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This is just a short story i have written recently that i'm in line to have published in a national newspaper in the coming weeks, so any and all feedback before hand would be great appreciated. It is a story of a middle aged man named Michael, and looks at many issues that trouble adults in this day and age, many of whom suffer in silence, such as loneliness, depression, loss and alcoholism.


Submitted:Mar 6, 2012    Reads: 13    Comments: 4    Likes: 3   


A quick splash of the icy tap water was all it took to lift Michael from his groggy state. A second, more bitter spray was needed to assure he remained that way, and a third and final slap of the chilled water brought about his senses to the early morning ahead. The alarm clock read seven, but Michael in his anticipated haste had arose earlier than planned at quarter to, his over-angst and excitement the driving factor behind his uneasy nights rest. Carefully lathering his face in shaving foam, he found today of all days the right time to break in his new expensive Gillette razor-tripled bladed, unrivalled close shave and all for the expensive price of 15 pounds; a one-off luxury he thought to himself as he wrestled with the tightly sealed plastic. 15 pounds in his current financial state was far too much to be squandering on such needless items he felt, 15 pounds was half his week's food bought and paid for if he watched his pennies wisely. Still, today was a special day, and for just one day in the year he figured it was ok to treat himself to something nice.

After no more than a few precise strokes of the blade, the unkempt nest of tangled hair that claimed residence across Michael's gaunt face for 364 days of the year was no more. In its place was a red skinned, slightly bloodied and almost unrecognisable reflection staring back at him. He glanced upon himself for a moment, gently caressing the sides of his face with caution and bewilderment. He didn't see it often, but when he did, that well clean-shaving face was enough to show him that his old self was still in there somewhere, still alive and buried beneath a lack of self-pride and frizzy grey hair. 'Look the part would ya!' they used to always say to him. He never fully understood it for years. Why the need to look 'his best' as they put it, if he felt perfectly fine and comfortable in the tramp-like state he had grown accustomed to over the years. It did little to bother him, so why the need to take such offense?

Still, today if any was a day to clean up to a respectable state. Buried within the confines of his small, rotted mahogany wardrobe was something that seemed largely out of place amongst the filth of his boxed bedroom: a black suit, well cherished, finely cleaned and pressed, and hanging neatly and straight by its lonesome on the right hand side. It was his own father's suit, and it had become tradition in recent years to be used for only one day of the year, the only day he saw fit to wear such a thing: today. A hurried few moments of clothes swapping later and he was nearing the time to leave. A last minute splash of cheap musky aftershave would be enough to keep him smelling fresh for the day, once again failing to remember the severe burn that was soon to befall his freshly shaven raw face. With a grunt and a displeased squint, he shook off the pain and made for the front door. The clock read half seven. Somehow he was running behind time, but thought little of it as he dashed through the littered mess of his living room, stopping only to grab a small brown bag from Penny's and a single white envelop resting oddly out of place atop the clutter of his door-side coffee table:

November 16th, 1996

Dear Tommy,

Another year, another birthday. It's hard to believe you're turning six already, for the life of me I don't know where these years have gone. But I do know you haven't seen me in a long time, and I know it seems to you like I haven't been there for you, but I am still here. And I'm hoping this year is finally the year I can manage see you on your birthday, fingers crossed and with the help of God I'm praying all goes to plan for us this year. Its been far too long since I've seen you, I'm starting to forget what you look like, I hope you're starting to take notice of all those good looks you got from me anyway, you'll thank me for them when you're older! I don't know how your mother feels this year about me, we don't see each other that often anymore, but I can't blame her too much I guess. It's all very complicated between the two of us, but never you mind about that. We both love you, and not a day goes by that I don't think about you and miss you. You're turning six this year and I didn't really know what to get you for it. Every year gets harder and harder to buy for them they tell me, and I'm starting to see they were right. Was so much easier when a simple teddy bear would do it and you'd be amused for hours, but you're gone a bit past that stage now I'm guessing. Anyway, I hope you like your present, they're Penny's finest in jumpers and it's going to be a cold winter so I'm told, wouldn't know much about fashion these days but if they keep you warm then they'll do the job just fine by me!

Hoping to be with you this year,

Love, Dad

***

10:00 am, November 12th of 1998. Standing idly around the Dublin city streets, a tradition Michael had practised every day for an unfathomable number of years, never felt as bitterly cold as it did this morning. Winter was here once again, and with every passing year as he observed himself grow older in standstill, he found himself more prone to the harsh conditions. Maybe it was just the way of the weather these years, or maybe, as he in part knew to himself, he was growing frailer as the times were beginning to pass him by.

