The place was crowded. There were so many people; I don’t think I would have seen him if it wasn’t for his smile. I guess I was kind of drawn to it for some reason. Everyone else just faded away into the blurry background and became nothing; while at the same time, he became everything. He was smiling straight at me; he wasn’t shy and he didn’t look away. I smiled back. He was handsomely tall with tonnes of curly black locks. His face was big and inviting. Hazel brown eyes that were alive, smooth pale skin, funny eyebrows, broad shoulders, with dust in his hair; ripped converse on his feet, baggy grey jeans and t-shirt, fluttering in the wind. How long have I been looking at him now? Is what I told myself at the time.
“The same amount of time that he’s been looking at you,” someone nearby me said. Barry my best friend was beside me. “I think you should cross the road now Gavin.”
“Get out of the way-, he’s over here!” I was startled by the sudden shouting. Then I was downright terrified for a recognized the voices.
“Run Gavin!” I heard Barry shout. Oh boy I ran. I knew those voices all too well. They were Digbee’s boys. Digbee was a violent crazed maniac and he ran a gang. The gang had been after me and Barry for some days now because we stole their whisky. We hadn’t meant to of course. Me and Barry weren’t stupid, we hadn’t known it was theirs when we grabbed it out of the prostitutes hands. And now we were running for it. Down the dusty pavement we went, people scattered to let us go by while others tried to stop us and we barged past them knocking them out of the way or onto the ground. Another crazy afternoon it was for me. “Gavin here,” I could hear Barry calling for me but I couldn’t pinpoint him. Suddenly somebody pushed into me and I was knocked sprawling.
“You need to look where you’re going little guy.” Some hunk huffed at me. I was mad, he just messed up my chances of getting away. As I picked myself up I knew that Barry was well gone and I could see those crazy Digbee boys approaching.
“Damned,” I said to myself.
The first one a big clumsy lad spotted me first and ran over, but somebody tripped him up and he fell onto the road cursing angrily. Then I saw who it was. It was the boy with the smile. He grabbed my arm roughly and dragged me from the pavement. He seemed to be laughing though I couldn’t find the funny part of the situation.
“Man that was close!” He chuckled as he pulled my behind some old rusty tin bins.
“I know,” I said. I was a bit baffled. “Thanks for pulling me out.”
“No problem. Hey follow me.”
I followed him as he led me down into another alley, branching right and downwards. Where was he taking me? I asked him this but he told me to shut up and wait and see. I didn’t have a problem with it. He ended up taking me to a ruined brick hut that was falling apart. But it was amazing because it made a brilliant den and I could tell that this boy came here a lot.
“Take a seat,” he said, drawing up a large rock to sit on. I plonked myself down and he did the same on a separate one.
“So Gavin,” he began. “Why are you so wanted?”
“How do you know my name?”
“Your friend Barry was calling it.”
“Oh right… but wait! How do you know Barry’s name?”
“Cos I heard you calling him that.”
“Oh, I didn’t even know I had been shouting for him.”
“Yeah, you do tend to forget what the hell you’re doing when you’re being chased by thugs.” The boy admitted.
“What’s your name then?”
“Nicholas. But you can call me Nick for short.”
“Cool then. You come to this place often?”
“No I don’t have any.”
“Well, Nick for short, you do now.” I grinned at him. “See you around.”
“Yeah,” he said and he did his smile again. And I left.
It took me an hour to find Barry. He was laying low at a bus shelter and he was very shocked and happy to see me. He thought I had been dead meat.
“I thought you were dead man!” He cried aloud.
“I’m glad to have put you out of your misery,” I told him.
He hastily apologised for leaving me and stressed it hadn’t been on purpose. I believed him. I knew he would never just abandon me. I and he were just too close. We were like brothers and since we were both orphans, he was like my father and I was like his. We didn’t need sisters. “Come on then,” he said. “Let’s go to the afternoon café and get a bite to eat.” I agreed and we turned down the pavement heading towards the smell of sizzling sausages and smoking bacon. That’s how we ended our day, with a nice hot meal. And I used the eating time to tell Barry all about how I got away and who saved me. “Man,” Barry nodded at me. “We owe this Nicholas. Next time you see him tell me I said hi.”
And then we went home to our small, dirty but in a way homely apartment where we slept in separate bedrooms and watched small televisions.