. The water was calm, the still surface broken
only by a solitary seagull that landed for a swift second before
thumping its wings and taking off again. Jake was lying at the very end
of the deserted jetty, his feet dangling over the edge, his eyes wide.
The sun blinded himbut he refused to close his eyes. He was stronger
than the sun, he thought, then laughed out loud.
‘Dude, where you been?’ He hadn’t heard Ryan come up behind
him. ‘That chick you’ve been banging on about. She left. Man, what’s
with that, huh?
‘Get lost.’ There was perfection in the sun. He felt like saying a
prayer, but no words came to mind.
‘What the hell’s up with you?’ Ryan’s head blocked out the sun as
he bent over Jake’s head.
He closed his eyes. ‘Don’t you see how stupid we all are? Here.
We do nothing at school, we do backflips off the jetty. And that’s all.
Done for the rest of our life.’
‘Man, you’re talking rubbish,’ Ryan said, holding his hand out to
Jake. ‘Hey c’mon, Mike’s having drinks at his.’
‘Just get lost would you.’ He could see that Ryan was hurt but he
avoided his puzzled gaze. The sun smirked at him and he clenched
his jaw as it prised tears from his offering eyes. Ryan’s footsteps
receded. Then he stood up, at the very edge of wooden plank. He
imagined he was sitting up at Redburn Hill and looking out at the
lone figure at the end of the jetty.
He took a breath then jumped, feeling the momentary warmth of
the sun on his outstretched arms before the water froze his thoughts.
He looked up, surprised as Jake
slammed the gate behind him andmarched up to where he was sitting.
‘You know, it’s not my fault she left.’ His voice was unsteady. It
cracked on the word she. His father stood up. Towered over him.
Jake was suddenly aware of his father’s broad shoulders and sinewy
neck. He closed his eyes but they burned white through his tears. ‘It’s
your fault. It’s your – You were – I was only a kid.’ He was choking
on his words. His father stared coolly at him. Silence, then his words
‘Hit me,’ his father said in a low voice. ‘If you’re angry son, hit me.’
Jake was shaking now. He wanted to hit him. He wanted to kick and
scream and yell and cry. It wasn’t meant to be like this. His father was