Halo One: Hya-Chan:
December 23rd, 1986.
Makoto awoke in the middle of the night when his hand felt along the empty side of his futon. He lifted his head and looked around in the dark. He was about to ask when he heard sobbing coming from the bathroom. Makoto dashed over to the light coming from the open door in the hall. A woman lay on the floor huddled up and weeping. Her long black hair lay spread out as she had her knees to her chest.
“Hya-chan?” Makoto whispered. He rushed over to his wife side and pulled her into his arms. She wept against his chest.
“Shhh,” her husband whispered as he rested his chin on her head. “It’s okay. It’s okay.”
“Why did God take him from us?” his wife whimpered. “Why is he punishing me like this? What did I do wrong? What did I do?” A month passed and she still hadn’t gotten over the loss of their ten-month-old son. She collapsed at his funeral en route for the cremation. Because of that, Hyacinth Girl spent the rest of the ceremony in the hospital.
“Nobody’s punishing you,” Makoto whispered. “Accidents like this happen.”
“But he was only a baby!” She broke down sobbing on his chest. This looked like it would be just like last night. Hya-chan wasn’t her upbeat self lately. Makoto lifted her chin.
“What’s the matter, Hya-chan?” he asked in a low voice. “You’ve not been yourself lately.” His wife sniffled as more tears formed in her eyes.
“I can’t have you like this,” Makoto complained. “You’re crying all the time. You barely get out of bed anymore. You don’t want to eat. Anything I try to suggest that you love, you don’t care about anymore. You even stopped going to church.” He sighed and shook his head.
“What am I going to do with you, huh?” he asked. It hurt Makoto’s heart to see such a beautiful face in despair. She deserved to only have days where she could smile. Her most perfect smile was when their son was born. Makoto kissed Hya-chan on the forehead.
“I want to help you, I really do,” he whispered in her hair. “But I can’t do that if you won’t talk to me.” All he got in response was more sobs and crying.
Makoto visited her in the hospital on the day of the funeral. They did this before on the day they found out that she was pregnant. She had just come to when he came to the doorway.
“Makoto-kun?” Hya-chan asked in a small voice. The husband caught his breath.
“What happened to you there?” he asked.
“The doctors say I have irregular grieving,” she said in an uneven pace. Her husband walked into the room and sat on the bed.
“I don’t think so,” Makoto said as he pushed her hair from her eyes. “You’re just tired.” Her face looked too worn out from all of the crying. He pressed his forehead against hers.
“How long are you in here for?” he asked.
“I can go home in the morning,” Hya-chan said. Her body began trembling. “I hate hospitals.”
“Yes, I know.”
“They smell like death.” Tears welled up in her eyes. “I can’t stand it anymore.” Hya-chan grabbed onto his black jacket. “Make it stop. I think I’m going to be sick.” Makoto pulled her to his chest.
“We will get through this,” her husband whispered. “I’m not going to leave you.” Makoto stayed by his wife’s bed as she slept for the rest of the day.
By Christmas time, Makoto noticed that things were getting worse. He awoke that morning when he heard Hyacinth Girl talking to somebody in the living room. He tilted his head, blinking. When did we get guests over? He climbed out of their futon and walked into the living room to investigate. Makoto found Hya-chan sitting on their couch alone, smiling.
“Hya-chan, who were you talking to just now?” her husband asked.
“Our son,” she said in a calm voice.
“Sweetheart, he’s dead,” Makoto said, walking forward. “We had him cremated last month, remember?”
“No, he’s still alive. I can feel him!”
“Honey, are you feeling okay?” Makoto put his hand on his wife’s forehead, but she slapped his hand away.
“How can you be so cruel? He’s alive! He’s alive!”
Hya-chan clenched her fists as tears welled up in her eyes. “You have no heart! You monster!” She broke down crying. Makoto stood horrified. This wasn’t simple grief anymore. His wife began to cuddle with an empty buddle in her arms.
“Papa’s acting strange, yeah?” she asked as she bounced it up and down gently.
Makoto couldn’t afford to have somebody watch over his wife while he was away at work. Still, he had to do something before he would be with a son and a wife. First, Makoto went to her church the day after Christmas. I will get you back to normal, he thought as he knocked on the priest’s door. Please hang on a little bit longer! An older man in black robes opened the door with his eyes narrowed.
“Yes?” he asked. Makoto quickly bowed as he swallowed his pride.
“I need your help!” he said in one breath. The priest raised an eyebrow, blinking.
“I’m sorry… but who exactly are you?” he asked.
“It’s my wife! I think she’s become depressed!”
“Alright, but who is your wife?” It donned on the priest who he was talking to when Makoto said Hya-chan’s real name.
“Oh,” the priest said. “Why didn’t you say so earlier? How has she been since your son’s death? We haven’t seen her in church lately.”
“Not so good,” Makoto said. “She won’t eat or sleep. She always crying. She barely gets out of bed anymore and it’s getting worse. Yesterday, she was acting like our baby was still alive.”
Makoto put his hands to his head. “I don’t know what to do. Can’t you help her?”
The priest listened with a serious look on his face. “Have you taken her to see a doctor?”
“I tried that and they say let her grief. I have been doing that and that’s why she’s gotten worse.”
Makoto desperately grabbed him by the hands. “Can’t you say anything to snap her out of it or something?” The priest gently pushed back his hands.
“My son, do not worry,” he said. “We will pray for your wife. Turn her over to God, he will take care of her.” It took Makoto’s all not to scream in his face.
“Just like he ‘took care’ of our son?” he asked.
“Well, God has a reason for everything,” the priest said. “We will keep her in our prayers.” He might as well have just slapped the atheist man in the face. Makoto snorted.
“Prayers won’t keep my wife from joining our son!” he snapped. The man turned and stormed out of the church.
“Why the hell did I come to this stupid place away?” he muttered under his breath.
With nowhere else to turn, Makoto dreaded the very last resort he had arrived to. The day after New Year’s Day, he found himself walking through the doors of Chou Mori Institution. He explained his story to the chief director. The older man behind the desk pushed up his glasses.
“Why did you go to the church first?” he asked. “Why not come to us?” Makoto shrugged and shook his head.
“I don’t know,” he said. “My wife is Catholic and thought that her church would be able to snap her out of it.” The director placed his hands on the desk.
“Depression isn’t something most people ‘snap’ out of,” he said. “They need proper treatment.”
“Can you help her?” Makoto asked. “I’m afraid that she might hurt herself or worse if this keeps up.” The director pushed up his glasses.
“That will depend of your insurance,” he said.
“We don’t have any insurance,” the other man said. “We are poor and I am struggling to make ends meet. Can you do this pro bono? My wife really needs help! I don’t know what else to do here!” He held his breath as the director thought about the situation for a moment.
“We don’t do pro bono here at Chou Mori,” the older man said. “But, I do have a therapist here that needs a little motivation with his work around here.” Makoto leaned in, slamming his hands on the desk.
“I’ll take it,” he said. The director handed him a packet of papers.
“Please read over everything, fill out the information, and sign at the bottom of the last page,” he said. Makoto bowed his head.
“Thank you, sir,” he said. The man began to read over the information before signing his wife over to Chou Mori for six months.
The next day brought a light snow fall as Makoto drove a numb and broken Hya-chan to Chou Mori for her to be in the care of Kitano Katsuhiro-sensei.