A Way Home (rough version)
He woke up to June the 7th, his thick duvet covered the fetal position he'd held himself tight in for the last few hours. His pillow was damp from water leaked from eyes that were now wide. Brown eyes surrounded by dark bags showed his sleep deprivation giving insight into the troubled world of a boy just 13.
June the 7th had always been a bad date for him, as memories compressed to the back of his mind kicked their way to the surface. The date was like his version of Friday the 13th, instead of being attacked by a hockey mask wearing fiend, his own mind would play the villain, playing back scenes of unmoving brown eyes covered by the longest of lashes.
He heard a knock at his door.
His keyworker Ann said, "Jerry it's time to get up for school."
He rolled his eyes inwardly, he had no intention of going school, he had a mission to complete.
Holding his fetal position tighter, he wished he could stay in the safety of his bed, the warmth reminded him of a mother's loving arms. Though he caught himself. Feelings of love were moist, he wasn't moist, he was a 13 year old young G, more than willing to floor any teen for the slightest of disrespects.
Braking up with comfort, he swung his long legs from the bed, so that size 9 feet, with toes a maroon brown, touched carpet that was long overdue in needing replacement. Gazing at his feet with an absent mind, brought flash backs to a morning when his grandmother took one long look at his feet and said
'yu foot long ehh?'
Good memories forced a chuckle to escape from his lips, he hadn't seen his Gran in so long, he'd been a resident of care for what felt like too long. Days spent at the breakfast table of different care homes had him forgetting the meaning of what family life was. He wondered how his Grandma was, what she was doing now, and if he crossed her mind as she did with him. Before he could dwell on those thoughts, he was brought back to the present with a gentle tap-tap at his door.
His mood switched to rude
"Yessss" he gave a long drawn out answer.
"You getting ready for school?"
He gave an answer with hidden truths.
"I'm getting up" he replied, but he had no intention of going to his pupil referral unit. The only reason he'd even answered was that Ann was at his door, a key worker he liked, as she seemed to genuinely care. Many nights she'd gone looking for him when he'd fail to attend his carehome at his 8pm curfew. She always managed to find him, with his trousers low sagging, bouncing around with cursing puffa coat wearing friends, who strolled the marbled tiled walkways of Stratfords Westfield's and like him were lost to the glamour of Armani Jean wearing mannequin's and the sights of giggling girls with hair jelled down to the side, that caused a collective chemical reaction released as "Yo! There badders!"
Ann always seemed to catch him mid-sentence, just before him and his friends could work some foolish scheme of getting these girls to give them attention.
She'd tell him " If you put the same amount of energy in doing your schoolwork, that you do chasing girl then you'd be a modern day genius."
With his friends he'd snigger back " You just wouldn't understand Ann," he'd give a mischievous grin "Your days are done now."
She'd quickly reply "Well that makes two of us, as your day done too! Time to go home."
His friends would laugh at Ann's clapback and would laugh even harder as Jerry held by the elbow was directed towards the exit, and guided towards home.
She'd quickly grown to become one of his favourite key workers, though today that didn't mean much, he just wasn't in the mood. He waited until he heard the creaky footsteps of her going back downstairs before he reached for his towel, shower gel, and other toiletries. He stepped from out his room and into the confines of a bathroom, housing a toilet, mirror, and slim walk-in shower.
10 minutes later and he stepped from the bathroom and into his room baby bottom clean, lynx effect fresh. Catching a glimpse of himself in the mirror on his wardrobe the match of vanity struck, he noticed the signs of a muscular bulge to his arms, he slow stepped to the left and dabbed to the right, he would off added a left shoulder gun lean too, but he heard his name being called, his half smile faded.
"Jerry" he heard Ann call from downstairs, "you need to hurry up" she was pushing her luck today he thought, he would have to have words with her later.
Opening his wardrobe he looked for his attire for the day, he brought out two black Nike bottoms a black Nike hoodie and a black Ralf Lauren body warmer. Back in the day he could remember asking a particular one of his mother's numerous boyfriends 'why he always dressed in black?'
The man rolling his eyes in a way that said 'why is this boy talking to me,' would reply "so it's not bate, if I ever need to go on a bit of work"
"What type of work?" the young curious Jerry would enquire.
