Chapter 30: Bad Fall

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I was quite surprised by the skaters for the team event. Evgeni Plushenko was somebody who I thought would have retired by now. He was Yuzuru’s idol since childhood. They would be going against each other in the short program.

Yuzuru was stretching while we watched over him. The Japanese Skating Federation made sure to watch over him along with the other Japanese skaters. On occasion, I would make sure to give Yuzuru his water bottle.

Yuzuru was wearing a face mask as a preventive. He did have asthma after all. He was very focused in his mind. I only hoped that he didn’t have stomach pains. It was normal for him to have stomach pains before his competitions. He had to zone out at times and focus.

I wore my face mask as well. On occasion, the media would record me watching Yuzuru. I would watch him from the bench or stand with Brian who would talk with me about Yuzuru’s progress over the season.

After a long wait, it was Yuzuru turn to skate. Once on the ice, Yuzuru shook Brian’s hand. Brian had given him great advice from experience. Yuzuru took my hand and squeezed it. “Do your best. Have fun,” I told him. He gave me a nod and pushed himself away from the edge. 

He got into position and waited for the music. He started with a quad toe loop that was the easiest o all types of jumps. He was very relaxed. He had the flexibility to do a donut spin. Most male skaters couldn’t do them. His triple axel was flawless with a difficult entrance to it. His jump combination was perfect. He had fun with his step sequence. Overall, his performance was more better than Patrick Chan.

When Yuzuru Hanyu straightened himself from the bow, we made eye contact. I gave him a smile. He skated towards Brian and I. Brian gave him the skate guards. Yuzuru took them and gave Brian a hug. Brian was very proud of him.

“Nice job,” Brian told him and pat him on the back. I gave Yuzuru his team vest to wear. “Good job,” I told him. “Arigatou,” he thanked me. Brian and Yuzuru sat at the Kiss and Cry and the Japanese team stood behind him.

I stood to the side and smiled at them.

“The short program score for Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan. 97.98.”

I felt very proud of him. 

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February 13………..

Today was the men’s short program. There were many skaters competing for the gold. The most anticipated were Yuzuru Hanyu, Patrick Chan, Denis Ten and Javier Fernandez. I could only hope that Yuzuru and Javier do well. 

Brian, Tracy, and I were at the rink to watch and coach the boys. I was worried about Javier. Javier had been speaking with the press over the phone before the Olympics started. There had been bad comments about him. 

Javier and I talked about it. I wasn’t sure if I was helpful to ease his concerns.

Javier skated over to me and took a big gulp of his water. “How are you feeling?” I asked with a little hint of concern. He just gave me a little nod. “Alright,” he said. It was unusual to hear him answer with a single word. He was a social person.

I turned my attention to Yuzuru who had been practicing his jumps. (Don’t injure yourself Yuzu.} Yuzuru had been focusing on his jumps. He still had problems with his quad salcow. I did suggest him to not perform the jump but, he was persistent in having the element in his program for the Free Skate.

Soon, the practice ended and it was time for us to return to the hotel. Brian and a Japanese Skating Federation official walked ahead of Yuzuru and I. Yuzuru thanked the media and the people who were rooting for him. 

We made a turn at a corner. 

Next thing I knew, I heard a screech and felt something entwined with my legs. “Ah!” Before I could process anything, I fell flat on my left side. “Woah. Yuzu. Aya. Are you two alright?” Brian asked us with concern and walked towards us.

I felt pain on the side of my head. “Aya. Daijoubu?” Yuzuru asked with worry and tried to help me sit up. I couldn’t answer. As I sat up, I held my head over the pain. Brian picked up my glasses that was broken from the fall and crouched down in front of me. 

Yuzuru gently moved my hand away from my head to see the injury. “You have a bit of a scrape,” Brian told me. Looking down at my shaking left hand, there was a scrape on my pinky knuckle. “You think you can get up?” Brian asked me.

Slowly, I tried to get up on my own. Yuzuru helped me onto my feet. I felt pain pulsing on my left leg and my head started to pound badly. 

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Flashback 1……….

Sakura Festival

The boy ran up to me and gave me a dango. “Here,” he said to me. I wasn’t so sure. “I saw that you didn’t get one. I want you to have one,” he said. I gave him a small nod and took the dango. “Thank you,” I said to him. 

He gave me a nod and pulled something out of his pants. It was a cherry blossom hair clip. {Pretty.} He moved my bangs on one side and put the clip on. {Huh?} After he placed the hairlip on my head, he ran away through the crowd of people.

That’s nice of him,” Hitomi said with a smile on her face. Reiji nodded in agreement.

{I wonder if I’ll meet him again.}

The boy was my very first crush.

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Flashback 2……………..

Skating at the ice rink in Sendai

I can help.” We turned our head to see a boy. The same boy from last week from the cherry blossom festival. “Oh. Thank you very much,” Aunt Hitomi said to him.

He got down on his knees and started to lace my skates for me. Once he was done, he helped me onto my feet. “Arigatou gozaimasu,” I thanked him formally and bowed to him. He bowed in return. “Do you skate well?” he asked me.

I shook my head. “I can help you if you like,” he told me with a smile on his face. I looked up at Aunt Hitomi and she gave me a nod. The boy took my hand and guided me to the ice. “What’s your name?” he asked me. 

Kino Ayako,” I introduced myself. “I’m Hanyu Yuzuru,” he introduced himself to me. Once at the entrance, Yuzuru touched the ice. “Onegaishimasu,” he said to it. I did the same and got onto the ice. A step on the ice, I immediately, held onto the edge.

I don’t think I can do it,” I said to him. Next thing I knew, he took both my hands. My legs were struggling to stand onto the ice. “It’s okay. Follow me. Take small steps,” he told me. I followed his instructions. 

End of Flashback…………..

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(“What was that? Memories….) I held my head again. “Aya. I think you should get checked by a doctor,” Brian told me. I gave him a nod. The camera’s followed us as we exited the building. Yuzuru tried to cover me the best as he could.

Yuzuru and Brian helped me walk to the van and sat me down in a seat. “Aya. Gomen’nasai. Hontoni Gomen’nasai,” he apologized profusely. I couldn’t really talk due to the pain. Yuzuru held my hand and tried to comfort me. I held onto his hand very tight.

Yuzuru got a tissue from Pooh-san and applied pressure on my head injury. 

Once at the hotel, Yuzuru walked to his room while Brian took me to the hospital with someone from the Olympic Committee. Hopefully, there was nothing wrong with me.

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