Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Alone (revised)

Richard was alone.

Not truly alone, he had friends, and he had his family, and he had Gina, his loving girlfriend. But he could never quite shake the feeling that he was alone.

For as long as he could remember, everything seemed just a bit too distant to be real. Not all the time, mind you, but only when Richard really focused on it. Yes, Richard told himself, he was quite alone indeed.

Perhaps he would leave.


Yes, he was going to leave and find somewhere that he would not feel alone. He had finally made up his mind, he would leave behind everybody that he knew. This would certainly stop him from being so hopelessly alone.

Perhaps he would wait until tomorrow to leave, it was supposed to rain today. His mother would need help bringing in the groceries, and he didn't want her to do it herself in the rain.

So Richard made up his mind, he would leave tomorrow. If the weather was right he would leave tomorrow and find somewhere that he would not feel alone. But Gina had planned a lovely date for them tomorrow. He couldn't leave tomorrow, he couldn't do that to Gina, not after all the effort she had put into planning their date.

He would leave then, Richard decided, the day after tomorrow. It would be a Friday, which just seemed well suited to leaving.


If the weather was right the day after tomorrow he would leave then. Oh but the day after tomorrow was Phil's birthday party, he simply couldn't miss Phil's birthday party. They had been best friends for years, and how would that reflect on Richard, missing his best friend's birthday party?

After Phil's birthday party he would leave, he would go find somewhere he belonged and he would stop feeling so alone. But he wouldn't do it before the party, all of their friends were going and he couldn't miss that.

And so on that cold September afternoon Richard finally made up his mind, he would leave in three days. He would leave the day after Phil's birthday, two days after his date with Gina, and find a place he didn't feel so alone.

So long as the weather was suited for it.

Richard couldn’t say for sure why he felt so alone, surrounded by friends and loved ones. He only knew that he had felt this way for quite some time.

And so, three days after he had made up his mind to leave, on a sunny, unseasonably warm September morning

Richard left.

He wasn’t sure where he would go, he had never really travelled outside of his hometown of Cannock. Growing up in a small town had been nice, but Richard thought that if he was going to stop feeling so alone he would have to go where there were more people.

London seemed like a good possibility, but he had never been to the city before, and the complicated roadways and the intimidating maps he had seen of the Underground were a bit offputting.

No matter, London was a city steeped in history, and provenance. He could not possibly feel alone with so many people around.

Yes, he would go to London.

And so without any further thought Richard loaded his duffle bag and his suitcase into his red 2001 Mini Cooper and headed down the M1 toward London.

He had traveled nearly half the distance to his destination when Richard pulled off the M1 to take a break and get fuel at the Welcome Break on the north end of Milton Keynes.

After parking he went in to the convenience store to use the washroom and grab a cup of tea.

Before entering the store Richard made a mental note of a rough looking group of men who had just gotten out of an old Ford Transit and were standing in the parking lot smoking cigarettes.

He used the washroom which was, to his delight, recently cleaned. He then purchased a cup of tea and headed back toward the parking lot.

This had been a very good decision, Richard thought, already feeling less lonely than he had been back in Cannock.
He was about to get back into his Mini when one of the rough looking men, an older fellow, completely bald with scars on his face, shouted to him.

“Oi! Pretty boy!”

Richard turned to the man, not quite sure how to react.
“Y-yes?” he managed to sputter, though he could feel his face turning red.

“That’s a pretty lil’ car.” The rough man said laughing, his Geordie accent making the words all the more infuriating.

“T-thank you…that’s a nice Ford Transit.” Richard replied, trying not to show his embarrassment.

The rough men turned to each other and laughed. It reminded Richard of when he was a schoolboy teasing the girls with his friends.

He didn’t like it.

Richard’s vision started to turn the same color as his car. The same color his face and ears were turning. All he could hear was his own heartbeat, and the laughter of the rough men.

Suddenly he was behind the wheel of his Mini Cooper, again heading down the M1 to London.

Richard was confused. He did not remember getting in to his car, nor did he recall turning back on to the M1 and passing through Milton Keynes.

He began to feel very alone again.

The next exit was A5120 to Flitwick, so Richard estimated he had been driving for about 15 minutes without any memory of it.

He decided it would be best to pull off and collect himself.

Had he blacked out?

He certainly hadn’t driven with his eyes closed. But he could not even picture himself getting into the car and driving away from the Welcome Break.

Richard pulled over to the shoulder of the road and slowed his Mini to a stop.

He had never felt more alone in his life.

Richard took a moment to collect his thoughts, and he began to remember the time between being mocked by the bald man and taking the Flitwick exit.

The man had teased Richard, laughing with the other rough looking men, and making jokes about Richard’s sexuality.

Richard hadn’t liked that at all.

He had climbed into his car, started the engine, and reversed into the bald man, knocking him down.

But that couldn’t have been all that happened.

Richard knew, it was just like the situation in Manchester all over again.
And Sheffield before that.

Without remembering the specific events, Richard knew the bald man was dead. The other rough looking men were probably dead too, though he couldn’t be certain.

The police would be coming now.

They would take Richard back to Cannock.

Back to Gina.

Back to the hospital.

Richard was alone.

No comments:

Post a Comment