Christina listened to the laughter once again. It came from above, so she guessed they were on the wooden deck. Since she wanted a little something between a breakfast and a lunch, joining whoever was responsible for the mirth seemed like a good idea.

She climbed the wooden stairs hugging the hillside until she reached the flat top where house and attached outdoor facilities were located, among them the wooden deck from where shorter bursts of laughter could still be heard.

I wonder what’s going on. Peering around the corner Christina only found Yukio, Ko-chan and Ryu. The married couple both hung on the railings shaking with laughter, and Ryu just stood there with arms hanging by his side. How did he end up on the receiving end?

Christina smirked and made herself visible. “What’s the joke?” she asked.

Ko-chan smiled back and grabbed Yukio with her free hand. “Ryu just made us remember something.”

Funny ha ha,” he said. Still, something twinkled in his eyes, and Christina suspected he wasn’t anywhere as angry as his sulking demeanour suggested.

She shrugged and walked inside through great glassed doors thrown wide open. The day promised a little heat and almost no clouds at all. The glaring sun that had accompanied her up the stairs still lingered in her eyes, and her walk to the kitchen felt much darker than it really was.

Hot water in a mug, a bag of tea and one slice of lemon later she returned the way she came. The short time indoors was enough for her eyes to adjust, but as soon as she entered the planking outside sunny brightness forced her to squint. When she had readjusted once more Christina gave the dark blue sea a long gaze before she turned her attention to the three stooges.

So, what was that all about earlier?”

Ko-chan and Yukio both gave her smug smiles in return, and Ryu, he still sulked.

Come on, let me in on the funny, will you?” Christina said when none of the three offered to break the silence. She waited for anyone of them to answer while she stretched and bathed in warm sunlight.

Toilet adventures,” Ko-chan finally said.

Christina dragged a chair and a small table to the railings and sat down. “The Kyoto field trip?” Rather than waiting for an answer she lifted her mug of tea from the deck and placed it on the table.

Kyoto field trip?” This time it was Yukio who spoke. “No we meant what happened...”

But there was a toilet incident in Kyoto, wasn’t there?” Ryu interrupted.

Why are you so keen on… Oh, hatsumode. Yeah, that was bad. “Yes, second or third day during our second year field trip to Kansai,” Christina said. She still felt a little guilty about what Ryu had been put through. The least she could do was to help him out a little now.

She listened to seagulls screeching and tried to remember what had happened. While toilets certainly had played a major part during hatsumode as far as Ryu was concerned, Christina only vaguely recalled some students she really didn’t know who missed a bus and got scolded later. So why do did I remember Kyoto when toilets were brought up. She shook her head. Nothing came to her.

Kuri-chan, you missed out on almost half the trip,” Ko-chan said.

I did? Christina squinted against the sun and met Ko-chan’s stare. “I forgot.”

How could you forget,” Ryu said. “It was your fault those kids missed the bus.”

It was? Gods! It was.


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