Ray

Scuffling down the platform, bent over, pulling that fucking stock-filled trolley with the squeeking wheel. His jumper, covered in pulled bits and remnants of a Tesco meal deal

He stops, stares into nowhere, picks a bit of dried skin from his left nostril. Looks like a headmaster once told him he’d never amount to anything, and took it for gospel

A second hand face. Gnawed yellow nails. One of those all year round tans that people get, who love a few cans

At 65 there’s not much left of him, mind you, you still wouldn’t wanna take a bat off one of his turnip picking hands

I look Ray up and down from head to toe. An unjust anger rages up inside of me. Probably cos I’m scared shitless I could end up like him

Too timid to speak his mind, all too used to being undermined. He’s gone his whole life being a what could’ve been

Always on the outside of the craic, hands in pockets, never knowing where to look. His neck hangs like a vulture’s, back raised. Countless jokes, stories and opinions lost forever behind his surrendered gaze

He clocks me staring and smiles, his whole face creases, almost closing his eyes. My anger subsides and is replaced with sorrow and guilt. But all I can muster back is a hint of a nod

He’s crying out for someone to put an arm around him and tell him, ‘Good job.’

But none of us ever do.

Published by Christopher Moore

Poems, short stories and gibberish. In no particular order.

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