10:00 am, and as usual the so-called on the hour city bus from O'Connell street was its traditional eight minutes later then promised, like it had been last Thursday, like it had been every Thursday for the past four years. And yet, like clockwork it would seem to Michael, it always managed to arrive on the stroke of eight minutes past, nearly oddly precise and scheduled in its delay. At 10:04 he drew a John Major cigarette from his pocket and began to struggle with the lighter. A faint spark, once or twice a quick flash of a flame, but no light. It was no surprise, having been salvaged months ago from the city streets; the lighter owed him little at this stage. A woman stood to his left, a young woman, well prepared for the morning chill with her heavy River Island winter wear, laptop briefcase in one hand, furiously puffing on her morning cigarette with the other. For four years he knew this woman, he would see her nearly every day in the same spot, same time, and accompanied on the same bus. And yet, as they stood side by side morning after morning, he never once asked for her name, nor did she ask his. The stressful clicks of his lighter caught her attention. One after another, time after time, he produced no spark, and began to thrown a shy and embarrassed glance her way.

"Erm, excuse me-" he began, staring politely toward the stick of tobacco between her fingers.

She gave an abrupt shrug and drifted off to face the roadside to her left, scanning the main road as if to seem busy. Her arms folded, she gave another few tugs on her cigarette, before the rising breeze in the air sent chills throughout her statured frame.

"I was just wondering, have you a light?"

She puffed again, three hardy tugs as if smoking for dear life, and with a quick flick, disposed of the butt.

"No…" she told him, making effort out of the smallest of civil glances, and returned her attention to the main road, waited in silence. With a shaky hand, the John Major was returned to Michal's pocket.

The bus roared into an alarmingly abrupt halt at its stop, perfectly late and yet perfectly on time by its unofficial schedule. The bus driver was another face Michael was quick to recognise, an elderly man named 'Bernie' according to his name badge, a man short on sight and clearly too long in the game of public transport. 'Someday he'll fully forget to stop altogether, or worse!' Michael pondered as he queued his place, making colourful observation of Bernie's far from perfect motor skills. Forgetting a stop would be the least of Bernie's worries as his own age and health began to take hold over reactions and senses. Retirement wasn't far off now, the sooner the better many felt.

"Glassnevin…" Michael told him as he approached the seated driver, struggling with the linen of his pocket to assemble the 1.70 required. It took more than a brief moment, and a few would-be passengers voicing their rush, before he managed to assemble the fare from small change and coppers. "Cold morning Bernie!" he stated, as he clutched his ticket. Bernie was yet another face that greeted Michael every Thursday for five years and counting now, and sure enough every week during that time Michael had attempted to force conversation from the man, and without fail, week in and week out, Bernie refused. A slight gawk would be the only thing given away from the man, maybe a brief stare of the eyes before Michael was given how ever much change he was owned, usually very little. Michael would slowly take his seat moments later, a single seat as close to the exit door as possible was what he preferred, before the next patron of the bus hoped on, and the booming sound of Bernie's voice broke though in frantic conversation and laughter as he greeted his fares, eager for the morning banter, having ignored Michael as if he were a leper. With a roar and a more than unnerving jerk, the bus was quick to motor along its way.

Michael wrestled with the awkwardness of his seat. He sat alone, but on an elevated perch of a chair directly behind Bernie, with little in the way of leg room for a man who's right knee acted up on the best of days. His knee cap clicked and cracked as he shuffled here and there to give even just a slight bit more blood flow to his joints, a simple release of tension, or even just enough to last him the briefest of trips to Glassnevin. In his hands now after his mornings shop was a clear white plastic bag from Tesco's, which held a rather larger then necessary box to a plastic model battleship, self-assembled and painted, and for ages eight and older it claimed. Tommy's 8th birthday was in four days, and this year Michael decided money was no object when it came to the occasion, even if it realistically was. 20 pounds may not have been breaking the bank to many, but for Michael that was an unfortunate realisation. He stared solemnly at the box, taking notice of all its small pieces upon the picture, how complicated it all seemed in his own head, never mind for that of an eight year old boy. And yet, as he sat there with faint thoughts in his mind of assembling it when the time came with Tommy, a repeated voice drew his attention unfortunately back to his awkward bus ordeal.

