He had no sense of who he was.
For so long he sat atop the brick wall, his flesh acquired a layer of grey dust. His hair matted like neglected dog fur, his trousers shrunk to knee-length and his t-shirt tore. Spindly legs swung back and forth like the rigid arms of a persistent ballerina, dusty feet paddled the air and hollow eyes stared absently at the pavement.
He lost himself a long time ago. He had a name, he had a home, he had a smile. They didn’t last. They rose to meet the clouds in smoky wisps and dissipated into blurry nothing. He fixed his eyes on the heavens, watched, unblinking, for any hint of his old life. But there was nothing. Always nothing.
Long fingers folded a coral ribbon into a smaller and smaller string. He found it on the pavement. It was an uneven pavement with holes the government hadn’t filled yet: a dumpster for litter and a graveyard for lost things. A cyclist sped past the brick wall in neon yellow shorts, left a ribbon waving in their wake, a pinprick of coral, of colour in the bleak world.
He hopped down from his lonely seat, and with a quick movement like a bird or maybe a yoyo, swept down and closed his fist around the silk of hope. He clutched it, held it, folded it and returned to swinging his legs atop the brick wall.
He’s still there, if you ever care to visit.
Deborah Rose Green is Contributing Editor for Hey Young Writer! She is also the author of Dragon Pearls (2019) and Crown My Heart (2020). You can follow her on Instagram at @authordeborahrose or visit her website, deborahrosegreen.co.uk!