For the rest of the week, Terry and I have been seeing each other during lunch. And to me,...
For the rest of the week, Terry and I have been seeing each other during lunch. And to me, it felt as if the more I spend time with him, the more I started to like him... I didn't know what it was about him... He's a friend of Blain so it didn't really surprised me that Terry had pretty much the same interests as him. And of course I was kind of nervous when the day arrived I was going to hang out with him but that was just me thinking way too much about it. Besides, I still owed Terry for getting rid of that creep on Blain's farewell party at O'Malley's pub... He asked me to go out to get to know each other better and joked that we could play miniature golf. Thinking that his suggestion was a serious one and seeing as I never played miniature golf before, I accepted and told him that I would love to... He thought I was more into partying and clubs so hearing that I wanted to have a quiet game of miniature golf took him by surprise, seeing as his suggestion was meant as a joke. But that game of miniature golf proved to be anything but quiet...
The idea of me going out with a guy had me on my toes, to be honest. Terry is nice and all but still, I couldn't shake of the idea of being sceptic about him... I wasn't that thrilled about it, I can tell you that... That Saturday morning at around ten o'clock, I got up and took a shower. Catherine and I did groceries together and at around one o'clock, I peddled my way on my bicycle to Cheylehampton Park. It takes about fifteen minutes to get there on a bicycle and the whole park is situated in the middle of Heywood Forest. I felt so relaxed the moment I entered the forest... The warm sun was shining on my face while feeling the soft cool summer breeze going over my back... It had been raining that morning and the scent was so intoxicating when I made my way between all those trees... It felt as if the whole world was cleansed by the rain and the smell of bark and pine was so strong, it was if I was driving through one giant air freshener... I was wondering why I rarely came into the forests... I got so caught up with the environment and the sight of trees that I forgot to take a left turn to take me to Cheylehampton Park... I already peddled several hundred meters before I finally realized that... So I quickly turned around and peddled even faster to get there... Once I took the right turn, I went over a hill and I saw it in the distance. Cheylehampton Park is a recreation place where people can just kick back and relax in the grass, having a pick-nick, or to play sports like volleyball and everything. There's an enormous lake near by and people can hire rowboats, motorboats or pedalos to have a good time on the water. They have a nice restaurant in the park with a diversity of food but they also have bowling lanes, miniature golf, an obstacle course, playgrounds for kids and a huge climbing wall if you're not afraid of heights.
The first thing Terry did while he was waiting on the parking lot outside when he saw me, was to smile when I arrived... A pretty smile... He didn't came to me in an attempt to hug or kiss me or whatever but he just stood there and smiled at me... That's it... He didn't come towards me and tried to hug me or whatever, which I really appreciated...
'How you doing?'
'I'm good, thanks for asking... How about you?'
'I'm great, looking forward to it.'
'Yeah, me too.'
'Alright, let's go, then.'
And so, we made our way to the lobby where Terry managed to arrange two sticks or whatever the hell they're called and two balls. He also got two sheets with numbers on them and two pencils and I had no idea what to do with. I know you're laughing but I honestly never played miniature golf before. And once he gave a stick and a ball to me, a pencil and that little sheet, we went to the first course. A simple one that seemed pretty straight forward...
'You really need to explain the rules to me, I never did this before.'
'Haha, you weren't kidding when you said you never did.'
'Well, it's easy, really. We've got eighteen holes and you'll need to make it into each hole on the course in as few shots as possible.'
'Oh, okay. What about those sheets and pencils?'
'You need to write down your amount of shots until the ball gets in. The one with the lowest score wins the game.'
'Okay, tee off.'
'With that stick.'
'It's called a putter.'
So I placed my ball on the little green square in front of me and tried to look like a professional golfer... And I swung. A little too hard... Way, way too hard... The ball flew off the course into the bushes on the other side, almost hitting a statue and an old lady sitting on a bench further down... And when Terry saw that... Well... He was laughing his ass off... I quickly ran to the bushes where I last saw the ball and that old woman was looking a little pissed at me... An apology didn't really seem to do the trick so I searched for my ball and when I did, I quickly got back to him...'
'Dude! The hole is right over there! Were you trying to hit a hole in one on course eighteen?!'
'I could've given it a shot.'
'You almost knocked that old lady out!
'Try again, gently this time.'
'Alright, alright, alright, I got it.'
