Look! There he is! In the flesh. It’s rarer than you think, to be in the flesh.
He never talks politics, because all his friends are wrong. He is always smiling, because it tightens his jawline. He’s older than every one of his friends, by four years, but only he knows that. It’s one of his secrets.
All his friends are somewhere else tonight, away from him, while he sits on his wooden bench and looks down the hill across the city. He’s drinking. He’s happy. He feels superior. He should let someone know he feels this way because they might be able to help him, but he doesn’t. He’s too polite, he likes his friends too much to let them know what he’s really thinking of them. So that seed in him, of knowing that he’s better, doesn’t get exposed, then outgrown and ultimately forgotten. It stays there. Fertilised, but dormant, like the egg of a flea. He doesn’t stand a fucking chance and he will never be truly happy in this life. This is as good as it is going to get.
Down below him, the cathedral is lit up, as is the theatre –but the rest of the city is a black worm cast in the night, winding streets occasionally glittering from the streetlights which the council would be refusing to fund in a few hours’ time. He had lost his virginity on this hill. He had worked out in what direction he ought to lose his virginity on this hill. He had told someone that he had loved them on this hill. Next week he would be leaving here forever, he wouldn’t be seeing his friends again in the same way ever again. He was about to be let loose. He had no idea what would happen after that.
Suddenly in the city below there was a brief flare, a birthday candle in a darkened room, and then a fragment of a second later the roar of some weird impact reached him. Immediately he was up and running down the hill towards the explosion. He grabbed at his phone.
“Eliot! It’s Dov – there’s been an explosion!”