"Ya, you!" cried a man's voice, "Ya fuckin' deaf or something?!"

A young man stood before Michael; short, stick build and smelling of rotten fags. His Dublin city accent, Nike tracksuit, pull-up socks and foul mouth had all the call signs of a typical lowlife, one Michael would have preferred not to have drawn the attention of. He looked up in startled response.

"I know you don't I?"

Michael held onto his silence for dear life. With any luck at all, the man would leave, he might get bored and return to his seat, to his own business and let Michael see out the last few minutes of his journey in uncomfortable peace. And yet he knew well that would never be the case.

"Ya I do don't I? I know well who you are bud! Fuck you doing riding the bus with the rest of us eh? They not let ya drive the car anymore no?"

No response.

"Think any of us want you on here either? No? We all knowing fucking well who you are ya miserable bastard, shouldn't even be allowed walk the fucking streets never mind sitting down in here all happy out for yourself!"

The abuse continued for the remaining few minutes as the bus stop at Glassnevin slowly began to reveal itself in the distance. Michael felt the tingling singe of hot breath upon his ear: the man had quickly got right into his face; droplets of spit were felt pelting against the side of his cheek as the man continued his verbal assault. Michael has long since managed to drown out his voice into white noise, a silent nameless face before him that somehow he was able to switch off, simply by taking the box of his model ship, and holding it close to him like a loved one. He closed his eyes as he wrapped his fingers tightly around its edges in an embrace. The 'Stop' bell dinged it's more than welcoming chime; the heavy thud of Bernie's unreliable breaking sent a heavy shudder throughout the bus signalling the final stop. The lowlife stumbled in his stance only to quickly grab the nearest arm rests as he did, noticing Michal quick to spring from his seat and dash toward the exit.

"Ya and stay the fuck off will ya! You're not good enough to walk through the dog shit, ya hear me!"

The creak of the door took a life time to open. One would swear that Bernie, silent throughout the commotion, was taking more than his sweet time to let his passenger out. The doors finally spread, Michael squeezing his narrow frame through as quick as his aching limbs would let him; his carried box delaying him as it momentarily lodged itself within the door. He turned, but not before he was struck upon the back of his head as he came to the concrete pavement. The base of his neck felt warm and sickly-a parting wad of spit from the low life, followed swiftly by a gesture of his middle finger, as Bernie and the city bus continued along its route. Michael stood for a moment alone on the sidewalk, clung to his toy ship, refusing to let go.

November 14th 1998

Dear Tommy

I'm writing this letter for you a little earlier than usual, your birthday isn't for another two days yet I know. You're probably thinking at this stage that I've forgotten when it is, that I've forgotten you. I know it's been five years now since I've seen you but please trust me, I'm thinking of you every single day, praying the day I can finally come see you is soon. This year, I don't want to promise you I'm going to be there because I feel like I've spent years lying to you with promises and no shows. I guess that's why I'm writing this year's letter that little bit early, because it's still two days away and I don't know yet if I can manage it. I pray I can, I do. It just feels like this year, out of all the other years; I want it more but don't know if it's possible. But know that I will do my best to see you this Monday, whether your mother approves of it or not, I will try to do everything in my power. I got you something special this year, it's a model ship! It's a fairly big one too so if we can at all, I'd love to give you a hand with it. A hurley was what I had first in mind but I didn't really know if you played at all. Saying that, I guess I don't really know what you'd be in to too well. Maybe you won't like the ship either, but fingers crossed.

Hoping to be with you soon,

Love, Dad

***

November 17th, 2000. A strange buzzing sound swept through the confines of Michael's boxed flat. He struggled to regain his senses, having long since been a sleep. A slow grumble drifted from his mouth, finding a small drool of saliva on his cheek, and with his eyes not fully having the strength to open by themselves. The buzzing sound continued, louder and more piercing like drilling in a wall. He stirred his head, but found his would-be pillow to be a hardened surface: his small living room table. He must have passed out earlier in the evening, but not seeing his clock, and with his neck in too much of a crippled state to gaze about, he slowly raised his body upwards as his senses began to return. His eyes flickered. "Urgh!" he moaned, having found the dryness in his eyelids to be like the scrapping of sand paper. How long had he been asleep he wondered.

