F: “You know, ‘ryu’ also translates to school.”
F: “You never noticed? I thought you did martial arts.”
J: “Well… I guess that’s true. A lot of japanese schools end with ‘ryu’, but I never really took any japanese styles except for a day of aikido. I just never connected the dots.”
F: “So… technically your alias could mean ‘The Jin School’ or something.”
J: “That’s not bad. It’s kinda… fitting. It’s sure better than something cheezy like Jin Dragon.”
F: “Jin Dragon sounds like some 16 year old anime freak who thinks he hyperactivity is super saiyen 2.”
J: “Man, that’s kinda nice though. I mean… to be identified by a paradox that is just your own way of thinking. It’s sorta romantic.”
F: “I don’t think romantic is the word you’re looking for. It’s spelled more like full of shit.”
J: “Hey, I didn’t chose the name. I’m just playing the cards I have.”
F: “So why do you still use that name anyway?”
J: “Dunno. Souvenir I guess.”
The rooms were a sharp contrast to his own house– while his parents liked to decorate everything, as if guided by the principle that effort (no matter how convoluted) is what makes home home no matter how tacky or typical, his grandparents’ house was effortless. White walls. They’d ben that color since he could remember. While his home had been colored, wall papered, acessorized with paintings and shelves and wall units and photographs, his grandparents house was like a time capsule. The furniture was moved here and there, but it was the same stuff.
The bike ride to his grandparents had tired him out, and as he lay down across the large three section sofa, he looked across the living room to the single seater– when he was young, he could fit in that, and he’d fall asleep, his head draped over one arm rest and his legs dangling over the other. The only time he sat properly was when slurping down a bowl of instant noodles while watching Peter Pan or The Raiders of the Lost Ark for the hundredth time.
He woke up only twenty minutes later, no longer feeling tired, but feeling stiff– the couch was kinda worn after all, and was more like a padded bench at this point. Walking down the hall, he found the door to the stairs down. When he was younger, this door had a little latch on it so that he couldn’t fall down the stairs when no one was looking. Once, he’d tobogganned down the spiral staircase in his baby walker, and come out unscathed and absolutely ecstatic, which was why the latch was there in the first place.
The latch was still there, but there was no reason to ever lock it anymore. That had been what… twenty years ago? Twenty years that there wasn’t a reason to change it– so it had remained, like the white walls.
He went downstairs and there he saw the open basement– the extra bed against the wall, the extra couch; the mini-bar that was never used for anything but storing boxes. And he remembered coming down here, as lately as perhaps just 7 or 8 years ago when he had first started kickboxing. The wood floored basement was the only open space to move around without breaking anything during the rainy days. The basements were always his sanctuary. He never minded the cold.
He went to the middle of the room, and sat down, not smiling, not frowning, just breathing in the room.
His granparents voices could be heard suddenly from upstairs wondering where he had gone, and so he got up, turned off the lights and went up to eat a lunch of noodles.