NARRATION: "We descend even below the lobby where I met Mutou, down to the bottom floor. Just like everything in this school, the cafeteria seems too spacious and oddly modern in contrast to the classic exterior. Its big windows open to the courtyard, towards the main gate."
MISHA: "It's the cafeteria~!"
NARRATION: "Her enthusiastic statement of the obvious makes people around us stare, but Misha doesn't seem to care so we proceed to the line. There is a rather long list of menu options, which seems great until I realize that many of them are to accommodate students who need special diets. How nice. It almost feels like I'm back at the hospital, eating portions measured with scientific precision to meet the needs of the patients. I pick something at random and follow Shizune to a table, sitting opposite of her."
NARRATION: "As I nibble indifferently at the food I'd rather not eat, Misha pokes me in the side to get my attention and points to Shizune."
NARRATION: "I don't understand sign, so the point escapes me. Maybe looking at a person who 'talks' to you is proper and polite?"
MISHA: "Do you want to know something?"
MISHA: "About anything! We're your guides so you should ask if there is something~!"
HISAO: "Hmm, I wonder..."
HISAO: "Oh, yeah. Is there a library in the school? Lately I've gotten into reading a lot so I'd like to check it out."
NARRATION: "Misha gives the kind of frown that makes it clear she doesn't consider reading a healthy hobby, but then picks up her smile again."
MISHA: "There is~! It's in the second floor, we can show it to you sometime!"
NARRATION: "I return to my food while the girls talk between themselves."
NARRATION: "Shizune intrigues me, and I kind of want to ask something about her. But I can't really ask about something that personal, can I? Hmm... I can't come up with anything else to ask so I just focus on my food while the girls talk between themselves."
HISAO: "I can't think of anything, really."
MISHA: "Ooh! That means we've been good guides, doesn't it, doesn't it~?"
HISAO: "Eeh… if you say so."
NARRATION: "Misha positively beams, and so does Shizune after a quick translation. I shake my head at their somewhat exaggerated enthusiasm, and shift my focus on the food."
NARRATION: "Misha and Shizune sign back and forth very animatedly, throwing sideway glances at me but Misha refrains from translating. Maybe they are talking about secret girl stuff or something. ... I quickly notice a conversation in sign is not enough to fill a silence."
NARRATION: "We arrive in the classroom early, but we're not the first. That dark haired girl I noticed before is slumped over her desk at the last row. She jumps a little when Misha crashes into the room with the elegance of a rhino. She shrinks deeper into her seat. I can feel her tension all the way from here, as if she were slowly turning into stone just from our presence. Misha and Shizune either don't notice or don't mind it, as they walk directly past her to their seats and begin to converse. I'm left wondering about her, even when the classroom slowly fills with other students and finally, the teacher.
NARRATION: "Getting into the rhythm of school feels strange; it's as if my brain remembers how this is done, but my body doesn't. Towards the end of the class I start yawning and counting the minutes left. I shouldn't be this tired on my first day of school. Maybe it's the long time spent in the hospital that made me like this. I'm even feeling physically weak and lifeless."
NARRATION: "Before long, the final bell rings. School is finally over for the day. Beside me, Misha and Shizune are having a short conversation. After a bit of deliberation, Misha turns to me."
MISHA: "Unfortunately we can't stay and show you around today, Hicchan. We've got to hurry already, since there is a lot of work for us to do."
MISHA: "You'll find your way around here, I'm sure of it."
HISAO: "Ah, wait! The teacher said I'd have to see the nurse. Where do I have to go?"
MISHA: "Is that so? We can at least show you that much~! Come on, the nurses have their own building, so we have to go outside."
NARRATION: "We join the flow of students making their way down the stairwell and outside, with the girls pointing out other senior classrooms in the same hallway as ours. When we get outside, the girls make their way to the smaller building right next to the school. It's built in the same style, so it looks like it's actually a part of the main building."
MISHA: "This is the auxiliary building here. There's a lot of official and important stuff inside, like the Yamaku Foundation office and all the nurses' offices. They even have a swimming pool!"
HISAO: "How is that official?"
MISHA: "Don't be silly, Hicchan! It's for physical therapy of course. Anyway, all the nursing staff facilities are in there too. The head nurse's office is on the first floor. You'll be fine from here, right~? We'll be going, then! See you tomorrow!"
HISAO: "Yeah, thanks. Bye."
