Summary: There are so many things I'd like to say, but have to leave unsaid.
I usually list an author as an inspiration for my works. However, I really don't think it's necessary to say which writer inspired me to use this kind of style. This piece is a sort of companion/side fic to longer project I've been plotting; however, given how absolutely uninspired I have been as of late, I doubt it will ever be written. I've incorporated two German words into the text, which should become clear from the context. However, considering the fact that they might not, I've added a footnote.
All feedback/flames/whatever appreciated.
The underground station at Karlsplatz is one of the filthiest, sleaziest and dirtiest stations you'll ever find. I wouldn't waste another minute breathing in the cigarette-infested air if circumstances – namely this being the only way I can get to the university – wouldn't force me to.
Well, I could have taken another route, but that would have meant leaving my apartment an hour earlier. However, it being a bone-chilling and windy November, I didn't feel like it.
People dressed in various garments, ranging from sloppy jeans to extremely gaudy suits, cross my path, but they're just a short-fleeting illusion that is burnt out as quickly as it appears. So, in many ways, they've become insignificant to me. Like dead flies or the dirt under my shoes.
It's strange how alone you can feel, even if you're surrounded by at least fifty people.
From my vantage point at the escalator which is rolling rather slowly downwards, I can hear the sounds of the underground train – the whooshing, and that mechanic, never altering voice dryly lulling out: “Zug fährt ab." The automatic doors close swiftly with such a frightening force that still leaves me cringing – I can't help thinking would would happen if someone got stuck in between.
“Scheiße, ich bin spät dran. Elender verdammter Dreck!” a male voice swears behind me and then I feel someone push roughly past me; it's the person who angrily muttered these words. He doesn't even look back.
“Idiot,” I growl out silently, angry that this jackass had to shove me like that, just because he was late. It's hardly my fault.
It's moments like these that make me realise how much I hate this city.
After a university lecture ends, there's this ritual of hands knocking on a table, which serves as a sort of appreciation for the lecturer. I'll have to admit that – for the longest time – I really didn't understand what that hand-banging on the tables meant, and didn't join in with the others. It was only later a year after I'd been here that a magazine explained it to me. It's not like I had anyone else.
Today it's the same: the lecture ends with the professor saying that we should read some stupid chapters for next week and, again, there's the same harsh pounding of hands against old wooden tables, which not only creak, but squeak. I do the same, though I could really care less for the lecture or the person who's held it.
It's meaningless. All of this is.
I can't leave the hot and stuffy lecture hall immediately; people, all muttering and chattering incessantly, are pushing in all directions and there's really no way out now. I'm forced to wait until the tumult dies down.
I sigh relievedly upon feeling cool air attack my face. It's wintry and humid out, but I don't feel cold because my legs are moving – walking very quickly. It's comfortable, comforting even.
The door to my apartment opens easily and there's no creak when I open it. There's little noise, in fact – this place, it's nearly like a temple.
I still can't find myself referring apartment as “home”.
I take off my shoes with a feeling of pleasure, glad to be finally freed of the wetness that had been soaking my socks.
Funnily, the first thing I do isn't fix myself a meal or anything else of the sort, instead I'm instantly keen on switching the computer on. And I do just that.
There's no message waiting for me; I check the other account, but am disappointed as well. Naruto hasn't sent me a word yet, though he'd promised to write daily.
Oh well. Perhaps, I shouldn't have expected too much in the first place. But still, I can't help feeling empty, A message might not replace him in flesh and blood, but it would have been something.
A sudden knock on the door alarms me, and pulls me out of my brooding. I don't why my heart's suddenly beating wildly nor why I run to the door, instead of calmly walking to it.
Of course, I end up feeling like an idiot. It's a Jehovah's Witness. Before the guy even gets a chance to talk, I quickly stammer out a “I don't speak German” in Japanese and close the door behind me. I don't care if it's rude. In fact, it's rude of him to invade other people's privacy just to flaunt his religious philosophy about. He should bother people who need it.
