Autumn has Started
by Dominik Jemec
Alex was sitting on the bus on his way home after a long day at the office. There was an army of kids that took over most seats and standing spaces on the bus. He could have given the kid staring at him his seat, but he just stared back at him, making faces. It had been a long day at work, chock-full of meetings accompanied by deafening noise from construction work. He couldn’t catch a moment of work at work. Noise cancelling headphones had been on his mind for a while now, but he was always too lazy to go test them at a shop, order them online, set them up, and so on.
The kids were making unintelligible noises,screaming, squealing, burping. It felt more like a heavy metal concert than a bus ride. There isn’t much difference to some of his days at the office—his coworkers make a lot of annoying noise there too, especially when playing pinball. Who in their right mind would put a pinball machine in the kitchen? He’d dreamt about smashing it to bits with a baseball bat. One day, he thought, one day.
The kid gave Alex the finger. He must have been seven, ten, twelve—Alex could never tell. He didn’t want to have kids, and neither did his girlfriend, which was one of the billion reasons he loved her. He’d been given unsolicited advice too many times—in a smug undertone—that ninety nine percent of people who say they don’t want kids, when you hit a certain age, want to settle and start a family. It’s like a switch is flipped.
Many of his friends have bought flats and houses, had kids and dogs (usually two, because a dog needs another dog). They seemed to him unhappy, always complaining about not being able to afford things. He’d even heard a friend say to him once: “Only sixteen more years, and then our son is out of the house and we can have our lives back.”
What kind of life was that? It seemed to him that the negatives outweigh the positives. Alex and his girlfriend, on the other hand, didn’t need to pinch pennies. It crossed his mind a few times if he should offer to lend money to his friends with houses, kids and dogs. But then he always comes to the same conclusion: no one forced his friends into these things. Yet some of his friends seem to be forcing him into making the same decisions they had.
Alex gave the kid the finger. One of the teachers saw that. Of course she didn’t see when the kid gave Alex the finger. Murphy’s Law.
“Excuse me, but what do you think you’re doing?” the teacher barked in a shrill voice. Alex looked up at her, tired, not in the mood for a lecture after such a hellish day at the office, and said: “Screw you and all of your little monsters.”
No sooner had he said it than the bus stopped. With confidence, Alex stood up, elbowed his way past a sea of demons and got off the bus. It wasn’t his stop, but they didn’t know that. He turned around and saw a bunch of the kids, and the teacher, give him the finger.
Autumn had officially begun.
Sunday Writers' Club member
Dominik 'Dom' Jemec somehow went from mailman to call centre employee to content writer. He's obsessed with comedy, music and football and loves cats and dogs equally.