Across The Clear Water
It was a cold winter's day when the Miljacka river froze over in Sarajevo. The grass all around was covered in a thin layer of frost as birds swooped around the sky.
And there, by the river's edge, was Grupa Regina, looking out at the river, and thinking about all the memories that this place brought back to them.
"It's... it's the first time we've stood on the river together since the war," Davor Ebner said, looking at his band.
"I know," Aleksandar Covic looked down to the floor, "Everything's just so different now..."
"Nothing has changed except for us," Bojan said, "This place is the same. Only we have changed... there are different memories about this place now..."
"No Bojan," Denis said, "A lot of things have changed... this place has changed... everything we once knew is gone..."
Meanwhile, Vukasin Brajic was looking out at them through the trees. He was glad to be back in Bosnia, after his trip to Serbia. He knew he shouldn't have been by the river, this place was usually closed off in the winter due to the ice, but he thought it would be a good place to come and have a think about things. Instead, he got to see Grupa Regina talk amongst themselves about the Yugoslav Wars.
"Woah, they sound like a depressing bunch," Vukasin thought, "Jesus, and I thought I was depressing sometimes."
"Yeah," Aleksandar said, not noticing that they were being watched, "It was an awful business."
Vukasin wanted to tell them to stop being so damn depressing in a public area, but instead he said:
"What the hell are you four doing so close to the river," Vukasin came out from the trees, "You know they've closed this place off!"
"Well," Davor answered him, "I think you should take your ridiculous, unfounded concerns for our safety somewhere else."
"And anyway," Aleksandar said, "What are you doing here if this place is closed off?"
"What if he's like, the police or something?" Denis said, "Come to arrest us for being here when we shouldn't!"
"Don't be ridiculous Denis," Bojan said, "He's not even in uniform! He's just that Eurovision reject. You know, the one who was on the news because of that Pokemon shit."
"Er, excuse me, I got like, 17th place in that competition," Vukasin said, annoyed, "So don't you dare call me a reject. Why don't you go and do something useful instead of angsting amongst yourselves about some war that ended nearly twenty years ago!"
"I... I... so you heard that... did you?" Davor looked to the ground, "It hasn't been easy adjusting back to normality, you know."
"You've had long enough, though," Vukasin said.
"That's not really fair though," Davor said, "No measure of time can replace what has been lost."
"Yeah," Bojan said, "Time doesn't heal everything."
They were then interrupted by the sound of skating across the ice.
"Aw man," Aleksandar said, "Do you hear that? Someone's skating on the ice AGAIN."
"What?" Bojan said, "Who could possibly be stupid enough to do that? Didn't they hear about those kids who fell in?!"
And then, on the frozen river, they saw none other than Laka and Mirela skating around on the ice.
They were both laughing as they spun in circles.
"What the hell do you two think you're doing?!" Davor yelled, which brought Laka and Mirela to a stop and they both looked back at the five of them standing on the riverbank, "You could fall in or anything! Get off the ice!"
"I think you should take your ridiculous, unfounded concerns for their safety somewhere else," Vukasin answered coldly.
"Come on man, it's nothing like that! We weren't skating on the ice! We were just standing here when you decided to lecture us about safety, they're literally on thin ice!" Davor said.
"Laka!" Denis shouted, "Get the hell over here!"
"Aw, seriously?" Laka said, as he and Mirela skated over to the riverbank, "I feel like a naughty schoolboy being told off. We were perfectly safe. And you know it's hard to walk around in skates. This is probably more dangerous than if we were still on the ice."
"Yeah," Mirela said, "And I'd rather be on the ice than have to listen to your constant external monologues about the Yugoslav Wars all day."
"C..C...Constant?" Davor repeated, "M..Monologues?!"
"Yeah," Mirela said, "We always see you lot standing by the river, and you're always talking about it."
"Well you two wouldn't even understand," Bojan said, "It's been difficult for us."
"Erm, excuse me," Laka said, "You know I was a soldier in the freaking army at the time so don't tell me what I do and don't understand."
"Ooook... maybe we should talk about something that isn't so depressing," Vukasin said, sensing that this was an argument waiting to happen unless he stepped in and stopped it.
"Hmmm, like what?" Laka asked.
"Like, you know, it's nearly Christmas!" Vukasin smiled, "Everyone loves Christmas, so let's forget about all this depressing stuff and-"
"Hey, you lot, over there!" a policeman yelled, coming out of the bushes, "No one is allowed in here, we're testing the ice! It's far too dangerous for anyone to be by the river!"
"Come on man," Aleksandar smiled, "Surely it's not so dangerous that we can't stand by it."
But the policeman merely glared at him.
"Get out," the policeman growled, "All of you, get out before I have you all arrested."
And so the seven of them left and walked into the town center.
"Aw man," Vukasin said, "That policeman... he didn't even recognize me! Usually, people recognize me! They know who I am and... they let me off with stuff! I used to get away with stuff literally all the time!"
"Maybe people are getting tired of the PVR story now," Davor said, "Not that I'm saying I am. Just, you know, people may be getting sick of hearing about it all the time."
"Oh yeah," Laka said, "I'm so sick of hearing about those lousy 2010 entrants. They didn't even do anything while they were there. Everyone knows that it was Thomas Gottschalk who did most of the work."
"Uh, Laka," Davor said, "Please be quiet, Vukasin is one of those 'lousy 2010 entrants'.
"Oh," Laka looked up, "I..I'm sorry Vukasin."
"It's alright, it's alright," Vukasin said, "I'm starting to believe what Milan told me back in Serbia. That our fame from this won't last forever. Aw man."
"Ha, you got worldwide fame from standing about in a virtual reality," Laka smiled, "You should count yourself lucky."
"I suppose so," Vukasin said, as the sun began to go down, signalling the end of yet another day.
"I hate the winter," Laka said, "The days are always so short! Look, it's getting dark out already, and it's not even late!"
"Well, I guess that means we better be heading back then," Mirela said.
"Yeah," Davor turned to his band, "I guess we should all be heading back too."
"Sure," Bojan said, "We better go before it gets completely dark."
"Well, it was nice meeting you all," Vukasin said.
"It was nice meeting you too, for the most part, bye Vukasin," Davor smiled, as Grupa Regina, walked off.
"Bye you guys," Vukasin smiled.
"Well that was... it was interesting, to say the least," Laka smiled.
"Yeah, bye Vukasin," Mirela smiled, "Maybe we'll see you again sometime!"
"Maybe," Vukasin replied, as Laka and Mirela walked off.
"Well, I guess that leaves just me then," Vukasin thought, "I guess I'd better be off too..."
And he too left the town center, wondering if the other people who were in the PVR with him would lose their popularity as quickly as he seemed to have done.
For some reason, it seemed like no one wanted to talk about it anymore, and Vukasin had no idea why...