He would then give Jerry a deathly stare "the type of work that gets rid of those who talk too much and ask too many questions."
"Hey, don't talk to Jerry like that, he's only asking because-"
The guy would interject harshly at Jerry's mother who would clearly be wide eyed high.
He pushed thoughts from the past from his mind, his mood had instantly been fouled and like spoiled milk an aura of pungent emotions enclosed him. Though he did find it ironic that years later he too would pick up the same attire for the roads. He put on the black war fatigues for London's underworld streets, he then reached in for the sharp object hidden underneath rolls of socks placed at the bottom of his wardrobe, he grabbed the handle watching as it gleamed in the light streaming through his curtains, signifying a new day.
He'd been told the statistics in various Youth Offending appointments that people who carry knives are more likely to be stabbed by their own knife. He didn't have plans to harm anyone but he knew he didn't want to get caught out lacking, he'd already seen the effects of this, showcased as a stab wound delivered to the chest of his friend Mystro by opps possessed by a wolf pack mentality.
Seeing the scar tissue, Jerry had decided instantly that he too would carry a steel tool for safety.
He remembered his Gran telling him one day, after picking him up from the police station, the first time he'd ever got arrested; that "violence follows the wicked and sooner or later father God puts an end to all wicked deeds."
He opened the door to his room and walked downstairs, uncertain if a God even exists who can put an end to all wickedness and uncertain to which side he stood in the grand scale of when it came to being good or evil.
The smell of scrambled eggs, as he entered the kitchen, growled his stomach into life. On the cheap wooden dining room table laid on a white plate was scrambled eggs with butter covered toast that had his mouth pooling saliva around his feet. Sitting down in front of the plate he swiftly took two bites and the full plate, quickly became half and in moments half became a quarter.
"Oi that's mine!" The voice of Peter one of three other young people who also lived in the carehome entered the kitchen, vexation defined his plump face
"My bad, I didn't see no one around" Jerry replied.
"Na G, you need to go and make me a next one"
"What! Who you talking too?" rage lined Jerry's words. The power struggle for dominance of the house had been slowly brewing between the two, a sly comment there, a slick remark back, male ego coupled with early surges of teen testosterone made for a deadly mix.
"Who you shouting at you little young buck, for I punch your face in!"
"What I'll cheffe you!" Fury poisoned Jerry's tongue, his fingers twitched he flung the white plate that held the remains of still warm egg at Peter. The plate fell to the black tiled floor as a shattered mess that caused an almighty crash sound, that vibrated throughout the kitchen but not before leaving the remains of scrambled egg on the furious face of Peter who instantly lunged after Jerry but was held back by Alan the newest of the carehome workers.
Get off me! Get off me! He violated." Peter screamed towards Jerry, but Alan held him secure.
"Alan let him go and see if I don't cheffe up this yout!" venom at its purest left Jerry's tongue.
"Jerry, language, and actions like that will not be tolerated in this home." Ann appeared within the doorway to the kitchen, she spoke quietly but there was no mistaking the authority her voice held.
"But he started it!" Jerry replied
"I don't care who started it, I just care about an end to it. We're here as a makeshift family to live amongst each other as best we can. If we can't teach you to live together here in peace, then how you ever going to be able to cope in the big world, huh? when the odds are already stacked against you. You know how many boys I've worked with just like you, who are now sitting down in jail for God knows how long?" She looked the two boys directly in their eyes as she said this "I keep on telling you, that you're getting older, and the older you get, the more your actions will have long-term consequences that you'll never imagine.
As if falling on deaf ears Jerry protested "But I didn't start it!"
"I'm sorry Jerry but for your actions, your allowance will be held today"
"What! But I need it for today!"
"When you learn to control your anger and learn how to communicate without using threats, you'll get your allowance back."
Jerry's eyes held daggers, which he directed from Ann and towards Peter, before saying coldly "watch it's on for you."
Before more inflamed words were able to exchange lips, Jerry flew through the kitchen door, walking passed Ann with a mask of hate, he opened the door to a London summer though internally all he saw was the formations to dark thunderclouds.
It's funny how so much can change in a year, as it felt like it was just the other day when he'd been waking up at his gran's house for breakfast, eating oatmeal porridge sweetened through condensed tin milk while discussing his school timetable for the day.
