Luca lent back against the wall of his old school, chewing gum. His dark hair slicked back and shades hiding his deep blue eyes. The worn leather jacket seemingly part of his body leaned against his muscled shoulders and the black denim jeans relaxed into his trainers. ‘Sixteen years’ he mused.
Sixteen years ago he had been a headstrong child, one of the many dressed in red and grey uniform. He was the child who ran across the playground to avoid the wrath of Mrs. Chaddock’s skinny old fingers stretching out of frayed fingerless gloves, more often than not on account of his bright red blazer having met some calamitous disaster with mud or grass on the way to school. She was a one for neatness that Mrs. Chaddock.
As his eyes took in the shabby state of the abandoned school he wondered what she would say about the windows with shattered panes that hung neglected from their frames. The unloved doors with peeling paintwork had fared no better, indeed the years had not been kind to the primary school of Tybarn village.
As if coming back from the past, Luca stood upright and swaggered along the main road into the actual village. Walking past the church he began to wonder if this road trip back to his past had been a mistake. The graveyard was still the same, each head stone scrubbed white. Across the road the faded sign on the corner shop offered ice cream. ‘Bet it is still that rock hard type’ he thought. Pushing the door of the shop he entered.
A man in his sixties looked up from behind the counter. ‘Good morning, Sir, can I help you?’
‘Bloody hell, Mr. Morris, you still work here?’ Luca replied,
‘I’m sorry, I lived here as a child and I thought… ‘
‘Ahhh you must mean the people before Sir. What brings you back to Tybarn?’
‘Curiosity I guess. Anyway do you still sell ice cream?’
The old man piped soft pale ice cream on to a cornet. Luca smiled. ‘Well, that’s one thing that has improved then.’
‘Aye, Sir, first thing we did was get this machine installed and get rid of those old blocks of ice cream – most were out of date you know, bit like the old man himself.’
‘This place was always out of date.’
‘Still is, once the school closed the young families moved away rather than run their kids 30 miles to fro each day, and who can blame them.’
Luca chatted with the man a little more, before heading on to the village square and to his old house. He looked at the little cottage and felt nothing. He wandered down the back ally and looked over the fence. Washing on the line flirted with breeze along one side of the same garden path.
Luca’s eyes followed the path to the kitchen door and looked straight through the glass panel. She was stood at the sink. Without a pause for breath he turned and walked back out of the village. Coming back here had been a mistake.
© JG Farmer 2015