Looking out my kitchen window as I wash up; cursing myself for forgetting I’d bought concentrated washing up liquid and having used too much so I’m up to my elbows in soap suds and sneezing at the overpowering scent of artificial lemon stinging my nasal passages!!
I notice a young boy, 14 maybe 15, sitting on my front wall; he’s swinging his legs, heels slamming into the bricks with a rhythmic thud-thud-thud. In one hand he clutches a can, I can’t tell what but he’s swigging away like it’s a favourite nectar. In the other hand he holds the inevitable phone that no one seems to be able to live without. Headphones protrude and I realise he’s swinging his legs to a tune; just as Gloria Estefan predicted, the rhythm has got him and he’s away in his own happy musical world.
The light is fading, dusk is falling and the temperature is too; the boy’s breath steams like hot dragons puffs in the chilly air. The street lamp has gently pinged on and is creating a warm glow overhead, shining on the tree by the edge of my driveway. In the Spring this tree blossoms the most magnificent white blooms but now in autumn it has leaves which turn deep red before scattering themselves in the winter wind. They glint in the lamplight and gently flutter in the evening breeze.
A car pulls up, not fast but the brakes still squeal indignantly as the driver halts beside the boy. Out jumps another young man, baseball hat on backwards, baggy jacket and trousers barely hanging on in there around his bottom.
The boy jumps off the wall and a complicated handshake takes place; lots of slapping, punching, side swipes and eventually a brief one arm half embrace – stiff but familiar.
The car moves off and honks it’s horn ‘Barp-b-b-Barp!’ With a slow casual about turn the boys slink off down the road together, laid-back, chilled and not a care in the world.