NARRATION: "A whole building for stuff that has nothing to do with the actual education? I guess it's necessary for a place like this. I walk in, hoping that this really will be only a quick visit like the teacher said. On a white door on the left is a green cross with the text 'Head Nurse' and a nameplate. A voice from the inside responds to my knock almost immediately, but I can't quite make it out. It sounded a bit like an invitation to open the door, so I invite myself further in."
NARRATION: "The room is not large and it smells strange. A friendly-looking man turns around on his office chair to face me as I enter. His desk is neat and tidy, but the bin under the table is overflowing with used medical utensils and there are at least a dozen coffee-cup rings lingering on the desk."
NURSE: "Hello there. What can I do for you today?"
NARRATION: "He is young-looking and sort of rugged, but the dimples in his cheeks wash that impression away when he smiles."
HISAO: "Erm, are you the nurse?"
NARRATION: "He smiles like a person who has heard this very same question hundreds of times."
NURSE: "Why yes, I am. It says so on the door, no? You can call me by my name or just 'the nurse' like everyone else."
NARRATION: "Of course. I shake off my confusion, realizing I probably should grab his extended hand. His handshake is rather firm and friendly."
HISAO: "Right... err, I'm a new student and my homeroom teacher told me to come and meet you. My name is Hisao Nakai."
NARRATION: "His eyes light up with revelation and he snaps his fingers."
NURSE: "Oh you're THAT Nakai. I was just reading your file in the morning. Some kind of chronic arrhythmia and related congenital heart muscle deficiency, right?"
NARRATION: "He gestures me to sit down in a vacant armchair in front of his desk."
HISAO: "Eh, yes."
NURSE: "Good. Well, you've probably been briefed about the school enough, so I'll just go over this quickly. We have all kinds of facilities available, mostly physical therapy and such. There's always someone from my staff around, even at night, so never hesitate to call us if there is a problem."
NARRATION: "The famous twenty-four-hour nursing staff."
HISAO: "Wow, this is like a hospital."
NURSE: "Well, not exactly. For instance, we don't do brain surgery here."
NARRATION: "His joke feels so out of place that I'm left thinking why he even said it."
HISAO: "Yeah... just that it's really weird to have so many medical people at a school."
NURSE: "You'll get used to it."
NARRATION: "I'm not so sure of that myself but I don't let the nurse know it."
NURSE: "Now, let me just find your file again..."
NARRATION: "While he searches for something from his computer and shuffles stacks of papers around, I let my gaze wander around the room. It's the epitome of generic, I'd like to say. Beige walls and ceiling, dark gray laminate flooring, and all the equipment you'd expect from a school nurse's office. Even the ridiculous educational posters are hanging on all four walls, reminding me to eat properly - three times a day and from all the food groups. Smiling, the nurse draws a thick file from a stack of similarly thick files and opens it."
NURSE: "So, you already have medication for the arrhythmia, just remember to take your pills every morning and evening or it won't be much help. Apart from that... do you do any sports? Rash stuff like... I don't know, boxing?"
NARRATION: "He grins to his own joke but I don't."
HISAO: "Eh, well. I played soccer occasionally with some classmates."
NURSE: "All right, I'm afraid I'm going to have to recommend you refrain from doing that. At least, for the time being."
NARRATION: "My lack of reaction makes him raise an eyebrow, but really, I'm not too bothered by him forbidding me to kick a ball around. I guess I never did it out of burning passion for the sport. Just to have something to do."
NURSE: "Any kind of concussion might be very dangerous to your heart and risking another attack is not a good idea. Was the previous one caused by a sudden concussion to the chest area? There is no mention of the cause in your papers."
HISAO: "Err... not exactly."
NARRATION: "I sidestep the question acceptably, and he glances at me over his papers, with a more serious expression on his face."
NURSE: "Still, you need to keep your body healthy so some exercise would do you good. We have physical therapy and such available as I said, but I don't think you really need such heavy measures. Just get some light exercise regularly. Brisk walks or even light jogging, jumping rope, that sort of thing. Swimming, maybe? There's a pool here."
HISAO: "So I was told."
NURSE: "You were? Very good. At any rate, and I'm sure you've been told this before, you just need to take care not to overexert yourself."
NARRATION: "He wags his finger to emphasize the point. No need really, I've heard this a thousand times already."
NURSE: "Absolutely no unnecessary risks. Take care of yourself."
NARRATION: "He goes over my papers one more time and sets them on the desk, obviously content."
NURSE: "Good. That's it, then. Come meet me if you ever need something."
NARRATION: "I'm ushered out before I even realize it. A quick visit, indeed."
Next Scene: Nobody's Room