Sunday, July 29, 2007

Chapter 1: A dark day's night.

I have a friend

I've never seen

He hides his head

inside a dream

Someone should call him

and see if he can come out.

Try to lose

the down that he's found.


After school isn't my favourite time. Every one else looks like they've got somewhere to go. Every one except me. It's not that I'm jealous of them. I like that they're happy. I like that all the kids who aren't friends with me and who ignore me - or worse - have friends. World keeps turning doesn't it? It wouldn't be right for me to be bitter. So I tell myself I like it. I should like it. I like it like a dog that's been beat up by its master likes it, when the master picks up the ball and throws it into the bushes and far out of sight. I like it because it distracts me, gives me something to hang on to. To drool over, to sit in a dark corner and masticate. The ball the rest of the world is having. And me, trying so hard to be a part of it that I don't know whether to eat it, chew it, or hand it back to the Man who keeps throwing it away.

It's not that I don't have a home. It's just I don't want to go there. I guess that's why I've taken up smoking. I can sit on the fence of the flats across from the school, just out of sight, and I can watch the whole thing unfold, kids with kids with parents with cars with families with bags with moldy bananas with books with new shoes with friends with a life with a future. I don't have a future - so I sit quiet and alone on the fence and see if I can't freeze time with every inhale exhale on my cigarette, because even though I'm not one of them, I'm not ready to let them go home. I need them. I need them to be here for me, even though they don't know I'm here. Smoking and staring and thinking and killing time. Sometimes later, I see the detention kids, or the smart and studied library kids, or the gym kids, sometimes I see them leave as the sun goes down, and I'm still sitting across from school smoking my cigarettes. I'm afraid. No I'm not. Yes I am, but it's not the sort of fear everyone thinks. It's just a flat, dejected and dull fear, not even a terror. At least terror would keep me sharp. At least the people in the movies scream and run and fight and sweat. Me, I just sit with my cigarettes until the sky hangs low and mirrors the darkness of my face. My mind. Sometimes, on a good day, I'll tell myself my face is the night sky and my eyes are beautiful stars. Sometimes that gives me hope. Mostly I tell myself, that's gay.

If I've stolen some change and I've got a full pack, I can sit there until it's really dark, which is better. For going home I mean. I'll wait until it's really dark and then I'll start walking along and looking into the front rooms of the houses I pass as I walk down the dark and empty streets. If I get the angle right, and the light, I can see my reflection in the windows and it's like I'm in there with them, one of them, sitting at the table, having a laugh or talking about Geography or how maybe I should look at a Trade and I'm just another kid at home and I'm not afraid of watching TV or being in the room the TV is in when someone else is home. I try not to think that really my reflection just looks like a ghost, forever abstracted, a stark, pale portrait staring back at a coldly appreciative audience. I try not to think that. I smile, not because I feel it, but because I think people won't be suspicious of me if I'm smiling when I look in. And I figure if you smile you've got a couple of seconds to get away, in case, you know, you get it wrong or you look like a pervert or they just want to come investigate. I've learned that, I can usually avoid a beating if I smile, at strangers, people don't know what to do with a smile on me. It's like it doesn't fit. They probably just think I'm crazy. What do you think of that? That I can't even smile without people thinking I'm crazy.

Still, I try and smile as much as I can. Sometimes it's all I've got, that smile. Especially on the walk home. I'll get to the edge of the big park not far from my house that I have to cross to get home and the moon won't want to watch, it'll slink behind the clouds, a voyeur, a rodent, and the trees will start to whisper their tales to me as I cross through the park or by the river. You should see me smile then. I probably look like a skeleton taking a turd or something. I smile so hard I even chipped a tooth once. I smile and I try to look straight ahead so I don't see a rape or a murder or worse happen beside a tree. My grandma told me, she said that Australia never really had big wars or anything, but in the soul of some trees there were dastardly acts of cowardice and murder. That's her words, not mine. Lots of black fellas got it, too many to say she says, but a whole lot of white ones too. Jumped and beaten and cut and killed, behind the trees, and so the murder sticks to them, they eat it up and they bleed it, that's the sap she says, but she makes it sound a whole lot worse, and that's murder what you can hear them talk about when you're on your own out in the bush, or in a dark, cold street walking alone. I believe her too, I've heard 'em. They talk to me. Sometimes they even laugh. As though they know what's coming. To be honest, I run past trees a lot. At night anyway. Sometimes I'm the fastest kid in the world. Then I remember what I'm running towards. And usually, I slow down.

Most nights at home, the suspense is the worse part. Other nights, it isn't. Every night, I wish I was stronger, but every night, all I can ever do is pray. Pray to a God I wish more than anything I could believe in, and who never once answers me or helps me or makes it stop. But I pray all the same, because I'm frozen inside and I don't know what else to do. And that's what makes me cry the most - that for all these thoughts, I still don't know what to do. I'm sixteen, I'm frightened and alone, and I don't know what to do.

Our father, who art in heaven...

I'll pull the covers over my head. I'll hear the stereo get turned up, and I'll hear footsteps.

Look around it, have you found it

Walking down the avenue?

See what it brings,

could be good things...

In the air for you.



  1. If you keep writing like this good things are in the air for you. I look forward to the next chapter. Thank-you.

  2. Everytime I come back here, its like you've taken another step forward in your writing. Keep it up.

  3. 'ditto' to the others.

  4. i agree with my anonymous lurking buddies. this has got grip, this one.

  5. I too must highlight your development, and have taken the lead of your lurking buddies, keep it up, but the next one should be better..