Because I certainly don't.
Feeling angry and let down, I switch off the computer and practically hurl myself at the sofa, yelping when my back comes to contact with the remote which pushes hard against my skin.
And yet, in spite of it all, my eyes close and I fall asleep.
When I awake, I can only hear splash splash splash.
It's raining in patters out. I can hear it; some of the raindrops are thrust harshly against the window pane, creating singular sharp noises, which remind me of pennies being tossed down a metallic surface. Or something like that.
I rub my stinging eyes, and shift positions on the sofa; it's not a particularly comfortable sofa, too hard to lie down on and much too small to sleep in. I should have bought something else.
Then my cellphone rings. This always happens: just when I want to go to bed, some stupid wanker has to call me – and it's only now that I realise no one has called me in months.
However, it doesn't change the fact that it's still annoying. It's way past midnight. I want to go to bed, not hear some stupid person bother me with useless gibberish. But the phone doesn't stop ringing.
More than vexed, I pick it up, and furiously murmur into the receiver: “Yeah?”
“Hey, you don't have sound so rude, Sasuke.”
For just a moment, I nearly feel compelled to let the phone crash on the floor. My hands tremble that much. I don't what makes them shudder so – the fact that it's really Naruto talking to me or the homesickness that comes hand in hand with hearing his voice.
“Yes, yes, it's me. I'd thought I'd surprise you today. So, I called instead of writing to you.”
I'd prefer if he'd written.
“Hmm?” Naruto demands, sounding a little irritated and even hurt. “After months, of not hearing my voice all you've got to say is hmm?”
I sigh and bite my lips. How idiotic of me. I can picture his face now – his blue eyes widened and expressive. That's what they are – beautifully expressive.
“No, I'm just a little tired. Sorry. I'm glad you called.”
“Good. Just do try sound a little more enthusiastic, okay?”
“Sheesh. You're not even trying,” Naruto says, letting out a frustrated breath. “So, what you've been up to?”
I'd like to tell him nothing, but my instincts warn me that this would only worry him needlessly. And that's the last thing I need – his pity.
“The usual. Studying, going to work and more studying.”
“Sounds pretty damned boring.”
“Well, not everyone's a party animal, Naruto.”
“Oh, I guess so. I've been having a lot of fun with the boys – we went to this ubercool party on Sunday, where they had these supercool -”
I don't really pay attention anymore. The boys are no one other than his rag-tag group of friends, which include Kiba, Shikamaru, Chouji and Shino. They've been a strong and steady group since middle school or so. Anyhow, they always do the same things. So, there's no need for me to listen really.
“Sounds like a lot of fun,” I reply after Naruto has finished prattling.
“Hey, it was. We had a real blast.”
There's a pause. I guess he's a bit surprised by the change of topic. I'm as well. But I guess, I've always been one for torture.
“She's fine. In fact, we're...how do I – damn ...”
I don't want to hear the rest. It won't be nice. And the way Naruto breathes heavily into the phone isn't nice either. He's silent and it's that damned silence that's unnerving; it's the calm before the storm.
“Naruto?” I finally ask, annoyed by that stupid and awkward silence. It's humiliating.
“We're getting married. “
I can hear the rain coming down stronger now; it's no longer just a soft thud thud against the ground, but strong bangs created by water crashing on gravel ground.
“Yeah, that's why I called.”
“How nice of you,” I exclaim, not bothering to hide the sarcasm in my tone. Moron. Naruto is a blasted moron.
“Hey Sasuke, you sure as hell don't sound happy.”
Why, he's not a moron -- he's a fucking asshole.
“No, you're mistaken,” I quickly respond, clenching my fist all the while. “I'm happy for you. For both of you.”
I'd give anything to slam the phone down now. But then I'd only be hurting more, and – worse of all – he'd be left confused and upset. And in spite of how I feel about this, the last thing I want is for Naruto to be hurting. I'm not a bastard, contrary to popular belief.
