The sun was slowly beginning to set behind the roofs of the buildings further down the street. Nicholas looked up from his book, noticed the pint glass was almost empty and tried to get the attention of the waiter who was busying himself at the tables at the other side of the bar.
He tried to make his presence felt through the heat of his gaze. He tried to imagine tiny pulses of energy flowing from his eyes into the sweaty back of the man stopped over the laminate surfaces. Nothing: he just sauntered away off to the next one.
“I used to think I was so sophisticated and complicated,” said Justin, taking his pint in both hands and rotating it between them on the tabletop, “embarrassing”. He stared through the flat lager to the depths of the glass.
“How’s it embarrassing?” asked Sarah, “just young, weren’t you?”
“Ah know, but y’know…” he snatched the glass up and drained off the remaining liquid, “want another?”
“Not till you tell me what you mean? What’s brought this on?”
He placed the glass back on the table, careful to get it in the middle of the ring of condensation. “Something I found.”
The distant sigh of cars on the main road drifted across the back gardens to where Darren sat. He lounged in the soft seat with his cigar held between his teeth and his glass of whisky sitting on the short grass at his feet. He waited for the stars to blink on, tracing the delicate wisps and rich clouds of smoke as the floated up and away into ever-darkening sky. Occasionally, the neighbour’s old cat would activate the security lamp as he slounged across the lawn. The harsh glare would block the sky from view, but only for a moment.
These walls have one tiny little patch of staining, something darker than the pale creamy painted walls. Sometimes I can hardly see it, as though the weak morning sunlight doesn’t have enough energy to pick it out. I know it’s there though; I know exactly where to look.
I have got to know these walls over a very long time. Their little imperfections are like the craters in your flesh, the tiny marks and lines that tell the story of your life. I trace them with my eyes, in a circuit, round the room when I’m waiting for you to visit.
He felt he was slowly, almost imperceptibly, growing invisible. It was an accident, of course – he never wanted to be anything special. A lifeless ordinary would have suited him fine.
He wore the clothes that he found in the usual shops, visited the usual restaurants with his group of friends, chatted about the things he saw on the internet, came home from work everyday to watch the same programmes on TV in his rented flat.
And, in all his efforts to not stand out, he lost track of how to be anything at all. Another fading face in the crowd.
The sky was a translucent white; the clouds, heavy blobs that barely held their water in. It looked fake, like they were stuck on the paper thin patchwork backdrop built up before him. The sky above the lie.
The main road was always quiet. It gave him time to think. He roared the car to 75 in third gear, before shifting hard to 6th jabbing on the cruise control with his the thumb. Then he thumped the power button for the radio and let the hum of the engine mesh with the rumble of the tarmac – grey noise, not white.
Jacky lined up behind the others. He was very aware of how white his brand-new branded trainers were – they glared up at him as he stood there, waiting. His school at home – no, wait, his old school – had a strict uniform policy, so coming to school in home clothes, as his mum called them, was surreal.
The class filed in and took their seats. Jacky was left with a seat near the back. He slouched, avoiding the gaze of the others. “Hey, you Scatish?” God, they sound just like they do in the movies. “Say som’in Scatish.”
“Awright, like whit?”