The silence envelops us like a blanket. My mind churns at a million miles an hour, trying to figure out what she says. Each possible scenario brings with it another emotion, blending, melding, and storming in my mind until individual feelings are no more. Fear, rage, apathy and abandonment swirl together in the whirlpool of my mind, ultimately dragging me into the depths of despair and oblivion. I try my best to prevent this showing on my face, but to no avail.

“…that’s okay. I’m here for you.”

My pathetic voice escapes me, as if trying to break the curse. But as I speak I feel that my voice is too feeble to penetrate the blanket of silence smothering us.

I can tell from Hanako’s face that whatever she wants to say is weighing upon her. I wonder if she is experiencing the same maelstrom in her mind.

“W-why didn’t you come for me?”

The hailstorm in my mind stops, the thunderous waves of my emotion frozen. Hanako’s voice is just like it did when we were in school; timid, broken… and afraid.

“I…”

“When you… went away… I couldn’t take it anymore. Lilly used to visit me, but then she had to go. I kept waiting, and waiting…”

The confident persona from yesterday has all but melted away. Heated by the weight of her emotions, her cool, confident exterior melts into tears, streaking her day-old make-up. She sniffs, crudely wiping her face with the back of her left hand.

“…but you never came. So I had to give up on you. I tried so hard to force you from my mind…”

Once again she toys with her ring finger, gazing at the soft flesh at its base. Like the pain of a phantom limb, it’s almost as if she longs for the ring to return, to bring its familiar weight to her delicate, slender fingers.

Shock’s hold on my mind starts to release. I feel as if I have missed a vital part of the story.

“Where… where were you waiting?”

I try to fight through the fog of memory to that day, a decade ago. We had joined Lilly for the summer in her Summer home in Hokkaido. Damn I loved that place. The five summers we spent there were perhaps some of my fondest memories. Lilly was only ever able to visit in the holidays, so we made the most of it. Of course, the crisp country air made kept all of us going, and when we started to add alcohol to the mix…

But that was it, wasn’t it? We over did it one night, and the next morning I remember the tightness across my chest. I thought it would fade with my hangover, but it didn’t. By dusk I was whisked away in an ambulance. I’m not sure when I lost consciousness. I might have fabricated the ride in the Ambulance; when I try to think about it I can’t recall any details.

It was a good 36 hours before I was in the world of the living, and by then everyone was gone. I tried some phone numbers, but to no avail. Hanako and I were so intertwined that we didn’t make all that many close friends at university, and certainly no-one that I felt comfortable burdening this with.

Calling Hanako’s mobile just rang out, and then eventually it just stopped ringing. It was like she had shunned me, just like the first time my heart failed me. Only this time, instead of the girlfriend that was never meant to be, I was throw away by the only girl that every meant anything to me.

The day I left that disinfectant-soaked hell, I started jogging. Every day, without fail. I promised myself that I was never going to “lose” again.

I transferred to a university near my parents and took the easy route to a degree. It’s not hard here; if you stick to it for long enough you’re bound to get a degree from somewhere. I never once tried to contact anyone from Yamaku again; such was my burning disgust of all the hurt that I had suffered from that insufferable school.

But, in my loneliest times, I would whisper Hanako’s name to my pillow, hoping that she would appear. As time diluted my anger, I knew that I could never recreate what I had lost. I would talk to her in my head, telling her about my day, and how life would be so much easier if only I had someone to share it with…

Love and hate have been circling each other like rabid dogs in my head for a decade, and now they have started clashing; foamy spittle and blood on each other’s lips as one fight for dominance in my soul.

“In a sad place.”

Again, my swirling mind is stopped dead.

A sad place… What the hell?

Hanako’s face distorts… apparently I let that slip out. I can see that she’s offended, as if I had insulted her directly.

“I… when you… I couldn’t take it anymore.”

