Chapter 3. Trae

The tram arrived and Trae shuffled inside, he was going to be late, which was nothing new but all the same it was annoying. He stood head and shoulders over most of his fellow passengers and was aware that now women looked at him.

The conductor listed the stops, each change of pace taking his mind to his legs and torso which were properly starting to ache.  Trae eventually found a seat and took his folder out to at least look as if he was doing some revision. This afternoon however the concentration was slow to come, the morning, the morning had been spectacular.

As he stared at his folder a  middle aged woman managed to squeeze into the space opposite making the available area even smaller and the bend on his legs began to lead to cramping. For a small woman his travelling partner was taking a lot of room, her shopping bags weren’t helping either. His phone buzzed, it was his partner in crime (literally) Waldo, more to the point it was a picture from the morning. Christ that was a lucky morning.

Waldo didn’t disappoint, the pictures started to come in thick and fast, Trae tilted his phone towards the window so no one else could see.

“Awesome pictures mate, how the fuck did you mange that?”. Trae knew who it was before he look upwards and he wasn’t happy. “You guys are like, mental”, Norman. Great. Norman was the class clown in his opinion, loud, brash and thick. In his hand the screen of his phone clearly displayed a London skyline and Trae could just make out his face. The tram came to the end of the line and as he shuffled out Norman waved his phone at him. “Mate, how the fuck did you manage that?”, Trae wasn’t happy, he went to grab the phone but missed and in reaching for his own realised that he now had 8 missed calls and the one text message that stood out was from his Dad and it simply said “Call me now. Dad”. Bugger bugger bugger.

Norman was chattering at him as they walked to college, but he heard nothing, flicking through his phone his entire morning had been splashed across Facebook, worse he had been tagged and the album had been shared 12 times.

Trae was dragged from his thoughts by the ever present Norman who was had now reached a vocal level that only dogs could register. “Hi Mr. Marshall” he boomed. Fuck fuck fuck, if Dad’s here, then this is fucked. Trae couldn’t think straight now, his Dad was mad, very mad by the look on his face and in his hand, a phone! No words were needed as they closed the distance, Norman, completely misreading the situation moved in for the embrace and then was gone. “Fucking amazing pictures” his parting comment. Another nail in the coffin.

Robin stood at almost seven foot tall with strong shoulders and a huge reach. This reach had been spotted when he was  young and a great boxing career beckoned. To be fair he had seen glimpses of success and those in the ‘know’ had started to predict that he would be ‘the next big thing’. All of that was taken away in one bad decision but that was water under the bridge now. All Robin could hope for now was that his sons would grow up with an easier life than he had, and so, he had a few simple rules. Rules which had been shattered this morning.

“Dad”, Trae was almost as tall as Robin and at 20 years old was quickly filling out, his Dad was still a giant to him and  he knew things had gone nuclear if he was here, at college. Groups of 20 something year olds filled past chattering away, Trae was keen to get as far away from college as possible least someone recognise him. “You broke a rule”, that was all he needed to know that the apocalypse had arrived. Robin was glaring at a picture on his phone. “What happens when you break a rule?”.  he was going for it, and Trae knew that he wasn’t going to get off lightly this time.

“You and your rules”, he couldn’t help but bite back, rolling his eyes to the sky and his hands through his hair, “We have to tell you why we broke the rule and you decide how we are going to make it back up to you and Mum”. He paused, expecting his father to prompt where the conversation might go next, but could only see angry eyes. “It started very innocently, ya know…” Trae needed to understand just how much his Dad really knew, he started carefully, “look it was just a few lads doing some stuff in town, this has all gotten blown out of proportion”.

“Are you kidding me?” Robin was furious. “You broke into a building site and took bloody pictures from the roof, not only that but you decided it was a good idea to do handstands up there, are you fucking stupid? What the hell do you think your mother would say?”.

No mention of Police…

“Look Dad, it was fine, we are a tight group and I wouldn’t have done it if I thought it was dangerous we are always careful…”, he was cut off by Robin who was shaking his head and taking the big breath in that would keep him going for several sentences, Trae had seen this before…

“What the hell do you mean you are in a group, and what else have you done? Have you no idea of how serious this could have been? What if someone had been injured? You have to think about the choices you make now because the are going to stay with you for the rest of your life. Your mother would be fuming with you” Robin was going and and going there was no let up, his own frustration coming to the fore and he just couldn’t stop.

“I’ve given you everything and this is what you do, why? Your mother and I just wanted the best for you, can’t you see that?”

Trae had heard enough, he was sick of rules and reasons and his nerves were shot from the morning anyway. Thank fuck it seemed that his Dad hadn’t seen the pictures with the Police. He would not be impressed to know that his oldest son had given false information when asked for ID.

“Am I getting through to you?”Robin was not going to give up easily. He was dying to grab his son and just shake him. “Your mother would be so disappointed in your actions, how can I tell her that her son was given a caution by the Police”.

“What the hell?”. Trae was done.

“She is dead, she has been dead for 5 years, and you still behave like she is here, with your rules and stupid idea that talking about things makes it easier. Why do you talk about her as if she is still here? She would want me to live my life the way I want to, to experience as much as I can. His voice broke and his eyes were burning with emotion.

They sat in silence for a while not looking at each other, then Trae stood, he had lectures to go to and it was getting late. “Listen I, eh, have to go, it’s been a long day”. He didn’t look at his Dad but did put his had on his shoulder as he walked away, his own shoulders and legs now properly killing him.

Robin sat for ages, oblivious to the cold and time, his head was swimming, eventually he managed to get himself moving towards his car and was drawn from his thoughts…”Hi Mr Marshall, did you see the pictures from this morning? They have gone almost viral?”.  It was Norman and not the sort of news that Robin wanted to hear. Ever.




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