Morning came crashing in swiftly.
The persistent cry of the alarm clock was a dutiful reminder that a new day was abound. It was awful to wake up to another cold, winter morning. Quite frankly, it was akin to being stuck in the grey doldrums: always depressed and yearning to escape. It was light outside simply because that’s how the science of light worked. The sun’s rays did nothing of the sort to warm the earth or take away the snow. Natural light did not always equal heat and he knew that now.
Aden heaved his limber body out of bed. Each night, sleep was becoming a little bit easier to come by. The first night, the mattress was so stale and rigid he woke up with a sore back. Today he felt slightly more rested as he switched the alarm off and stretched his back. The day he learned how to dress for winter (no flat shoes without grips on ice) he learned how to master a mattress that was, for the most part, unforgiving.
His feet shuffled on the cool tile as he begrudgingly started his morning routine. He spotted his roommate on the other side of their cracker box dorm room splayed out on the mattress in an almost anguish fashion. The comforter was twisted around his legs, his mouth was agape, and his arms and legs were bent in an uncomfortable manner. Yet, he slept soundly and didn’t stir once as Aden grabbed a towel, shower caddy, and slipped out of the room. As a courtesy, he made sure the door didn’t slam shut behind him as they commonly do.
In the early morning hours there was no life to be had. Not on this floor of the dormitory, anyway. The hall was a sterile yellow color and as quiet as a tomb.
Aden moseyed along with the shower towel over his shoulder and caddy by his side. He turned right at the elevators and made another immediate right into the communal bathroom. He wasn’t a germaphobic or anything of the sort, but he did wonder how many germs festered in a bathroom shared by a dozen other guys. Sure, there was the regular cleaning guy, but he was old, retired and didn’t put much effort into cleaning the place. If anything he was just mopping the dirt around more.
Nobody else was in the bathroom. Aden was thankful for that. He liked the shower stall at the very end the most. It had the warmest water and the best pressure. This was where he stopped and shimmied out of his shirt and Calvin’s. He let the water run for a full sixty seconds before stepping in and even then it was still lukewarm.
Aden never stayed long in the shower. It wasn’t like home where the force of the shower had a wonderful waterfall effect that was almost therapeutic. The showers here were either a light sprinkle or had the force of a fire hose, which hurt. The one at the end – his favorite –was the only compromise. Still, he only lingered long enough to shampoo, lather with body wash, rinse and leave.
As he cranked the water off, he heard the water of another illegal bahis shower stall turn on. He wrapped the towel firmly around his waist and glanced down to his right. Three or four shower stalls away was a black guy. Aden wasn’t very good at names, but he did remember Ryan’s, as he was the only African American on the floor. And, of course, he remembered Scott, his roommate.
Ryan was standing outside the stall – doing the same thing Aden did – testing the water temperature. He must have heard or sensed Aden’s presence, because he turned and smiled. “G’morning, Aden.”
“How’s everything, Ryan?”
“It’d be a lot better if the showers had fucking hot water.”
Aden opened his mouth and then closed it on a childish impulse. He was on the verge of offering the last shower stall, but thought better of it – wanting to keep it his secret. Instead he offered sentiments, “Yeah, I know what you mean.”
During the short exchange, Aden kept his eyes averted up. Ryan was perfectly naked, which Aden reasoned, he had every right to be. “Well, better luck,” Aden said lamely and returned to his room.
Scott insisted on joining Aden for breakfast. Not that Aden would oppose, he liked Scott and enjoyed his company, however this morning he did have to wait as Scott scrambled to get ready. He slept in, once again, and by insisting on walking with Aden, he was consequently holding Aden up. Every student knows, the earlier you are to breakfast the fresher the food is.
Aden kept making suggestions (“I’ll meet you there”) but Scott would frown and respond, “I’ll only be another minute, jeez!” Another minute turned into two, which turned into ten.
Eventually, they rode down in silence. Or at least Aden did. He was irritable, hungry, and still cold. Scott leaned up against the elevator walls in his Highland University Soccer sweats, cursing at the early morning hours.
The doors binged open and Scott scooted out first, followed by Aden.
“Why, if it isn’t the soccer twins,” the old lady at the front desk cooed. She reminded Aden a great deal of the Oracle from The Matrix movies. She looked like her, sounded like her, and was wise like her. And because most of the students were away from home, she served as a surrogate grandmother to a lot of people. She also wasn’t the first to infer that Aden and Scott were twins. They had the same soccer-player physique, similar blonde hair, and they were always seen together, but in a lot of ways they were still different.
Scott and Aden said, “Good morning,” in unison, only adding to the allusion that they were twins. Aden supposed there were worst people on this planet to be compared to.
Outside the campus was bleak, windy, and covered with a brushing of snow. The dining hall was a ten minute walk, but two minutes into their morning breakfast venture they broke into a light jog and made it there in illegal bahis siteleri five minutes.
