I was going to talk about Susanna in Part 5 of The day her life changed, but it turns out I have a lot more in mind that it deserves a standalone post. 🙂
When Candy Candy Final Story (CCFS) was first published, some readers were shocked that Susanna died. Some even rejoiced at the news because they disliked Susanna very much, even felt that she was worse than Eliza, because she had hidden most of Candy’s letters from Terry and was the major obstacle between Terry and Candy.
Yet, if you’re among those who believe Susanna’s death automatically means the reunion of Candy and Terry, please think again. 😐 🙄
First of all, it was only natural for Susanna to have succumbed to Terry’s charms. He was very good looking and a talented actor like herself. Not to mention that Terry was seemingly single. As I mentioned before, Susanna hadn’t known of Candy’s existence until the charity performance in Chicago (please read Expressions of love for details). Secondly, the accident during the rehearsal on the stage was a real tragedy. I don’t think Susanna had plotted it to ruin her own life just because she wanted Terry. 🙁
About Susanna’s suicidal attempt, it was meant to ‘free’ Terry from bearing a burden for her due to her amputation. She was completely aware that she would only bother Terry and Candy. Thus, Susanna picked the time during the premiere of “Romeo and Juliet” so that Terry wouldn’t be around to interrupt her ‘business’. Note that Susanna wouldn’t have possibly predicted that Candy would skip the premiere. Interestingly, rather than blaming Terry for not telling her a word about Susanna, Candy rushed to the hospital herself with the intention to confront Susanna, only to discover the truth of her grave injury and rescue her love rival just in time.
Do you honestly think that if Susanna had been a horrible person like many have accused of her being one, would Candy determine to leave Terry? No, I suppose Candy wouldn’t have done so if Susanna was indeed a mean, scheming woman.
Yes, it’s true Susanna was the reason why Candy and Terry had to go separate paths, but in CCFS Candy acknowledged the depth of Susanna’s love for Terry and decided not to get in their way (see The person I love for details). After that, nothing could break her resolve, despite receiving a long letter from her friend Annie some time later. Annie wrote honestly and persuasively, urging Candy not to give up Terry so easily. However, Candy remained firm because Annie didn’t really understand the reasons behind her decision. Even seeing Terry’s miserable state in Rockstown with her own eyes hadn’t softened her resolve. Miss Eleanor Baker’s invitation hadn’t moved Candy either. Need I say more? 😉
Come to think of it, Terry, portrayed as a rebel, was far from pliant. He showed unmistakable signs of having a strong will of his own. You think he would let himself be manipulated by any woman? No, of course not. 😕
Contrary to what people believe, Terry didn’t hate Susanna for putting him in a quandary. In fact, he was extremely tender to her when visiting her at the hospital, bringing her flowers every day. After all, he owed her his life or career. Seriously, have you seen this tender side of him elsewhere in the manga? Not very much, right? 😮 See my old post Susanna and Candy for your interest. 🙂
Moreover, unlike what many have assumed, Terry wasn’t stuck with Susanna. Yes, Candy had left him, but it was his conscious decision after struggling with his guilty feelings for Susanna and Candy and weighing his options for many days (even though he seemingly regretted it months later). At the hospital rooftop, when Susanna was shivering in Terry’s arms, Candy grasped his dilemma and sensed that Terry had already made up his mind. That was why Candy stepped down, to which Terry hadn’t even protested. That confirmed Candy’s suspicions that he had chosen Susanna over her.
Did Candy hate Susanna or Terry? No. She used to dislike Susanna very much, but Candy had changed after her trip to New York. Years after the breakup, possibly months before the great war ended, Candy wrote an unsent letter to Terry, in which Candy congratulated Terry for his success. Near the end, Candy said she was happy (using present tense) and wished Terry happiness (with Susanna) before writing the following (CCFS Vol II P. 277):
To translate the above isn’t easy, but here is my attempt (the word shown in bracket is not in the sentence but understood):
Terry, Susanna is a wonderful person. The fact that she keeps on loving you above everything else is wonderful.
Thus, Terry, who has chosen such Susanna, is also (wonderful).
Please bear in mind that Candy wasn’t going to send this letter, so there was no reason for her to lie or hide her real feelings about Susanna and/or Terry. I don’t think Candy was pretending either when she wrote both Susanna and Terry were wonderful people. No doubt she had fully recovered from the breakup, and she could write about them without feeling awkward.
More importantly, you don’t sense any bitterness at all in this unsent letter, nor can you detect any hint that Candy was hoping for Terry to leave Susanna and return to her. Candy was content to be one of his fans living far away from him (what a contrast to the girl who had screamed for his attention right after the charity performance in Chicago! ).
So when did Susanna pass away?
In her obituary it said that Susanna had worked as a narrator and a playwright. She had written quite a few plays, some of which had been performed. It’s unclear when she became sick and how long she had been fighting against her illness. The term used, 闘病生活, means a person had been living under medical treatment for a long period of time.
How many plays could one write in a year? It depends on various factors. For example, was she required to do any research? Was she healthy while working? How many revisions were necessary for each script? Remember, back then there was no computer to help her. 😛 😉
We also know that Terry had been supporting Susanna through the years and continued living together with her (共に暮らし) during her struggles with her illness. Someone pointed out that Terry might be the only one living with her and taking care of her till her death. I’m not entirely sure about that, but at least he had kept his promise to stay by her side.
For sure Candy in her mid-30s said that she had learned of Susanna’s death some years ago by reading her obituary, and Candy had slumped down on the sofa as though she had lost all her strength (she had been undoubtedly shocked by the bad news). Frankly, if all this time Candy had been holding a tinge of hope that Terry would leave Susanna, isn’t her death “good news” to Candy? 🙁 That Candy should jump up with joy that Terry was free from Susanna at long last?
However, Candy’s reaction was precisely the opposite. She recalled she had been unable to stop crying. Once again, Candy had no reason to lie, right? 🙄 That could only mean one thing, that Candy had been genuinely distressed and saddened by Susanna’s fate. I have a feeling that Candy herself had already been married and happy then, or she hadn’t been following their news at all, so she possibly had shed tears for Terry too.
But how many years ago was that? 😮
I strongly believe Terry was still with Susanna when Candy wrote her mental letter to Anthony, as discussed in The day her life changed (Part 4), because Candy said to Anthony that fate made it impossible to see the person even though the person was alive.
Candy sounded ‘matter-of-fact’ about the outcome and not emotional. Therefore, by then, she had calmly accepted that she would never see Terry again.
Now, how could one assume Candy would continue to wait for Terry indefinitely even though the breakup had taken place when she had been around sixteen years of age? It just doesn’t make much sense when Candy herself had given up Terry in the first place, and when she wrote the unsent letter to him she was around twenty or older. Don’t forget by then Candy had come across articles of Susanna’s loving support for Terry and felt absolutely no jealousy. This is another solid proof that Candy was over Terry already.
Above all, CCFS provides very little (or no) evidence to support the notion that Candy still loved Terry years after the breakup but so much more evidence to elaborate how Candy had moved on in her life with her Prince on the Hill. Come to think of it, Mizuki used nearly the entire epilogue to show how Candy and Albert had grown more intimate to each other. 😉
What do you think? 🙂