Bruce jumped up as soon as his alarm started to beep, dressed as quick as a flash and headed downstairs to get breakfast. After he wolfed down a bowl of muesli he grabbed his bag and ran out the door shouting goodbye to his mum as he left. Bruce lived with his Mum in the outskirts of Ballycumber he never knew his dad Peter and his mum told him that had left as soon as he was born. Bruce had only ever seen pictures and he had been present at his Holy Communion eight years previously. Bruce walked slowly to school. He never was really fond of school and preferred rugby to which he was perfectly suited. He was tall had broad shoulders a tight haircut and his muscles bulged under his blazer from the long nights spent in the gym.
When he reached school the bell had just gone and he realised if he was late again he would be on detention for a week. He spotted his year head Mr O Dwyer walking in the door ahead of him. There was no way he could get to class before him and Bruce didn’t want another week staring at the blank walls of the detention room. Being late was a regular occurrence for Bruce even if he did only live five minutes from the school, so he had a backup plan.
He cut around the corner ran down the side of the school. He stopped outside the cleaner’s room and knocked on the window. The cleaning lady Margaret opened it and when he got in he was met by her usual friendly smile.
‘Late again I see’ she smiled as she closed the window behind Bruce
‘Yeah unfortunately, I saw Mr O Dwyer come in before me and if I am late again I have a week’s detention’
‘You better get going so’
He left and he took off for Mr O Dwyer’s classroom. Margaret was a lifelong friend of his mother and she had got him out of many sticky situations after his mother got her the job in the school in the first place. In Mr O Dwyer’s class room he sat in his seat beside the window and looked out over the school car park he noticed a red ford transit van parked opposite the schools main door. Normally Bruce wouldn’t look twice at cars in the driveway but this one was different as it was stopped in the middle of the drive if it had dropped someone to school it would have left like all the other cars. The van also had blackened windows and the windows in the sides had been removed.
As he was studying the van Mr O Dwyer came in and gave the usual morning lecture about behaviour and neatness and all the other things he talks about. Bruce never listened and he wasn’t going to start now so he looked around the classroom and noticed that his friend John hadn’t come in. Just then the bell went and Bruce stood up to leave for class and as he did he noticed the van move off. Bruce got into a discussion about the upcoming school rugby match in the corridor and by the time he got to double French he had forgotten about the van. He kept his head down in French and said nothing so he wouldn’t be asked any questions.
As he was putting his French books in his bag he noticed he forgot his maths book. He must have left it at home and he needed it for the next class. He had twenty minutes for lunch plenty of time to go home get the book and be back in plenty of time for maths. He dropped his bag at the door as he left and broke into a run until he reached the school gate and he slowed to a walk going up the street. The street was quiet and empty with no cars as most people were at work.
Out of nowhere he heard a dull hum from an engine and turned around to find the red van driving slowly behind him. Bruce didn’t know what to do so he stayed walking then he heard the engine of the van speed up, the van came in alongside Bruce and as soon as he saw the window start to roll down he broke into a sprint. Bruce was as fast as lightening when it came to running and was half way down the street before the man in the van knew what was happening. As fast as Bruce was he knew he couldn’t out run a van so he turned into an estate. He jumped over a wall into a back garden over the wall of that garden and into an alleyway between the two rows of houses he ran the length of it and when he got out he was just around the corner of his house.
As he opened the front door he thought to himself he wasn’t going to worry his mum by telling her. he got his book from his room and went into the kitchen got a bread roll talked to his mum for a minute then headed for the door as he was leaving his mum shouted
‘Dinner is at four don’t be late
He replied as he ran back to school turning over the events of the morning inside his head. The rest of the day passed off as normal Bruce kept his head down during the rest of the day’s classes trying to do as little as possible. Unfortunately for him when he was asked questions he answered with stupid answers because he was a million miles away thinking about the red van. He left school in a bunch and only broke away from them to go up his own street. He walked in the door hung up his blazer and shouted to his mum
‘I don’t want any dinner’
As he bolted up the stairs and slammed the door behind him shaking the whole house in the process. He stared at his books for a while before giving up and throwing his pen at the page in frustration and sitting back in his chair. He looked out the window it was getting dark and the streets lights were turned on illuminating the whole street in their yellowy light. He saw his mother leaving for her yoga lesson as she turned the corner at the top of the street as a red Ford van pulled out of the car park at the other end of the street.
He instantly recognised the van as the one he saw outside the school that morning. It stopped outside Bruce’s door. Bruce ran down the stairs grabbed his blazer off the hook in the hall. As the man opened the door Bruce threw the blazer over his head and shoved him back out the door against his own van. Bruce bolted out the door banged it behind him and sprinted up the road. The he heard a shout behind him
‘Bruce it’s me’
At first Bruce didn’t recognise the voice but the second time he called Bruce realised who it was. He turned on the spot and saw his dad standing outside his door. You should have seen the look on his face, Bruce sprinted back up the street the fastest he ever ran in his life and hugged him tightly. The two men started crying, Bruce held his father at arm’s length
‘How? Why? What are? Where have?’
He hugged him tightly once more. Then his dad spoke
‘Is there some where we can go to talk? ‘
‘Of course I would invite you in put I didn’t bring my key when I rushed out. There’s a café around the corner we can go there ‘
They took a seat and Peter ordered two coffees. He explained everything to Bruce and as he was about to leave his dad called him back
‘Bruce I am happy to see you and you can spend time with me when you want but you must not tell your mum about any of this I will tell her in my own time.’
Then Bruce left he saw his mum coming back and he ran towards her and told her he had been out for a run and forgot his key. They went inside and she made supper. Bruce went upstairs showered and got into bed he thought about all that happened that day. He fell asleep with a smile on his face.