So something that I really love to do is write, and as much as random blogging is amazing, I love writing stories as well. So I had this idea to write a short story every Friday, based on some random words given to me in the comments. Seeing as this is my first Fiction Friday, I got my words from my lovely friend who I emailed and asked for good words. In the lineup we have:
I have a few random ideas forming.. this is a tricky one. Sorry that I am not starting Fiction Friday on a humorous note, but this story feels right today. Without further ado, I present to you all…
I never liked it. It was because of my father’s new job, really, although they had always tried to tell me that they “liked the location”. I hated the idea of living next to the train station, where all the kids from school congregated every morning to catch a lift from our rural suburb into the busy town centre. But because my brother Toby was sick and because we needed the money and because my father asked me not to, I never complained.
Our house was right behind the station. When I walked in, I always passed the man selling train tickets from a little window. He must’ve been about 70 years old, but I never looked too closely. I never paid much attention to the ticket man, because I never bought tickets. My father’s job painting trains secured me a spot on the train every day until I finished school for good. I probably should’ve been more grateful than I was.
So every morning at 8.15, I would climb the fence and walk around the back of the station, past the ticket man, and over to a small wooden bench that faced the tracks. Here I would sit and read my book, and after a while, the station would fill up with all the kids from my school. Some came to school, with me; others caught the train to smoke fags at the skate park in town. I was not one of those kids.
At 8.45, the train would pull up, the engine wheezing, blowing a cloud of steam into the sky. Even though I was always the first at the station, I made sure I was always last on the train.
This went on for many days, and nothing changed except the colour of the paint in my room, which was also the new colour of the train. No one at school knew this because no one from school came to my house.
Until one day, when I climbed over the fence to the station and passed the ticket man only it wasn’t. The ticket man wasn’t there, and I found it very disconcerting, such as you do when your mug is always on the sink until your mother moves it and it isn’t anymore. Instead of the ticket man there was a ticket lady, who called “Ticket?” very loudly at me as soon as I walked past.
“No thankyou. I have a pass.” I flashed my paper train card at her and turned to sit on the wooden bench and read the new fantasy story I had begun a few days earlier. But my wooden bench was, well, occupied. By a short man with grey hair and a newspaper. I didn’t know what to do, so I simply sat at the other end of the bench and picked up my book.
When I finally settled into my seat on the train, I had convinced myself that the issue with the ticket man wasn’t a problem. He was probably just sick. He was old, after all. I stared out of the window and saw that the man on the bench was now gone. He was probably homeless, I told myself.
“Is this seat taken, young man?” The voice was low and raspy, like the owner had gargled gravel in a previous life. I didn’t say anything because the seat wasn’t taken, but I didn’t turn around. I felt a heavy body sit down next to me.
“Grapejuice?” he said.
I turned around in my seat to face him and was immediately shocked. The man sitting next to me, the man who must’ve also been the man on the bench, was unmistakably the ticket man.
“Grapejuice?” he said again, offering me a flask. I knew better than to accept a flask from a man I didn’t know but I felt that I could trust him. I took a sip from the flask, and immediately spat it over my shirt. An acquired taste, I guessed. I wiped my mouth.
“Why are you not selling tickets?” I asked him.
He turned and he says, “Young man, everyone is given good things and bad things in life. But to be a good man, you need to take the lemons life throws in your direction and you need to turn them into grapejuice and you need to drink as much of this amazing, unbelievably impossible elixir as possible. Ticket selling just wasn’t grapejuice for me.” The train slowed to a stop and he smiled at me. “Be a good man, okay, kid?” He climbed out the door and disappeared. I never saw the ticket man again.
That afternoon, I went home and I told my Mother what happened. And I said, “Mother, I have grapejuice on my shirt and I am never going to live to be a good man because I do not like grapejuice.” There were tears in my eyes.
She bent down, and pulled my fringe off my face. And she tells me, “Young man, that is not the point. The point is, others might like grapejuice, but haven’t been able to try it. You need to offer them the grapejuice, even if you cannot drink it youself. Ok?”
And so I nodded, and went to find my brother Toby some grapefruit juice.
Thanks for reading. Head to the comments to offer me ideas for next week’s Fiction Friday!!