I’m working on a new novel, Halfway House, that explores a number of themes through central character Wayne at the ages of twelve and nineteen. As a twelve-year-old boy, Wayne took drastic action against his mother’s boyfriend Simon following a bullying vendetta on Simon’s part. At this stage in the story, the nineteen-year-old Wayne is struggling to rebuild his life in a hostel on the North East coast. In this section, his old mates come up from Manchester and take him out for the day.
Zipper and Darren pay for my lunch and my drinks, insisting that the meal is my Christmas present, and at some point they raise their glasses in a toast to me. Later, Darren drives us chaotically along the sea front, crying from laughter. We jump out further on, prancing around on the shore, throwing humps of sand at each other, joking around and shouting like yobos. Laughing, I take a look round at my surroundings. The shore isn’t any different from the promenade near the Halfway House. The sea here lacks colour too. The same freeze lingers. The sepia-like sky blends with the horizon, matching the fact that few people in these parts have money or jobs, yet for me the experience is entirely different. Today, I belong. Today, I’m human. Today, I’m with my mates, and that’s all that matters. I take in the icy winds and the biting northern chills, and they invigorate me. Even the sea looks beautiful. Even the grimy sand and broken shells.
‘What about the interview?’ I say.
‘Later,’ Darren says.
‘I really want to do it.’
‘Yep, you will,’ Darren says. ‘Stop worrying. It’s guaranteed.’
‘Hey, relax, Wayne, and chill out,’ Zipper says. ‘Any time you have to be back?’
‘Cool, my friend. We’re going for a little drive. ‘
Meanwhile, my debut novel – Secrets by Lawrence Estrey – is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.