She'd always told him what a bright boy he was as whenever he could be bothered to do his homework he'd always earn full marks effortlessly. His teacher, Mr Morgan would say 'you have so much potential and could achieve so much more if you'd stop concerning yourself with trying to be the classroom menace."
Forwarding on just a year, and it seemed the menace of Mr Morgan's class had grown to become the menace of society, as though just 9 am, he blared music from his cracked screen iPhone, his eyes daring a member of the public to tell him that he can't play his music out loud, as he was more than willing to subject them to a verbal abuse that was similar to what you'd find when watching day time Jeremy Kyle.
Many would consider him to be the menace of the community, though he'd consider himself more of a black sheep of society as he struggled to find a place amongst the normal population. He found his talents were more embraced and given a chance to flourish amongst those with feelings similar to his and like him were drawn to the sins of London's gutters.
Setting his face deeper into a scowl, the heat emanating from him, matched the heat from the sun as it rose over another glorious day in June. London's heatwave done a peculiar thing to its residents, as the feelings of summer love was showcased as full teethed smiles for all who passed by. Though it also caused many to act out irrationally, as the usual peace of the nation was lost to a growing murder rate that many who worked in the realm of social care, blamed to the policies created by the Tories austerity.
But for Jerry none of that meant anything to him, he was more concerned with the process of making easy cash, so that he could buy a Louis Vuitton belt to match his hat. His older friend Mystro was trying to convince him to go up country, as there was plenty of cash to be made and he had a direct link where he could get an ounce of weed on tick, but they'd just need to make the money back quickly, as it was well known their plug Smillie was no joke when it came to getting his money.
Jerry had witnessed first hand how Smillie had put in work on an opp called Klutch, who he'd caught slipping outside the spot of Dixie chicken. Using a Stanley knife with the expert skills of a wood carver bound by traditions, he used his long passed on ritual of scaring lines of pain into flesh. Even now Jerry could remember the screams of the teen Klutch.
Smillie was the real menace to society, a psycho who according to street rumors was protected from courts by ancient rituals of JuJu.
Sometimes he thought about the boy Klutch and wondered if what Smillie did was worth it, as it wasn't like Klutch had violated anyone, everyone knew he wasn't on much, he was just guilty by association. He dismissed these thoughts to the back of his mind, as he also knew the grave dangers of being seen as soft on the roads before he'd let a pagan try violate him, he too would get a knife and adhere to the rituals of Smillie. Right or wrong.
Focused, he got back to his main mission of the day, nodding his head harder as the sounds of rapid snares and a dark bass vibrated from his speaker and the words 'RV just slapped it in reverse My bro got his hands on the wheel While I fly out the ride it’s teamwork.' He was caught within the sounds of UK drill. He was a real subscriber. Slow walking with a rude boy limp, his army fatigues of all black and a puffer had sweat threatening to break out across his youthful features.
Paid The Cost - By David Anglin - To buy please click the image above or click here.
Stratford train station loomed over him, a massive sprawling beast created by the mind of an architect who envisioned a futurist reality for London's east end.
Stepping into the belly of the beast he watched as hundreds entered through the locked gates of the beast, to get through to its inner belly that would take them to destinations in London's urban metropolis and beyond.
Oyster touch in. Debit touch in. He observed acutely, willing for his body to become inconspicuous, for it to be as if he was melded in as a member of the public's great rat race. Debit touch in. Creeping in ninja like, he walked past the barrier of the beast with an older lady who wore a beige trench coat, too consumed by the notifications of her smartphone to notice the young teen who'd gained entry at her expense. Branching off from her as if never there, as if the direction he was going in had always been completely alternative to hers. Daring not to look back, he headed towards platform 10 that would take him to the destination of Romford and beyond.
A scenery of greenery overrun by buildings in need of a; paint and decorators touch to whip it back into shape, sped passed his windows view of life. Looking but not really seeing, he was lost in thought lost in sound, Mist said “fame is a madness, I blew up of my pain it’s a madness. But my mums in the grave it’s a sad ting, but when I feel pain it’s a lab ting."
The words resonated with him, reaching to the parts of him, that only came out when at night and alone. Overthinking was a burden he inherited from an overplotting mother. Often she'd come to his mind, in dreams of a beautiful smiling faced angel, who'd grab him in a hold that would shield him from the ill's of the world, though the reality was that he too was becoming ill. To a contagious sickness, spread by carriers like Smillie who wouldn't consider self isolating from the most vulnerable young.
