Rebellion – Short Story
By: Perry McDaid
Since eleven, I’ve looked teenage, and was teased for hanging about with people my own age. When older boys called to me in the street, I used to be nervous, and thankful when adults told them off. I used to be chuffed when the neighbours would call to them that I looked older than my age and they should be ashamed of themselves.
Then I turned thirteen. Apart from the obvious body changes all girls have to deal with, I found myself growing embarrassed and resentful of my protective neighbours. It no longer seemed they cared, but rather that they were interfering. My best friend shrugged agreement when I shared this with her.
‘What they can’t see…’ was her approach.
Together we’d sneak off for a snog to quiet corners with boys our own age. We even pitched tents during summer and stay out all night, secretly arranging with boys up the street for them to visit for some harmless experimenting in the wee hours. Because the tent was in other parents’ front gardens, no-one seemed to suspect.
The nosey neighbours who never seemed to sleep said nothing, despite our terror. They just leaned out the windows giving us dirty looks before shaking their heads and drawing the curtains when we gave them the fingers. Their lips moved, but I never heard what they were saying; I was just thankful my parents couldn’t either.
We smoked. My friend’s father sold booze and ciggies from his house, so we were never without. We’d get drunk and sing, and tell anyone who complained where to go until, that is, the ones at the corner house appeared. They didn’t take any abuse, and we lost many a can of beer when running away. One of them had a particularly loud voice and used to yell ‘What sort of home do you come from that lets you out at this time of the morning?’ at the top of his lungs so our parents would hear. God, it was mortifying! Fortunately my parents were either out ‘on the razzle’ themselves, or too busy smoking the ‘wacky baccy’ and knocking back cans themselves to pay any notice. Unfortunately one of my Ma’s friends heard and passed it on when they sobered up the following day.
We moved base to a secluded park left open at night. The seventeen and eighteen year-olds there were really cool about sharing space. My friends didn’t want to stay. When I wouldn’t come, they deserted me. Big deal! I thought. One of the guys was really nice. He was really friendly. I stayed to talk to him when his mates went to bed.
No-one heard my screams or saw my struggles. Maybe the neighbours were fed up with our past play-screaming just to see their heads pop out of their windows. We’d hide then, or sit and laugh at them.
I can’t hide now, and I’m not laughing. He’s in prison. I’m carrying mine.