Saturday, 18 April 2015
Chapter two (segment three), twenty four years earlier, May, Ulf
“Pretty good for a geek, ha.” A bunch of students were entering the locker room, and the comment had come from the door opening.
What's with them? Ulf looked at Yukio in search for a clue.
“Because you're an idiot.” Yukio handed over the plastic bottle with shampoo together with his verbal assessment. “Towel.”
Ulf exchanged bottle for towel, and then they left their locker room. Two more classes, and then it would be club hours. If they had had a club, that was.
“My lack of brains. What about it?” he asked as they climbed the left wing stairs to the third floor.
“Those were 3:1,” Yukio answered as if it explained everything.
“They're in the right wing.”
“For being so damned old and smart you're really a moron sometimes.” Yukio looked slightly disgusted. “Old geezer, you act on experience when you should be thinking.”
Ulf blushed slightly. This wasn't the first time they had this discussion. One of the advantages with being older was that you had a vast pool of experience to use. The main disadvantage with being older was that you usually used that pool automatically.
“Right wing, so?”
“Their windows face the soccer field. You know, where we played during lunch break when 3:1 was filled with a full two classes worth of students?”
Oh, crap! Ulf could see where this was going.
“You know, when you displayed those amazing athletic skills of yours. Those that you share with every other average member of geek squad.”
“I'm no good at football,” Ulf countered.
“It's soccer over here, not football.”
“Played with your feet, hence football. UEFA, FIFA, notice the lack of an 'S' there?”
“Football is another sports. It's...”
“Played with your hands. I know. Yanks aren't known for their brains to begin with. Had to be an idiot from the states to mistake handball for football.”
Yukio gave him a cold stare, and then they both laughed.
“You're still an idiot, you know that?”
Ulf sighed. Just as he pulled open the door to their classroom he turned to his friend. “I guess I am at that.”
Yukio shook his head, and they entered.
“Think 3:1 lost out on their monopoly?”
“No, not yet,” Yukio answered. “But you're pulling too much attention. Someone will start asking questions.”
That was bad. “You don't think she...?”
“I don't know.” Now it was Yukio's turn to blush. “Takeida-san was there.”
That was correct. Ulf had seen the human sun shine from one of the classrooms, and wherever she was Kyoko wasn't far away. Problem was that lately the two large gangs of admirers had merged into one, so if you found Christina you were likely to find Ryu as well. And that meant Noriko, and there was a risk she would remember him.
He was running out of time. If he was found out and rumours started to spread he could wave goodbye to his plans.
If I could only redo! But he couldn't go back, only forward. He wasn't redoing high school. This was a new experience, and as such it had to be handled with the respect it deserved.
Club first. Then have a chat with the Wakayama twins. Because now he had to get them to join as well. That Ryu's fan-club had merged with Christina's horde of admirers had put a huge wrench into his plans. They were no longer as simple and clean as when he had started harbouring them. Ulf hated complicated plans, because those soon grew to become complex. And when plans became complex, well then usually all bets were off.
His thoughts returned to the football field and the teenagers playing ball.
When I was their age, the first time, he thought, remembering when he had travelled to Japan with his parents, but no. They probably played baseball on that field back then.
But those kids were fifty now as well. You're not playing baseball any more. Did your kids play football or baseball when they were fifteen? He missed his parents. He missed… Maria, do you wonder what happened to me? Are you alone? Are you taking good care of our kids? His eyes brimmed with tears. Our surviving kids? And an overwhelming feeling of loss came over him. He hadn't been born to this world. In this world, somewhere in Sweden, a Maria who had never met him lived out her life, and their children had never been born. But in that case his daughter had never died, and if so, why did he miss her so much?
Ulf blinked away his tears. He needed to switch his attention to something that didn't give him a headache.
“Yukio, what's up now?”
Ulf swore. For one hour he'd be forced to pretend to learn English from that half arsed moron who really should have finished his career at being a student before becoming a teacher. Ulf felt the headache spreading.