Often he wondered if she missed him, just as much as he missed her. If she thought of him just as much as he thought of her. His eyes threatened to cry a river, he fought back, again having to reinforce his dam, so that the potential for a bed of roses was starved of water.
The deeper words from Mist was disturbed by the ring tone of his phone, he saw it was his carehome calling him, probably Ann wanting to ask what's wrong and that they're there to help him.
She'd never understand. He pressed the red button and diverted her from his world. The train announced Manor Park station, he stepped off the train, his dark demeanor in direct contrast to the rays of light from the star above that filtered through the open shelter of the station.
Silently he matched the steps of a chosen target, if they stepped once with a pause, he'd step once with a pause, mirroring their actions so that their actions became his, they reached the barrier that would release them from the confines of the station. Oyster tap in. Stepping as a shadow. Elegantly moving past, as if an Olympian tiptoeing the balance beam. He was released from the man-made structure. Now close to being released from the beast. He felt a hand on him.
"Step to the side with us please"
Damn! He'd been caught, he had no money to be paying a fine and was in no mood to be law-abiding in giving up his home address. He went to his back up plan born through survival of the fittest and directed through the schooling of guys like Smillie.
With his free right hand, he pulled back his arm as far as it would go and released his pain on to the bewildered TfL staff member. Blood spurted from the former straight, now crooked nose of the older man, before the man was able to send a siren for help or at least cry bloody murder, Jerry used the hard of his knee to squash the softness of belly flesh. The man crumpled, crying with pain, and Jerry darted from the station at full speed as members of the public looked on in dismay at another ghetto youth with no respect for the sanctuary of life, cursing the boys' parents for creating another young monster.
Jerry bounced to the left from the station, his feet moved in rapid succession, one after the other, as his only thoughts were to get away as fast as possible.
The wheels of the passing bus, went round and round as if in its own slow melody of a nursery rhyme, the driver easily kept speed, watching with curiosity at the running teen. Jerry heard sirens and the bus startled out from its rhythm, pulling to the left in anticipation for the speeding emergency vehicle. Jerry darted left down a long road, fearing the men in blue were in search for him with plans of locking him up in a cage so that they could examine the mind of a young delinquent.
He didn't need a head shrink, he needed to be gone from this place, or at least for the time being until he completed his task. He ducked into a parting for a small estate holding buildings for entrepreneurs. Inspired by the surroundings he used his young mind to calculate the right angle of him laying next to a great black bin that would keep him concealed, from the gang of four rolling with sirens blazing. The inspiration from entrepreneurs paid off, as police in a white van slowly rolled past. His heart beat against his rib cage as if in a great clapping applaud of delight, he stayed still, drawing great breaths as he paused from his great performance.
10 past 10 rolled to half-past 10 before he even felt confident enough to step foot back onto the sunshine paved road of east London's Manor Park.
When he'd first woke up this morning he had no idea that his day would be so hectic and so soon. He had plans of sitting ringside of enjoying the heat beating down on his brown skin as he'd remember back to better days. Back to days of eating the sugar and butter mix as he and his mother worked out how to bake a sponge cake before his gran would run them both from the kitchen in protest after looking at the mess of flour everywhere and eggshells littering the sink as if decorations.
She'd say "you and your mother are both trouble, how you two mek such a mess, eh? Una left me kitchen, me sa left it." He and his mother would give stifled laughs of protest before bursting into full giggles as they left the kitchen. He always remembered these times of him his mother and his gran all together in one place as being some of his happiest times. As at least with his gran there when his mother went searching for highs to combat her lows at least he'd be left with his gran and not within the vicinity of another strange man. His thoughts went back to that one particular man, instantly his heart at thaw from the kinetic energy of good memories, refroze through an arctic chill. He didn't know the day would end up like this, but he knew why each day he stepped out, he stepped out combat ready, black attire his version of army fatigues.
He hit the road called Forest again, his pace was back to casual, the limp to his step spoke rude.