So I gently tapped the ball with my putter and the ball only moved a couple of inches... I looked at Terry and he had a huge smile on his face while I nervously smiled back...
'I really need to get the hang of it...'
'Take your time.'
"Okay, focus..." To estimate the angle and the force of your shot wasn't really that easy... I just thought, what the hell and gave it a gentle swing. And to my surprise, the ball rolled towards the hole, only a few inches away from it. With just one little push, the ball rolled into the hole...
'Whoo! It's in!'
'Nicely done, Tiger Woods.'
'Haha, pun intended?'
'Hm... So uh, does this mean I need to write down four shots?'
'No, the first one didn't count.'
'Of course it did, I still swung and hit the ball...'
'And almost that nice old lady...'
'Hey, its golf, accidents happen.'
'It's miniature golf!'
'Still golf nonetheless. I'll just write down my score. Four strokes...'
'Right, my turn!'
It only took him two shots to get the ball in but he stayed nonchalant about the fact that he did. Terry did gave me a rather confident grin and I took it as a challenge... Now that I got the hang of it, I figured it was time I'd show him how much of an adversary I was to him when it came to miniature golf...
'So that's two against... What, four?'
'You're in the lead for now; we still have seventeen holes to go...'
'Hehehehe... Are you challenging me?'
The next course was an L shaped one, a little trickier than the first. Only took me three shots to get it in. And Terry four this time... With each course we passed, the more I seemed to get the hang of it. I'm a fast learner... At course seven, there was one with a looping... And to my surprise, I made it through the looping in just one swing... Terry took like, twenty swings to get to the other side... So I thought, now that his score was rapidly increasing, my victory would be inevitable... But at course thirteen, there was one with a windmill that kept blocking the passage where the ball was supposed to go through, leaving the passage open for only a short amount of time... It took me more than fifteen swings to get through... The tension was rising the closer we got to course eighteen... The longer we played, the more we tried to find a way to distract one another's attention to the point that the two of us were laughing out loud at each other's attempts and reactions... He coughed out loud or "accidently" stopped the ball with his putter whenever I took a shot and I poked his waist with my putter whenever it was his turn... When we finally managed to get to course eighteen, our scores were more or less tied so this was all or nothing. I "accidently" placed my putter before his legs and just before he hit the ball, I made him stumble by poking his heel. Terry still hit the ball so the shot did, in fact, count... With a lot of effort, we finally managed to get our balls in and now it was time to add up our score... Once we had the outcome, we looked at each other while we both had a big grin on our faces...
'What's your score?'
'You tell me first.'
'There's no way yours can be higher than mine. You had a lot of trouble with that windmill thing.'
'And you with the looping.'
'Okay, okay. My score is fifty.'
'Bullshit! Lemme see that!'
'Okay, okay, on three, we look at each other's score sheet.'
'One... Two... Three!'
And with that, we swapped each other score sheets... I had a score of one hundred and eight... And Terry...? Terry had a score of one hundred and twelve, which made me the winner...
On the way back to the lobby to return the putters and the balls, I kept rubbing it in his face. He's a good sport and all but I think he got a little bit annoyed by me... The area behind the reception had windows so that you could see all the bowling lanes... Not many people were inside... Terry was looking at the people bowling and he looked at me with a grin...
'I demand a rematch.'
'Bowling? You serious?'
'Yes, unless you're too tired.'
'Ha! You have no idea who you're up against... The last time I went bowling, I made two strikes...'
'Oh wow, two strikes! Don't know how I'll ever be able to top that!'
'Think you got what it takes?'
'I know I do.'
'Well, alright then... Don't come crying to me when you lose again...'
´Haha, you're funny.´
And so, Terry reserved a bowling lane to play for an hour at the lobby. Once we got to our bowling lane, we still had to get us some bowling shoes and well, here's the thing. I normally don't wear sneakers or plantigrade shoes because it's very uncomfortable for me to walk in them. I'm a digitigrade and well, I'm not used to shift my weight on my heels... Walking goes very wobbly when I do... That wasn't that much of a problem... The problem was getting shoes in my size...
'Two pairs, please.'
'Sure thing, what size?'
'Uh, a size ten for me and for the lady... Ceylan?'
'Oh! Uh... I've got a size fourteen...'
'A size fourteen for me...'
I think it's quite obvious that I'm ashamed of my big feet by now but uh... They only look so big whenever I'm standing on my heels... Terry looked at me with a frown and back to the girl behind the counter as if she could guess my shoe-size for him... But I just scraped my throat and looked innocent while I smiled nervously...