The buzzing sound continued, but with enough sense regained, he realised it to be his home phone, albeit it rang low and muffled, more than likely buried somewhere beneath the clutter as it always was. No one ever rang Michal, and if they did it was never for long and only with bad news, so why bother to look he figured; if it were important they'd ring again. And they did ring again, and a third and fourth time as if not taking 'No' for an answer, as if they knew him to be home maybe. He rummaged through the papers upon his table; an overdue ESB bill, a letter of imminent termination from Eircom, some rental slips and a few dozen attempted letters to Tommy upon his birthday, dated November 16th, the previous day. The phone sat nearby.

"Hello…?" he said, cautiously with voice still more so on the side of sleep.

"Michael?" said a voice on the other end, a voice he wasn't sure of at first but was quick to be informed of. "Michael its Tom, how are you getting on? Michael I'm just calling to see-"

"-What time is it?"

" Time? It's, its quarter to 9 Michael, why? We're you asleep? You don't sound too fresh there on the other end"

"I'm fine!" Michael replied, his voice bearing a little bit more angst then he had cared to reveal. His attention drifted to the letters upon the table, to Tommy's unfinished letters, all ten of them. "What do you be wanting Tom?"

"We'll I'm just calling to check in, as you know. It's my job after all. Michael you haven't been to the last few meetings I've noticed. In fact, you haven't seemed to attend a lot of the last few months, and you haven't been checking in with me either. I hate calling you like this but you know I have to ask you if-"

"I'm fine Tom!"

"-I have to ask if you've been drinking! And you know I do, you can't go disappearing for weeks on end with no word and not leave thinking the worst, especially at this time of year and all…"

"And what's that supposed to mean?"

"You know we'll what it means Michael, don't play dumb with me. Now tell me, have you been drinking?"

There was a brief pause.

"I'm fine I told you!"

"That's not what I asked you Michael…"

The conversation fell into silence.

"…Michael?"

A moment later the phone line went dead. Although the thought had crossed his mind, Tom decided he would not be calling again.

Tom's voice was still fresh in his ear as Michael gently and quietly eased the phone onto its base, choosing to silence Tom for the night rather than argue with him. Disconnecting the line, wondering as he stared at his Eircom notice whether that would be the last call he would ever receive, he tossed the phone across the room blindly in one fell swipe from the table. Papers, bills and unfinished letters scattered in his wake, most but not all. Tommy's letters still sat before him as Michael rubbed his hands across the fatigue of his face, and the grease of his hair. His fuzzy beard remained, perhaps the first time in seven years that he hadn't shaven for Tommy's birthday. He reached for the nearest of his letters as he set about finding his pen and picking up where he had left off, clearly many hours previously when he had dozed off. Sirens rang outside the thinly paned windows of his damp one bedroom flat, ambulances and Garda cars flying about the town at every hour of the night, forever keeping him awake, and tonight attacking him with the most spiteful of headaches. He reached down slowly to his left foot and poked around, until he grabbed hold of what he searched, sizing it by its neck, and raised his bottle of Jameson's whiskey back up to the table beside him where he felt more comfortable having it. It was mostly drained come nine o'clock, a productive days' worth of drinking had indeed been done on his part, and the night wasn't finished just yet. In one hardy slug, the remains flowed away like water to a drain, the result of his savings for Tommy's birthday present, squandered away in a moment of weakness and desperation. Tossing the bottle, gathering his unstable composure, he searched for his pen.

November 17th 2000

Hello Tommy,

I've done it again, another birthday comes and goes, and I'm not with you like I wanted. Just know that I tried so hard this year to be with you, so so hard. Your mother, she did everything she could to stop me, like she does every year but this time it was different, I was determined more than ever that this was the year. But she wouldn't allow it, she stopped me. And the truth is I was scared too, your ten years old now, you don't even remember me anymore I'm sure, and I was scared to do what I needed to see you, and now I'm here falling into old habits that I can't even begin to explain to you. She can't keep me forever Tommy and I'm coming to see you, one way or another.

Love, Michael

***

November 16th, 2001. The high rays of the sun pelted down upon Michaels eyes as he sat patiently upon the park bench staring at the hands of his watch tick slowly by. He sat with his legs crossed, his right knee bopping and fidgeting like that of a child, and the awkward anticipation in his twitching fingers refusing to hide itself. He reached into the coat of pocket of his father's back suit, withdrawing an old comb that had seen little to no use its many years with Michael. Although perfectly held, he gave an extra stroke or two to his fringe, just to make sure to look the part as they often told him, just to play the respectable part as he so longed for today. He checked his watch once again. Eleven o'clock, finally he could get up and make use of the day. He picked up his few items he had alongside; his cigarettes, and old tweed hat in case the sun were to get too strong in the later part of the day, and a small cup of take away coffee he now used to start off all his mornings. Michael had been sober for a year now, and at times he felt pride within himself when he thought of that fat, though quickly squashed it knowing he held no such right to do so. In his left hand, wrapped neatly in fine decorative paper was a long slender box, a present for Tommy he had held on to for many years: his model ship. H had promised himself many years ago that one day they would assemble it together, and with then quick prayer to god, he hoped today would be that day.

