Journey

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
Short coming-of-age story about The Kid who learns to define himself as a person as well as making the decisions that will change his life. The kid rides through his kingdom, the suburbs while at home he is restless and left wanting more. One day he decides to ride away from home, sending him on a voyage of change, meeting the Girl and ensuring that when he returns home he will be changed for the rest of his life.

Submitted: June 19, 2014

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Submitted: June 19, 2014

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Journey

It was the end of the day and everything was finished. It was when you could measure what you had achieved in the day by the feeling you were getting. The kid knew exactly how he felt. Depressed. He rode subconsciously, off in his own world, up and down, legs burning, through the suburbs. He rode through the dying light of the day in continuous motion. He passed people with heads down and heads up, some smiling, some not. Some had kids, others just walking on their own. He rode up and down hills, working hard, climbing, climbing. He slid down hills and relaxed and felt tired, just silence and air. He was riding home from school, leaving its buildings of yellowed stone far, far behind. The kid hated the place. It was nothing but torment, for him. 

So it was one day, at the end of the day, as the kid rode home that his (and our) story begins. The kid rode through streets with houses built forty years ago, old brick and tacky looking roofs, through the suburbs, through the urban jungle. It was a Friday and the kid could smell barbecues and hear children. Australian suburbs always had a particular feel to them. The houses he was riding through now were squat and infinite, just food, family, relatives and the heat. Normally, the kid couldn't be bothered doing running or exercise that made him really tired. But riding, he always pushed himself. There was something about it that meant he always wanted to  come home tired. It was the speed, he supposed. Going fast and lean and being able to ride quickly, and feel like he'd accomplished something at the end of it, which was good. He just liked riding. The kid coasted down a hill and thought of home. He wondered what he'd do. It was the holidays, after all. He was supposed to get things done, write his story. But the thing was he didn't really have anything to do, he couldn't really motivate himself, and he was tired.

He soon got home, up the driveway fast and exhausted, climbed the stairs in a second.He lay on his bed and thought. He was always bored on the holidays, for some reason. It was tough being a fifteen-year old in a first-world country. He always lay around watching videos or TV or playing crappy video-games. He supposed he should do his homework, but it was boring. The kids parents told him he'd end up with no money, or worse, a tradie, if he kept on not doing his schoolwork. The kid intended to do something about that, though. He felt he could achieve things without having to go through school. The kid was bored with family life, with school, with not being able to do anything at fifteen. He felt constricted. He felt like he could be so much more. He wanted to escape his parents and being told what to do constantly. The kid hated everything about how he was told what to achieve. He didn't want to end up somewhere with a house, kids, wife, and a boring job, having achieved absolutely nothing. The kid felt that there was something more to aspire to. He felt that being just another cog in the machine and following the rigid rules of suburban life was killing him. He was unhappy and grumpy all the time. He needed to get out. He needed to run. But his parents told him he had responsibilities. He was no longer a child, any more. Thats what they said. But people said he acted like one. They were always telling him to grow up.  

 The kid wanted to be a writer. He wanted to be one now. He had always had a natural talent for it. He'd always been one of the few people who enjoyed English, and had gained a reputation as being good at English. He wasn't. It was naturally assumed he would win all the writing competitions, as well. He didn't.The kid felt that his parents had dreams of him winning some debating contest or something. He never did. He wanted to write stories, not arguments. The kid sits down to write. He knows he can write, pages and pages. He just needs ideas. But he can't think of any. He has writers block and what he's already written feels stale, childish and useless. He needs something to clear his head. Writing, for the kid, has always been his escape. The kid dreams of writing big and escaping from his boring life, free to do whatever he wants. Maybe the kid just didn't love it enough. So on an impulse and feeling like it was the thing to do, the kid carefully put his writing book away in a secret place. He hated other people reading his writing. He snuck downstairs quietly, past his parents and onto his bike without putting his helmet on. He was feeling pretty rebellious. It was dark now, and later when the kid told people about it they didn't believe him. They couldn't believe he had ridden all that way without tiring. 

The kid rode for a long time. He rode through the darkness of the night, away from home and unhappiness, and towards hope and freedom. The kid rode for all he was worth and for a long time. He never seemed to get tired and he glided, past towns and factories and buildings and stores and people. So. He had goals now. Find a story. Write it down. Meet some people. Shake that feeling of inadequacy and boredom. Find life. Be happy. He rode for ages and for a long time, all through the night and into daytime. And that's how the kid met the girl.

