or, to freedom. Freedom from contradiction (although method not advised), liberation, solitude, agony, and love.
Next to Sosuke’s dignified corpse, is a letter. Under Utada Hikaru’s Prisoner of Love, Michiru starts to read…
Michiru, goodbye. I give you freedom. As long as I’m alive, I will confine you. Therefore, the only way to free you is for this heart to stop beating.
I wanted to be your everything. Your universe, your one and only protection. Your reason of happiness… No matter when and where, you and I, together, as one.
Unfortunately, your happiness resides in a world without me. Therefore, it’s best if I leave while the residual warmth of you is still with me. While, the memory of our bodies mingle in unity still lasts.
Sorry. Even though I loved your smile, I wasn’t able to bring you happiness. Sorry. I didn’t know how to love you. Sorry. I can’t bring you happiness.
Goodbye, Michiru. Be happy.
Meanwhile, Ruka proudly takes home the trophy and faces the grievances posited by the press conference immediately after competition. The inevitable question is raised. In front of all the major reporters, fans, family, and friends. Ruka hesitates and looks towards her family for help. They look back at her, giving her a firm nod.
… My family and friends have been standing beside me, giving me support. Not as a woman nor a man, but as a human being. There is nothing else I want to say.
After the celebration banquet, Eri and Takeru stay behind for Ruka. Eri tells Ruka:
You should’ve told me earlier. I wouldn’t be surprised or afraid. Because Ruka is Ruka.
Some time passes. No sight of Michiru. Ruka interprets the disappearance as Michiru’s inability to accept her for who she is. Until the phone rings, Michiru’s mother calls to ask about Michiru, did the share house receive their share of the news.
One day after hearing Sosuke’s tragic news, Ruka receives a post card from Michiru, addressed to the share house, confirming Michiru’s decision to be independent.
Then, one day Eri returns home to find Ogura packing. He addresses her as Eri-san now. When asked why he is packing, Ogura informs Eri of his job related travel to Milan, with his wife. Eri puts on a pokerface to hide her disappointment. Ogura stops her to say sorry. Eri turns back, walks towards Ogura and extends out her hand. “You should say thank you.” He looks at her with apologetic eyes and finally extends his hand out for a hand shake, murmuring a sorry, “Thank you.” Eri gives Ogura a last forced but assuring smile and turns away heading back to her room. Ogura watches as Eri leaves, his green cup sitting on the counter all by itself.
Standing on the dock over looking the ocean, Michiru gives a hint of suicidal consideration. She is interrupted, fortunately, by her mother’s friend, who is also kind enough to provide Michiru with rice cakes, a shelter, and a job.
Soon, Michiru is discovered to be pregnant. Her unusually high blood pressure is indicative of a difficult, if not dangerous labor.
Late at night, unable to fall asleep, Michiru’s thoughts wander back to her first meeting with Sosuke.
She was filling a form, Sosuke is at the desk, giving the form. Michiru leaves afterward, but Sosuke chases out, handing back her forgotten phone.
Michiru sits up from the tatami. Stroking her belly gently, her thoughts stroll away to their first date.
How is Sosuke’s mother like?
A gentle soul who ran away with her lover.
When I was 10, she fell in love with a customer of the supermarket she works at. She left home and I haven’t seen her since.
Sorry, I seem to be asking about something inappropriate.
No, it’s fine. That’s why I want to get married and form a happy family with you and the baby.
The next day, returning from work, Michiru finds her mother in her room. Her mother urges Michiru to abort the baby of a dead man, reasoning that a baby “is troublesome. Once born, you can’t throw it away anymore. It cries, kicks, and needs money. Once born, it will be a burden.” Michiru firmly answers that she will have the baby and asks her mother if that was what her mother thought of her.
I’ve always had that feeling. I am nothing but a burden to you. That’s why I want to grow up and leave.
I don’t want to be like you. This child, I will give it all my love.
Michiru runs away to throw up.
Her mother follows behind, patting her daughter on the back,
It’s already this tiring for you. Are you really going to give birth to the child?
As long as there are two people, I can do it. As long as there is the baby and I.
Your mother I, I used to think like that. I thought to myself after your father left that I would be able to hold on with just you and me.
Michiru looks up from the skin, astonished more than touched.
… The story brings us back to the beginning…
and back to Eri.
Every time getting off work, Eri would subconsciously look at the flights returning form Milan. Then walk out of the airport all by herself.
Today, as she walks out of the airport, there he is, holding a large bouquet of red roses, standing in front of her. He raises his voice and confesses,
This is the first decision, I, Ogura Tomohiko made. I, I can’t forget you!
And now, there is only Takeru and Ruka left in the share house. Seeing how much Ruka misses Michiru, Takeru suggests that it’s time to look for her.
The search starts.
Sitting on the beach one day, Ruka exclaims that living with Takeru, eating with him, and traveling with him, isn’t it not the life of a pair of married couple? Takeru is surprised, Ruka continues that she hears from the elders, when a couple is married for so many years, the passion between a man and woman wear off, they become good friends as a result. Stare ahead for a split of seconds, Takeru turns towards Ruka, “Ruka, have I told you about my sister?” (Finally!)
I have a sister. We separated when I was 10. We are in fact, not related since both our parents remarried. My father has a foul temper. I suppose my sister has accumulated enough wrath from him that she had me as her partner. The forever faithful partner.
I didn’t want to betray her, nor do I want to hurt my parents’ feelings. I took it all in as my fault. That’s why I have this fears towards women for intimate contact.
How silly. I can’t ever have a normal relationship, nor will I be able to bring a woman happiness.
Takeru can do it. Takeru is capable of bring happiness to women.
Ruka wraps her arm around Takeru’s shoulder, enveloping him with comfort and assurance.
They found Michiru. Convinces her to return with them and live together again, as a family. Then, Michiru enters the hospital giving birth to the child.
It was a difficult process, but at last, the baby is born. It’s a girl. Michiru names her Rumi. Ru from Ruka, Mi from Michiru.
The four of them decide to return to share house. As family, friends, couple, and lovers. Retaining all four relationships but defined by none in particular.
Michiru voices over as the four of them drive away in sunset,
My dear friends, you are my last friends.
Maybe too many things have been happening for me to feel the sense of hope the same way, but the feeling of closure definitely resonates. With that, I can say, I am satisfied.