Synaesthesia Magazine Americana - Page 61

Tim Stevenson has previously won the National Flash-Fiction Day 100-word competition for which he is now a judge, and has been published in various anthologies and online sites and journals.

His collection of sixty-five flash-fictions ‘The Book Of Small Changes’ was published in February 2014. He has already completed ‘Cleanliness and other stories’, a collection of thirteen short fictions, and is in the process of completing his first novel.

He lives in the Hampshire countryside, alarmingly close to cows.

the thing that has always stopped me in the past, he is never alone.

I watch, knowing now how this will have to end, and prepare myself to wait out the pain of losing him.

He moves in bigger circles now. Fourteen. Fifteen. He stays out late, and goes to parties. I see him drink his first borrowed beer. He is so afraid, looking for his mother or a policeman as he gulps it down. I stand behind him as he wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, staggers through a neighbour’s hedge and slams his front door in my face.

My need for him is as strong as ever, but he has grown beyond me and his friends have kept him close. A lonely child would have been better, a bookish boy who dreams and does not play, builds forts in his bedroom and hides beneath the sheets to read on summer afternoons. With a boy like that, this would have been easy.

But, I am here for Paul. I hope that sixteen will open the door for me.

Seventeen.

He stands amongst his friends, a girl on his arm, and tells them what he wants to do, far away from here. University, Australia, New York. His friends agree; they’ll go together.

I hear the door swing shut, knowing that I’ve missed him, knowing that he’ll soon be gone. I stand on the corner and see his bedroom light. I remember summer evenings when he was young, wishing that I could have walked beside him, spoken to him and he could have seen me, and smiled.

But there are some things that cannot be. Paul had so many others to play with. Every night when he went home I hoped that the next time we met he’d be alone, and he would need an imaginary friend.

But, in all that time, he never once thought of me.

So I never knew my name.