As he walked the streets on what was on oddly fine day for a November, his heart began to skip just a beat as his nerves started to grow. Today wasn't a day for bus travel, no too fine, instead he'd use the power of his own legs as he undertook the daunting task of venturing to his ex-wife's house, to Tommy's house, and a birthday party he didn't know whether to expect to see or not. He didn't know what to expect of his day, and as he fought hard to remember his previous attempts to see Tommy on his birthday he found himself at a loss with no memory of the day, knowing only he would never be allowed see him on any attempt thus far, and starting the ponder as to why. He figured his excitement was clouding the better part of his judgment, and realised he was no longer looking toward the past, but toward the future and the rest of the and he continued his lengthy walk, somewhat smiling, though the blistering watch of the sun.

A long winding alleyway crept up along the back of the estate, before which was a small brick wall and fence between the sizable back garden of the house. Kathleen loved her backyard space, as far back as he could remember, she could never find a house with one big enough to satisfy her; they could never be too big she felt. Michael always knew he'd never be able to afford her one, nor anything else she wanted in life that cost a pretty penny. Maybe that was part reason why they divorced, one of many reasons no doubt. He walked slowly by the back yard fence, thinking it best to make his entrance, or attempted entrance, slowly through the side gate as not to draw too much attention. His stomach jumped in knots, he didn't know what to expect, he was terrified, and yet through it all, excited. The sounds of children's laugher across the wall suddenly raised his spirits. Tommy was beyond that wall, and he was determined today was the day to be with him. Clenching his model ship tightly to his chest, and with a smile like no other he had had in years, he knocked gently upon the wooden garden gate, and slowly made his way inside.

"What are you doing here again Michael?"

Michael knew the voice, it was Kathleen's, as cold and saddened as she had always been the last few years.

"I'm here…I'm here because I have every right to be here, I'm here for Tommy…"

"Why though, so you can do the same thing you do every year? You can't be here Michael…you need help…"

"I don't need help woman! I need to see my son on his birthday, and I'm here now at one of his parties at long last, and I'm not leaving till I see him!"

"His party?

" …where do you think we are Michael?"

Michael opened his eyes, not having realise they were held firmly shut, almost painfully so. He felt wet, and cold; it was raining upon him, his once combed and tidied hair a wash with rain water and brylcream gel. The laughter of children was noticeably absent from his ears.

He gazed around. The place was silent, and vast and empty. He was no longer standing within Kathleen's back yard, nor had he ever been. He looked to her; she stood to his right glancing up at him, bewildered and almost with a look of pity upon her face that he failed to understand at first. She was crying. Why was she crying? In her hands she held not a birthday cake, but flowers.

Michael sight drew him slowly to his front, to the ground before him where the rain pelted viciously. Green grass met his feet, with sprinkles of clay, and a stone slab, a finely crafted marble slab that seemed to stare upon him as he bewilderedly did it.

Tommy Connors

Died June 5th 1993

R.I.P

The model ship fell to the earth with a cold thud. Although he ignored her, he could hear the outburst of tears from Kathleen, but she was mute to him now as he fell to his knees and softly grazed his fingers across the cold wet carvings upon what was the gravestone of his son Tommy. His fingers stroked his name, and with it Michael's mind began to race, began to go back to his last memories of Tommy, of the young child he brought into the world, the young child he played with and looked after with such care; the same young child who's life he had cost all those years ago when he took to the wheel of his car drunk. Tommy Connors died that night, while Michael's life fell into ruin around him; cast out by his family, escaping a prison stretch but sentenced to a public that refuse to forgive or forget, forever refusing to accept or come to terms with his actions and consequences as he would see Tommy in his dreams, in his waking moments and all about him, forever haunting him.

"You come here on this day every year!" Kathleen cried as she took his arm, but he shrugged her touch, and remained fixed upon Tommy's name. He had no words to say.

