It was still dark; the rare glimpse of light came only from the solitary streetlamps scattered around the road. The surface I was lying on had been gnawing at my back all night and I had finally had enough.
I sat up on the bench, looking round to see if I could spot anyone. There was no-one around. The street was as alone as the streetlamps within it. Almost as alone as myself.
I checked the time. 6.30. Not long left. Even though it was only just over a couple of hours away, I couldn't help feel a pain inside me as I agonised over each slowly passing second. The journey would last a couple of hours. That wasn't too bad.
After waiting a little longer, I finally saw people coming out of their houses. A few of them were very smartly dressed in suits and ties and were carrying briefcases. I watched as one man was in such a hurry, he slammed his front door shut on the back of his suit jacket. After carefully removing it from the door's clasp, he briskly walked to the end of his garden and almost fell flat on his face as two cyclists came rushing past him. I also saw him trip over his own feet a few times. I couldn't hide the smile appearing from ear to ear on my face. Come on, if you there, you would've laughed as well.
It was much brighter now and I finally felt the courage to get up and start wandering round the place. I walked hurriedly past my surroundings, barely taking in any details. All I remember were some houses, a field, plenty of traffic and that I wasn't too far from the train station. To be honest, the little details of the surroundings that I was probably never going to see again was probably the last thing on my mind.
I knew the way to the train station from the little village I was in, but it was too damn far to walk. I had been this route before with a few friends, come to think of it; I hadn't seen any of those guys for ages. I wonder what they're up to now.
Anyway, I had to catch a bus to get to further into the town, where the train station was. I hated the damn bus. I still do, actually. It was made even worse when some old lady came and sat down beside me.
"Hello there, young man," she said in a sort of shaky, frail voice.
"Hey," I answered. I thought it best not to be rude. I don't really know why, but she started going on about stuff that had nothing to do with me at all. She told me her husband had only recently had a heart attack and was still in hospital and that her granddaughter had given birth to a boy called William. Why the hell was she telling me this? As if I was ever going to meet these people. But I decided not to say anything like that, though, you know, just to be polite.
The excruciating bus ride had finally ended on the painful subject of the old woman's last doctor's appointment, but I won't go into too much detail about that.
I stepped off the bus, with my bags and all and started the walk over to the train station.
As I went along, I noticed more of the same people that I had seen earlier; people that were dressed in business-type suits and causing their briefcases to smack against their knees as they went. I love to watch these kinds of people in a hurry. Mostly because they are so up themselves most other times and this was one of the few times where you can actually see them not looking so dignified.
The train station was edging ever closer. I finally reached the entrance and went over to get my ticket. The usual stuff followed: telling the bored-looking woman where I was going, what train I wanted etc. God, I hate that, but it has to be done. She could have been a little friendlier, though. I mean, I don't want to sound like one of those condescending types, but I was up at 6.30 in the morning and I had asked for my ticket politely. I had at least expected to be served by someone who didn't have a face like a slapped arse.
The next half an hour dragged on so damn long it was unbearable. I had planned to read a book to pass the time, but I was interrupted too many damn times by screaming kids, shouty parents and someone telling me to pick up my litter - litter that I hadn't even dropped.
Finally it was time. The train was about to arrive. After getting in a queue full of more screaming kids and irate parents and showing my ticket to some guy looking bored and very tired, I eventually got onto the platform. It was about five minutes before the train finally arrived.
I didn't mind the train. As long as everyone else minded their own business and didn't disturb me, I was happy to just relax.
That train journey was actually the first time that day that I'd remembered mum. Where the hell was she? What was she doing? I know she has her problems, God, I know it as well as anyone, but there's no reason or excuse to do what she did.
I couldn't help thinking about her. It was weird to think that she was the one who hit me yet I was the one that was worried about her safety. She hadn't even called the police or an ambulance. She just left me there, not even knowing what the hell was going to happen to me. Who does that? Who in their right mind... but that's just it: she wasn't in her right mind. That 'right mind' was long gone, ravaged by alcohol and driven mad by paranoia. I so desperately wanted to help her, but knew I couldn't and it damn near tore me apart. I mean, what can you do in a situation like this? All I knew was that I'd get to Danny's then think things through, I just needed some time, is all, yeah, that's right, just needed time.
