Meet Rory. He’s a likeable lad, tall, a little overweight, but athletic and fairly fit. A little gangly, but full of good humour and always cheerful. He liked bright colours, as far as he was concerned, they matched his personality. Pink hoodies, bring them on, match them to a yellow t shirt and snug fitting jeans and white trainers. A floppy haircut that he put into place by flipping his head backwards, that surrounded a cheerful face. He was a popular character, happy to exchange banter and have a laugh with anyone. Always up for a fastfood burger and shake, especially if he could wash it down with an energy drink.
At twenty-four he lived either in bed, with his mates or lost in his phone and PC. As said, he didn’t cook, just bought food when he was hungry. Mums fridge always had something to eat, or he would buy something when he was out. Mornings only existed when he had something to get up for. There weren’t two six o clocks, or 7 oclocks, or 8 or 9’s in a day if possible. He was a bit of a night owl. Evenings, and half the night would generally be out with his mates of lost creating images and slide shows on canva, or powerpoint. He’d become quite a fair graphic designer, had even had a few commissions for a few friends and friends of friends, but had never really put any effort into developing or marketing his talents.
Often people would say, ‘Rory, if only I had known you could do that I would have got you to help me’. Always though, after they’d got someone else to do the task because they didn’t know he could’ve helped them out… Rory wasn’t worried though, he’d always had what he wanted, one way or another anything he needed had appeared.
For the most part Rory had drifted through life, blissfully unaware of how lucky he was to live such a simple carefree life. In fact, the only thing Rory wanted, but hadn’t managed to engineer was a girlfriend. Given the option, he would love someone to share his life with, someone to make plans with, someone to curl up on the sofa with. Sometimes it bothered him, however, for the most part, he bumbled along cheerfully, happy in the knowledge that he would meet that special someone when the time was right.
That was his biggest worry, and that wasn’t constant. Of course, nothing lasts forever…
‘Rory’, called his mum, ‘are you home?’
‘Yo, fam’, replied Rory, as he jumped of his bed and ran down to see his mum.
He hugged her. Well in his usual style, he nearly bowled her over, without the hug she might have bounded off the wall. As he released her, he looked at her and saw that she was not her usual self.
‘Mum, what’s up?’ he said, tilting his head as he asked her.
‘Oh Rory’, mum said. ‘The shops shutting down, Lorna can’t make ends meet. Stock costs are going up, the council wants more tax, the landlord wants more rent and people are just not buying flowers like they used to. Lorna called me for a meeting today. The shops shutting down in a month. I don’t know what we’re going to do Rory.’
Rory took his mum to the sofa and they sat down. He hugged his mum as he sat sobbing. She could be a little emotional, but he also knew that after she’d had a good cry, she would pick herself up and face whatever the problem was.
Something would have to be done. He had a bit of a sinking feeling in his stomach too. He knew whatever the solution was he would have to be a part of it. It had been hard during the couple of years since dad had gone, but in many ways his life hadn’t changed much, Mum had managed to bring enough money for life to continue as it had since he left college. He had asked mum if everything was OK. He had a feeling mum didn’t have much of a life, but she’d always said they were ok, so he hadn’t thought about it any further.
Sitting there on the sofa, Rory realised that mum had given up much of her life so he could do what he wanted. And what had he done, or achieved? Not much, to be fair.
He looked at Mum and his heart poured out for her. He realised that she had let him do his thing for a while now. Not even asked him for rent.
‘Mum, it’s going to be OK I ‘m going to get a job’.
Mum looked at him. ‘Rory, it’s not that easy’.
Rory looked back, his stomach had butterflies in it. He ignored them.
‘Yes it is, I’m going to get a job’, He said with conviction, ‘and you’re going to have a week’s holiday and then you’re going to get another one. We’ll be better of than we ever were.’
Mum looked back, she loved him so much, he was her whole world these days. Despite her doubts, she found herself beginning to smile.
Simon Pollard Urban Countryman Nov 2023