For a second I think about our meeting yesterday. She had stumbled slightly when she mentioned my heart attack. At the time I had taken it as her not wanting to remind me of my condition… but…

“Wait… what happened to you after I passed out? I don’t remember much from then.”

She wipes her face again with her hand, streaking the well-worn make-up into a parody of a Picasso. Her chest heaves in sobs as she tries to regain her composure. I can see her trying to fight the natural rhythm of her tears with controlled, regular breathes. It’s like she’s done this a million times before, patiently calming herself down, encircling her emotions and containing them within herself.

She’s done this before. No, wait, someone has taught her how to do this.

“I don’t remember much from that day either. After they took you away… I… I couldn’t stop shaking. Lilly told me everything was going to be alright, but I just couldn’t stop shaking. After that… I-I don’t know. I must have passed out, because I work up… there”.

“There?”

Hanako’s eyes dart to the right, and she turns her head slightly away from me. It’s almost like she’s ashamed to say.

“That… sad place. Where people who aren’t sick go to get better.”

She can’t be serious. Surely they didn’t…

“You mean… an asylum?”

Once again, the words are out of my mouth before I can filter them. Her body answers before her words can deny it.

My heart sinks. What the fuck do I know about abandonment? How could I compare my piddling “love lost” scenario with Hanako’s entire life?

She was so afraid of losing another loved one that her mind just couldn’t take it anymore.

Fuck.

Even the dogs of Love and Hate have stopped chomping at the bit; their will to fight has been scuppered.

If I had tried to call one more time. If I had found a way to get in contact with Lilly again instead of just wallowing in my own self pity… If only…

Hanako finally pulls a tissue from the box on the table. I suppose she forgot it was there; hotel rooms have that effect on people. But instead of wiping her own tears, she passes it to me.

“What…?”

“Your face…”

Tears stream down my cheeks, staining the bed sheets. I still haven’t even gotten dressed. The harsh, white hotel linen is stained into nondescript grey by my sorrow.

“I-I don’t blame you. There was a therapist… at the hospital. He was nice to me, and he helped me like you used to. So when I was allowed to go home I kept in contact with him.”

I wonder… was he her “jogging”? Could she only survive if she had someone else with her?

That should have been me.

I see her shoulders slump, as if the weight of the world was pressing down upon her. I want to get up, to hold her, to tell her it’s going to be alright… but I can’t. I’m paralysed by my own tumulus existence.

“He and I… just weren’t meant to be. So I made myself strong, got a job… and then became my own person.”

“Just like that… he let you go?”

She shakes her head, her unkempt, knotted hair bouncing around as if to reflect her sorry.

“I… I left him and never looked back. I’m sure it hurt him, but I just couldn’t pretend anymore. I needed to be free, to be Hanako.”

Finally my muscles start to listen to my mind. I throw the sheets off, sending them into a crumpled pile on the floor.  Still naked, I drag Hanako close to me, just like we used to do so many years ago. I press her face into my shoulder and rest mine on her hair. Both of us just stand and sob away a decade of troubles.

The charred remains of the bridges we have both burnt will never support our weight again.

But maybe, with time, we can build one more bridge. One built on the ashes of the past, built with the maturity and empathy.

“Hanako… I don’t want to leave you…”

 

“Hisao…”

92 thoughts on “A Runner’s Afternoon (Part 2)

    1. Yeah I suppose it counts as Retcon, but so long as it makes you feel something, does that matter?

      Do you scream “RETCON!” whenever there is a flashback in a movie? Or the numerous times that we did it in KS?

      I wrote this on a whim, because y’all remined me that the first peice actually existed. It got me thinking about it, and this is what happened.

      1. Saying it makes me “feel something” would be very close to understatement of the year, right next to “Francesco Schettino is kind of a bad ship captain”.
        Well done, man. I kind of hated you for the sex scene in Hanako’s route (it’s not unrealistic or badly written or anything… I just didn’t want them to fuck yet, simple as that), but this… the feels. THE FEELS.