The kid was crossing the road when all of a sudden his bike was flung away and he hit the road. The car swerved around him and kept going. It didn't stop. The kid hit the ground hard. It hurt. He felt woozy and a bit faint, but when he looked sideways over the ground, his bike looked okay. After a while there was a face over him. Blonde hair and blue eyes-almost a cliche. Well, there were worse faces.The girl frowned and looked down. 
"Are you alright?"
The girl looked older than the kid, old enough to drink. He grunted and got up slowly. The girl helped him up, and he was aware of her hand on his shoulder. The girl seemed to be the only one around. She was pretty, tall and tanned, and the kid tried not to stare at her long legs. 
"Thanks," the kid said.
"No worries. My god, you should have been looking where you were going. What were you doing anyway?"
"Other than crossing a street, well...I'm a long way from home. 
"You rode away? From where?"
He paused, hesitant, and she crossed her arms. When he told her, she smiled, and asked why. The kid told her why everyone did, sooner or later, and that he was looking for happiness and to be free. The girl smiled, and said:
"Well, there's gonna be a party tonight. You look game."

The kid agreed to go. He picked up his bike and wheeled it beside the girl as they walked. He was interested in what type of party it would be. Was he getting into something way over his head? Was there going to be people older than him, and only people older than him? The kid was in awe of the girl. She was amazing. She said that it was weird of him to suddenly turn up and they made small talk. He'd never really been close to a girl. At his school he could never think of anything witty or clever or funny to say, and he couldn't be as charismatic as the other boys. He'd never had a girlfriend and never had the courage to ask anyone out- he mostly kept to himself, with girls. With generally everyone. The kid didn't really know what to say. The girl certainly was pretty. The kid was surprised, in all honesty. Here was this pretty, no, beautiful girl who he had just met and he seemed to be saying all the right things. Maybe he was a good listener. The kid asked the girl about herself and what her story was, and she said that her father was an alcoholic. She said that she was never around the house to get away from him. The kid didn't know what to say. She had siblings as well, two brothers. She said she thought her mother was a great woman. The kid thought of his mother and father and felt a touch of homesickness. The walk to the party was long and they just talked. 
"How old are you?" The girl asked. The boy said: "Fifteen."
"You look older than you are."
"I know."
"Christian(CHECK WRITING BOOK)
The party was brash, loud and full of people older than the kid. The girl smiled at him. It was on the beach and there were lights and girls in bikinis and guys in the water. They all eyed him up. The girl looked at him quizzically, then offered him a drink. The kid thought. 
"You won't know if you never try."
The kid didn't want to let her down so he drank it. It tasted alright. The girl laughed and smiled and so did the kid. They just looked at each other for a bit. The girl asked him if he was happy, but the kid didn't answer. There was still something missing. The girl smiled and turned towards him.
"You know, I've never told anyone so much about me in so little time. It's strange, you just turning up."
She paused for a bit.
"There going to be a bike race on. But it's dirty. There's going to be people knocked off and bleeding. It's a secret prize, and I think you should compete. The other guys won't know what hit them. And see the tall one? Aim for him."
The kid felt challenged. He felt unsure.
"I'll be waiting," the girl said.

Ksp birthday end.

The kid thought, and the kid walked towards his bike, which he had left by a table. He didn't know. He felt scared. He was going need a lot of courage. A kid didn't have a lot of courage, but a boy had courage, and a boy drank a cup for his nerves, and a boy walked his bike towards the line. Game on. His trusty bike looked sturdier, stronger than usual. The boy felt eyes on him.  A guy smirked, and he heard someone else say baby. The race would be through the seafront, set out by the people of the party standing around the route- two laps and a winner. The boy could see the girl. She would be the one to start the race. She seemed to hold a lot of power. 
"Hey! Johnson! That date if you can win."
The girl was speaking to the tall guy next to the boy. Okay. So he was being set up against Johnson. He could deal with that. The girl lit a cigarette, then threw it on to a bonfire. The thing lit up with a whoosh, and the boy felt the heat. The boy huffed and pushed his legs down and started riding. 

