The Bird sat on the small orange sofa, its floral design faded through use and exposure. The television across the room caught her eye, and she considered turning it on, to provide a distraction from the lonely winter afternoon. But only for a moment. Because she could not think of any program or channel available at this time which interested her, a fact not entirely surprising seeing as she found very little enjoyment in television.
The image of Double-J lunged into her mind. Thin wiry hair seeming to explode from his scalp, the sneer of his black moustache, the skill and speed he displayed with his saber — television was one of many topics on which he would often openly, and loudly, express his opinion during fencing practice. “Boring and predictable,” he’d said last week. “Has to be that way. Entertainment’s just a reflection of society, there’s no room for original thinking, it’s too dangerous. Much safer to keep rehashing stories from twenty years ago.” At times Annie would laugh off his easy cynicism, or Rune would argue the merits of a particular show he enjoyed, but most of the time the team just ignored Double-J’s rants, and continue with practice.
I know how you feel. Staring at her dim reflection across the room on the powerless television screen, The Bird remembered wanting to say those words to Double-J that week, even though he was unusually quiet that day. About television. I don’t like it either. She didn’t find it boring, she’d planned on saying, and with eyes probing into the reflection on the gray screen she recalled her objection. There’s always somebody talking on the television. It never stops, before you can think about what they’ve just said, they talk about something else. You don’t have time to think, it’s overwhelming, like drowning in a waterfall of words.
But she hadn’t said anything to Double-J that day, and she knew why. He was driven, competitive, as macho as any of the boy athletes she feared and avoided at school. The other boys on the fencing team weren’t like that — Rex was as patient as he was tall, Rune was gentle and funny, Butch wore his empathy like a favorite coat. They all seemed to follow the lead of their coach, Mr. Jacobs, so very masculine yet not in a way she had ever experienced before. Double-J, though, did not follow his coach’s lead, and The Bird found his defiance both intriguing and intimidating.