Odin And The One-Eyed Worry
The remaining six days pass quickly. Too quickly. I wish I could freeze time and let the last week of summer remain forever, like one of those ancient flies caught in amber. Suddenly its evening and tomorrow I will start school. I find myself sitting in the enclosed balcony of the villa, with a glas of coca-cola and I try to come up with a reason that will allow me to skip school. I tried to convice Hermann that home-schooling is a novel idea. He looked at me and said that he will not have me going Carrie on the school.
Damn him and his Stephen King paperbacks.So, how am I going to get out of school? I could-
“Hermann, someone’s at the door!”
“Hermann, the door!”
PlingPlingPlingPlingPlingPling. I get out of my comfortable chair and walk to the door. I open the door–and its Nidar Greyscale. “Hey there.” “Hey…?” He gives me a sheepish look, if a two metre behemoth can ever be said to look sheepish. “Yeah, so, is Hermann in?” “I don’t think so.” “Ah…”
We stand there; Nidar in the doorway and me leaning awkwardly against the door. I guess I have no choice. “Anyhow– I am here. So if you’re not doing anything…” “Oh I can’t impose on you…” “Seeing as you’re already here…” “Alright.”
I make a gesture towards the house. “Mi casa es tu casa.” Greyscale enters. “Gracias.” I frown. His Spanish sounds good. Not like Secondary-Language-good, more like Quinceanera- Javier-Bardem-good.
I walk out to the balcony and I park myself once more in one of the large chair. Nidar trails after me. He deftly picks a chair opposite mine, and he puts a large case of beer on the table. He surveys the balcony; fifteen square metres, jutting out from the house, protected by a tiered roof complete with colored glass to protect the people sitting in it.
It might seem elaborate, but Mom wanted a large balcony, so we got a large balcony. No expenses were spared. Dad could never say no to her- not even once. I shake my head. My mind moves in a different direction and one thing strikes me, an odd detail that I noticed when Greyscale invited himself in. “So, how do you know Hermann? I don’t think I mentioned him before, and you never said anything.” Nidar smiles enigmatically. “Oh we met, way, way back– really, it feels like centuries ago. And had I known you were a friend of Hermann’s, I would have said something. I didn’t even know he lived in this town.” Greyscale chuckles at something, some kind of personal joke.
“Did you like my mead?” I glare at him.”You mean your evil witch-brew, which left me incapacited for over twenty-four hours?” Greyscale loses it and laughs. I think the coca-cola in my glass actually vibrates as he does so. “I take it then that it was a bit too strong for your tastes?” “I think I am never going to drink, never again.” Greyscale shrugs. He opens the large case and takes a big sip from his first beer. “To each of their own.” I grab my glas of coca-cola and I stare into its depths, hoping for a solution to my school-dilemma.
“So what has your panties in a twist?” “Excuse me?” “Let me rephrase; why do you look as if you’re going to your own wake?” I sigh. “School starts tomorrow. And I really don’t wanna go.”
“Huh what?” My words come out irritated.”Well if an old man might offer an solution”- he drawls slowly -” I think, and at the risk of sounding like some hobby-psychologist, that you’re fucking afraid.”
I stare at him. “Afraid of what?” My words sounds challenging, even to myself. “I wouldn’t be the one to know- you tell me.” Okay.. let’s see… is there anything I am afraid of. I think of the gymnasium. Of the fifteen people whose names Elena leaked- the people I will spend three years with, whether I’d like too or not. I scrutinise the black ball of emotions in my chest; the source of my conflict.
After a couple of minutes of careful deliberation, I think I got it. “You’re right and wrong at the same time. It’s not I am afraid. It’s more that I… that I am really uneasy about school. The people.” “And why is that exactly? I mean you said you don’t wanna go to school. But why don’t you wanna go to school?”
I don’t say anything. I don’t want to say anything. Greyscale opens his third beer (he drank his second while I was thinking). Silence falls on the balcony, like the pause before thunder. Eventually I say it. “I don’t wanna go to school because they are going to laugh at me. Look at my patch. Did you know that the small children of the neighbourhood are refering to me as ‘Odin’?”
At the mention of the name Odin, Greyscale’s face darkens. I blink, and when I open my eyes his expression is as placid as ever. Did I just imagine that…?
“You know, there are worse things than being refered to as the Chief of the Norse gods. As for the others?”He takes a deep breath. One side note of my condition, of Aspergers, is that I have this habit of being fixed on small details. Reallly great when it comes to math and history, not so much when I am having a conversation and I notice a bee. I notice several subtle changes about Greyscale. His eyes are green . Now they were green the first time we met to begin with, but they were an dull shade of green. This green is… is more vivid, more alive. He seems even larger, not that he was small to begin with. It feels as if I am sitting in front of some large beast. I blink–
— and Greyscale is normal again.
“Fuck them.” I blink. “Fuck them. Fuck your insecurity, fuck their fucking small-minded groupthink that means you can’t be fucking different.” He empties his fourth beer in a quick motion. “Rune. This a big fat kliché, but it’s a kliché for a reason. There are two ways to live your life. On your feet, or on your knees. Tomorrow you’re going to have to make that decision. Now grab a fucking beer.”
Without thinking, and caught up in Nidar’s enthusiasm I take the beer he is handing me and I start to drink.
“Now, did I tell you about that time I got shot in the ass? No? Well, let me tell ya all about it…”