News - February 11, 2016

Mortierstraat 14B - Patience

The story so far: Willem-Jan is at last making progress with his studies. Only his chronic shortage of money is holding him back now.

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Willem-Jan wondered whether he had ever been so bored in his life before. To earn money he took part in a medical experiment this week. This entailed staying in an empty hospital wing together with three other boys. Every morning he took a pill – or a placebo, that was not clear – and then had to stay in bed until three o’clock. Then the nurse came to take blood, after which he was free for the rest of the day. The test subjects were not allowed out of doors so they just hung around in the common room.

When Willem-Jan came in one afternoon, a bad-tempered medical student was cursing the router. ‘Not working again?’ asked Willem-Jan.

‘Nope. If you ask me, that is the real experiment. Withdrawal symptoms from Wifi.’ Willem-Jan grinned. The 3G signal was weak too, probably because of all the hospital’s concrete. Willem-Jan put his pile of article on the table and started reading. The boredom had its uses: he had done more work in two days that seemed possible beforehand.

‘Shit,’ cursed his companion. He abandoned the router and started a game of patience on his laptop. Restlessly, he switched it off again halfway and began to fiddle with the closed cupboard the TV was standing on.

‘What are you doing?’ asked Willem-Jan. ‘I’m just curious what is in here.’

Willem-Jan threw him a paperclip that was keeping his papers together. ‘Try this.’

Grumbling, the lad began to poke the lock with the paperclip.

‘Ha,’ he cried triumphantly a bit later. The door had opened and revealed a Wii. ‘Anyone for tennis?’ he asked with a grin. Willem-Jan couldn’t say no. Before long they were playing tennis by moving their arms about holding the remote.

‘This is certainly a lot cooler than patience,’ said the lad, flailing about wildly. Willem-Jan was a fanatical player himself, but retreated in the face of this uncoordinated flapping. Just as he was about to say something the boy did a sweeping backhand and sent the remote flying through the air.

‘Fu-u-u-ck.’

It was silent in the house as Willem-Jan closed the door behind him. On a Friday evening most people had either gone home or down the pub. Just as he wanted to slip into his room, he heard Bianca.

‘Hey, you home already?’ As he turned around he heard her catch her breath. He had seen in the mirror that morning that his black eye looked terrible.

‘What did you do?’ asked Bianca, shocked. ‘Was it a scary experiment?’

‘No,’ growled Willem-Jan. ‘Just a little sporting accident.’