Souls free from the 9 to 5 grind, enjoyed there time under the sun, leisurely peering into shop windows who's owners used mental manifestation to draw them in. The free souls were immune from the mental hypnotism. They walked past, without realising, that their inactions caused the reaction of dying high streets that gripped 2018's Britain. Its knock-on effect was the sleepless worry of growing unemployment, and an 80/ 20 effect of citizens resorting to extreme and violent robberies all in aid of redistributing the queens head from an unequal hand out.
His pockets where empty of a queens head, his weekly allowance of £40 gifted from the taxpayer, though distributed through the hands of his care home had been refused to him for his earlier antics.
The price for his earlier bad behaviour was that he was now at a crossroad on how to accomplish his mission. The battle between nature or nurtured was won by nurtured as behaviours learned from his environment took over and he walked into Clair's flower shop, looking around at all the pretty flowers spread throughout the shop with the sole goal of catching the hearts string of a shopper. He was caught on a dozen red roses, the price tag said £30, he looked around.
"Those are beautiful roses... aren't they... I'm sure any mother would love to receive those as a gift..." her voice spoke with cheerfulness, but hints of distrust laid around its edges. She'd been the shop owner for 10 years plus, and so had a fair idea of what customers the flower shop brought. He was not one of them. She knew it as well as him.
He spoke not, keeping his eyes away from her watchful gaze. Adrenalin surged, his hands and feet pumped into action. Grabbing the roses in one hand, and legs sprinting to an unspoken command. He left there before she was even able to register her shock, he ran on to God's road, as one of his wayward creations. He only stopped running after diverting into one of the side roads. His heart beat furiously as if a champion boxer punching an unworthy contender into submission. The effects of flavours that he'd been newly introduced to through his friend Mystro had his young lungs coughing up a small storm. He spat a wad of yellow phlegm on the floor, an elder lady walking by with her head covered by a hijab looked at him in disgust, he matched her eyes showing his un-care for her thoughts of him.
10 minutes later and he hit the pavement of Forest rd again, he felt more at ease, as he'd accomplished a key part of his mission. He headed south along Forest road, going past the same shops which twice today he'd hurtled at full speed past. If the street strollers had noticed it was him they kept it to themselves. Though the more likely reality was that they were too consumed in their own world and on fixing their own problems than to be concerning themselves with the likes of him.
Though he too was now lost in his own world as he walked along, thinking of his mother, wondering where she was, and if she'd be proud of what he's becoming. Probably not he thought, as he knew that with the recent steps he was taking, on the horizon, he could see the warnings of a red sky over the devil's playground, but if that was what destiny chose for him than so be it, he'd deal with it as a man should.
The thoughts of this brought back memories of when he was 7 or 8 and his mother shouting at one of the many men who'd been caught by her beauty. He remembered this particular man well, Richard was his name, as he'd always been kinder to him than the others, taking time to play Lego Batman with him and even bringing him presents on his birthday. Though he remembered the stricken look the man gave his mother as she said.
"A real man does what he has to, to be a provider. I need a real man not some watered down chump."
Even now he could remember the exact look of Richard, like his heart, had collapsed in on itself and relinquished his poor soul to an unhappy afterlife. He knew at times his mother could be difficult, but to treat Richard like that, the only man in his life who he felt actually cared about him and his mother, for the first time made him doubt some of the actions of his mother.
One thing he knew though is that he'd allow for no one or no woman to ever call him some non-providing watered down chump. Before he'd ever get caught begging on hands and knees for things, he'd rob and steal every which thing that he needed, so he'd always be considered as what his mother called a real man.
"Oi I swear that's that Jerry Yout!"
He was instantly brought back to the present time as he felt his spider senses tingle. He looked across the road to the bus stop he was just passing and noticed two young males, also dressed in the war attire of black. He looked closer and noticed the scarred face of Klutch, his heart instantly dropped. He was reunited with his constant companion fear.
He watched in slow-mo as they came from across the road like two great gladiators of old. Caught in a tunnel vision he looked up into their eyes and saw a fury that cut to the core of him. A young brown face had eyebrows curved in anger, a young white face marked with a scar, had eyes that spoke death by association. Right then and there he wished he could be anywhere else in the world, anywhere else but here.
"I swear you're with Mystro and them PNY youts"
He didn't answer, kinetic energy of adrenaline pulsed through his body the choice of fight or flight was uncertain to him.
