2. Tom states his case
Someone once asked me what it's like when a friend ceases to be a friend. To me it's a kin to riding a bike down a steep hill one minute. Feeling the wind in your face, the thrill and adrenalin of adventure in your mind. The next minute you're lying sprawled across the tarmac, scratches and grazes all over your arms and face. Blood seeping out of every cut, each bone in your body broken. A pain so intense that starts in your head and rages through every last sinew of your fragile body. You lay fighting back tears caused by your sudden fall, trying to work out exactly why you're in such a position. Slowly it dawns on you that that person you once called a friend had placed a broom handle through your spokes.
I suppose at this point I should introduce myself. I'm Tom and I'm in year eleven at school. I live in Stockby, which is a small town in the north of England. I lived here all my life with my mum and dad and a selection of pets, none of which seemed to last long enough to get attached to. In the end my parents gave up with the pets, our toilet had had more watery burials than the local graveyard.
One of my earliest memories of life was Sinead. She seemed always to have been in my life. I'd met her, or so I was told at the local nursery school and from that first meeting we'd become inseparable. No-one could tear us apart. Throughout nursery and then into infant school we'd been stuck together like velcro, they could pull us apart but as soon as we were close to each other again we were drawn together. Many primary teacher had tried and learned to their cost that when we were made to work with others there would be mayhem. You would have thought that the teachers would have communicated in the staff room and knew what would work with us, but no, come the start of the new year our new teacher attempted once again. We even went with each on family holidays.
Sinead would always be there for me. When I was bullied in my final year at school, she'd waded in with fists flying and hit the bully on the nose. I still see, today, the look on his face as she connected, still hear the crack of bone and the spurt of crimson red blood erupting from the nostrils. All it required were a cartoon bubble POW and the image would be complete. I could go on for hours about the way Sinead helped me over the years, but I haven't the space or time to go into it here.
When we started going to secondary school, things went a little weird between us. I'm not sure if it was our age or that we were suddenly introduced to hoards of new people. Anyhow, for a while we kind of drifted apart. The school had put us in different classes, which at first we tried to rebel against. 'It'll do you good to meet new friends' our parents said. Those first few weeks had been the worst we'd ever had. Separated for the first time during lessons, we huddled together at lunchtime and then again after school. We were mutinous and planning to run away together. Sinead even packed her bag and came round to my place one night, but in the end we'd decided to make one more try.