“So listeners out there, as you all know this is the last time KAW will be transmitting and I would like to thank you all of you for your time you have given us over the years.. Its.. it’s been a blast..”
Depressing the red button on the desk he sighs and removes his headphones hanging them up on the hook next to the desk.
“Ahh.. I never thought this day would come.” he said as he stubbed out his last cigarette on the desk.
“Time to turn you off for the last time…. Will miss your annoying mains power hum..” and looking around the room spots his leather jacket and picks it up before moving towards the door.
“Some good memories here..good memories..” and with that he turns off the light and shuts the door.
I heard you on the wireless back in ’52
Tobias stepped out of the taxi, handed over some cash and put up his umbrella in an attempt at keeping dry.
“Here are your bags Mr Jacobs. I hope you have a good stay.” Tipping his hat the taxi driver got back in the car and drove off towards town.
*Nice kid, got a tip. I wonder what’s for the wife has cooked for tea tonight?
(music fades out as the car drives off)
The language school he had decided to apply for wasn’t in the middle of nowhere but on the edge of the village, however anything was better than the noise of Tokyo drowning out his own thoughts.
From a young age Tobias had struggled to block out the noise that filtered into his daily life like a medial drip feeding thoughts directly into his brain.
As the rain came down all the harder he decided to make a run for the door and picked up his bags from the curbside diving for cover under the concrete canopy at the front of the building.
Brushing down his coat and trousers he shakes his hair and pauses to take in the scenery. A few older style buildings stood across the road with a bus stop and a old looking vending machine with dirty orange stripe.
It may be grey outside but this village looks awesome. A new day, a new start…. he thinks to himself. Expectancy over ruled any worry he had about what was inside as he pushed open the door.
Tobias knew from the brochure that it had all the mod cons and wasn’t any run down “class 3E” shack and peering up the modern stairs to the next floor could hear faint music from above. Shaking off his umbrella he places it in the corner to dry off and drags the bags towards his new room no39.
The hallway seemed to go on forever and he had quite a walk to reach his room at the end of the corridor where he was relieved to see the shiny steel numbers on the door.
*Now should I watch TV or read a doujin tonight?
As he reaches for the key the door to no38 opens. A bright looking smiley face stuck their head round the door and thrusts out a hand.
“Hi I’m Mila. Nice to meet you my new door buddy”.
Untangling the bag straps he shakes her small hand.
“Tobias, nice to meet you.” and for a moment they looked back at each other until that common awkward silence passed. “Well I, err must unpack and get ready for tomorrow’s lessons.” and he smiles back as she waves and retreats behind her door.
*I wonder if he thought I was a girl? Now where did I put the remote for the TV?
Squeezing the brass handle down Tobias enters his new room and slumps down on the bed staring up at the ceiling. I wonder what she means by door buddy. Tired from travelling his eyes start to close and he has to make an effort to keep himself from drifting off into sleep.
Come on.. and rubbing his eyes he makes an effort to stay awake for a few more minutes. The room was white and sparse apart from a few bits of practical furniture. Taking off his clothes he decides that there is no point in staying up any later and slips between the white sheets on the bed.
The last thing he remembers from that evening was wondering about the wooden doors on each side of the room and what they could possibly be for.
Hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
A warm breeze washed over his face from the semi open window. The air was fresh from the previous day’s rain and the wildlife was vocal drifting in like a forgotten song. Breathing in he wipes his eyes and sits up and shuffles over to the window where he can hear laughs and voices.
Peeking over the window ledge he can see some other residence sitting below drinking and talking amongst themselves.
“Hey its that guy from yesterday”.
Mila put down the coffee cup that she was holding and waves up shielding her eyes from the sun. “Morning Tobias, we are having our morning meeting want to join us?” and with that she beckoned him down.
What am I going to wear he thought and pulled on some underwear and a t shirt from the top of his travel bag.
“He seems nice, I want to see more… I think”.