'Dude, what's your shoe-size?'
'Ahem, I uh... I've got a size fourteen.'
'Uh... And a size fourteen, please...'
The girl behind the counter didn't really seem to be impressed by my large feet. Terry, on the other hand, was... The girl gave our shoes and we went back to our lane where we sat down to put those bowling shoes on... Soooo... I took my high heeled boots off and well, there they were... Huge, digitigrade feet... It doesn't really show when I'm wearing high heels or walk around on my toes but it did now... And Terry? He just kept staring at my feet...
'I know I've got big feet, so uh... Yeah... Most felines have big feet, ya know!'
'No, I mean, pink socks?'
'It's in fashion.'
'... They look like two canoes...'
'Oh, shut up...'
The moment I put those shoes on and tried to stand up, I immediately began to notice it... It was difficult to keep my balance like that, shifting my weight on my heels so I immediately took them off and went to the counter again to ask if she had any pads for my heels. It's a common thing for felines and canines to wear sneakers and other plantigrade type shoes. And well, let's face it. You don't see a guy wearing high heels or stiletto's... Some guys like to in the weekend, though... Anyway! They invented some kind of soft pad that's placed underneath your heel to raise it up a bit, so that you can shift your weight more on your toes. It makes wearing sneakers and other shoes much more comfortable when walking, but despite that, I wasn't really a fan of those kind of things. I prefer wearing high heeled boots and stiletto's where it's much better to shift your weight on your toes and thus natural to walk around in for me. And of course, it's something you'll have to learn when your young but I didn't learned that when I was young. That pad was originally intended for physiotherapy or to give more support to the heel when you sustained injuries to your foot. But in this case, it was also useful for this purpose, to make me walk around like a plantigrade and I already felt the difference once I got up... It felt more natural to me and taking the first steps was kind of wobbly but then I got the hang of it... With the way I walked, well... I think Terry thought it was priceless to see...
'Don't you dare laugh at me...'
'I'm not, I'm laughing with you.'
'God, this so awkward... Can't I just bowl on my bare feet?'
'No, I think that's illegal.'
'I've got much more grip with my pawpads...'
'Yeah, you can start.'
'Alright, watch this.'
So Terry took a ball, positioned himself to get a good shot... Went through his knees... Gently swung his arm back... And then he took the shot... But instead of letting go of the ball at the right moment, he let go when the ball went up... It bounced on the floor, rolled in the gutter and watched with a baffled look on his face how the ball slowly rolled down the gutter until it got out of play...
'Well, so much for Mister Kingpin.'
'The ball was slippery.'
'Hehehehe... Sure it was.'
He took another shot and managed to knock down five pins... And I was most impressed by this astonishing achievement... Not... Haha...
'I'm a little rusty; I haven't played in a while.'
'Lemme show you how you're supposed to knock those pins down...'
And with a subtle yet coordinated throw, I managed to knock down eight pins... In my second turn, I knocked those two who were left standing as well... When I looked back at Terry and gave him a confident grin, he looked a little dazed...
Bowling sure was a lot of fun as well with him. And even though it went great for me at the start of the game, I got totally owned at the end of it... Nevertheless, it still was a lot of fun... I had no idea how I pulled it off but I managed to slip and fall down when I wanted to throw the ball... Terry laughed his ass off when I did but still managed to knock down nine pins... All those stupid remarks and jokes had me into an uncontrollable laughing fit... Even when the game was over, we still chuckled and snickered... His stupid jokes about my big feet caught me off guard which is one of the reasons why I lost... And if you must know, my score was a hundred and seventy six. Terry's score was two hundred and fifty two...
After we returned the shoes, I noticed the time and saw it was around five o'clock. He asked me if I was feeling hungry and well... I was... So we went to the restaurant and we ordered burgers with fries and a drink. It stayed quiet for a moment as we sat there at the table while Terry was looking at my score sheet from midget-golf... Staring at my name...
'You know, I'm wondering about something, Ceylan.'
'About your name... I mean... Isn't that some kind of tea?'
'... People are thinking on how to accomplish world peace and all you can do is to associate my name with some tea flavor?'
'It's the kind of stuff that keeps me awake at night.'
'Bwhaha, that's Ceylon tea...'
'But you spell you're name like C, E, Y, L, A, N.'
