“En,” Winston lightly answered.
He didn’t reveal any traces of shock since naturally, there weren’t many things that could surprise Winston in this lifetime. His tranquillity had allowed Hunter to immerse himself within his childhood days.
“The more I don’t want to stutter, the stronger the stutters get. Isn’t it funny?”
“But now you don’t have any issues.”
“The therapist said that it was because I easily feel nervous and inferior.” Hunter smiled, he still felt inferior at the bottom of his heart, even up till now. This fact has never changed.
“This was the reason why you started Kart racing.”
“Eh? How did you know?”
“Be it Kart racing or Formula Renault, both demand superior mentality. The reason you drive a go-cart is to learn to exercise control over your emotions.”
“How did you know?”
“You’ve told me,” Winston answered.
“When?” Hunter expressed his shock, why didn’t he have any recollection of doing so?
“In a previous lifetime.”
“…” Hunter was speechless.
Winston, this rascal, was so serious and unreasonable that even the jokes he cracked were all so cold.
“Fine. Then in the previous lifetime, did I tell you how my dad was?”
“Say it, I’ll listen to it once again,” Winston replied.
“If you’re going to be like this, there’s no way we can continue to be friends anymore.”
“Alright, I’m willing to listen no matter how many times you repeat it.”
Despite his earnest look, he didn’t sound sincere at all.
Hunter rolled his eyes, deciding to overlook Winston’s cold sense of humour.
“My father was a successful stockbroker in Manhattan hence, I was well-fed and well dressed as a child. What he cared about the most, besides his career, was me. However, raising a racer burns tons of money, especially when you start from a young age. Regardless, not only did he hire coaches to train me, he had even settled down his hectic work schedule to watch my kart races. Whenever I achieved a good rank and looked towards him, I could feel the happiness radiating from his eyes.”
“I became more confident and cheerful day by day. But when the financial crisis caused him to go bankrupt, his entire person changed into someone who was easily irritable and he began to drink. My mum couldn’t stand it anymore and left us. Later on, she got married to a teacher, living her ideal stable life. But she passed away two years later during a laborious childbirth.”
Winston didn’t utter a single word of sympathy, only taking the nearly extinguished cigarette from Hunter’s hands and lightly taking a puff.
“Before that moment, I entered kart racing to make my father proud. Afterwards, it became a way of earning money to pay for his alcohol. I became more and more outstanding, driving faster and faster, winning so many championships that even a Formula 1 team noticed my existence. At the time when Marcus’ team signed me on, I was thrilled and thought that the world was filled with hope. Yet when I went home to tell my father about this news… ‘oh’ is all he responded with as he lifted his bottle to continue drinking on the sofa. I didn’t know what frenzy I had gotten into, smashing all of the alcohol in the house. He charged in and beat my face into a pulp…”
Winston remained silent.
“He staggered out to buy booze, but he never returned.”
As Hunter finished speaking, there was only the butt of the cigarette left in Winston’s mouth.
“When I was younger, the thought of Formula 1 would make my emotions surge because I believed that through speed, I could find my confidence. When I started competing, the feeling of nervousness was like a sign that I was about to stutter. But no one would notice it, only me.”
“Hunter, did you know that when facing another person, there’s a special language that can be used so that they can completely understand you, no matter how much you’re struggling to speak due to nervousness?”
“What is it?” Hunter faced the other.
At that moment, something seemed to produce a loud crack in the depths of his mind.
Hunter’s mouth hung open, his tongue stiffened together as his throat tightened.
Yet Winston leaned in closer towards him.
Hunter stiffened on the spot, feeling the latter inching near him until the other patted his shoulders, causing the scattered ash to dance under the lights.
“The next time you get too nervous to relax, imagine this as a kiss. Both your racing car and your track will understand what you want to do, they don’t need your vocal cords to communicate.”
There was something in the depths of his mind that was starting to stir.
Hunter revealed a smile, “Hey… has anyone said that you look fucking sexy when you smoke?”
“Really?” Winston asked indifferently.
“Haha, of course it’s true.”
“Then, I’ll only smoke in front of you from now on.”
With that, Winston stood up and gestured ‘go back’ towards Hunter. Striding his long legs towards the direction of the hotel, he carried a sense of mature confidence amidst his nimbleness.
Hunter held his head and sighed helplessly.
Here it is again… He feels like a commander.
Once he reached his room, Hunter immediately fell asleep next to his pillow.
He dreamt that he had returned home. He pushed open the door and saw himself sitting on the sofa, watching TV while his mum prepared dinner in the kitchen.
Afterwards, his father returned with a bouquet of roses and also an F1 racing model.
His mum accepted the flowers then gave his father a hug and kiss. He was foolishly smiling as he held onto the model.
This was his home.
This will forever be his home.
All of a sudden, it all vanished as he struggled to catch anything, but to no avail.
