forget,” he vowed. However, some time later, when Midori went to the hospital to look him up, he behaved like a different man. Surly and cold. All he had to say were hurtful words that cut into her.
“You’re putting me in a spot by doing this.
Don’t ever come again.
I’ve never once liked you.”
The last words said as if to deal a final blow. Whatever important matter Midori intended to tell him died on her lips. Back in the present, Mishima reflects on the past and apologises. “I’ve always wanted to say I’m sorry.” But Midori remains silent.
Midori and Mishima are met by her father, Katsu, and Kenta when they finally arrive. Katsu is delighted to learn that Mishima is that Mishima, the son of the town’s liquor store owner. Left alone after Katsu and Kenta head indoors, Mishima tells Midori that he will see her at the outpatient clinic for a follow-up one month later. She is surprised that he is not returning to Paris and he admits that he wishes to assess her prognosis for a little longer. In contrast to the familiar term of endearment Mishima has lapsed into when referring her, Midori takes pains to address him formally. “I’m truly grateful beyond words. But I’m no longer the Dori of the past,” she tells him.
As a celebration is held by Katsu, Kenta, Hirose and his wife to welcome Midori home from the hospital, Jun comes in. He apologises to Midori for not making it in time to pick her up and is grateful to learn from Kenta that Mishima sent her back. Midori reacts to this with mixed feelings.
The next day, Hirose visits Midori while she is alone at home and cautions her against telling Jun about her relationship with Mishima. She thinks otherwise and intends to tell him before she goes for her follow-up. But Hirose convinces her that it would be a bad idea to tell her husband that she was operated on by her ex-boyfriend, because men are weaker human beings.
A month passes. Midori, who has been experiencing occasional cramps and a weight in the right side of her chest, goes to Tohto Medical University Hospital’s outpatient clinic for her follow-up. Nevertheless, Mishima gives her a clean bill of health. After that, he slips out of the consultation room to invite her for lunch with him at his own room in the hospital.
Amidst their genial conversation about the old times, Midori takes up the matter of Mishima’s idea of nostalgia. She chides him for choosing to focus only on the good parts of the past and ignoring the rest of it, so all that remains are beautiful memories. Mishima wonders if she still hates him, but when she indicates that she does not want to talk about it, he asks why she decided to become a speech therapist.
“When I was young,
I had a terrible breakup.
The person I thought to be my boyfriend,
dumped me with words that couldn’t have been more cruel.
But thanks to that breakup,
I became aware of the incredible power of words.
How it can plunge a person in an abyss,
and how it can also save a person from despair.”
Mishima frowns, unsure of what he should say. It is as if Midori has firmly put the past out of her mind. Seeing that she is happy, Mishima tells her of his decision to return to Paris. “I nearly got dismissed by the hospital over there for losing myself to nostalgia,” he confesses. It is their last meeting and they bid a final farewell.
Midori is stopped by Sachie along a corridor. Making it a point to introduce herself as Mishima’s ex-wife, Sachie mentions conversationally that she is aware that Midori is the special patient. Her scars from the operation are neat because Mishima had done the entire procedure, which is unlike his usual style.
At that same moment, Jun gets a rude shock when Katsu’s passing reference to Mishima as Mishima-kun leads to the disclosure that Mishima was Midori’s classmate. Jun broods over the matter and tries to figure out why Midori had chosen not to mention that she and Mishima were acquainted. His female colleagues immediately suggest ex-boyfriend, particularly first love when he posits a scenario.
Back at home, Jun attempts to broach the matter to Midori, but when she mentions that Mishima is returning to Paris, he appears to think better of it.
Left alone, Midori clutches her right side and winces in pain. The pain persists into the night. A worried Midori gets out of bed to search the internet for information. The words “relapse” and “progressive liver cancer” leap out at her, the descriptions seeming to match her symptoms. With a growing sense of unease, she recalls her mother’s early death as well as her father’s remarks about the rapid progress of the cancer and its spread to another part of the body.
Midori says nothing about her symptoms to anyone and cheerfully goes back to work the next day. However, the pain recurs.
Seized by fear, she automatically calls Mishima, who is about to board a flight bound for Paris at Narita Airport. And yet, when he picks up, she tries to pass it off as a casual phone call. Seeing through it, Mishima demands to know what has happened. “Was my tumour completely excised? I feel a weight in my right chest.” Midori asks. His response that she has some pleural fluid in her chest does not reassure her and she pleads with him to tell her the truth if she is going to die because the cancer is progressive and has spread to her lungs. Learning that she has a fever, a worried Mishima decides to leave the airport and go to her. “You won’t die!”
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