'Yeah, but it's pronounced as J, A, Y, L, O, N.'
'So the Cey is pronounced as Jay and lan is pronounced as lon?'
'So why not write it like it's said?'
'... Because it's a Salahadihnian name, silly...'
'Wanna know what keeps me awake at night?'
'Okay, that's just stupid.'
'What else keeps you awake at night?'
'Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist but someone who drives a race car is NOT called a racist?'
'Haha, well... Otherwise, someone who'd play the piano would be called a pianer. You can't pianer a piano.'
'Hehehe... So how long have you been here?'
'Oh, uh... I passed the first year with flying colours and this is my second year at Antonelli's.'
'Haha, no I mean, how long have you been here in this country? You mentioned you weren't born here.'
'Oh! Well, I came here when I was nine years old so that would be nine years now.'
'Do you have any siblings?'
'Well, uh... I, uh... N-No... No, I don't... What about you, do you have any siblings?'
'Nope, just me. I'm an only child. I've always wanted a little brother but that never happened. My dad always told me that we couldn't afford one.'
'Hm? What do you mean?'
'Well, there's this shop on Wendleton lane that's called Baby Dump. I always thought that it was some kind of shop where people could dump their babies if they ever got tired of them and would put them up for sale there. My dad joked once that I was right but that we couldn't afford one. Turned out it was a shop selling baby stuff for really low prices...'
'So, no babies for sale?'
'So, like, do you have any hobbies? Things you like to do?'
'Hobbies? Oh, I got lots of 'em. I like going out, hanging out with friends. I also own a humble one to eighteen collection of scale-models of supercars seeing as I'm huge car freak.'
'Hehehe... I practice Tae Kwon Do, a form a martial arts.'
'Yup... I've got the red belt. Haven't practiced in a while, though.'
'Remind me not to mess around with you.'
'Trust me, you'd be the first to know...'
'I used to box when I was little.'
'Yeah! I stopped boxing when I was sixteen seeing as all of my mates thought it wasn't cool anymore and went to the gym to work out instead. So I followed their example.'
Even after our burgers and fries arrived, we couldn't stop talking... While we were stuffing our faces, we talked a lot... From school, to the weather we were having... And at some point, the topic changed to Blain, who was in Sercia at the moment, fighting someone else's war...
'I've known Blain ever since I got here. He lives next door... But it's not until recently I found out his real name.'
'Yeah. His real name is Dominic.'
'Dominic?! What, you kidding me?!'
'No! Haha, I don't know why he never told me his real name...'
'Dominic... Damn, I've known the dude since high school but he never told me that.'
'Yeah... Blain and I used to get bullied when we were little.'
'You were? Why?'
'Well, Blain was short and fat and I was a tall foreigner with a funny accent no one could make much sense of back then... And seeing as the two of us were hanging out, they thought they could pick on us.'
'Then what happened?'
'They kept bullying us for a good few months.... There was this guy who always started it. And one day, he hit me.'
'Who would want to hit a sweet girl like you?'
'Hehehe, well, he would... And well, that was the last straw for me...'
'Then what'd you do?'
'I broke his nose...'
'Yes... Heh... I jumped on him and kept hitting him in his face until a few bystanders pulled me off of him...'
'We haven't got bullied since... But I didn't get off the hook so easily...'
'And well, Blain and I were always inseparable until he had a girlfriend...'
'Oh man, she was, uh... How do I put it nicely...'
'Uh, yeah. Haha... Lemme tell ya, this one time, me and some other mates busted him at the lake, making out with Rachel. And the moment Rachel saw us; she got so scared all of a sudden that she grabbed her clothes ran off in a hurry! But she tripped over the sleeve of her jacket that she was carrying, fell down and rolled in the lake!!'
'Yeah! Blain got so pissed at us that he pulled her out and chased my mate in an attempt to get to him, throwing rocks and everything at him! Holy shit man... Those were the good days... It's a good thing he broke up with her before he left.'
'Yeah... And now he's fighting someone else's war...'
'I received a letter from him two days ago, saying that everything is going well with him... He doesn't get the chance to use a phone often and whenever he does, he's calling his parents. I can relate to that...'
'Still, I don't like it that he's there...'
'Me neither... But I think he's there for a good cause.'
'A good cause? Terry, people don't go to war for a "good cause"...'
'Whadda ya mean?'
