Next Stop

Next Stop

A Story by progoverperf

He sat and watched as cars passed by.

Boy racers in their modified hatchbacks doing upwards of 80mph were littered across the dual-carriageway. Across the way, laughs and giggles of carefree children spilled over the large school gate. The world seemed to be at peace, in a strange way, carrying on without him, his existence only acknowledged by the warm rays from the dying autumn sunset that caressed his skin. It had been over a decade since he had felt anything like it. He recalled the last time held he such an embrace with the sun like this. 2004. A simpler time, back when his only worry was getting a good choice on the school dinner menu, his only fear being puncturing a brand new football from overuse in the school playground. How things had changed since then.

His ashy hands dived into his grey, worn joggers and fumbled around in the pockets, grasping and releasing the various loose copper and silver discs, and the rectangular, polymer slips that could be traded for a bus ride. £42.57. The thought that this amount which was considered a small fortune prior to his admission, could now only afford you the luxury of a bleak and stale journey a few hundred miles, made him shudder.

He remembered the last time he had used public transport; the 133 to Elephant & Castle on most mornings and afternoons. The buzz of adolescents jabbering about the latest dance moves and television shows, the echoey playback of grime music being blasted out of a phone speaker resting against the bus window, purely for its amplification properties. The back-to-back exchanges of banter regarding one's mother being so poor or another’s being so fat. The unmistakable odour of fried chicken wafting through the doors when the bus would stop to relieve itself of passengers. The days when he couldn’t wait to get to Summer Field Lane, where he would be reunited with Marcus. Similar to his own, Marcus’ mother worked late most evenings so they would get together after school to hang out, play games, eat food. Over the years he had learnt to cook for himself but it was more for the company.

For a minute, he wondered if Marcus knew he was coming home. If anyone knew he was coming home; if anyone wanted him back home. They had stayed in touch for the first 2 years before he was moved, but after the incident, it became difficult to keep any contact details. He had heard that his dad had moved and his step-mother was now a councillor, so there was no doubt that they wouldn’t want to have anything to do with him, they wouldn’t want him to sully their reputation. The park where it had all happened had been bought by local ethical property developers and they had constructed a small project, consisting of ten residential dwellings and one community centre, which was named in honour of Simon.

Simon Jones. The boy who had been his neighbour for 7 years; The boy whose only mistake was being in the wrong place at the wrong time; The boy whose life he had taken with a paring knife. Over the years he had played and replayed the incident in his mind, more and more details coming to light each time. Every detail more vivid than the last time he relived it. Every emotion he felt, seemingly amplified by the years that had passed; the adrenaline rush brought on by, as well as masking, his trepidation; the deep, heavy thumping of his heart that seemed to be coming from his ears rather than his chest; the feeling of the knife puncturing Simon’s on-trend Nike parka and piercing his skin, before penetrating his flesh and sinking into his lung; the instant splash of blood splatter which had been impossible to clean off his skin, and his clothes, which were entered into evidence and ultimately led to his conviction. 

To his surprise, the memory still made him gag, no matter how many times he had dissected it over the years. It was funny that he had never felt that way in the moment. His only concern back then had been impressing his peers. That was the only reason he had taken the knife out of his mother's kitchen in the first place. The peers who had since turned away from the violence of old - Harry’s parents had sent him to Nigeria during the trial and he was now in the lucrative business of petroleum engineering overseas. Jordan had been signed to Weybridge F.C. and was making a name for himself. He remembered seeing him play Charlton F.C. in the only match he was permitted to watch in the common room. He wanted to tell everyone that he knew him but shame gripped his mouth shut. The shame that accused him of falling so far behind in life, sleeping on soiled mattresses in cells with men who could and would voluntarily morph your facial features permanently for accidentally picking up the wrong packet of chocolate digestives. Now to look back on it fifteen years later and to see what he had missed out on, what he could have been, it was as though both he and Simon lost their lives that fateful day.

He had been waiting at the bus stop for over an hour before it finally arrived, which in comparison to the time he had just paid, felt relatively quick.

© 2021 progoverperf

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Added on May 23, 2021
Last Updated on May 23, 2021
Tags: knife crime, rehabilitation, reform, reflective, time, wasted, mistake, past, youth



Progression Over Perfection. I enjoy writing fictional & Poems and would like some feedback. Hope you enjoy the posts! more..