Elena clears her throat. “Seeing as no teacher has made a formal introduction, I have taken the liberty of arranging one. I thought, that before we eat, we could all state our names, an interest or two, something odd– you know, basically breaking the ice.” Before anyone has time to make any objections she starts.
“I’ll go first. My name is Elena Havenius. My interests are girls and loads of sweaty sex.” I count atleast eight people choking on their beverages following that sentence. “My odd thing is that I have been inside a blimp.” She sits down and looks pointedly at the girl next to her.
The girl steps up with a confident movement. She is tall and angular, has porcelain skin and black hair that falls like silk around her. “I am Chiyo Sawamura. I like to draw and to play tennis.” A pair of slanted eyes the color of mahogny drift across the table. “I was once stranded on a deserted island.” Whoa, there is a story there, isn’t there?
The next girl bounces up from her seat and spills her drink on the the sleeve of the girl next to her.” Aaah, I am so sorry.” She puts one hand behind her neck which causes her… her endowments to rise admirably. Don’t judge- I am a fifteen year old guy. She uses the other hand to swipe the table and the sleeve with napkins. As she does, I inspect her . Her hair is a dirty blonde, she’s short, so short that I wonder if she’d even reach my shoulders and she has freckles all over her tanned skin. “Soooo my name is Marika Söder, but I also respond to South or perhaps Clumsy.” The whole table chuckles. ” I like riding, anything really-” she raises her left eye-brow suggestively- ” and cats. My unique thingy is that I have a large tattoo, but I am not going to say whereeee.”
The girl next to her, the one who had cola spilled on her sleeve, nervously steps up. “…. like…. I don’t….”. She talks in a really quiet voice, almost whisper-volume. She has green eyes, curly black hair, and skin that tells a tale of the Middle-East. She stops. I look at Elena, who nods. She bends over the table and puts a hand over the girl’s knuckles, knuckles that are turning white from being squeezed so tightly. “Sweetie, if you could repeat that, but just a little louder.” The girl swallows and looks as if she is about to cry for a second. She regains her courage though. “Mm-my name is Shirin Vahedi-ii. I-I-I like reading books and eating marshmallows.” She inhales slowly.” My odd tth-thing is that I once touched Dalai Lama.” She sits down abruptly.
Kai gets up. He drags a hand through his long brown hair, a nervous tic I’d guess and his green eyes focus on me. I nod reassuringly. His eye, they’re green- but not like Greyscale’s or Shirin’s. Whereas the first have emerald green eyes, and the second has more of a hazel version, his are a more watery version. “My name is Kai. Kai Blut. I like any kind of game- video, console or cardboard and I like cooking. I am good at cooking. ” He hesitates. “I once got to see my own brain rendered in high-definition.”
The next one up on the execution block is Rude Girl, the one who tried to look under my patch. A dainty hand removes a straw-colored lock from her face and she locks her citrine eyes on me, for some reason. “My name is Nevena Stanislaw. I’d say that I like sex, but someone has already picked that.” The class laughs. “I’ll have to settle for fast vehicles of any kind and romantic movies- yeah I know, how cliché.” She muses for a moment.” And I once got to blow up an old tank, try topping that.”
She sits down with a flourish that seems to envelope the person next to her. Hmm, that makes about half of 1A that has introduced themselves so far.
The next girl gets up in a deliberate and controlled motion. She has short blonde hair, spiky hair, mud-brown eyes and three piercings on her nose. “I go by the name of Signe Revsand. My interests are feminism and gender-equality.” Oh. One of those. “I have seen the greatest miracle of all time; I have seen a baby dolphin born live.” I wonder how a dolphin would taste…
The next person to speak is… absent? Where did she go? Thus the person next to the empty chair gets up. It’s Pontus. “Hey guys and gals.” Looking at him I am still reminded of Ragnar the Asshole; Pontus hair is short-cropped, and his eyes are a shade lighter blue than Ragnar’s, but other than that they could be twins, not cousin. “I’m Pontus Malmberg. I like any kind of excercise really, and ventriloquism.”! I couldn’t be more surprised if he had said that he was an alien from outer space. ” My thing is that I went to Auschwitz on a trip and got to see the chambers.” The entire table winces.
Meanwhile a black-haired girl saunters up to the table and sits down in the empty chair. When she notices people looking at her, she gives out a “What?” Elena responds. “It’s your turn.” “Oh.” She turns brown eyes in circle as if to gauge the serious mood at the table, following Pontus’ Auschwitz proclamation. “I am sorry, I was in the bathroom. You see I had an important call.” There is nothing wrong, nothing superficially wrong with her words, but her tone is arrogant. She talks with a Can-I-Speak-To-Your-Manager voice. I almost expect her to say something along the lines of; don’t you know who I am? She stands up and puts her hands on the table. ” I am Sara. Sara Eksjö.” She pauses. “What was it we were supposed to say?” Geez, hasn’t she been listening? “Give an interest or two, and and something odd”, Elena adds with the patience of a saint. “I like horse-riding and traveling.”