      2. Well, to be fair, KS is a game with multiple paths. You could just as well write some continuation from one of the paths where he didn’t hook up at all, or broke up with someone. Any game restart where you take a different route is a “retcon”, since there is no (and there obviously shouldn’t be) official word on which girl he even ends up with, “canonically” 😉

  1. When will you be doing Rin’s? She’s my favorite girl.

    Also, why are your Hanako ones so sad to read? It makes me want to kill myself out of depression. Not that it’s a bad thing.

    1. I was never really able to write Rin with the heart that Aura did. Shizune and Misha, piece of cake. Lilly… I’d say I’d have a 60% strike rate. Maybe aboutteh same for Emi.

      But Rin just always felt wrong.

      And it’s because sad things are sad. If you think about it, Hanako lovers have effectively been broken up with and then reunited with her over the course of this. If you’re empathetic and really into her, then that’s pretty hard.

      1. I’d say that I agree, Rin is too out there and feelly in a different way to nail that without being Aura. I feel like you would do a decent job with Lilly, I mean, you yourself said that her route wasn’t a difficult read. You shouldn’t underestimate your own ability to re-achieve the feelly-ness of Lilly or at least continue her story.
        On a runner’s afternoon, I will admit that I hated you up until the word asylum. Pause for 3 seconds. Reread asylum. Shudder. The least manly tears I have cried to date. I seriously want to forget that this exists. Thank God this is the post-neutral, because if this was post good I would have lost all faith in the universe as I know it. Excellent writing though, quite a realistic and touching scenario is presented.

    1. I wouldn’t count on it just at the moment. It has been construed as trolling most of you (which isn’t entirely false).

      As much as I like writing Hanako, I’m not sure that this is the scenario that I’d like to continue down. Of course, it is a rather open ending.

      1. Lurk more.

        I have a few posts lined up, but I’m not sure if “Runners Afternoon” will get any more love. There’s been quite a bit of a stir around it already.

      2. Are you planning on writing more Hanako stories if you’re not going to write a third part? I really love your writing style.

      3. Perhaps.

        Writing Hanako is like putting on an old pair of jeans. You know how they feel, you know how to mone in them, and they are usually immensely comfortable.

        But, just like old jeans, you’re not going to learn much new about yourself. Once again, this was kinda why I liked going out on a limb here; it’s Hanako, but new and improved Hanako, so it’s not as stale as wallflower high school girl Hanako.

  2. I for my part am totally okay with a different Hanako. I just find the character incredibly interesting since she reminds me of someone I knew some time ago. It’s okay if you don’t feel like writing more her though.

    Also thanks for responding, not many bloggers do that.

  3. I appreciate the time you took to write these epilogues, they’re wonderful to read. You mentioned in part one that you imagined this as an outcome if you got the “friend zone” route, did you have something in mind as an epilogue to the best ending?

  4. Wow, this is amazing! I love your writing on Hanako, her change seemed natural for someone who use to be timid meeting someone and becoming close like that. This is in interesting turn on her route and can’t wait for the rest. Take your time and make it just a good! (Not too much though I still want more Hanako stories…)

  5. You’re doing a lovely thing, you know.
    The trouble with all that happened in KS is that they are all so young. So much more lies before them, and further out, and it all hinges on so many variables. It really makes my heart ache for them, I can no longer see them as just characters in a fabricated universe. They’re people, and I want them to do well. Seeing them again, but as adults, building something grounded more firmly in their reality just puts my mind at ease, and my heart at peace.
    You’re not, by any means, pandering to the fans, or drip-feeding us a steady dose of a drug that we have been hooked on, but sadly, will have to let go of one day, along with our denial. You’re giving it all a defining epilogue. It’s… closure. Thank you.

  6. Muahahaha yes more writings to further my immersion into the universe that is KS.

    But seriously though, cheers for putting the time into this. I don’t see why ppl made such a big deal out of the first part thinking she was cheating. I had faith that you’d stay true to Hanako’s character (her progression to “strong Hanako” also feels very intuitive). However even if she did cheat, then well such is the harsh realities and hardships of life eh?