My attention needed to be turned to something else; something to take my mind off things. I started to read a book. I'd always been good at reading, I just didn't do it often enough.
After about ten minutes, I felt something prodding into my back. I turned round and saw some real nerdy kid sitting with his legs up against the back of my seat. This kid had the biggest glasses I've ever seen in my life, he was real small and skinny as hell. His fingers might as well have been claws, they were that skinny. He was all skin and bone. He had short, red hair and his face was loaded with spots. His head was quite big but it was really skinny. You could see his cheekbones desperately trying to escape the inside of his face and enter freedom. It was like his whole body was out of proportion. He couldn't have been as old as me; he wasn't with anybody else either.
"Could you stop that? It's kind of annoying," I said this politely and quietly so I didn't cause a 'scene'.
"Are you gonna stop me?" he replied with a real cocky tone to his voice. As he spoke, I noticed this guy had seriously goofy teeth as well; his two front teeth at the top of his mouth stuck out like a sore thumb compared to his other teeth. Where the hell did he get off being so damn cocky when he was that small and frail?
"Listen," I snarled, "either you stop or I'll come back there and make you stop." I had raised my voice a little, trying to make it sound more confident. I never usually get into situations where I end up in a fight; I try to avoid them as much as I can. Plus, if I'd gotten into a fight, they'd have kicked me off the train, then what would I do? But this kid just got me so damn angry. He looked at me for a while as if contemplating what to do or say next, before finally lowering his feet. I turned round and went back to reading.
Every time I tried to read, I found myself becoming increasingly restless, for some reason. I tried listening to my Ipod, but felt that I wasn't in the mood to listen to anything. You know what it's like, when you have to be in a particular 'mood' to listen to a particular kind of music? Well, I wasn't in any real 'mood'.
I just sat there staring into space. I can't even remember what the hell I was thinking about; probably just a load of random stuff. I don't even know how long I was sat there thinking, but it must have been for ages because before long, an announcement came mentioning that we were about to get to Durham. Durham, if you don't know, is in the north-east of England. Danny had gone there and bought a place to be closer to his uncle, who was supposed to be living there; as for his other relatives, I have no idea where they were, I'm not sure Danny did either.
There weren't many people left on the train at this point, so I got off without any trouble.
I looked round for Danny and spotted him immediately. I'm still surprised he actually remembered that I was coming. He was about the same height as me, despite being two years older. He had black hair that came about half way down his neck. He had also been growing a goatee, by the look of him. He was just standing there peering above everyone, wearing round sunglasses and a long black trench-coat. When he saw me, he just motioned with his head to go over to him.
As I caught up with him, we started walking towards the car park. Walking beside him, I couldn't help catching the smell of cigarettes.
"So, what the hell happened to you? What's that cut on your head?" he said in his really deep voice.
"Just had a fight. It's nothing," I replied abruptly. I could usually confide in Danny, but for some reason, I didn't really feel like it this time.
"So, where's your mum?"
"I... uh... I dunno."
That was it right there. That was basically all I needed to say and I knew he had figured it out. He's actually smarter then he may seem. Only a little, though. But, he didn't press the issue. Thank God.
We got to his car, which was basically a black box. I don't know what I was expecting his car to look like but I know for sure I hadn't expected that. But, I suppose as long as it got me to some place that had a roof, I didn't really care.
I can't really remember how long the car journey was; I wasn't really concentrating. It wasn't really that long, though, and before long we were outside a run-down looking small tower of flats. The car park was tiny, with a few cars scattered about it here and there. After going through the front door to the building, there was a flight of stairs directly ahead of us.
Danny led me up the stairs and on the first landing were about four green doors all in a line, with their respective numbers emblazoned on them. Danny walked up to number 2, reached into his deep pockets for a key, pulled one out and opened the door.