Summary: Chapter 7

The morning Doc Hata gets discharged from the hospital, Liv and Renny come to escort him home. Liv suggests that Doc Hata take a pair of hospital slippers to use getting into and out of his pool, but his doctor said he should avoid harsh chemicals to prevent worsening the case of shingles he’s developed. Liv dismisses Dr. Weil’s warning, saying that the young physician can’t be that great since he’s always playing golf.

Doc Hata thinks about when he was Dr. Weil’s age. As a newly minted officer trained as a field medic, Doc Hata longed for the time when real experience would test his preparation. He believed that such a real-world test would reveal his true self. Yet he also wondered what was more important: one’s training, or one’s “essential, inner spirit.” He suspects that someone like Liv would reject both options and declare it’s only what a person does in the present that really matters.

As he makes his way out of the hospital room, Doc Hata worries he might fall down, but he urges himself to keep going lest such an event lead to more tests. He wants to return to simplicity rather than invite more complication.

In the lobby, Doc Hata runs into Anne, who has arrived to visit Patrick in the ICU. Anne tells Doc Hata that her husband has decided to give the store back to the bank, and she confides that they had a nasty fight. Doc Hata offers words of comfort, insisting that bad luck cannot last forever and that she and James can begin again once the worst is over. Anne walks Doc Hata to the door, and they make tentative plans to visit Patrick together. Doc Hata thinks about how cruel it is that if Patrick does succeed in getting a new heart, it means that another child will have died.

This thought makes him recall the letter he received from Fujimori reporting Enchi’s death. In the letter, which Doc Hata still has and reads from time to time, Fujimori explained how they had searched for Enchi’s body but found only small bits of flesh. Later, Fujimori looked up and saw hundreds of birds in the trees, picking at leaves and branches. Realizing that the birds were eating Enchi’s remains, Fujimori wept. Doc Hata notes that Fujimori had a “dark sensibility.”

Doc Hata gets into Liv’s car and they drive off. They pass the Ebbington mall, and Doc Hata thinks about asking Liv to stop. Renny mentions that he’s noticed more incidents of borderline racism in Bedley Run. Doc Hata says he knows what Renny is talking about, but he insists that he takes responsibility for any uneasy situations he’s found himself in. Liv agrees with Doc Hata and argues that people should adapt to Bedley Run rather than try to change it.