The lights dimmed and he faintly caught sight of a flickering light in front of him, seemingly like a spark.
It was Winston, sitting there alone while smoking half a cigarette.
“Who are you waiting for?” Hunter foolishly asked.
“I’m waiting for you.” Those pair of eyes were both bright and gentle.
“Because you said that I look sexy when I’m smoking.”
“Just because of this?”
Then I’ll have to ask you not to disappear.
When the alarm rang early in the morning, Hunter sat up.
When compared to the norm, he was lacking about two hours of sleep but unexpectedly, he was in high spirits.
After having breakfast, there was a final meeting before the match.
“Hunter… You just need to try your best.” After the meeting, Marcus went over to hug him.
‘Try your best’ was just a roundabout way of saying that he didn’t have much hope. After all, his previous three matches weren’t worth talking about, so although he had achieved the highest position amongst all of the drivers in his team, everyone felt that he wouldn’t be able to hold onto his spot in the main match.
As they left the hotel, he headed into the elevator and unexpectedly ran into Winston.
He was still as indifferent as before, only nodding his head at Marcus and Hunter.
As they arrived in the hall, Hunter almost knocked into the crippled McGrady.
McGrady, who was in a bad mood, let out a cold sneer, “It seems like you’re still very complacent!”
“I’m not complacent.” Hunter felt helpless, “Fine, the previous time in the washroom at the Spain Grand Prix was my fault. I can help you prepare a drink, hold it for you, then let you pour it from my head to my toes, what do you think?”
Hunter decided to confront his past absurd self, but the look on McGrady’s face changed instantly.
He felt that Hunter had gotten smug because of the results from the qualifying match, and purposely brought up this incident to provoke him.
“You usually rank around 15th to 18th, which means that there would be at least seven to ten racers ahead of you at the start of the match. When that time comes, I hope that you won’t drive like you’re stuttering.”
McGrady’s expression was full of malice. This was the result of the so-called ‘mutual harming’.
“That’s enough, McGrady! Wait till your ankle recovers, then we’ll let you race! Don’t treat Hunter like this!” Marcus was starting to lose his patience.
Hunter didn’t plan on reacting to McGrady. In his eyes, it was a meaningless charade.
“You think that I didn’t notice it? You were with Ferrari’s Winston in the middle of the night! Did he teach you how to win today’s match? That won’t help at all! Do you really think that Winston is being truly sincere? That’s just a sense of superiority a prodigy has in front of a loser like you!”
Hunter chanted to himself. Take in a breath, don’t be angry, don’t be rash!
“You were together with Winston last night? When?” Marcus was astonished.
At this moment, Winston was standing behind Hunter.
This scene made Marcus feel extremely embarrassed and tense.
But McGrady had no intentions of holding back, he even felt excited having Winston as his audience.
“Do you think that whatever you tell Winston, whatever you consult him with, he’d let you succeed? Don’t be naive! That’s just pity from someone at the very top!”
Don’t get angry, Hunter, don’t get angry.
Hunter tightened his fists, urging himself to slow his heart rate, but he realised that he’s unable to do so.
Control yourself, Hunter.
Don’t be aggravated by him, Hunter.
You haven’t flared up in a long time. Don’t let him provoke you, don’t let him provoke you!
But the more he endured, the harder it became.
“Why aren’t you speaking at all, stutterer? Or are you aware that deep down in your heart, no matter how close you are to Winston, you’re still nothing! You’ll forever be at the bottom!”
It felt as if blood was about to explode out from his heart.
If you say one more fucking sentence, I’ll stuff your head right into the toilet!
Hunter’s face flushed in a split second. He tried exerting force into his tongue to get it to roll up, but it still remained stiff.
“You…” Hunter opened his mouth, but his two cheeks soured and he was unable to produce any intelligible sound.
You can insult me!
You can even insult my parents, they won’t be able to hear it anyway!
But why would you say such things in front of Winston?
Hunter was even scared to turn around and look at Winston.
Marcus was startled by Hunter’s current expression, this was his first time seeing him flare-up.
The surrounding people looked over. In the area, many media personnel active in the Formula 1 industry were present, there were even some racing teams.
For example, Donald from the Sauber team who just happened to walk out, observing the play with full interest.
The author has something to say:
When frying eggs:
Hunter: McGrady angered me till I became a broken record1In the raw text, it’s described as a casette, but ‘a broken record’ would be a better term! I’m so pissed! I’m so pissed!
Winston: I’m extremely furious as well.
Hunter: Fellow brothers should sympathise together!
Winston: What I mean is, the only one who can turn you into a “broken record” is me.
The line “he staggered out to buy some booze, but never returned” reminded me of all the father buying milk memes so I wasted my time to bless you with these
It isn’t wasting time if you’re creating memes :’)
But anyways, please support black lives matter in anyway that you can! You can visit here for the different things that you can do to help in this cause! And please do take care of yourselves too!