In a messy apartment near a city, the thirty year old Devin has just woken up from an inexplicably painful memory. The alarm clock on the table next to his bed buzzed in a frantic daze of beeps. Sloppily pulling out one of his hands from beneath the duvet, he set it on snooze and swung his legs over the side of the bed. There were clothes and unclean boxers surrounding his feet and as he was reminded of what he had planned today, he felt an inkling at the back of his skull which reverberated around his brain- leaving him numb with guilt. He knew he’d have to tidy this place up. Pushing himself up, he hastily made his way out the room, picking up the tangles of malodorous clothing items and slung them in the machine in the kitchen. Devin still felt like sleep had not yet been beaten so he carefully made a perfect coffee to wake up his imperfect mind. An ingenious thought came to him as he swept dust from the living room floor. Once he got a pay raise, he was hiring a cleaner.
The apartment he resided in had a basic lounge that was separated from the kitchen via a worktop that was a couple metres behind the sofa. He had no real complaints about this as he could easily watch the television and cook at the same time. Not that he did much cooking anyway, but the opportunity was there at least. There was a small balcony on the outside patio to the lounge, which didn’t really serve much pride or purpose. It was just one of those things that made a house have something to brag about, even though the actual thing seemed to turn out as a letdown to most of its pursuers. Through a door to the right of the kitchen was Devin’s bedroom, which was where the majority of his time at home was spent... despite it being the second smallest room in the house. The first smallest room was the minute bathroom that had a shower that doubled up as a bath and which water only seemed to trickle out in short sharp bursts before returning to a pestilent drip and the toilet and sink kind of spoke for themselves.
Devin drained the rest of his mug of coffee and savoured the bitter flavour that salivated in his mouth. He didn’t know the next time he’d have coffee because it was a luxury, and he could barely afford the rent in his dead-end job at the cinema. He had been meaning to quit for a while, but had to remind himself that jobs were hard to find, and he didn’t exactly have any good qualifications to fall back on. He was a hopeless case. Nowadays people wanted experience... but with his track record and lack of skills he doubted a businessman would snap him up. The truth was, he didn’t even know what he wanted out of life, or what he wanted to achieve; he had no hobbies and no real idea of where his life would take him. And anyway, it was all a classic case of too little too late now. He was a wallflower stuck in a cramped apartment with a persistent land-lord. Maybe once he would’ve wanted something real out of life, maybe once he had a dream... but dreams come crashing down and he had seemed to have learnt that the hard way. Things used to matter, but then he realised he cared too much and Devin built up a barrier, an impenetrable barricade. No one would knock it down. Now nothing drastic seemed to matter. As long as he had clothes, a place to sleep and enough money to survive on, he believed that to be getting on just fine.
Putting on some decent items of clothing he reflected. However, he had always wished to help kids like himself... lost causes. He had an interview at a therapists place next week. There was a chance he might get the job, a slim chance he might get to tell kids that it gets better if you try, that they have a chance. Because if he’d have been told that when he was a youngster... if someone had told him how he would end up... he’d do anything to change it... if he could live that life again... if he could change it... (Pulling on his jacket he sighed)... if he had a second chance.
A preschooler with dark brown hair and azure blue eyes pulled on a brown duffel coat and jumbled up which button went where. A woman with tawny coloured hair rushed over.
“Devin, what are you doing? That button doesn’t go there, honestly, what is wrong with you today? I know you must be nervous because it’s your first day of pre-school, but...” The toddler had salted tears brimming up in the corners of his eyes. “Now don’t give me all that, it’s just school, you’ll get used to it soon enough, we’ve all done it, now it’s your turn. It’s nothing to worry about” he flung his stubby arms around his mothers waist, but she backed off slowly, clearing her throat.
“Sandra, are you taking Devin or am I?”
“I will Alan; it’s your day off after all”
“If you say so”
“Come on then” the boy reached out a gloved hand, but his mother was oblivious as she scooped up the car keys and shoved them in her pocket.
Devin was alone that entire day. No children came and said hello, only one rather chubby girl, but she was rude and monotonous and seemed to have plenty of friends, without Devin’s acquaintance. Instead of playing with regular toys, Devin saw much more fun in hiding outside, away from the older toddlers, and going back in when the rabble ventured out. It was safer from them. That’s what his mum had said.
Eventually, his nana came and picked him up from pre-school. Ecstatically bounding towards her, he met her embrace and didn’t let go the entire journey to the car.
“How was it then sweet pea?”
“Did you not make any friends?” he shook his head daintily. “Don’t worry, you will soon enough. It’ll just be a case of waiting for the right ones”
“Nana, what if the right ones never come?”
“Then we can only hope that your nana will be around to be the right one for them” Devin giggled. “Alright then sweet, shall we go and see mum and dad?”
“I’m sure they will have time for-”
“Okay, what shall we do then?”
“I’ll just go and see them by myself”
“Won’t they be busy?”
“Then let’s do something, me and you”
“I want to go home now nana”
“Alright, too cool for your nana now you’ve gone to the big boys place, eh?” she laughed
“Never” he squeezed her tight.
“Okay then, off you pop love, I’ll see you tomorrow, tell your parents I said hello won’t you?” Devin nodded. “Goodbye Devin”
Devin hopped out the car and excitedly waved his nana off.
Scurrying round the back of the overly large house, Devin opened the back door, it wasn’t locked and he couldn’t wait to tell his parents about his first day- despite how shockingly awful it had been.
But he could not. His parents weren’t home. They’d abandoned him. Again.
His face dropped and contorted into an expression unreadable, with traces of disappointment etched in his eyes.
A note on the counter told him his dinner was in the oven, but Devin couldn’t read what it said, the words seemed to jump around and dance across the page... mocking him. He screwed it up in a furious rage that ignited a fire of discontent within his soul. The fire never died.
Settling with a piece of toast to satisfy his hunger, he took a cosmic bite.
Back in his apartment, thirty year old Devin nibbled at a piece of toast. He never did get to tell his parents.