“Jesus fucking Christ,” Scott bemoaned as they passed through the doors. Warmth and the smell of breakfast immediately enraptured the both of them. Scott stamped the snow off of his shoes and did not notice the detesting look the front desk lady at this building gave him for his choice of colorful words. “I cannot wait for fucking spring training. I can’t believe my parents convinced me to go to school in fucking upstate New York.”
Their student ID cards were swiped and the lady waved them through.
Of course, Aden thought, Scott was here for the same reason he was: Highland U. was renowned for its soccer program. The both of them were riding on full-scholarship to come here. Not to mention, USA Today and the Princeton Review named Highland U. as an up and coming university of prestige. Still, you had to be able to tolerate snow in order to attend.
Aden opened up bit by bit over breakfast. The more he ate, the more he was willing to forgive and forget that Scott held them up. They talked about classes, television, and Scott’s current love interest. They didn’t get too far into the latter topic when a kid from their soccer team (Heath something-or-other) dropped in and joined them.
Heath was a brown-haired, brown-eyed, slender with muscles type of guy who spoke a little louder than was necessary. “So,” he practically proclaimed, his mouth full of scrambled eggs, “you’re the transfer from Florida I’ve heard practically nothing about.” His eyes were train steadily on Aden.
“Guilty,” Aden smiled.
“Pretty fucking impressive credentials,” Heath continued. Aden wondered if Heath was threatened. His tone seemed to suggest it at first, but then again, maybe Aden was just misreading him. Heath continued, “I saw the chip shot you made last year. Un-fucking-believable. You were with the University of Tampa then, right?”
“God, what must it be down there at this time of year? 60’s? 70’s? 80’s?”
“Sometimes it goes down in the 40’s or 50’s.”
Heath and Scott both laughed.
“Well, break out the goddamn sweaters!” Heath joked loudly. “How are you liking the snow, anyway?”
Aden blushed and pushed his oatmeal around. He wondered why everyone felt the need to ask him this question. Snow really wasn’t that foreign to him. “It’s okay, I guess.”
“Say,” Heath continued, and to Aden’s surprise he was a lot quieter, “what are the girls like down there? I mean – they must always be wearing small clothing, right?”
“Not always,” Aden answered at first. Then, upon realizing this was not what Heath nor Scott wanted to hear, he changed his answer quickly: “Oh, yeah, loads of hot girls and small shirts.”
Heath slapped the table and returned to his loudness. “I knew it. Hey, I’m going to like having you around, canlı bahis siteleri Christensen.”
Aden felt immediately guilty. Heath somehow remembered his last name, but he still couldn’t remember his. And, despite his rambunctious tendencies, Aden thought he could get used to having Heath around, too.
Mythology class was first thing that morning.
To steal a word out of Scott’s vocabulary, Aden didn’t know why the fuck he needed to take such a class. Alas, he did. Sometimes as an athlete you can have special privileges and avoid inane classes, but not this one. The professor was older than old, had a hunch back, and talked of the gods and goddesses like they were family members.
In the far back of the room, Aden slipped so far down in his chair that his chin was almost at desk level. He pulled the hood of his sweater up over his head and prayed for death to come. Death failed to arrive, but someone else did. Five minutes into the lecture, Ryan from this morning slipped mouse-like in through the back door. No one noticed or cared that he was late.
Aden perked up in his seat and removed his hood. He randomly remembered that he had noticed Ryan completely naked only a few hours ago. For some reason or another, he felt embarrassed.
Ryan noticed him, waved quietly, and sat down in the seat diagonal from Aden. “Hi, Aden,” he said in a hushed whisper.
“I didn’t know you were in this class,” Aden responded equally as quiet.
“I wasn’t. Now I am.” Ryan smiled. His white teeth were such a contrast with his smooth, dark skin.
“Run while you can,” Aden said dully.
“Boys?” a rusty old voice came from the front of the room. The professor was looking over the rims of his spectacles and directly at Aden in the back corner. The rest of the class turned and faced them.
“Sorry, professor,” Ryan spoke up. “Aden was just catching me up.”
The professor seemed to already have forgotten why he stopped his lecture and called them out in the first place. He blinked twice. “Oh – okay – that’s nice of you, Hayden.”
Ryan stole a glance back at Aden. “Hayden?” he mouthed the word and they both shared a quiet laugh.
“Mythology is far more interesting than History of Art, let me tell you,” Ryan shared his thoughts at the end of class. He was walking side-by-side with Aden and they were moving leisurely through the hall, almost at snail’s pace.
“I don’t know,” Aden stole a look around to make sure their professor wasn’t lurking, “I just don’t give a flying fig who was related to Hades.”
“That’s an easy one, Kronus and Rhea were Hades’s parents, his brothers are Zeus and Poseidon, and his sisters are Demeter, Hestia, and Hera,” Ryan jabbed the elevator button.
Aden’s lower jaw slackened. “How do you remember all of that?”
Ryan shrugged and he might have blushed a bit. “I like mythology.”
“I don’t know,” Aden stated his doubts again as they entered the elevator. “I just always seem to fall asleep the moment he starts talking.”
“I’ll be sure to keep you awake, then,” Ryan said and the doors slid shut.