'There's nothing good about it. How can you win a war when your mind is so fucked up from the things you've seen...? You think you're helping people with that but truth is, they're just as fucked up as you are in the end... Plato once said that only the dead has seen the end of war... And he's right...'
'Blain doesn't belong there, Terry... Not him... There's nothing good about the things he's doing there...'
'What makes you say that?'
'Because war is just terrorism with a bigger budget... It wouldn't make him any better than the people who started this whole conflict... You won't recognize him when he's back... He won't be the same anymore...'
It stayed quiet for a while as I finished my burger... And even though that conversation about Blain had a serious twist to it in the end, Terry looked at me while I had a weak smile on my face. I wouldn't ruin a great day like this... But then Terry found another topic to talk about. And not long after that, the two of us were laughing together once more...
By the time we finished our burgers and fries, I noticed it was six o'clock and figured it was time to go home. I gave Terry forty dinar, seeing as he paid for the miniature golf, the bowling and the food. He didn't want to accept at it at first but I told him that he shouldn't bitch about it and accept it because it's a lot of money he spend on a single day and I thought it would be stupid not give him any money because of it. To my relief, he accepted it after I insisted for a while... And so, our day together came to an end when we walked to the parking lot...
'Hey, uh, Terry...?'
'I've, uh... I've had a lot of fun today... I can't remember the last time I laughed so much... So uh, I just wanted to say thank you... I really needed that...'
'Oh, well, no problem. I've had a lot of fun too. Maybe I can take you out some other time if you like.'
'Next time I'd like to take you somewhere...'
'Oh? What do you have in mind?'
'You wouldn't know unless you call me...'
'Expect a call soon then...'
'Haha, sure thing... So, uh... See you on Monday?'
'Same cafeteria as always?'
'Sweet. Are you doing anything tonight?'
'Naah, I'm just visiting family. You?'
'I'm going out tonight with friends. You can come too if you like.'
'Heh, no, I can't... Maybe some other time.'
'Awesome... Have a good weekend, dude. See you on Monday.'
And with that, he smiled at me... And then turned around to walk to his car... A red Seat Ibiza, like he said it was... He waved at me as he passed by in his car and I watched how he drove off... And the moment I got on my bike, I didn't know what I felt...
What I did know was that I felt great when I was peddling my way through the forest back home... I felt so happy and I was actually humming on my way back home... The whole forest seemed to be more beautiful than I remembered earlier that day... I just couldn't stop smiling... People who saw me passing by were smiling at me as well when they saw the look on my face... The birds were singing, the sun was shining and there wasn't a single thing in the world that could make me happier than I already was... It made me see things from a total different perspective and how lucky I am to be alive to witness and feel all of these wonderful things that life has to offer...
My good mood didn't changed once I got home... Catherine was the only one in the house seeing as she was busy in and around the house... And the moment she noticed me, she was actually kind of startled because she never saw me so happy before...
'Oh, wow, you're in a really good mood.'
'Haha, oh yes, definitely...'
'What'd you do today?'
'Well... I've met a guy at Blain's farewell party and uh... I've been seeing him during our lunch breaks in college and he asked me out, which was today...'
'You've been on a date?'
'Sort of, yes...'
'How come you didn't tell me?'
'Because I was reluctant at first but...'
'But had a lot of fun in the end and you were glad that you went along with him?'
'Haha, c'mere, sit down. We've never had these "mother-daughter boyfriends" talks before...'
'That's because I've never had a boyfriend before. But he's not my boyfriend, Catherine...'
'That doesn't mean we can't have these conversations. So what'd you do?'
'We played miniature golf.'
'Yes, and we went bowling too! He's really a fun guy to hang around with...´
Catherine and I talked about Terry and what we did that day... She smiled and laughed when I told her about the miniature golf and the things that happened when we were bowling... I think she was really happy for me... I just saw it in her eyes... In everything I said... I had a lot of questions about having a boyfriend, you can imagine... But even though I really liked Terry, it was way too soon to jump to a conclusion... Still... The prospects were very promising if things continued like this...
To me, it felt as if Terry was able to "read" me. As if he knew what to do, what to say and everything. He didn't force anything... He didn't expect a hug or a kiss or whatever and was just so relaxed and mellow... Maybe that's just me with my prejudices to males, but it did made him stand out like that... And maybe I did think I knew all about guys, how they act and that they're all little shitheads... Terry made me realize I knew shit... And maybe that's the reason why I started to like him so much... Just a normal guy from whom I expected a phone call soon...