Too Late

It was raining as Jay stood at the bus stop. He lent against the white pole and his Doc Martens scuffed across the pavement. On his back the guitar case felt heavy and he cursed at having to get the bus. He was sixteen, but looked older dressed in a black leather trench coat and black jeans. Balanced in his long, dyed black and neon blue hair were expensive headphones pounding out German Heavy Metal.

Jay put his hands in the trench coat’s pockets. The fingers of his right hand wrapped around an IPod. Whilst his left fingers knocked against the makeup he had grab as he was running late. There was eyeliner, black eye shadow and black lipstick. He’d put it all on once he was at his friend’s house. He also had his keys, wallet and phone in different pockets of his jeans.

Without looking, he flicked through the IPod songs until he found some death metal. It was a song he knew well and had repeatedly practiced with his band. He watched the empty street with half-closed, dark brown eyes. Jay wondered if they would be practicing the song this evening and if it was on the playlist for tomorrow night’s gig.

Thinking about that gave him a slight panic feeling in his stomach. It would be his and the band’s second gig. He felt ready though and he was sure the other guys did too. It was an open mic night at a nearby pub. So, the stakes weren’t that high, but it would be a good chance to gain a new audience.

An approaching car caught his attention as he mistook it for a bus. The car indicated to the right and drove down the junction. As his eyes followed it, he saw two girls rounding the same corner. In the late afternoon gloom, he didn’t recognize them at first. However, as they got closer, he realized it could only be them. Nervously, he flicked his pierced tongue across his lips.

I can’t let them see me, Jay thought.

He dropped his head and locked his hands tightly around the objects in his pockets. His heart was beginning to race and he was muttering under his breath. Once more, he was praying to a God he no longer believed in. Slyly, his eyes wondered to the side and he saw the girls again. They were deep in conversation judging by the body language.

He didn’t need to hear her voice though. Lilac had always spoken just like her name; soft and warm. Her laugh sounded like a wind chime and it had always made him smile. She was shy though and hid her true self under the Goth imagine. She was also all legs, thin and small in the chest. Her face was gently curved and covered with white and black makeup. Her short hair was pale pink with some darker highlights. She was wearing long boots and a dusty black suede frock coat. Underneath was short Gothic styled red dress with black frills.

Jay felt a sharp stabbing pain in his chest. It had been four months since he and Lilac had broken up. She looked exactly the same as last time he had seen her. He went to look fully, but he couldn’t do it and his eyes stayed fixed on the pavement. His body felt so numb that he could no longer feel the rain falling on his hair. Somehow, he found the strength and looked up quickly.

She was with Poppy, her best friend. Poppy was the opposite of Lilac. She had a heavily rounded figure and face, alongside a large chest and a swinging bum. She also had a loud, bossy personality. Her hair was black with streaks of greens and blues. Her face was heavily covered with makeup, especially the cheeks and eyes. She was wearing smaller boots and a longer frock coat, over a low cut black dress with skulls on it.

Jay was surprised to see them together after what had caused the break up. They had all gone to a friend’s birthday party. He had gotten drunk for the first time and Poppy also seemingly drunk had pulled him into a bedroom. He didn’t remember much after that, just some sloppy kisses and silly fumbling.

A phone call from Lilac had awoken him mid-afternoon. She had been inconsolable and her words smoothed by tears can’t be made out. He’d gone around and tried to comfort her. Only then did he understand as she pushed him away.

He glanced upwards and saw they were almost opposite him now. He know that Lilac’s house was close by; in fact she and Jay only lived two streets apart. She was probably on her way home or going to Poppy’s. Why he hadn’t seen her before now was a mystery and he suddenly wondered about this. The realization that it didn’t matter hit him, though he still wanted to care about her. As he tried to convince himself to ignore them, a flash of headlights caught his attention.

The bus suddenly appeared and his arm shot out to stop it. The song he’d put on faded, allowing him to hear the running footsteps and hard breathing behind him. Jay turned and slipped his headphones off as the bus pulled up.

‘Thanks,’ Lilac said breathlessly and then caught herself as she recognized him.

Jay shrugged and got on the bus. He climbed the stairs and sat at the back, his guitar between his legs. A lower key song had started up in his ears reminding him that it was too late.