Hey

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short, slightly surreal piece. A young man on the cusp of adulthood finds himself afflicted by nostalgic visions for a teenage he never had.

Submitted: February 11, 2007

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Submitted: February 11, 2007

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I walked out of Waterstone’s in Oxford and walked in to three teenagers in what I think is standard skater-kid attire. Two boys and a girl, congregating silently on their bicycles, the boys occupied by their mobiles. I gathered they were waiting for somebody. The girl, who had been looking at the ground, looked up at me as I walked out of the shop and said “Hey, baby. What’s up?” Although her tone had the necessary sarcastic laviciousness, it also just sounded like she was bored. I walked past them, ignoring her. I don’t think it even occurred to me at the time that she was talking to me. By the time I came out of the shop across from Waterstone’s the people they were waiting for had arrived and they were cycling slowly away.

I had a bottle of port that a friend of mine had bought me two months ago for my twenty-first birthday and when I got home I opened it and drank from it in my room. I had to go to work the next day. I looked out of my window at the street I’d lived in my whole life and tried to remember if it had always been this quiet. It seemed stupid to entertain the possibility that it hadn’t. I couldn’t finish the bottle, so I went to bed and had one of the longest and most cogent dreams I’ve had in a long time. I was seventeen years old. My body was everything I wanted it to be- not fantastically well-built and desirable, but sufficiently slim and well-formed to make me feel like I had it under control- and as an extra was immune to any long-term affects cannabis or alcohol might have. My thoughts were clear and consistent and obeyed my heart’s plans for me. I wore a derby hat and waistcoat, both a unique, tasteful and prepossessing shade of grey that doesn’t exist in this world. I stood in a library with my closest friend, who didn’t look like any friend I have or remember having in waking life, and discussed the sociological and political ideas dissected in books, achingly comforting and authoritative hardback copies of which I held in my hand. The things we were discussing were of the utmost immediate importance because the order of things was going to change right now this second and would need organising by the time we left the library. This was forgotten when we actually did leave the library and we walked through the streets. We came past an alleyway and I saw a boy I’d known at school, a total loser but a good-hearted boy, sitting in an alleyway smiling with an eye closed. I only had to see him for a second and once I had my friend and I continued walking. We saw a bunch of guys, seventeen years old as we both were and everything they wanted to be as we both were, standing on a corner exchanging money whilst smoking cigarettes. They were listening to music: something mid nineties, post-grunge but wholly Generation X, Semisonic or Wheezer. I laughed ecstatically and started singing to it. Suddenly I was alone, reaching in to my soul for the words whilst tailoring them to the tune. I suppose it was a song I made up myself, in the dream: of course, I can’t remember it.

My friend and I walked to a house outside which some utterly stereotypical skaters were standing: they seemed of the late nineties breed, however, rather than the more recent mixture of gangsta and greebo clothes and ornaments. We spoke with them for a while, seemingly knowing them well. Our conversation was utterly nonsensical and I don’t care to remember it, possibly for reasons other than that. The men led us in to the house. I saw it in a tracking shot like in Goodfellas when they go in to the restaurant the back way. Then we came in to the room and the girl I’d seen outside Waterstone’s was sitting on a sette with her friends. She gave me a smile that was slightly aloof and superior, its affection tempered by the transparent façade of cynicism which remains the reason all guys love those girls. I sat down with her, her friends edging away to give me space. She said “I’m always waiting for you” and I said “I know. I’m sorry.” She cradled her head in my hands: I think I saw this from a distance too, so I could see my bright and flawless hair. Frankly, I suspect this part of the dream was all about how perfect this version of me was. Then we sat up. Two young men in similar clothes to mine, but in different colours, walked past. One of them called me by name and smiled at me, an utterly unapologetic smile full of the unguarded affection the girl had avoided. “We’ll see you, partner. Get ready, all right?” He waved and I returned the wave. Him and his comrade left. Everyone else faded away from the room now and left me alone with her. She lay her head on my shoulder.


© Copyright 2018 Doc Scurlock. All rights reserved.

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