As soon as Sara has stopped speaking, and without prompt, a short and stocky girl steps up on her chair. “Because I am so short, I feel that I need some sort of stage”, she explains. Her comment gains her some well-meaning laugther. “My father calls me Amina Agnieska Pavov, but you can call me Ami.” Everything about Ami is stocky. Her hair is thick and wavy. She has the kind of body that fitness-models envy. Her black doe-eyes seems almost too large for her face. ” My interests are karate and mma- to watch or do, I am not picky.” She turns her neck a couple of degrees and produces a cracking sound which makes several people at our table jump. ” My unique thing is that I broke a person’s left ribs with my fists.” I have no problem believing that.
We’re getting close to my turn. There are two girls two the left of me, and one to the right. Four people stand in front of me and food. Soon.
A girl with brown hair tied in a pony-tail and blue eyes which borders on purple is victim #11. She rises in a delicate movement which makes me think of a ballerina for some some reason. She starts to speak in musical voice that flows and ebbs like tide. ” Hi there- I am Linnea Hexer.” I like cooking and singing .” She tilts her head in a bird-like motion. “My different thing is that I have kissed a cobra.” Sodomy, whoa there.
The next speaker sits next to me and is one I actually know, if by only face. Hannah Duchamps takes a stand behind her chair with the experience of someone who is used to talking in front of groups. Her azure-colored eyes sparkle against her red hair and she smiles widely. “My name is Hannah Duchamps. My interests are Sudoku and brain-puzzles.”She thinks for a moment. “I was on a dinner with the leaders of Scandinavia once- which I think beats all of your experiences.” People laugh. Girl Wonder delivers.
There is a silence at the table, and everyone is now looking at me.
Oh. Crap. It’s my turn now. Play it cool Rune, play it cool. I jump up. Clear my voice. “So I am Rune Fallowfeel- I mean Fallowfell.” Smooth there. Now, what do I like? ” I like running and fantasy- books, games, the works.” I think Sara snickers when I mention fantasy. Bitch.” And my odd thing is my eye-patch, the result of an accident.” I plonk down in my seat once more.
The fourteenth and final person looms over the table. Finally. She is tall and thin, probably the tallest person in our class. Her skin is dark, so dark that it seems to glisten blue in the light. I follow ornate braids to a face that is all angles, with two glittering eyes of midnight. “I will keep this quick, seeing as we’re all probably hungry.My name is Stella, after the latin word for star, and my surname is Rakaya, which means absolutely nothing. I like fencing and dirtbikes. My wholly unique thing is that I own a poisonous frog- which certainly beats meeting some old silly politicians.” Her last sentence earns her a slow and silent clap, if only from me. In my mind.
Elena breaks in. “Now let’s all eat!”
It feels like the introductions took forever, but when I look on a clock on the wall and realize that only two-three minutes have passed, I have no choice but give Einsten his due; time is relative. We all dig in and eat. I wolf down my three slices before most people finished their first one. I take large glass of ice-cold cola and swallow it all.
Oh yeah. That hit the spot. My hunger temporarily assauged, I look around. Hannah is digging in her purse. She brings out two gloves, like something out of a opera and puts them on. Heck, they’re so long that they go up to her elbows.
She responds to my unspoken question without even looking. “I am allergic.” I look at her plate, which is filled with only vegetarian pizzas. Now, call me traditionalist, but I strongly feel that a pizza should have some kind of dead animal on it. “Against what?” “Iron,” somebody answers, but not Hannah. It’s Stella. ” Stella, you shouldn’t butt into the conversations of others,”Hannah rebuts. Stella turns to me. “Did she just say that I have a big butt?”
On a reflex my eyes focus on the aforementioned bodypart. “Hannah, this guy just checked out my ass.” “What a douche.” I look between Stella and Hannah. They stare at me, absolutely dead serious.
Seconds become minutes, minutes become hours, hours become days, and days become a small eternity, and I feel the beginning of a cold sweat forming.
Then, they both simultaneously wink and laugh. I start to laugh, a slightly nervous laugh. “Sorry, oh, you should have seen your look.” They sober up.”Elena made us do it.” Did she now? “Oh really? Ladies, let me tell you about that time Elena was 13 and she got her period for the first time…”
I learn alot about Hannah and Stella. Hannah wants to start her own think-tank after she graduates and her favorite color is green. Stella don’t know what she wants to do- only that she wants to get out of Fallowfell when she graduates. In return I tell them about the Accident, about Hermann and a little about Greyscale.
Our lunch-break comes to an end all to quick, and before soon we have to get our asses back to Ochre.
Our last lesson is simple and it flashes forward like my drunken regrets. It’s religion, and we have got Indra, who so happens to teach both history and religion. Atleast the girls are happy. In a standard format he gives us the whole spiel; what we’re going to be doing for the semester, essays and stuff.
He ends his lesson with giving us our very first homework. And on the first day no less!
“… want you to think about this. Although a large percentage of Sweden’s population are atheists, there are places of worship in virtually any city you can name. Synagogues. Churches. Halls where you can meditate. All except Fallowfell. Attempts have certainly been made for building such places, but they have always met fierce opposition. I want you think of this. For what reason is there no place of worship in Fallowfell? Think about it, and on Friday we’ll have a discussion.”
He glances briefly at the clock, which says 13.00. “And so your first day of school is finally over!”
I pack my bag, my notebook, my pencils and I make my way towards my home, my somewhat empty and silent home I realize now.
Later that day, as I am about to tuck myself in for the night, I think vaguely optimistic thoughts. This day was alright. I talked to three people I didn’t know, and they seemed to like me. Maybe this will work.