An open quarrel

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When the sun began to shine Alayne was already up and ready for the day. With quick movements she put on her glasses. She needed her dark framed glasses because of her weak eyesight, but even if she would have outgrown her weak vision in teenage years, Alayne would still wear them.

Last December she had rearranged her room on a whim. After that her bed was situated directly at the outer wall with its right side. It was a dark brown queen bed with a high headborad. Before the rearrangement she had always gotten out of bed on its right side, then she was forced to use the other side.

Every morning in January Alayne automatically rolled against her outer wall before getting up on the right side. In February it was the same. In March she was tired of hitting body parts against the hard stones and rearranged her interior again. Only then her morning routine went smooth again.

Getting up on the right, putting on the glasses, opening the window, breakfast. After her stomach was filled she was willing to spend time on a shower, brushing her teeth, clothing and her hair.

In the second Alayne left the apartment time switched from 9:06 a.m. to 9:07a.m. On her first day in the new city, two years ago, Alayne had timed every way she might use to reach her university buildings.

When she was taking the shortcut trough the park, Alyne had to walk and needed exactly 23 minutes. When she drove by bike, the park was forbidden, and the way took her 7 minutes. Finding a place in the bike rack and locking it properly was an extra minute, adding up to 8 minutes with the bike. With the bus she had to drive to the main station first, before entering line 12, which had the university in its bus route. This made the bus even without delays the most time-devouring alternative. Taking the bus took Alayne exactly 34 minutes from her front door to the campus.

On this Monday Alayne went through the park, leaving her with exact 5minutes to mingle before her business economics class.

“ALAYNE”, someone shouted from behind, right before Alayne entered the main building. She turned around with a small smile on her lips. Alayne had gotten used to those prominent, loud greetings from her best friend and fellow student Mai Higa before classes: -“Morning Mai, how was your weekend?”

“I had a cold!”, Mai complained, still walking towards the entrance: “I had to stay at home, sniffing and with a headache.” When Mai reached Alayne they greeted each other with a short hug. “How was your weekend then?” she asked in return.

The two young women walked with the stream of people into the big building. The ceiling of the ground floor in the old university complex was high and vaulted. Looking up at the ceiling, Alayne sometimes had the feeling of entering an old mansion. The view straight forward into the room however, reminded of nothing else but school.

The yellow paint at the wall crumbled, an overly used corkboard decorated 3 meters of the wall and people occupied most of the space of the hallway. There were students in suits and costumes, in colourful everyday outfits and some in sweatpants. Wearing simple jeans and a light coloured spring jacket Alayne fit right in the masses. Neither hers, nor Mai's way of dressing screamed for attention.

Like usual the two of them sat together in the large lecture hall. They had managed to snatch two seats in the back, where it was safe to talk but still easy to follow the lecture content. Their seats also allowed them too observe most of their fellow students, which was considered a huge plus by Mai.

To pass the time before the lecture start, Alayne scanned the crowd for interesting conversation topics. The lecture hall fitted a large amount of students and the faces who showed up often changed from one week to another.

“The blonde guy who just entered”, Alayne directed towards her best friend: “He looks nice!”, underlining her statement with a short satisfied nod. Alayne slightly tilt her head in his direction to show Mai who she was talking about.

Throwing short glance at him Mai immediately knew who was meant. “Sure”, she answered after a short while. “But not really my type”. Alayne laughed lightly: “I know. But he looks like my type!” Her gaze followed the tall young man who was taking a seat in the second row.

“Look!”, Alyne excitedly pointed in his direction: “He sits in the second row. That could mean he is serious about his study and his career later on!”.

Mai darted a doubting look at Alayne: “Sounds like a little bit of an interpretation to me”. Her voice made it clear, that she was being sarcastic but nevertheless entertained by Alaynes reasoning.

Playfully, Mai poked Alayne in the upper arm, questioning: “Why don’t YOU sit up front, Mrs. Clever?” and immediately adding: “You are the most ambitious person I know and it looks like you prefer back-row seats as well”, she continued.

Facing her smaller, Japanese best friend Alayne answered teasingly. “Well, we could sit in the first row, but you wouldn’t let me. Would you?” Taking Mai´s silence as consent Alaynes smile widened: ”I knew it! You know, I wouldn’t mind sitting in the front, but I prefer having company”.

“You prefer my company, not any”, Mai corrected grinning . -”True”, came the quick answer at the same time the lecturer entered the room. Both girls positioned themselves upright, willing to learn and take notes.

“Look,” Alayne happily mumbled a little later: “He still pays attention.” Mai eyed her friend who was sitting upright: “Seriously? You are the only person I know, who is thrilled by a guy only because he might be hard-working and into his study!”

Even though Mai had said it casually it was obvious to Alayne that the statement included criticism. “So?”, she asked. The atmosphere between the two immediately changed from playful to serious. “You know, you won´t fall in love with someone, only because he has the same sparkling future prospects as you”, Mai argued. “Maybe I will”, Alayne answered defiant. “You shouldn’t. “

“And why is that?” Alayne answered sharp. Knowing her friend, Mai remained unintimidated : “True love means to fall in love with a heart.”

The two had argued about the topic before. It was a constant source for small wrangles. While Mai was a big fan of romance, Alayne was a big fan of efficiency. Both loved to argue and voice their opinion, it was part of what connected them.

“And you are an expert on that? On love, I mean”, Alayne flared up: “As I recall you were left by both Sara and Melissa. Maybe the heart is not the best organ to make decisions like that!”

Mai raised her eyebrows. It was typical for Alayne to make low blows, when she felt threatened. Mai knew that and had seen it numerous times before with others. She was nevertheless shocked, that Alayne felt like she needed to fire cheap shots at her too. “That is not what I meant. “, Mai whispered cool.

Only then Alayne noticed she had said too much. It hadn’t been her plan, to hurt Mai.

Settling down she tried to soothe her best friend: “Then what did you mean?” Mai took a deep breath. She had noticed the attitude change in Alayne but was not yet willing to make up with her. “I mean that you should not pick and select the future Mr. Wind only because he has the same life goals as you do. Maybe someone unambitious will make you happier!”

“Maybe”, Alayne answered trying to rebuild the harmony between the two. “Maybe”, she said while thinking of her prosperous future with an influential manager, politician or lawyer.

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