    One thing, wouldn’t Lilly tell Hisao about what happened to Hanako? Either by phone or letter or whatever? They’re obviously close enough that she’d feel it would be her obligation to inform Hisao, or was she afraid that he was too weak to handle the news? Even then, he would have recovered soon enough to be told.

  7. Look, I’m a KS crackhead now… and uh… I- I need this fix man… Part three now please! Come on man… just a few more hits… a few thousand more…

    1. I doubt that I will make a part 3 for this.
      Originally I only wanted to have the first part, but when everyone started kicking up a stink I wanted to set the record straight.

      I think I explained it best to Shintai here:

  8. Sorry for getting to this so late;

    I gotta admit, you’re one hell of a writer. I didn’t know WHAT to make of the first part, but now… this entire thing is really good. How they’re willing to try and rebuild, after hurting each other like that… fuck, that’s powerful.

    Gotta ask, have you written anything else? I really like your style. Would have been interesting to see how Hanako’s route ended if you were still at the head too (it was really good the way Suriko did it, but would have liked to see where you took it).

    1. I have written heaps of stuff in the past, ut mostly for my own amusement.

      Some of it will find its way here over time, but I prefer to look forward and take the skills learned over the last 5 years with me.

      Anyway, thanks for the comment!

  9. I don’t have much to say but, I would just like to leave my gratitude for you making this story. Hope there’s a Part 3. You do amazing work. :3 Keep it up man.

  10. I loved your route on KS! If you ever made a book i would sit in line from day one and wait a week to be the first to purchase it. I love your style and i hope i get to see more from you in the future. Great epilogue! Love your talent.

    Take care and I hope you enjoy your writing as much as i love reading them. ❤

    1. At the moment it looks like the first book I will publish will probably be a textbook, but we’ll see.

      If I do end up writing a book it’ll be posted here, but you’ll be waiting a number of years at least.

      Thanks for your suport!

    2. I doubt that you will have to wait a week for a book that I’ve written.

      That being said I’m thinking about doing it, but it will probably be a textbook, at least in the first instance.

  11. If we keep asking for a 3rd part the thing is we’ll ask for a 4th and so on to be honest by then we’ll be bored!
    I’d rather have something original than have something over done but then again you did leave this at a bit of a cliffhanger!

  12. Okay, this was great.

    Interesting how, like in KS, the sex happens first and all is seemingly right with the world, but really nothing’s fine – not yet – and it’s just a prelude to the mega-sadness we’re hit with soon after.

    Write moar. I don’t think continuing this story is a good idea though. Unless you’re going to turn this into a very long-winded thing, it doesn’t seem like there’s much more to be said. A bit like Hanako’s actual good end in KS, I suppose. They’re together, they’re happy – whether or not they live happily ever after isn’t answered because it doesn’t need to be. (At least, I feel as if the story is stronger if it’s left out.)

  13. Beautiful just.. I don’t usually comment on fanfics and such but here I am. I cannot believe I did not find this amazing piece of literature earlier it brought back all the feels I have accumulated after finishing Hanako’s route. Anyways, are you planning on writing a third part or no?

    1. Probably not.
      Then again when I wrote the first part 3 years ago I didn’t think that I would wrote a second part, so it might happen…

  14. Crud, don’t listen to the naysayers. This was beautiful. Maybe not exactly something I expected, but beautiful nonetheless, in both it’s writing and the emotions I felt while reading it.

    Bravo.

  15. I’m loving the different setting of the story. It is still Hanako and Hisao, but twisted into another enjoyment. If you feel like taking on a challenge continuing would be a great idea, but only if it isn’t short lived.

  16. Excellent work, man. This is a lovely piece — tender and touching without feeling trite or saccharine. You achieve a lot of balance in this work, and your love for the characters shines through in the final product.

