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Mar 22, 2018 - 12:40 PM

Who I Am (3) ~ Unstoppable

When we arrive at school, it's already crowdy on the school yard. I have to get used to all the Japanese faces again, but in a way I feel home already. At the gate we walk up to the short guy of the basketball team, who was introduced Miyagi Ryota yesterday, if I remember well.

This guy has an amazingly arrogant and yet friendly energy. When he smiles he is just both supercilious and warm.

"So little Mitsui is attending Shohoku...You come in at the right time: just in time to see us winning the title!"

"Just Shizuri will do," I smile. "I was late yesterday, I missed a whole deal of your game, sorry."

Then we hear a loud voice from the yard and I swear it's to be heard from a block away... I can't hear the exact words though, I think I recognize words like 'genius', 'captain', 'marvelous' and 'wild fox'... I raise my eyebrow. Wild fox, did I really hear that?

A big shadow drops upon us and a deep voice from above it seemed grumbles: "Sakuragi... This idiot has to learn how to shut up."

"My thoughts exactly, Akagi."

Miyagi nods in agreement to his two seniors.

"Goodmorning, captain Akagi." I try with my most friendly voice, but I cannot suppress my nerves. This huge guy doesn't quite look like his age. Unbelievable that he's just my brother's age. Yet, he has this tremendous aura that is even more impressive than his size. I have absolutely no doubt why he became captain of the team and I take back my words I said yesterday.

He nods at me and then walks upon the loud red-head.

"Shizuri, you might not want to see this..." Miyagi-senpai says with a troubled face.

Just before the tall captain gets to Sakuragi, we hear a loud crash.

The loud voice shouts: "Stupid wild fox! Don't you have eyes in that stupid head of yours?! Aaahh, I know, you are jealous because I, the genius, saved the team! Hahahaha!!"

"Enough of your trash talk, Sakuragi." Akagi punches on the red head and the genius immediately shuts up. Now, that's what I call authority.

I look up to my brother and I see a smile on his face. I know that he was not having fun because someone got beaten up, but it was a smile of appreciation of having these guys around. I recognize this smile from years ago when he was captain of his junior high team.

Suddenly, loud shrill screaming come from everywhere or so it seems. I swear, an army of girls run *screaming* and cheering upon the rookie that is still sitting on the ground with a sleepy, drowsy face. Brother never said, but I think he kind of admitted this rookie is the ace player of the team. One who is able to carry the team and raise it to another level. And as I feel that my brother rather has peace with that, I know that this guy must be an extraordinary player.

The tall and slender guy doesn't seem to care much about all the attention and slowly walks towards the school. He looks back over his shoulder for a maybe a second and I'm positive that he looks right into my eyes. His glance was as cool as his whole energy and for that particular second I feel frozen on my spot. It probably was the most piercing glance that I've felt.

Then the other scholars recognize the team and start shouting thanks and good wishes. Under loud cheers we walk into the building. I take a quick look on my brother and notice the confident smile on his face. I smile with him and walk faster to keep up with the tall guys.

I think I would have got lost in the building if my new classmate didn't show me around, especially because I have absolutely no sense of directions. She told me though that Shohoku wasn't even really the big school in the district.

Actually, I've never heard of Shohoku until my brother told me...

It's been a tough day remembering all the things and people I was introduced to.

Brother promised me to take me to the training after the lectures. I am pretty excited and look at the clock on the wall for the 20th time, counting the minutes. I realize that the constant looking only made the time go slower.

The last bell of this day finally rings.

I swiftly run to the hall stairway to meet my brother. He walks upon me with no haste while I've already lost my patience. I run towards him excited and hold his arm: "Come on, come on already! You're gonna be late for training!"

"It's not even time yet," he objects, but walks faster to fit my pace.

When we reach the gym we already hear the bouncing of the basketball and the squeaking sound of basketball shoes. I wonder who it could be. My brother doesn't seem to be surprised at all as he softly sighs and says: "It's gotta be him again... He's always the first and the last on the court."

I curiously look around the sliding doors and see how the no.11 jersey passes by in a flash, rushing towards the basket. He makes a fake with his quick dribble and athletic body movement, and then turns right, he suddenly stops and turns away from his invisible opponent. In a smooth movement he jumps high and fires a shot that goes in perfectly.

Amazing. Truly amazing.

My brother sighs: "Such a show off..."

I grin and although I agree with him I know that my brother (and me) are happy to have this show off in the team.

I've seen enough basketball in the States to be not surprised easily, but meeting a talent in Kanagawa is indeed a pleasant surprise. From this moment on, I pay attention to his every movement.

Finally I get to meet Anzai-sensei as well. Brother politely introduces me to sensei who invites me to stay for the training. So this is the man brother respects so much: the very reason for him to come to Shohoku. He seems a friendly man and his appearance is quite funny too, but brother had forbidden me to make any jokes about it.

I'm looking at the team from a distance and once in a while I peek to my side to see Anzai-sensei's reactions.

"So this was your first day of Shohoku?" The manager of the team asks me. I look a bit startled and look right into her big brown eyes. Her curly hair is held back by a cap that she wears backwards.

"Yes, it's very exciting," I reply to her, "but this is much more relaxing."

"So, the same love for basketball, huh?" as she points to my brother with her eyes.

I smile. Yes, we have always shared the love for this game. We used to go to the basketball courts in the neighborhood every day right after school and we would spend the whole afternoon shooting balls. Our parents were not happy with our daily routine and always made a big deal out of it. Brother would always take the blame for his little sister.

"Absolutely," I reply, "if not more." I smile with a wink.

"You're brother has been through a lot." She didn't look up while saying that, writing things down in her notebook. This girl Ayako, my senior, is a person who knows people by looking at them. I'm sure she's that kind of person who spends time on studying people.

"I know," I think to myself. "I know..."

My thoughts are abruptly disturbed by the immense clang of the rim. My eyes search for the action that I missed and I see the rookie with long bangs hanging on the rim with one arm.

"Damn you, wild fox! You, you... arrogant, stupid, selfish fox!!" the red-head almost turns as red as his hair as he stamps his feet hard on the ground.

"Shut up, Sakuragi. Just play ball, will you?" my brother responds decisively.


Ayako explains to me: "They've never been able to get along. They give me and captain Akagi a lot of headaches," she pauses and then looks at the passing no.11. "He is on fire ever since he met *him*. He's becoming unstoppable. Rukawa Kaede..."

I follow his movements carefully and try to see the look in his eyes. Although his long bangs cover most of his eyes, I still can see his cold gaze. Remembering that glance of this morning, I feel a little shiver on my back.

In a split second I feel that his eyes meet mine, but could it really be? The same shiver runs down my spine and I feel that this guy, Rukawa, is the most exceptional person I've ever seen. Not just for his athletic abilities but for his freezing and yet burning aura.

Despite all the strange things that I've seen on this school yard today I feel very much home already.

~~ Embracing the dream that will absolutely not be manipulated by anyone, I'll strike at tomorrow ~~

--> To Chapter 4.