Scavengers

Today is the first clear sky we’ve had in what feels like an era, and the beach is busy once more as people bask in the long-awaited Sun. Children are dragging their parents from stall to stall, begging for sugary doughnuts and fluffy pink candy-floss to fill their stomachs with. I sit, watching, in the shaded Bus Shelter, knowing full well when the bus comes I won’t hail it. Or maybe I’ll go to the café. It is a beautiful day, after all. For now, I look down, to avoid the blinding sun, judgemental stares.

“Will! Why aren’t you with yer mother?” an old man says, sitting down on the creaky shelter’s bench.

I look up, glancing around at the people walking past: a father flying his little boy around on his shoulders, an elderly couple with their hands entwined as they enjoy a stroll along sandy paths, a photographer capturing the waves as they dance. No one pays any attention to the man. I continue staring down at my scuffed shoes- I could do with some new ones…

The old guy moves closer, leaning on the rusty iron arm rest separating our seats. “Will! Don’t ignore yer old man!” he laughs and playfully punches my arm.

Who is this man? Is he talking to me?

“Ah, just messin’ with ya!” I shift a little further along the bench, as if trying to get more in the shade.

“Well, if your mother is paying you no attention, how about I take you out- a little treat- jus’ like old times! You’d like tha’, huh, Will?”

Why is he wearing a jacket? The heat is insane! Are those- yes they are! Pyjamas, he’s wearing pyjamas under that jacket! Surely not…

“Come on now, Will! How’re you doing? Your mother isn’t here, how abou’ I take you out, Will? A little treat, just like old times!” he smiles hopefully.

The bus is coming slowly around the corner- I fidget with the small hole in my sleeve.

“Yeah. Yeah I’d like that… Dad.” The man grins, showing off his gums. He unsteadily gets to his feet, grabbing my arm as he does so.

Looking around, I hail the bus as above seagulls soar, dive and flee with chips hanging from their beaks; a successful hunt.

 

@TyldesleyIsabel

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