    Hanako has always been my favorite character from Katawa Shoujo; I’m glad she was crafted by a writer as gifted as you. Reading this makes me want to break out the pen and paper and start writing again. Thank you — for the closure the piece provides and the impetus to return to fiction.

    I look forward to anything you put out in the future. I’m sure it will be stellar.

    1. I’m glad to hear that I’ve rekindled that spirit in you.
      I’m not ashamed to admit that the overwhelming response to Katawa Shoujo is the reason that I have picked up the pen again. Here’s hoping that I can keep on inspiring, eh?

      Thanks

  17. After reading, I just can’t help but smile like an idiot after reading such an amazing piece. I can’t believe I’ve spilled such emotions from just text, but I wouldn’t take the experience back ever. Thanks for sending me on such a great emotional roller coaster, I wish you true happiness and success in all your future endeavours. Fantastic!

  18. Hi,
    I know that you get lots of response to your work for Katawa Shoujo
    and I hope it is still overwhealmingly positive and cheering.
    I never played a graphic novel before (or used wordpress) but
    here I am. I just wanted to thank you for your creativity and effort
    that went into these stories and that went into the project as whole.
    I’ve come to appreciate and enjoy your work on the hanako character
    storyline and I am also thankfull for this little treat you offered us
    (I like how your characters are able to look through the hardship of life
    and grow in the process.) Hope to read something from you in the future again.

    1. Cheers, thanks.

      If you’re looking for more of my writing, then check out the “Pages” which should show up in the navigation bar on the left. There should be enough there to keep you amused.

  19. I just watched the interview with shintai… loved KS and favourite part was hanako…i only have two questions..and would really appreciate if you could manage to answer them…
    first:
    have you (while in the progress of writing the stories of KS) helped each other in the personalities of each charachter if they appeared in other paths? (like when hanako appeared in lilys path and suriko came to you and asked…what would hanako act like in this situation ?)

    second:
    Do you read fan fictions of hanakos epilogue ? If yes…how do you feel if it’s the case?

    sorry if you have answered these questions in the interview or elswewhere, I’m from Germany and it was a bit hard to understand everything… thanks in advance for a possible reply 🙂

    1. Before I left the team I read all of Hanako’s scenes in other paths in order to make sure that they made sense. I’m sure that Suriko did the same thing.

      As you may have noticed from the second interview, I don’t read Fan Fictions. I state my reasons pretty clearly there, so I don’t want to repeat myself!

      1. Okay. Thank you for your quick reply. 🙂

        This whole thing inspired me. I thank you honestly for this whole experience. It’s is the best thing I have honestly ever read.
        I too hope for more of your works. And that you manage to somehow even surpass this hanako thing even though that I think that it will be pretty hard to do so. Good luck in your future and if you ever publish a book it will be the first book I’ll put on my shelves next to my mangas.

  20. I just watched the interview and came here.
    I was amazed (seriously) that I see you still respond to people that comment.

    Thank you for writing this, nothing else left to say.

  21. Thank you for writing these two “follow up” pieces to KS, However I was not able to bring myself to wait like you mentioned in the interview with Shintai, Thank you for what you contributed to my life with the Hanako route in KS it has helped me more than you can you know. I am not disabled but at the same time identify with Hanako’s character in the way she is reclusive and timid around others. It has helped me realise that for myself and own well being that I need to make the effort to get up and move on and not trap myself within myself. I do not cry or show emotion, rarely, if ever. But Hanako’s route brought me to such tears that it was difficult to even continue reading. From the depths of my heart Thank you!

    1. That’s kinda cool. I also don’t really get into the whole emotion thing, but am prone to liking things to the point of getting dem feels. Good to hear that I’ve managed to do the same.

      Cheers

      1. I know you probably won’t see this but I think this could be a happy ending to the bad end if re-worded. Not to say it wasn’t good it was a feels trip which gave you power from my manly tears </3

  22. I’d like to “personally” thank you (or as personally as it can) for the Hanako story arc in KS. It has reminded me much of my life and to get in touch again with that “special someone” I had once lost years ago as well. (and no, I am not talking about either of my hands. =P)

    Keep on writing, your work inspires people, even if you don’t notice it directly.

