Every year in the summer, you trek down from London to spend time with your parents in your family home in Kent. You dread it every year, they always get you to sit in the garden with them and help them pull up weeds, or they try to set you up with one of their friend’s daughters, who are always delightful, by the way, just not your type. They always beg you to get a real job, saying that YouTube is not a stable career, despite the fact that you are earning more money for doing less work. They would never understand your life choices and you’ve come to accept that. Your older brother and sister have arrived earlier in the week which means that you would get moaned at for arriving later and accused of not loving them as much as your two siblings. Your older brother is an officer in the British Army and your sister is a defence lawyer so you’re always seen as the disappointment child. This is nothing new and is, yet again, another thing to expect when coming down to visit. The train journey only lasts around 2 and a half hours but it feels like an eternity. There was a man that, despite the whole rest of the train carriage being empty, insisted on sitting next to you. That was bad enough but he was playing music which could be heard very clearly, regardless of the fact that he had headphones on, he was also munching his way through a packet of salt and vinegar crisps and typing away obnoxiously loud on his laptop. You felt like you could scream. If he carried on like this for much longer, you might just do that. Instead, to calm your bubbling anger, you pulled out your phone and typed a text to your boyfriend, Jamie
You : There’s this guy next to me on the train, he’s so annoying. I wish I brought you with me xx
It seemed like a simple text to anyone else, but messages like this were still new to you. You weren’t used to being this gentle and vulnerable with someone. Not that that was a bad thing, it was just a little scary to you. A good scary. The kind of scared you feel when you go sky-diving or about to do a huge drop on a rollercoaster. It only took Jamie 5 minutes to respond to your text. That was one of the things you love about him; the fact that he always has time for you. Time was something people have never given you before so it means a lot that he is willing to prioritise texting you back.
Jamie : that sucks, dude ☹
It was simple, yet again, but it was enough to show you that he cared about you and that was enough to put you in a better mood.
There was a bus stop right around the corner from the train station. Once you got to the bus stop, you checked to see what time the next bus would arrive, it was 11:32 at the moment and the next bus was due at 12:10. That was a 40 minute wait. You could feel yourself getting frustrated so you pulled your phone out and texted Jamie to tell him that you survived the train journey.
You : I survived the train with the awful man
Jamie : thats great im proud of u
You : now I have to wait 40 minutes to get a bus
Jamie : that long? why don’t u go get a coffee or something
You considered it for a second. You hated coffee and hated sitting in loud coffee shops even more. So instead, you opened up the YouTube app and decided to try and find some content for your next video. There was so many videos that would warrant a 10 minute video filled with witty insults but he was unable to focus on any of them. Instead, your eyes fell on a video titled ‘Q&A – DO I HAVE A BOYFRIEND?’. It would have been a simple video and you wouldn’t have noticed it if you didn’t notice who uploaded this video; your secret boyfriend, Jamie. You had both agreed to keep your relationship a secret as having a fake feud was generating a lot of views on each of your channels and gaining you a lot more money. You decided not to watch it and you would watch it with him when you got home.
You waited maybe around 5 more minutes for the bus to arrive. You watched as buses numbered 60, 62 and 63 all sped past but there didn’t seem to be any sign of the number 61. Your legs were growing tired from having to stand around for over half an hour so you searched for a clean patch of pavement and sat down, cross-legged on the floor. Just as you did that, however, the bus turned the corner, heading towards the stop. This forced you to have to stand up again. You felt your knees cracking when you stood and took a mental note to go to the doctor about that when you got home. Of course, you let the only lady with the walking stick onto the bus first, and the pregnant lady, and the man with the pushchair. Yes, you let everyone else onto the bus before you, meaning that you would have to stand. Not that you minded however, you were a young 23 year old, you were able to stand up on the bus for a couple minutes before the population of the bus decreased and you could snag a seat. But it didn’t seem like that was going to happen. With every 1 person that got off the bus, another 3 got on. There was only 2 stops before your stop and the bus was still overpopulated with people, so you had to plan a strategy to get of the bus without disturbing other people. When the bus was approaching your stop, there was someone standing in front of the bell so you had to politely tap them on the shoulder to ask them to press it for you. Which they did, it would be pretty rude not to, and you clumsily departed the bus. You walked two minutes and had finally arrived at your childhood home.
You took out your key to unlock the door but before you had the chance the door swung open and you were greeted by the angry face of your little sister, Melody.
“Why are you so late?” She screeched, her voice was shrill as always, something that will never cease to irritate you.
“Haven’t you heard? It’s fashionable.” You reply, cheekily, carefully closing the door behind you.
“No, it’s not. It’s rude, Mikey. Why can’t you just make an effort? Is it so hard for you to care about our parents?” She whined, you had had enough of this conversation.
“If you must know, the bus arrived super late. 40 minutes. Is that a good enough reason for you, your highness?” You retorted, walking away from her and opening the door to the kitchen to be greeted by your mum. You explained to her why you were late, which she understood, and sent you upstairs to leave you bags in your old room. The room was exactly the same as it was when you left 4 years ago, it was like it was preserved in a museum. Your eyes scanned the room, reminiscing with yourself, silently. You looked at all of the posters on the wall; Doctor Who, comic book superheroes, footballers, comedians, and movie posters covered every inch of the navy blue wall paper. You looked at the poorly assembled bunk beds, they creaked when you slept and you were always worried that one day they were going to collapse and crush you. You took the bottom bunk because you were the younger brother and Barnaby got first choice because he was older. There was singe marks on the dresser from where the cheap paper lampshade had caught on fire, there was a whole in the door from where Barnaby got so annoyed playing Fifa that he through the controller, of course, he blamed you for that, there was cigarette burns in the carpet that Barnaby also blamed you for. The sound of your mother calling you to dinner shook you from your thoughts.
“So, Michael, I’ve invited someone around for dinner tomorrow for you.” She means well but you knew you couldn’t let her carry on doing this.
“I have a boyfriend.” You blurted out, leaving the room silent. The silence grew tense and uncomfortable as it drew on.
“Oh, I’m sorry. You should have told me sooner. Now I’m going to have an uncomfortable phone call to make.” Your mother chastised, playfully.
“You can still invite her, just not as my date.” You chuckled softly.
“Why didn’t you invite him?”
“He was busy.” You lied. You told your family all about Jamie; you told him about his YouTube channel, his family, his hopes and dreams. The rest of the evening was dedicated to laughter and games, but absolutely no Monopoly. The night drew in and you didn’t notice how late it had gotten. Obnoxious yawing was omitted from both Barnaby and Melody. You had noticed your eyelids getting heavier and decided to take your tired body to bed before the pull of unconsciousness took hold. You laid in your childhood bunkbed in your childhood bedroom, the sounds of creaking soothing you to sleep.