The Beach House

All Anthony wanted was a better life, a change to his surroundings, he wanted to live a life of his choosing. April 17th would be the day that his wish tragically came true. My piece for the More Than This competition.

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1. Prologue

Nothing much ever happened in Preston. I was there long enough to know not to expect miracles or divine intervention. Boredom there was just another part of life that needed to be dealt with, or better yet ignored, along with the poverty and the constant rising tensions running high in the neighbouring estates. We told ourselves there were worse places to grow up in, that things weren't really as bad as others made out. But when we're running through trees in the park, escaping chavs with knives trying to steal our cider you can't help but wonder if we were right. 

 

Maybe that's why people wanted out, why we dreamt of moving away, all of us, together. We'd all sit on the big hill after dark and fantasize about better places, a bigger world with more to do, more to see, more to experience. It was all we could do. Escapism, it's all it was. We'd bat ideas back and forth between ourselves as we passed the joint or bong around. Setting up the foundations for our dream lives, by the sea maybe, a nice big house where we could all live and dance and party together. Smoking long into the morning, the music blasting, the laughter flowing as readily as the drinks. 

 

The life we always wanted was right there in front of us, it was the life we lived everyday only better, safer, ours. Looking around at the council owned post war built semi detached shit houses, the telephone wires draped with tied up pairs of shoes and dogs barking at their perpetually empty food bowls, it was impossible to imagine staying here. We were taught that anything we wanted we could get. Once we left school and found ourselves in the real world we recognized the lies they fed us. Anything isn't possible. The cards were already dealt with the parents you were given. Location, wealth, intelligence; these things were the unchangeable factors that tied you down in Preston. 

 

When we got older and wiser we walked the streets with a new view on life. Each day that passed was one day further away from our dream of the big house with the sea breeze and the laughter. We saw ourselves transform into versions of our parents, the same bitterness, the same self loathing, it was everything we ever feared.

 

It was no wonder then that some of us gave up on life of grandeur, and resided ourselves to the life we never wanted. Nothing changed but the way we played. 'A happy life lived short is better than an unwanted life lived long,' that was our motto, that was our requiem it seems. 

 

Barely into our twenties and we had lived lives far beyond our years. But this was only the start of things. There was a clear point when things changed, I remember the exact date of when my eyes truly opened.

 

17th April 2012. That was the day when we all first met Bez. 

 

Fucking Bez. 

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