“Yeah, she's an awesome woman," Naruto goes on saying, not even realising how forced he sounds. How forced all of this sounds.
“She is. She'll make you happy.”
I can see him nodding to that with a sickening grin on his face. Feeling the need to occupy my free hand with something, I pull out a scrap of paper out of my jeans pocket. It's something I got on the street. It's an add for some sort of party. Nothing I care about.
“Ah, speaking of that, don't you ever think of finding someone? “
For an instant, it's like someone had just given me a good kick in the stomach – there's this hole building in my chest and an icy sensation spreads all over my me. I feel as if I'd been soaked wet by the rain outside.
“Sasuke, you there? Answer the question, damnit!”
I start to crush that paper in my hands; it's becoming a ball – a twisted disfigured ball. It'd be so wonderful, if all my problems could be just crushed and twisted away.
There's a gasp. Naruto sounds absolutely scandalised; it's so appalling. This whole conversation is appalling, trite even.
“But why? You're good-looking, intelligent and everything. Come on, you must know someone.”
I twist it even further, and grind my teeth against my lower lip; it costs me all my strength not to start breathing quickly. If I started to breathe quickly now, I'd surely hyperventilate.
“I'm not interested.”
“But, but – even you can't be that asexu-”
I interrupt him before he can say more. I don't need this crap from him – not from him. Naruto knows how much it irritates me.
“I said no, Naruto.”
“Sorry. I'd forgotten how much of thick-headed bastard you are. My bad. “
I can hear him laughing; it's that kind of laugh that's contagious, if you allow yourself to give in. But I don't give in because I'm not willing to pretend.
“So when is the date?”
“Say, would it possible for you to return to Japan? I'd like you to be my best man, since you're my best friend and all.”
I furrow my eyebrows and throw a quick glance round the room – it's a nice room. The sofa is a fine red colour, which is good for winter days and everything else is acceptably nice as well – the moderately big TV set, the brown bookcase and the three plants I've bought to make this room look greener. It's the first time I've realised how warm and safe this room is.
“Sasuke? Are you dozing off? So can you or can't you?”
“No, I can't make it.”
“Huh? But you've got holidays – I'm sure you could make it,” Naruto insists, the hurt lingering in his voice. It doesn't work on me, though.
“I can't. I've got too much going on here. I just can't Naruto. Try to understand,” I say calmly, not bothering to add a “please”. I'd never do that; it's beyond my dignity.
Naruto sighs loudly.
“Oh well. Look I have to end this call now,” Naruto hurriedly stammers out. I know why he does that: he's got nothing to say to me anymore. “If you ever do change your mind, just drop me a line, okay?”
“I will,” I lie through gritted teeth. I know I sound terse, even rude, but it's the only way to keep Naruto from bothering me about this. He'll just have to understand that this is my final decision.
“Bye Sasuke. Take care.”
That's it and Naruto hangs up. I won't be hearing from him until he and Sakura have gotten hitched. I don't look forward to it. In fact, I'll make sure to have the phone switched off on that day.
The tattered scrap of paper is still in my hand. Without further ado, I tear it up to bits and pieces, letting it fall to the ground. I'll clean up the mess tomorrow.
It's still raining outside, though I don't really pay attention to it anymore. Instead, I throw the mobile phone on the sofa, switch the light off and set off for my bed. My bed, which is comfortable-warm and where I can just shut my eyes and be pretend-happy.
I've never felt so drained in my life. And something tells me this feeling won't change.
1: Zug fährt ab.
It can basically be translated into: “The train is departing.”
2:“Scheiße, ich bin spät dran. Elender verdammter Dreck!”
“Shit I'm late.” I'm not sure how to translate the “Elender verdammter Dreck!” -- it's just an expression that reinforces the meaning of what has already been said. It's not commonly used. Indeed, I think I'm the only German-speaking person who uses it.