One flesh one bone one true religion
One voice one hope one real decision - 'Blurred Vision', Queen
It was still raining. Simon had forgotten his coat, so his hair was sticking to his head in long wet streaks. He searched in his pocket for his keys, hunching his shoulders against the November weather. Eventually, he turned the lock and shoved the door open with his knee. Simon scrambled inside and the door slammed with a particularly strong gust of wind. Fumbling in the dark for the light-switch, he tripped over something snuffly and furry.
‘Shut up Ben,’ muttered Simon, pushing the dog away from him and finding the switch. The room flooded with light. Ben barked and pushed his wet nose into Simon’s hand. Simon sighed and patted Ben on the head quickly before untangling himself from the dog and dumping his school bag on the round kitchen table. Simon’s house was only small: big enough for him and his big brother Percy. Time was when it had also been Mum and Dad living with them, but recently Mum had gone into a care home and Dad was standing trial for supplying drugs. Simon knew Dad was guilty as hell - he’d seen him sneeking out with cases and packets. Simon had opened one once. It was full of a white powdery substance. Dad had shouted at Simon for nearly an hour when he found out. Percy said Dad was innocent and that it was all a big mistake. But then, Percy would say that. He always thought the best of everyone.
Downstairs there was only one large-ish room, a kitchen and lounge combined, or that was what Dad called it when he was still there. Made it sound posh, he said. Really, there was a round kitchen table with four chairs, a few kitchen cupboards, a cooker and hob and a microwave that needed fixing. On the other side of the table was the staircase (the third step was rotten and needed replacing) and the old sofa, a towel lying on the floor for Ben, a computer made in a Iron Age and a TV. There was only one naked lightbulb to light the room.
Simon flumfed down on the sofa and turned on the TV. Ben, who was a beagle, and thought he was a puppy even though he was five years old, leapt up beside Simon and rested his head on his paws.
Simon had fallen asleep, so Percy let himself in. Smiling at the sight of his little brother snoring on the sofa, the latest football match blurbling to itself on the telly, Percy began to cook their dinner. Like their mother Amanda, Percy was a very good cook, but, like Mum, he was usually too busy to cook. However, today was Friday - Italian night.
Simon finally woke up as the smell of cooking lasagna wafted over to him.
‘Hi, Perce,’ he mumbled.
Percy looked up. he was sitting at the kitchen table, doing his work and revising for his exams. Percy was the first in the Jones family to go to university. He was a hard and diligent worker, with an interest in almost every subject. He was most interested in the arts, though, and languages also seemed to be his strong point - he was studying Classics at university.
‘You done your homework yet, Cy?’ asked Percy.
Simon groaned. How like Percy to greet him with a question about his homework! Unlike his brother, he had no interest in schoolwork. ‘Come September I quit school,’ he grumbled to his brother. ‘I’m not a brain-box like you.’
Percy sighed, and Simon sensed a lecture about the virtues of education.
‘Save me the speech, bro,’ said Simon, turning off the TV and turfing Ben off the sofa. ‘You’re getting it all hairy, mutt.’
‘Who, me or the dog?’ laughed Percy.
Simon gave Percy ‘the look’.
‘Sorry. I won’t bother you about your work again, Cy, if you promise me that you’ll go to collage. You’re cleverer than you give yourself credit for. You just need to pull your finger out and get down to it.’
Simon scuffed his trainer on the floor. ‘Fine. Whatever. I’ll stay on if it gives you any satisfaction. But I’ll probably fail everything.’
Percy hid his smile by checking on the lasagna. ‘It’s nearly done. I’ll give you a hand with your homework if you like. You do the veg.’
Simon began to peel the carrots while Percy fired mental maths questions from Simon’s homework at him. Simon could do maths. It was much easier than English. Simon was dyslexic, and even when speaking, words didn’t come naturally to him.
The night progressed in this easy way- the two boys helping each other until late. While there were two bedrooms upstairs, the boys naturally shared one - the other was Mum and Dad’s, even though they weren’t there.
The next morning was Saturday, and Percy slept late while Simon went for an early morning run. This was his favourite time of the week, when the city was still in the fug of sleep, and it felt like it was just him in the whole world. He left his troubles behind in the house, and sped through the city and into the park, where he might stop and just listen. It was on these runs that he thought most deeply.
The grass was still wet with dew, but Simon didn’t mind as it soaked into his trousers. He leant back against the oak behind him, just watching the stillness of the park. A spider’s web, covered in jewel-like-dewdrops, shone from above his head. He watched it as it moved slowly in the light breeze. If he stretched up his hand, he could destroy it in a second. Simon sighed and looked out towards the city. The sounds of early morning traffic were already starting - a roar as the city woke up, the wailing of a car alarm, a police car’s siren in the distance. He ought to be getting home.
Simon got slowly to his feet, knowing as soon as he started the run home he would feel leaden, and the worries of his life would heap themselves back on him. With a dismissive gesture, he turned, and swept his hand through the cobweb. Then he ran back home, leaving the beautiful strands broken, ruined, dead, swaying in the light breeze.