"You come here, bringing your gifts, bringing your cards, and every year it's the same! He's gone Michael…he's gone! You need help, you're not well man!"

He looked to her. In her hands she had picked up the model ship, and with a snarl in his voice, he snapped it from her hands and held it close to his chest, as he so often did, on certain day when he would remember that he would never build it together with Tommy, that he had been buying gifts and writing words for a memory, only to seem to forget again, and continue in his limbo. He embraced the box as rain drizzled down along his cheek, clenching it as if it were Tommy himself and slowly began to walk away as Kathleen's words urged him to seek help, to seek treatment, while only ever falling on deaf ears. She knew what the night had in store for him; it was the same ever year. He would return to the pits of his flat, and drink; drink until he could no longer remember what was real any more until his mind once again told him what to believe. And she knew it to be true, as it had been with every other passing year since Tommy's death. She would find him here, early in the morning on the day of his birth, gift in hand, staring obliviously upon the gravestone, until he remembered. She knew there could be no help for him. The following year events would repeat themselves once again, and the year after, and so on until the day he died. She knew it to be his punishment in life for what had done, one even she struggled to know whether he truly deserved

***

November 16th 2002. It was 10am on Dublin's fair O'Connell Street, and as was the tradition of the winter weather, the wind and rain had come in spades over the past week. Shopping patrons charged left and right in their frenzied hurry as the bitter winds took a turn for the worst, as the coming afternoon looked only to continue it.

Michael stood calmly in his spot, waiting patiently and un-phased by the winter winds. It was 9:57 according to his watch, a good eleven minutes yet before Bernie would be arriving efficiently late as always. As the rain poured, Michael gawked around to his surroundings and smiled. He was warm today, easily kept more than well insulated under the many layers of jumpers and a fine heavy leather jacket he decide to splash out upon. It was money he didn't have he figured, but money that would be well spent. His money was his own today, he would spend it as he wished and not on bills, or rent, or any such other inconvenience, and whatever was to happen afterwards then so be it! 10:02 read his watch, another six minutes before Bernie screeched into his halt. Michael drew from his pocket a John Major cigarette, and reaching for his lighter, he spotted a familiar face just beyond the Bus Eireann stop sign, having more than familiar problems managing a light within the breeze.

"Excuse me," he said as he drew near "But I've seen you here every Thursday for nearly eight years. Do you mind if I ask what's name?"

She gazed back at him in shock, clenching her cigarette close as she looked toward his eyes.

"I have a lighter here if you need one?" he said.

She relinquished and dropped her guard for a moment. She clearly knew who this man was, as did much of the town or neighbourhoods nearby, and all with their similar opinions.

"Thank you," she said as she took the lighter from his hand. A few quick clicks and her stick was lit, her sudden prejudice forgotten as she enjoyed the taste of the smoke filling up her lungs.

"My name's Monica," she began as she went about returning the lighter, though Michal extended his arm, halting her, and insisted upon her keeping it.

"You'll probably need it again later on," he told her "You strike me as a 20 a day woman!"

She laughed, partly from truth of the statement and partly toward the man himself. With a friendly nod, she pocketed the lighter as Michael returned a quick grin of his own before turning away to view his watch. The time was 10:06 now. Not much longer he felt. He reached to the expensive paper bag by his feet and unfolded its contents: a model ship he had bought a long time ago, perfectly assembled and painted, almost impressive looking in its detail as he gazed upon it while carefully removing it from his makeshift wrappings. 10:07 now he noticed, time to get moving. As he began to walk back along the street, he gave a final look to his work as he held it high in his stride. Rain struck it but it didn't matter now, he was too busy admiring each and every one of it its battlement, all perfectly placed and neatly painted. He wondered if Tommy would have done half as good a job, or had they worked together, perhaps maybe they could have done even better.

"I hope he likes it…" he whispered to himself as he came between the parked cars along the road, rain beating upon his face from the left had side as his vision locked squarely upon the opposite sided street. 10:08. He could hear the screech of Bernie's bus in the distance, furiously traversing O'Connell St like only Bernie could, and through the rain, he could see the dim lights as it approached through the adjacent window of the parked car. With a final clench of his model ship, a quick beat of his heart, and a last wish to god, he leapt before the oncoming lights, and was gone.

***

November 16th 2002

Dear Tommy,

Today is the day; at long last it's here. Today is the day I'm finally going to be with you.

See you soon, I promise





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