"What you talking for Klutch, come we set pace on this dumb yout."
They answered his uncertainty moving towards him with speed, Klutch the bigger of the two, punched Jerry with a powerful blow that instantly sent the younger boy to the floor. The roses he held scattered petals crimson like the last of a summers evening, beautifully covering the grime of a pavement slab. A touch of beauty within London's chaos.
Jerry could only watch as nature's flower of red beauty stayed beyond his outstretched hands, he felt pain as Nike Air Max 97's stamped his back, leg, and outstretched hand, but it was nothing like the pain he felt as he watched the silver 97's with black highlights stamp upon a rose.
He remembered back sitting within the mecca of Smilies black tinted BMW M6. He'd been absorbing the aromas of weed flavours so loud, that his head spun as if a separate entity to his body. During the time there the conversation turned to that of his known ritual of the scars, as he'd told Jerry, "you can't let no boy take you for a punk out here, as punks don't last long on these roads and I ain't having no punks around me. That's why you always need to carry a ting on you, whether it's a flicky, Rambo whatever, but I'm a show you something else" Smillie put his finger to his top lip as if perplexed, "don't ever bring out your knife for no reason, every time you bring out your ting, blood must get drawn." He sat back, absorbed in the words of Smillie, humbled in quiet worship to the person he considered his dark guardian angel.
His conscience was now clouded by the words of Smillie he now decided that today would be the day for his knife to taste its first blood sacrifice, with energy created from fury he rolled to the side and away from further stamps and blows from heavy hands. Concealed he reached for his hidden friend, like Thor's Magmor he felt empowered as if he too could bring lightning and thunder that would strike down a thousand foes, or a thousand pagons in a thousand ways.
The two other boys not realising the grave danger they were in, not listening to frightened members of the public who screamed for them to please stop the violence, grew more ignorant with confidence. Klutches friend stepped into to deliver another punch upon the bloodied face of Jerry. Jerry like a quick draw gunslinger brought his bladed friend to the fight. The knife matched Jerry's fury, the stunned teens face now had lines of flesh that no longer met. The gap between the lines turned crimson, blood flowed as if Niagara Falls in London. The shocked teen cried out in pain, running in the other direction, for him the roles of victim and victor were most cruelly reversed. Looking at Jerry shocked, Klutch ran after his friend his current mind frame was fear but in time that would change to wanting a cycle of revenge.
Out of instinct, Jerry quickly gathered up the single uncrushed rose and sprinted towards the only place where his beating heart could be stilled in an uneasy comfort.
The world passed by him, as if in a surreal landscape where distorted faces and trees were the main themes. Though a monster in this surreal landscape would know better than to jump out on him. A bad wolf looking for a timid red riding hood would only find another two-legged monster who carried within its young paws a mighty ax that would split in two any long toothed trickster. He hadn't planned on walking the path of the dammed, to so early on join as an active worshipper to the religion that Smilie followed, but it seemed no matter what he did every path lead to the same place. With all the intelligence Mr mortgage had said he was gifted with he was unable to calculate how to subtract himself from this dark fairy tale he was just beginning. A tear dropped from his eye a tear in disgust at himself and a tear for his innocence now lost.
He came to a stop, his heart drummed defiance against his rib cage, at having being worked for so long. Ignoring it, he took a deep breath of air lined by trees plush with green leaves and walked from the land of the living into the land of the dead. As he passed he said God bless the dead in a mark of respect.
A gathering of a gentle breeze cleared the marks of perspiration that had formed along the top of his forehead. His month's old line up had him looking as a wild man against the backdrop of such serenity, as trees large and imposing decorated the twists of different pavement paths.
Though the real decorations were provided by the gifts of the living onto their cherished dead, as gravestones some of which stood grey and imposing as if a security check pass for the living to see the dead, while grave stones cut from fine black marble with golden highlights signified the life of the person that now laid below. One particular gravestone had for my beloved a cherished, mother, wife and most importantly a best friend you'll be missed eternally. Freshly planted flowers signified they were still in someone's thoughts. He gave a humbled bowed salute as he walked past the relic from a close past.
