Enough of Being in Trouble

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
He took his shirt off without even asking.

Submitted: March 13, 2008

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Submitted: March 13, 2008

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In the morning, before school started, Mum would let me go to the park to play so long as I got back at half past eight – that was the time when I had to get ready. I got up at six that day so that I could mess around for a while over there. When I walked through the wooden gate, the sun was high in the sky and it was the warmest day so far that year. I had some toys with me, a couple of old mini-cars and a football. I took the football and kicked it up high, feeling a little giddy as the sunlight flashed off every shiny surface. I watched the ball fly high up, almost hitting the sun as I shaded my eyes with my hand. Then it began to drop back down again and I tried to aim for its shadow as it fell, hoping I would head it before it hit the ground, but I missed. It bounced off the dry floor and rolled toward the wall at the edge of the recreation ground.

 

Someone had painted goalposts there so I practiced my penalties, not kicking too hard. It was more important to aim it right. Aim for the upper centre of the net. Approach from the right and the goalkeeper will think you’re going to one side or the other. They barely ever stand still and expect a central shot. I nailed it after five goes. Slowly I built up the power of each kick until the ball met the wall at the right place every time and it made a huge SLAP sound. I had to run and get it from wherever it landed and it turned into a kind of race against myself. I checked my watch and it was okay as I had another half an hour left. Mum would have gone to work by now anyhow and I was enjoying myself so much that the real world seemed miles away. But I couldn’t get away with not catching the bus and going in. I would have  to eventually go in as I’d been so late so many times. They would write a letter and I would get in trouble again. More trouble. Always trouble around me and sometimes I don’t know how to stop it.

 

My leg was getting tired and so I sat on the ball in the middle of the tarmac. I stuck the straw through the foil circle and sipped on the box drink Mum had given me before she left. The grass rolled in a light wind that made my hair stick up and I watched the field, like deep green carpet being brushed and ruffled. The sun was on my face and I stood up from the ball with my arms out, feeling it on my bare arms and being sucked in by my black T shirt. Then I lay down on the tarmac, feeling the heat of it against my legs and arms. I lay down like a cat, with a big smile on my face in the park.

 

That was when I met Jacob. He was a bit taller than me and had less hair on his head. He wore trousers and a shirt. He had a bracelet on which I thought was girly. He came over to me and asked me what I was doing and where my Mummy was.

 

I said I didn’t have a Mummy.

 

I said: ‘Durr – I have a Mum. Only babies call their Mum ‘Mummy’. Everyone knows that!’

 

‘That’s funny’ he said.

 

‘I’m Jacob’ he said. ‘What’s your name?’

 

I told him my name was Adrian and that we could play with my cars if he wanted. I had one in either pocket and I pulled them out at the same time. I couldn’t help but smile, because I knew he’d be impressed.

 

‘Wow’ he said. ‘Those cars are cool. Let’s lay down together and race them’

 

For a while we played with them on the ground. We piled up little stones to mark corners.

 

I checked my watch and told him that I would have to go back and get ready soon. He said he wasn’t going to do any work that day. He said he was tired of work, and why didn’t we just play in the park then go back to his house and watch cartoons on Nickolodeon? I said my Mum had told me that I shouldn’t talk to strangers. He said he wasn’t a stranger. He laughed at me and I felt dumb. I went red when he laughed because he was right. I knew his name and he was ok, so I worked out that it would be totally ok.

 

We got bored of the cars because they weren’t the kind you could pull back – the ones that zoom off on their own. He said he had some pull-back cars at his house. I asked where he lived.

 

‘Not far from here’ he said.

 

I said I shouldn’t really go to his house as I didn’t know him and asked if he wanted to come to mine? He asked if my Mum was home and when I said ‘no’ he said ‘ok’, we could go to my house.

 

When we got in, Jacob started being weird. He went a little bit crazy when he saw Muffin, our kitten. He picked her up and stroked her quite roughly even though she scratched him. Then she hissed at him, so I told him to put Muffin down. He asked why it was so hot in the house and I said it was because the central heating broke not long ago and Mum couldn’t afford to fix it. He took his shirt off without even asking. He had sweat on his chest and under his arms. He had a fat belly.

 

I pretended not to notice and put Nickolodeon on. Power Rangers were on. He sat on the couch and told me to sit next to him. I looked at him on the couch with his shirt off and that’s when I started to get the bad feelings. He kept saying ‘come and sit next to me and watch Power Rangers’ but I just looked out of the window, hoping the bad feelings would go away. They wouldn’t and my heart was beating fast. I waited a while. I waited until Power Rangers ended and then I said that he would have to go now. I had to get ready, as I was already really late. I told him he would have to put his shirt on but then he got mad at me. My heart was pumping really badly because I wanted to play for the whole day but he was acting weird and the bad feelings were in my tummy and spreading fast.

 

It took ages but I got him out eventually. When he left he said he hoped he would see me tomorrow and he would bring his pull-back cars. I stood by the fridge, with my head resting on the door for a while, standing in the quiet and waiting for my heart to stop beating so fast and waiting for the sweat to dry off.

 

When my head was back to normal I realised I had to get changed and go. I had a shave, leaving my moustache with a clean edge and then I took a swig of Mum’s gin to make my head go straight. After that I put on my shirt and tie, just like Mum told me to. Then I caught the bus to the rehabilitation centre, worried that my probation officer would tell me off for being late, making sure I didn’t mention my new friend Jacob. It would only mean more trouble and after years of getting into shit, I knew I’d had enough of being in trouble.


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