 The riders fanned out, over concrete and through parks. They rode hard and fast. Two riders smashed off each other with a spark and as they came back together one shoved the other away. He lost control of his bike, skidded, slid and fell. He hit the ground and came up bleeding. The boy was terrified. He hung back at the end of the pack and jumped onto heavy grass with a thump and felt breathless. There was nothing he could do.  All of the other riders were older and overlooked him, except for one. That rider swerved up near him and thought he was easy game, but the boy realised that he couldn't hang back forever. He rode angry. He whacked into the side of the bike and punched the other guy in the shoulder. The other rider shouted out then pushed back, but it was too late and the boy kicked him into a pole. The rider sideswiped it and came off his bike, sliding along the ground and the boy felt power. Trees and concrete flashed by. They had almost made two circles-it was the end of the final lap. It was on the final bend that he found himself alone in a hostile pack. The boy saw a few looks of surprise on the riders faces when he was seen, still there. Then the boy named Johnson saw him. Something like anger showed and the boy took an instant dislike to him. The boy sensed something tribal flare up between them. The boy could understand how this Johnson felt. There was this little child, claiming a hold on his throne? Challenging him? The boy was ready for him. He snarled, caught in the moment, and the older boy rammed his bike. They were going crazily fast. For a few seconds the boy was angry and wanted to hit, to swear, to lash out, but the two bikes were caught together. Then the boys bike was gone and he was sliding and smashing into a cold, hard wall. The older boy crashed next to him and ended up spread eagled, in pain. Johnson was the first to get up.

 The boy anticipated an attack, and felt hot fury. He could see the other guy think it over, as well. After all, they were both hurt. But instead...there was an outstretched hand and Johnson ready to pull him up. The boy saw respect on the older guys face. The boy was on the ground, and the boy was in pain, and the boy wasn't ready to forgive Johnson, but maybe a young man realised that he was getting older, and ready to take that hand. The young man stood up next to the older Johnson. The rest of the riders zoomed past, and there was one cheering guy who won it. The prize was never revealed, and the young man wondered what he had really won. All the young man saw was something glowing and the person who had won walk away. Johnson smiled and moved off back towards the party, leaving the young man with the girl, who had just walked up. The young man watched Johnson leave. Then he just sat on the ground for a while, and watched the finish line and the people. He had ended up not far from where he had first stood at the party, and after a few seconds he got up, and looked at the girl. He hadn't won, but he was full of courage. He kissed the girl, hands on her hips, pulled her in close. She smiled, and they just looked at each other, safe in silence. And so that was how the young man got the girl. She was his. The young man now had someone to wait for, to look forward to. The rest of the young man's time at the party was spent with the girl. But all good things eventually come to an end. It was time to go back. The young man asked the girl if he'd ever see her again. 
"I'll be waiting, right here."
And the young man knew that he would be back.

The young man rode home, at the end of the day, slowly. As he rode he reflected on the things that had happened. Once again he rode through the dying light, and left the party behind. He didn't get tired, and he never stopped. Then finally, he got back to his old neighbourhood and heard one of the local children say,
 "Hey, the kids back," 
but he wasn't no kid any longer. A kid had ridden out but a man had rode back in. The man rode back up to his house. His mom was crying when he got up the stairs to face her. She asked, "Where have you been? Don't ever scare me like that again!" 

A lot of people asked the man where he had been, and what he had done. He remembered what the girl had asked. Am I happy? The man thought. And he was. He told no one where he had been, and he learned to get on with his family, and did more stuff with them. But he never forgot what happened when he rode away from home one day. That ride had really fired his imagination. He managed to get over his writer's block. Everyone suggested that he should reveal the secrets of his ride. He hadn't told anyone about it. Everyone expected him to write that story, but instead he wrote a new, even better story. In time, when the man met the girl again, when he was older, it was expected he would tell the whole story. But even than he didn't. It always would be their little secret, that they took with them to the end of their days. He became a very successful person. As he got older, he lost a little of what kids have, that ability to see a little further than adults. But it was alright. He had grown up and learned a lot in life, he had earned it, become famous, made a lot of money. But in the end, the man learned that it wasn't really material things that you needed in life. The things that counted, in the end, the only things left to you were experiences and memories. Even the man, after he had written his books, at the very end of his days, always had one memory in his head. When he first got back from his flight of freedom, when he had first seen his mother. What she had said: "Slow down, Henry, you're going too fast!" 


© Copyright 2019 P Miller. All rights reserved.

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