Bright White Trainers
SHARON: Erm… he used to come in here every day… He would be in this café every day. He’d sit right there with his bright white trainers. They weren’t new. He just took good care of them.
He smelt of… school. Like busy hallways with tons of kids all waiting for a
class teacher. Like art lessons that leave paint all over your blazer sleeves. Like P.E lessons when you’ve still got the sweat on you. Like packed lunches with only bread and butter in your bag. Like fights. He smelt of fights. (beat) Like the school fights you don’t mean to get involved in but suddenly find yourself in. Like the bus. (beat) Like a packed bus you get on your way home where all kids at the back are listening to the same fucking song. Like school kids. (beat) He smelt like how school kids would. Like school kids. He smelt like school kids.
Why are you asking me this?
Has something happened to him?! Can someone please tell me if something has happened to him??!!!
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Ermm. I didn’t mean to — I didn’t mean to get angry. I didn’t mean it like that. Not to you. I just want to know. Need to know. I can’t not know. Not after…
Has he done something? Been involved in something? Done something to someone?
INTERVIEWER: We can’t tell you that.
INTERVIEWER: You’re not…
SHARON: I’m not.
INTERVIEWER: You’re not family.
INTERVIEWER: If you don’t want to carry on then we can stop. You can always no.
SHARON: What has happened to him?
INTERVIEWER: But you’d really help us to get to the bigger picture
SHARON: Has he done something?
INTERVIEWER: And by helping us you’re helping him.
SHARON: Can’t have. He ain’t like —
INTERVIEWER: So, could you please start from the beginning?
SHARON: Erm. He’d… He’d sit right there with his bright white trainers. They weren’t new. He just took good care of them. He’d have a pack of plantain chips in one hand, and in the other, he’d have a can of KA Fruit Punch. He liked that drink. He’d order Mac and Cheese. Always. He liked the way we made it here. Reminded him of home. He’d never pay for the food. He thought he was. He’d bring out a tenner. Give it to me and when he went toilet I’d always put it in his bag. This was his home.
I’d always start the questions.
INTERVIEWER: What kind of questions would you be asking?
SHARON: Not the sort of questions you’re asking. (beat) I asked him about his day. About school. About his friends. About his mum. (beat) Questions that mattered. Questions that needed to — had to be addressed. Questions that mattered.
INTERVIEWER: What would you talk about?
SHARON: Those questions.
INTERVIEWER: Sorry, let me rephrase that, apart from those questions, what else would you talk about?
SHARON: Life. People. Music. (beat) He loved music. Didn’t want to be a musician. Just loved music. Loved the way it curved and curled in his ear.
INTERVIEWER: What sort of music was he into?
SHARON: Not that shit music you listen to on Capital FM, but real
music. Real soul music. (beat) Music that makes you want to live. Music that moves you. Music that explains your whole life in 5 minutes. Music that they don’t know how to make any more. Yeah, yeah, that’s the sort of music he’d listen to.
INTERVIEWER: Do you know his favourite song?
SHARON: Time Will Tell by Bob Marley. He had the vinyl from Bodymusic. On the high street.
(Time Will Tell starts playing in the background. She blanks out but still carries on the interview)
SHARON: He’d always get his vinyl’s from there. Because real music is made on vinyl. Sounds better. That’s what he said. (beat) He felt it, you know. Like the whole song. You could see it. The way he moved it. Like he could feel the notes. Feel the words. He understood it. Like he was there. Like he made it. Believed in it.
Think you are in heaven but you’re living in hell. He loved it.
(An officer enters. They whisper in INTERVIEWERS ears.)
OFFICER: We found the trainers in a bin on the high street.