It was already quite a hot day so slipping on some shoes he dashes down the hall and stairs and heads towards the back of the building. Opening the door he almost falls over as it swings open quickly and spinning around just gains his footing before grabbing onto the edge of the table in front of him.
“Erm morning everyone…” Tobias blurts out as he steadied himself disentangling his outstretched arms from Mila.
“Ahh the freshman has arrived. I heard he was ultra smart so I better figure him out first”.
Looking around the others all looked over, smiled and broke out into laughter.
“I’m, I’m Tobias”. “ Nice to meet you!”
The boy to the left stretches out his arm in friendship. “Yeh we know that dummy.” and he takes a swig from his cup. “I’m Shin, and that over there is Mila and Lotte”. The others wave back as Shin bumps his fist on top of his own.
“It’s our morning breakfast coffee debate. While I can’t guarantee what we will talk about it’s always interesting. No holding back now Tobias, what would you like to tell us”?
“Although from the boxers and t shirt I think I can see what your aiming for”.
Shin looks him up and down and seems to focus on his half exposed stomach as his shirt ruffles in the gentle breeze.
Feeling a bit exposed Tobias tugs his shirt down a bit and fidgets with the hem.
Mila spins him around and pushes him towards the seat. “Let him sit down first and have some coffee Shin.” and with that she holds his shoulders to steady him and reaches over and pours him a large coffee.
“I hope it’s not too strong for him”.
As he takes a sip he sighs internally glad that he is beginning to fit into life in the dorm. “Thank you Mila it’s just strong enough for my taste”.
“Oh and I think I would like to ask about the building (that being my question of the day) across the road and the vending machine. Do you know how often it is filled. I like the orange flavour juice box from those old machines”?
“Well it’s interesting you say that because no one really knows who fills it. But I know from experience that it never runs out”. stopping to drop a lump of sugar she pauses.. If you are out running in the evening or need something for an early start it always gives you a drink”.
Fingering her hair she looks impressed by how observant he is. “Of course there is a telephone number on the side but no one has had the guts to call it. The saying goes that if you do you will disappear and become the ghost that has to fill the machine when it’s empty for all eternity.”
Shin places his hands on tobias shoulders and moves his face close. “obviously though its plain to see that someone from the dorms fills it up as it used to be a cafe for the old school.”
“we should break in sometime and see if anyone was locked in as a punishment” !
“he has nice soft skin.. i wonder if he gets hot at night”?
“well whatever the case we won’t know as we have classes today and the tutors arn’t going to be happy if we skip.” Lotte calls out from the swinging chair as she gathers up her books and heads towards the lecture rooms.
“i will open up the windows so its not too hot in there.. see you in a few mins.” she continues in an cheery manor skipping down the grass path.
the boys sigh in unison and both realise they have not got their textbooks ready for class. “shit” they both exclaim and with jostling and laughter fight their way up to their rooms to get what they need.
Tobias flings open the door and the gust of air pushes open the door to the right of the room. While it was certainly an interesting opportunity to see what’s on the other side he relents and picks up the books he needs.
“sorry will need more time to do that one” he says out loud.
“time to do what ?” shin laughs as they make their way down to the lecture room.
The facility was set up as a place for gifted young adults into art and music and used a renovated set of buildings that used to be an old disused school. everything had been modernised and even had an onsen, hot spring and even a pool.
The pool was the only sporting bit on the facility but everyone agreed that it was a welcome break after studying all day and most relaxed on the loungers on the side either revising or soaking up the sun.
Tobias was dangling his feet in the pool while the rest sat on the seats under the parasols to keep cool.
Tobias was enjoying the quiet and his new home seemed to be a lot calmer that he was used to. the ripples danced around his feet and for the first time in ages his mind began to wonder.
“I wonder what he meant by time to do that”?
and then the question came from shin, he wasn’t too worried as he had enjoyed the peace and quiet compared to Tokyo.
“so what do you need time to do Tobias”? he asked shielding the low setting sun with his hand