Lonely Futures

A tiny dot in the distance. A marble in blue and green shades.The earth like a tennis ball against the black.The sea. Faster. Top the right. England. Now we’ve zoomed right in. A village. Little houses. A primary school. A classroom. BAM!

There are children, about twenty of them. About eight years old. The teacher is talking to them where they are sat cross-legged on 6 metre by 6 metre square of carpet. She is tall and has long blonde hair. She is pretty, smiling. She’s one of those people who you can tell is always smiling.

The children rise and begin to divide into groups of various sizes.

Only one boy remains seated: a confident boy with pale curly hair.

Then when four solid groups are formed and allocated tables, he goes to the smiling teacher and asks if he can work alone today. But he knows the response. She says yes and then sighs sadly.

He picks a table and starts to play with the plastic cups and elastic bands designated for the project.

Five minutes later, it becomes clear what they are making.

On table A, the design consists of a shoe box with some elastic bands stretched taught across it so they make a noise when plucked.

On table D, there are to cups taped together filled with dried peas to form a sort of percussive instrument.

Only table C does not have a project on it. There is glue splattered across every surface, all the plastic cups are broken and the group of five boys who were working there are stretching out the elastic bands across two stubby fingers so that when one finger is released the elastic band is catapulted towards are target. Usually a girl or another project. They will be disciplined later.

The instrument that is most impressive is the one built by the lone boy on table B. It consists of two parts.

Firstly, a similar design to table A’s except each string makes a different note forming a roughly tuned pentatonic scale.

The second part is like Table D’s except instead of dried peas he used water by bring in some waterproof tape from home.

Now the teacher speaks to them again. They gather in a group on the carpet.

She conducts them to play there instruments as loudly as possible but in time.

Table C sit sulking with no instrument. They laugh at things that aren’t funny. They’re not cool.

The lonely boy plays out of time and tries to instruct others what to do. They ignore him and he gets irritated. He tells them to play without him and stows his model under a chair. He can’t break it. BAM!

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I was that boy.

I hadn’t reflected on that day since I had the dream.

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At first it was just me, walking on a stair case that goes on until it can’t be seen through the mist.

Looking back I can just make out something blue: the sea.

Then, there are other staircases adjacent to mine coming from the ocean going to wherever.

There are people on these stairs too. They are all familiar. People who meant a lot to me.

I race ahead. I am about 400m ahead when I lose my breath. The sense of achievement is great. I look back on them running after me except none of them are.

Suddenly, I realize how unstable it is up here. The staircases sway left and right banging into each other.

Everyone behind me has someone else. I look around on my steps. There is no one.

Everybody from my past has somebody.

My girlfriend is walking with a another man. They are happy. She never looks like that when she’s with me.

A boy I met camping is helping an elderly man who can hardly walk up the steps. They are not racing.

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I will aim high and achieve what I want.

But I will always be alone in life.

What a lonely future to be condemned to
TheDalek TheDalek
13-15
Sep 9, 2012