  23. Sorry I derped for a minute for a second I was shocked at when you replied ( I hadn’t checked back but then I realised we are both Australian!) I am glad you agree with me, I don’t know why but I feel like a fan girl because you replied to me

  24. Did you think this story could have the same effect on people as Hanako’s route did? Also I heard you dropped out around 80% completion why was that?

    1. People’s reaction to words is their own thing!
      I dropped out because my job and life got a whole lot busier, and I had to let something go. Since I knew that I couldn’t give KS the attention that it needed, I left.

      1. Well it seems very noble instead of making the other authors/devs wait. I notice that in the early days of KS’s release people noted that Hanako goes through a dramatic change with her did you notice that change? I understand why though the change was noted. Also what did you think of Suriko’s (I think) take on Hanako?

      2. Not sure as to which change youare talking about… originally there were very different stories for all of the girls, but thankfully most of those never saw the light of day.

        As for changing through the course of the story, I believe that was the point of her route!

        I think Suriko did a good job with the Hanako path. It is a lot better than what I left him with! He expanded on the relationship aspects quite a bit, which added to the depth of the character.

  25. I felt like the change Suriko did was for the better I was talking about her being a bit more open and forward. So did Suriko mainly work on act 4 or had you dropped out earlier as I personally like her the most during act 2 and 3 but I did feel happy at the Good End to see her break out of her shell a little a kiss Hisao in public as well. I also agree with what the point of her route was her going through a change. Did you enjoy the bad ending is my real question though as I didn’t I understand the route has to end but do you ever feel like it could have continued?

  26. Too many emotions are running rampant through my mind after reading these two pieces, I’m utterly joyed at the pictures forming inside my mind and emotions as I read through, but hideously distraught at the word “Asylum”.

    However there is one thing I’m sure of and that is the rationale of my observation. You mentioned a few times in the comments and various other places about this being your continuation or an after thought of Hanako’s neutral ending. With that in mind I do believe (and correct me if I’m wrong) but this:

    “The last time we met like this, I had sex with Hanako the Virgin”

    This does not happen before the neutral ending in KS. You also then go on to tell us about Hisao’s memories in the summer house where he had his 2nd heart attack and from the way you describe it he either over did the alcohol or…Hanako. Even if the latter is or is not the case here it still does not explain how the two of them had sex back in high school. I’d hate to be that guy as I love reading your work, but I am going to have to call you out on this discrepancy.

    Despite me wanting to get clarity on the above, this is still great! Thank you for what you’you’ve done here.

    (Please delete the first post of this, I made a mistake I couldn’t edit and I did not want any misinterpretations of what I was saying, thanks.

    1. Apologies for not replying earlier.
      To be truthful, I originally wrote this without a specific ending in mind. Then, once the endings were finished, it seemed to fit the mood of the neural end better. Also, not many people wanted to hear that the good end turned out not-so-good, and so that was that.
      However, I don’t think that it is impossible to think that Hisao and Hanako would have sex after the neutral end… Natural teenage sex drive and all considered…

  27. Hmm… interesting turn of events; for both part 1 and 2. I liked it. You remember that song by Dan Dan Fogelberg “Same Old Lang Syne” ?

    Your story reminds me of that song. thanks for the time writing. It’s not a perfect. .. just like life Is. Sometimes we need a framing hammer to get through it. ; )

      1. Ugh.. need to quit posting that late at night. I meant to say that the story isn’t a nice clean “rainbows and sunshine” ending. It’s course, raw, and uncertain …”just like life is”. While I probably didn’t need to add this, I just wanted to be clear as you catch enough crap for no reason as it is.
        Cheers.

