I’m not sure if I am doing the right thing here, but this is the first draft of the the first part of a possible book I have been considering for a long, long time. Curious to see the reaction ;-)
Bradford: Spring 1976
He wondered if he should retire and then smiled to himself, would it be classed as retirement he thought, when you’ve only been boxing for three years and you’re seventeen years old, but Billy had made a decision to leave and he couldn’t see how boxing would fit into his new life. ‘Move on and leave the baggage behind,’ he thought. That was the way it had always been and not always his choice. A heavily built awkward youth appeared at the door.
‘Hey Billy, great fight, man.’
‘Thanks Stevie,’ he smiled, but it was an outward smile.
‘Second round, POW, he was gone, you really showed them tonight mate. Old man Reece was really pissed off coz you missed all that training, I think he was even more pissed off that you won. Hey, guess what?’
Billy didn’t answer, he shrugged keeping his eyes to the floor.
‘You’ll never guess who’s out there, not in a million years. You could have knocked me over with a feather, honestly.’
Billy looked up, ‘Sheila?’
‘Yeah, how’d you know that? She said she’d never ever and I mean never, come.’
‘She came to say goodbye, Stevie, that’s all mate, just came to say goodbye.’
‘Why? Where’s she going?
‘Nowhere, it’s me that’s going.’
‘Noooo, where you going? I mean you can’t, I mean where can you go? What about me? Anyway you’re too young. You really going Billy? When?’ Stevie was upset and confused, Billy had always been there for him he couldn’t comprehend life without Billy, then someone nudged him out of the doorway.
‘Tonight, apparently, hey Billy?’ Sheila stood just inside the doorway, looking and acting way beyond her sixteen years, she was a good actress.
Stevie was still confused, he was confused on a good day and this was far from a good day.
Billy was fed up of life on a council estate. He hated the insular, monotony and most of all he hated the complete acceptance of it all by everyone. The attitude that this was as good as it gets, be thankful for what you have; all that bullshit it wasn’t for him. But he loved the two people before him and this was going to be hard.
Sheila was angry, the last place she wanted to be was the boxing club with its dim lighting and stench of sweat and deep heat. But the one person she could really trust had told her he was about to leave, for good and so here she was.
‘I need to speak to Billy alone, please Stevie,’ she said.
Billy nodded towards the door and Stevie ambled out.
Sheila folded her arms. ‘So, love me forever huh? What exactly does that mean in Billy language? Hey, Billy what does that mean in your head? Love me for sixteen years and then leave forever?’ Is that it?’
Her voice was trembling and Billy thought that maybe she was going to cry. ‘I’ll always love you Shei, we were born on the…’
‘Same night,’ Sheila interrupted. ‘ In the same hospital, we were meant to be together for all time. You and me against the rest of the world. I know that speech off by heart Billy I don’t need to hear it again. When did you first tell me that Bill? I’ll tell you when. It was on my fifth birthday Billy and you’ve been telling me it ever since. You know what really hurts though? It’s the fact that you have never considered that I might come with you. Is that because you know I would? Is that why you kept this a secret until the last minute? Because I would you know, I would follow you anywhere Billy. So all I need to know is if you are leaving tonight; without me?’
‘Yes,’ he said knowing the consequences.
Sheila turned and ran and Billy didn’t run after her.
Stevie appeared at the door. ‘She seems upset, you really going?’
Billy looked up at his friend, ‘ Look after her as best you can, yeah?’
‘Don’t go Bill,’ Stevie was pleading now.
‘Go after her now Stevie, and look out for her. I’ll see you around.’
‘Yeah but this is stupid, where you going to go?
‘Go now! Stevie before she runs into a car or something!’
Stevie was gone, he knew from past experience when Billy shouted there was no point in arguing, that time had gone.