We Were Both Young

'He was a wallflower, I could tell that much, but I had a weird desire to find out more than just his social status. He met my eyes and mouthed, "Hello,"...'

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5. Escape for a little while

 

 

 

The wait wasn’t long, but it seemed that way. He was released on bail pretty soon afterwards, returning to school with a criminal record and no way to hide it. As far as I knew, he would spend the rest of term in isolation.

Summer had arrived, so I remained in the school garden with the pond, sometimes listening to music, sometimes playing guitar, but with a tinge of sadness as I knew I wouldn’t be using a glorious Gibson like Sam’s anytime soon.

I felt a nudge against my shoulder. Okay, so I spoke too soon.

“What are you doing here?” I asked, but he just smiled devilishly, prompting me to say, “They’d be dead if they knew you sneaked out!”

“Well, we’ll make sure they don’t find out.” He slung his guitar from his shoulder and placed it on his outstretched legs.

“I needed to escape the isolation room for a while,” he added, still smiling.

“Who did you assault?” I blurted without thinking. His face switched instantly, first to shock, and then to anger.

“How did you know?” he asked.

“Tell me,” I insisted. He sighed, pulling at a clump of grass in front of him.

“I was with a girl, for a while. We were out one night, and a guy tried to make a move on her. At first, she was just flattered, but then it got more serious. He made her feel really uncomfortable, so I went over to have a word.” He paused, sighing. “But, like all guys, a friendly little chat didn’t really go down well with him. He made a grab for her, so I lashed out. And then I couldn’t stop. She was crying, people were shouting, but this guy had treated her like shit. Only later did I found out that it wasn’t the first time he’d seen her. A few months back he was arrested for sexual advances towards her.”

“How long ago was this?” I asked.

“A couple months. It was dark, so I snuck away before anyone could get a clear view of my face. The guy came around in hospital and looked me up, before going to the police.”

I wanted to ask another question, but the bell rang, making him crawl to his feet.

“Back to work I go,” he muttered under his breath. But I shook my head, felt the tears in my eyes, almost begging him not to go, but then he turned around, smiling slightly.

“I almost forgot,” he said, producing a small box from his pocket and handing it to me, before turning and walking quickly away, not waiting for me to open it. I flicked it open, revealing a ring, flat, silver, ordinary at a glance but engraved with tiny musical notes. I felt myself smile, and then frown slightly as a tiny shred of red paper fell from the box. I picked it up, read the words, “7pm tonight, here. Meet me.”

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