  28. A praise for this great story, both parts of it!
    It’s funny how many people asked about a 3rd part, even after each time you saying that prob would never happens.
    By myself I surely would love to ready anything else related from Hanako and Hanako/Hisao story, but for most this part 2 got it well closed, they finded each other, now know what happened and still want to “be here for” each other (the touch from using this phrase was great!), what happens after that is pretty mutch like the after from KS Hanako’s patch, the worse is past, at least for a start they understand each other, and now they will follow how life goes. With the extra of both being adults now.
    I just wanted to say how mutch I loved reading it, this story it’s not about a “and they lived happily ever after” after KS, but that just make it sounds even more lovely and realistic, as life is like that.
    Sorry about the huge rant, and about my crap english (not my first language and I never really got mutch formal learning on it ^^’).
    Apart os this I’m still slowly reading most of your stuff that I found here, readed H29 yesterday, and reading 10 July 1990 on KS foruns I’ve founded A Runner’s Afternoon (And now I’m scratching to read Final Finale even if I should be already back to work heh).
    Loved your storys so far, and be sure if you write anything else from Hanako or Hanako/Hisao story I’ll be eager to read!
    PS: Sorry again about how long this is, but once is already that long, for around a week I was delaying to message you to say thank you for Hanako patch on KS, I’ve not yet read all KS patchs but so far is really my favorite, your writing and Wee’s art really got Hanako deep in my heart to the point that even when I readed Lilly’s patch (my 2nd favorite so far) I was just happy to see how Hanako was faring in this alternative life patch.
    Thank you for everything!

  29. I like how you married the themes explored in earlier versions of Hanako’s arc with the plot given in the final release. While I feel that Suriko’s Hanako arc was just as concise as it needed to be in order to communicate the side of Hanako’s character that needed to be explored, I really enjoyed the depth that she was given in your version of the arc.
    “A Runner’s Afternoon” is a solid cementing of the two, and while I would have enjoyed a more ambiguous ending, I know the story behind the first part of this story and entirely respect your decisions.
    While we’re discussing interpretations, I saw Hanako’s rejection of the therapist as her attempting to come to a middle-ground after the trauma of Hisao’s accident, and the romantic awakening Hisao brought her. The therapist represented a part of life she was already familiar with (being handled delicately due to her condition), as well as a part of life that she wanted to explore, yet couldn’t (burgeoning feelings of love, etc.). It allowed her to slip into a semi-comfortable state, until she chose to move beyond it. Thus, the reunion with Hisao demonstrates her movement beyond her social handicap, attempting to regain what she had lost throughout her life.
    Keep in mind, this is how the ending makes sense to me. I certainly don’t consider it canonical, but it was an enjoyable read.
    I’m sure you’ve gotten this before, but I want to thank you for your work on Hanako’s arc. It helped me realize some aspects of myself that I was struggling with and allowed me to confront them.
    -Jordan

      1. Haha, at the moment I’m actually tempted to re-read Othello and The Life of Pi and then comb through Hanako’s plot again. Even though Hanako’s race is not her defining feature, I feel that the way race is handled in each of those texts is crucial to understanding how others perceive of Hanako. This hit me when Hisao visits Othello’s Antiques for a second time,with Hanako and the Shopkeep (who I’ll equate to the Venetian court in Othello, and I’m sure this could extended to both Misha and Shizune) has his interactions with Hanako tempered by her empirical appearance.
        There are also quite a number of similarities between how Hanako and Othello consider themselves ostracized from society based upon their physical appearances,and the anxieties they develop thusly. Obviously, I’m not saying that Hanako = Othello and I’m certainly not saying that Hisao is in any way related to Desdemona (as fucking hilarious of a comparison that would be),but there’s a lot of thematic overlap. It was an out-of-nowhere allusion that really strengthened my enjoyment of the arc.

  30. Christ anything to do with Hanako just draws me in, almost like I’m in a bubble,sealed off from the outside world while I absorb anything written about her.
    I hope you come back to writing some more about her.

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