The sun rode high it was a glorious day to die, or to be buried, sometimes he too wondered how he'd perish, if it would be by the hands of a opp seeking vengeance from past dirt or if it would be as a grey-haired elderly man. He hoped it would be the latter, but one thing he knew is that when the time came for him to meet his maker he'd ask questions that burned him inside most nights. Why had he been born to such hardship and pain? If you truly cared for your children then why would you have them suffer? and if it's true like what his Gran would say that the gates of heaven are open to those who kept a childs heart, then for most like where he's from, there was never a chance for the gates to be open, as most lost the innocence of their inner child to a life full of grime.
He looked down to the grave he'd been searching for and saw another victim to this grimy life, a victim he knew by first name a victim he called his Mother.
He kneeled in front of the slim grey stone that simply read to a mother and daughter may God let you finally rest in peace.
Tears streamed from his eye without his permission, defiantly rolling from his cheek to the tip of his chin before landing upon the dry brown earth that his mother now called home.
"I miss you mum."
He dropped the single uncrushed rose across the land dedicated to his mother. He dropped his man act and cried as a boy lost of his Mothers tender words. Lost of the loving feeling that can only be provided by the womb that brings you into the great complexity that we know as life.
He leaned back against the headstone, now feeling exhausted the adrenalin that had kept him going for the last few hours drained out of him, leaving in its place a tired boy who only wanted to go home.
Without realising it but unable to stop it even if he could, he drifted into a sleep of him hugged within the arms of his beautiful young mother.
He said to her "I love you mum" and she replied, "she'll always love him, but he needs to stand as a man now for the coming tough days ahead, but to remember that in his heart of heart she knows he's a good boy but just wayward."
Was this a dream, or was he awake, had he through some juju practice unwittingly been drawn down into the land of the dammed.
"Jerry, wake up."
He opened his eyes from his great slumber, the sun was higher in the sky now, as if a few hours had gone past.
"Jerry, why didn't you say, why didn't you just tell us?"
He looked up to see the warm face of his key worker Ann, "why didn't you just tell us, why didn't you say it's your mothers birthday? come here."
With no questions asked he went to her, letting her envelop him in a hug that he'd forgotten the feel of. Letting a warm feeling tide over his body and through to his young mind bringing a resemblance of normality to a world he knew as only cold. But he'd been given a reminder that there are a few who truly do care for his wellbeing and he wasn't just some unforgotten child.
Suppressed feelings of love rushed over him, memories from his past action darkened the red of love to a crimson brown, his heart spoke words.
"I'm sorry Ann," he said with a deep sigh as tears continued to stream down his face.
"It's OK Jerry let's go home."
He allowed himself to be led from one home to another. They walked in silence with Ann placed tightly by his side. The dark tunnel he was in had light...
He heard his phone go, seeing a number he didn't recognise, against better judgment he decided to answer.
"Yo who's this?" he asked
The devil's messenger blocked light and spoke, "Yo, my young G, it's Smillie, I heard you put in work on them opps, your fully on this ting now yeah? I got some real work for you my G..."
Jerry's stomach got tighter as he continued to listen on. His thoughts went to his Gran and her saying of "He giveth with one hand and takes with the other."
About The Writer
In my day to day work, I've spent close to 10 years working with some of London's most extreme young offenders. Working with them tirelessly in trying to create real opportunities for them, while trying to bring stability to the chaos that can be their world at times. I don't even call this work, as this is something I love doing, and thankfully my passion for it has helped many of these young people into much brighter circumstances.
If you'd like for me to give a talk to your class in regards to the issues that surround these young people or require consultancy for dealing with these young people then please feel free to get in contact.
Publications In Media
Made In Shoreditch Magazine 2018
Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019
UCL University Of London - Institute Of Education February 2019
Course entitled Criminal Journeys: The Individual and the Environment run by Prof Jane Hurry and Dr David Maguire. I Gave an in depth talk to students on the issues surrounding young people involved in crime.
No Knives Better Lives
Knife crime meeting held by Redbridge Youth Councillor Hannah Chowdhry please click here to view
Youth Violence Conference
Sat on a panel for City Gate's serious youth violence summit please click here
The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea- Unison Fundraiser for Black History Month
Recited one of my short stories as part of the event please click here to view
In partnership with Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture event, won a grant out of 160 applicants to put on an artistic event called Red Light Busking click here
My creative blog on fatherhood www.daddieslovetheirdaughters.com