It’s #Blogbattle time again and thanks as always to the great boss that is Rachael Ritchey for running this.
It was the first day of going to upper school and Daniel struggled to get his uniform on. It was, new far too big for him and he hated it.
“Don’t worry darling, you’ll grow into it” his mother had told him. He pulled his blazer on and his mum beamed with pride.
“Come here baby – I want a picture” She held up her smart phone and went to take a picture. He tried to raise a smile but it was hard as he felt like a prat! He blinked as the flash blinked and blinded him. Then again, three times mum had taken a picture.
“Have a great day darling” Daniels mum reassured him, kissing him on the cheek ” Have you got your lunch? Did you remember to brush your teeth…”
“Mum!” Daniel stopped her “I’ve got everything – can I go now?”
“Go on then. Have a good day!”
Daniels mum waved at him from the doorstep and watched him as he walked off to school. Finally Daniel was alone, it was only a short walk to school and it was a good thing, his bag was heavy with every book, pencil sharpener and bit of sports kit he might need. Taking a shortcut through the park Daniel trudged on down the path, it would only be five minutes at most now. As he walked through the park he noticed a man reading a news paper. There was nothing so strange about that. But there was something about him. Maybe it was because he was kind of rough looking with jeans and a work mans coat, a broadsheet like The Times was not normally their type of paper. He looked like he was a builder and had been building for a long time. He had tanned skin, his hands were worn and he didn’t have much hair. What hair he did have was blonde, that was kind of strange too. Daniel caught himself staring, the man turned a page and caught him and gave him a stare. At once Daniel looked away. His eyes were piercing and what was that across his face – a huge scar!
Daniel hurried to school, his first day was manic, it seemed no one knew what was going on and the man on the bench was soon forgotten. However on his way home, he was still there. His head was back and he seemed to be sleeping. The paper was rolled up next to him. Daniel could see him more clearly, he couldn’t help but look at his scar. Day after day passed an whenever Daniel walked past the park bench there he was – either reading a paper, sleeping, or just sitting there – even in the rain. Once day he told his friend Alan at school about it.
“He’s a nutcase my dad says.” Alan blurted out in typical schoolboy fashion. Another boy – Steven overheard the conversation ” My dad thinks he escaped from the loony bin”
Daniel thought about this and he didn’t think he was either. One Tuesday morning Daniel took with him some sandwiches, two apples and a big wedge of his mum’s chocolate cake and took it with him. He walked up to him, nervous in a way and said “e-excuse me” The man looked up “Are you homeless?”
The man smiled, for the first time. “That my boy is a complicated question” Daniel was surprised, he spoke perfect Queen’s English. No accent, dialects, anything. Recovering his composure Daniel asked “why’s that? Surely you either have a home or you don’t?”
“I do have a home” The man replied “I just need to wait to be picked up”
“Who’s picking you up?” Daniel asked “I can call them for you if you like” The man chuckled quietly to himself and looked up.
“If only it was that simple”
“It isn’t?” Asked Daniel
“I’m Daniel, what’s your name?” For a moment the man paused, smiled and said
“Call me ALF”
“Absolutely, my name is ALF”
“I’m pleased to meet you ALF, I’ve brought you something because I thought you might be hungry” Daniel pulled out a Tesco’s carrier bag filled with the items he had taken from home. “I hope it’s enough for you”
ALF looked at the bag as if he had just been given a bag full of money, or a prized lost possession. “Thank you Daniel” he said with emotion “You have no idea what you have done.”
Daniel got up, pleased that he seemed to have done the right thing, he watched as his new friend looked through the bag and chuckled to himself with glee.
“I better go, I’ve got to go to school”
“Thank you Daniel” ALF replied, unable to contain his happiness. “You’re one in a million – a star!”
All day at school Daniel was distracted. His thoughts kept wandering back to ALF and how he had been so grateful for the food he had given him. On the way home ALF was sleeping on the bench, he thought it best not to disturb him and just went home. Daniel’s mum was not happy that he had taken so much cake that morning, but his excuse that he wanted his friends to try it seemed to calm her. That night Daniel couldn’t sleep, he looked out of his window toward the park – strange blue green glow seemed to come from the park, it wasn’t bright but it was definitely there and he wondered what it might be.
The next morning Daniel walked though the park as usual, ALF wasn’t there. But on the bench there was a slightly damp envelope with Daniel written on it. Assuming it was for him Daniel opened it and read the note inside:
I’m sorry I never got to say goodbye, we had only just
met and I think you would have been a very interesting friend.
Your race is capable of so much, technically, creatively.
It’s a shame that these skills are used to hate each other
What you showed me yesterday was that your race
is capable of so much more than hating and
while there are people like you within you race there
will always be great hope.
Never change who you are.
Yours truly, ALF.
Daniel didn’t understand what the note meant. Not yet. He never showed the note to anyone and kept it safe. During his darkest days it was his reminder of his brief friendship with ALF, the man with the scar across his face.
Copyright 2015 Simon Farnell