It was broken
The sound of two swings in the dark was the only thing that broke the silence. One of them ceased its rhythmic squeak and regressed into a jumble of dissonance as its rider jumped off and scampered up a jungle gym.
The other swing continued though. A listless sound too loud for silence but still too silent to be someone really riding the swing.
Ulf sat the swing, and Yukio had climbed the jungle gym like some monkey.
“Proud now?” Yukio said.
Ulf could hear the despair in his voice. Funny that, why should you feel despair? Of Valentine there was only minutes left. Ulf ate his chocolate. It was dark and bitter, just as Christina had promised. An espresso would beef up the taste another notch.
“Urufu? Why, just why did you let it go this far?”
That voice again, like a hurt kid. Make that a double espresso. He had gotten used to that taste again. A cigarette even, but those are banned for teenagers like me these days. So no smoking. It's a filthy habit anyway.
“Man, you know you could get back to her and apologize.”
And Yukio just kept on whining. Sure would have tasted well though. Back in the days he could have had a smoke. Could even have chatted with his high school teachers about the pros and cons between different brands of tobacco. Back when he knew nothing.
“If you beg her like the damn dog you are she might just reconsider.”
Despite his absurd suggestions Yukio was still his best friend. It's just a piece of chocolate. No bid deal, Yukio. Valentine wasn't even an event back then. Still wasn't in Sweden. Stupid event. Why keep the male part of the student body on their toes in anticipation of chocolate?
“Man, she's the best thing that's happened in your life here. You said so yourself.”
It was great that Yukio had at least identified when a girl was good news or not. Eight months. Has it been that long? Funny. Will it take longer before I look with interest at another girl? Good thing he hadn't allowed her entirely under his skin. And that's a lie.
“Urufu, damn you! You're less than you can be without her. Don't you understand what you're losing?”
There it was again, the whiny voice. One should not sound that way if one wanted to be strong. Loss. It's important not to become that vulnerable. No one wants to feel loss. That's why one needs to keep a distance. So why was he crying right now? He had kept that distance.
“Look at yourself! You're pathetic! You've loved her since the day you saw her. Just admit it! Why the hell couldn't you admit it to her?”
And Yukio just kept on yapping. Feelings, always feelings. The kid overflowed with them. Love? That's the only thing Ulf couldn't afford. And those tears shouldn't be there. I shouldn't feel this way. I shouldn't feel this infinite loss.
“Urufu! Man! Look at you!”
Ulf wiped a handful of tears from his face. Then he turned his face upwards and roared.
Fear from May until today, love from June until today, the safe feeling of being two from August until today, the memory of bodies intertwined from December until today, a Christmas shared but no New Year's Eve.
Christina, whom he loved beyond reason.
It all came out in an endless scream of guilt and shame and pain.
It was after midnight, February fifteenth.
It was broken.