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Englishman in New York

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Wallsend was a world away. Ten years away, to be exact. And a whole ocean away.

God, The Atlantic was a bitch.

And apparently so was the country that lay just across the Atlantic. America, as the world knew it. Even though Gideon hadn’t been anywhere even remotely near Wallsend in two fifths of his lifetime (no, he hadn’t done the maths), he’d always felt accustomed to the community like customs of a town like that. A town that was a world away.

New York wasn’t Wallsend. New York was bright lights, some campy looking new musical about a man-eating plant, shouting, heavy Brooklyn accents and skyscrapers. 

He didn’t like it.

But to be fair, this city might look a lot nicer if he had company. Not like he’d mention names, but someone specific might’ve been nice. God, he missed her, but there was no way he’d go back with his dad there.

Jesus, even thinking of that man made him shudder. Physically. Literally. Embarrassingly. Like- walking down the street of one of the biggest cities in the world and having to collapse onto a wall to try and stop shaking. 

Freedom didn’t mean being free, and it sure as hell hadn’t met his fifteen year old self’s expectations. Ten years out of his presence and Gideon still couldn’t move without hearing his dad’s words echo through his mind or for the pressure his dad had put on him that he still had weigh him down or the shame he felt for breaking promises or the pain his dad had put himself through over years.

Hell, everything Gideon had become was because of that man.

A coward?

A stowaway?

Bitter? Isolated? Broken?

In a lot of pain because he’d punched the wall out of frustration over how much time he spent thinking about all this bullshit?

Yes.

Tears were a luxury Gideon couldn’t afford, though, so he quickly began walking again, cursing this city and America itself. 

In fact, there was a lot better he could do than to cry, caught up in this miserable, lonely little life of his. Considering the fact he was a twenty five year old runaway, with so little money he couldn’t afford food every day, with worn clothing, emotional baggage, some bad drinking habits and a constant weight of regret, he wasn’t doing too well. He’d lost all faith in god years ago and lost all direction not long after.

Passing a glass window, he caught a glimpse of himself.

Gideon Fletcher wasn’t too tall, but he was slim, pale, sickly looking and tired. Nothing about him was attractive, not in his eyes (which were brown, kind of boring). His hair was unkempt, his stubble was ignored and his clothes seemed a bit baggy, jacket and all. Even he found it hard to believe he’d had as much sex as he had.

Sex. It was a weird sort of thing. He’d probably call it sleeping around- hell, at this point he’d start calling it a sin. And god did he feel guilty about it.

First, there’s been the overwhelming guilt leaving Meg anyway. He’d loved her then and he still did now and honestly, he missed her more than anything. 

But then came the loneliness. The isolation. The constant need for something- for anything- just to feel human and to feel a part of something. And then, after some time, he’d begun to get drunk often and end up in the bed of a stranger, clinging onto whoever made him feel something at a time.

Men and women were all the same when you used sin to cope.

Was it unfaithful if he hadn’t even seen Meg in ten years? Had she moved on? What even was this? 

The answers to all those questions were unknown to him, but two things he did know were that he hadn’t moved on and that he hadn’t done any of this out of love.

Maybe the brooding englishman had cursed the weather, but after a few moments, he finally snapped out of it enough to acknowledge the fact the heavens had opened and drops of rain had started their assault on him. 

Just another thing to hate about the coldness of the city.

And before long, cursing the rain with some pretty unsavoury words, he’d disappeared into the first bar he noticed, mentally praying things might get better one day soon.