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Write about a character who is changed by someone they meet on a journey

He was sat there outside the store every morning before they opened, every lunchtime and every evening at closing time. He wasn’t a hobo. Sometimes I would see him arrive in his car. He was a clean well-dressed man in his fifties.

My office was at the other end of the street. I walked past him several times a day.

We ran out of teabags. I went to the store. It was lunchtime.

‘Good afternoon.’

‘Good afternoon. Can I get you anything?’

‘No thank you. They don’t sell what I need.’

‘What do you need?’

‘My son works here. We had a row over some girl he was seeing. He won’t talk to me now. I’ve tried calling, texting, turning up at the house… I thought she was no good for him, encouraging him to leave college and get a job. I’ve had a lot of time to think. I see now maybe it was me pushed him into going to college. I just wanted him to have the security of a career, a pension, all that. Maybe he saw another way of getting that. He can’t avoid coming here. I hope if he keeps seeing me, one day he might talk to me.’

I scratched my head.

‘Have you tried going in?’

‘He bolts every time he sees me, told the staff I’m not welcome, they’ve all tried.’

He runs his hands through his hair.

‘I’m sorry.’

‘What about you? Do you have kids?’

‘A son just finished college. Wants to start his own business. Asked me for a loan. I said no.’

He looks at the ground.

‘Do you think he can make a go of it?’

‘I do actually, thinking about it.’

‘Can you afford to help?’

‘Yeah, I think so, if I sold an investment or two …’

‘Is it worth the risk of you losing your son over money? Or having him think you don’t believe in him? You don’t want to be like me.’

He shrugged.

‘I guess when he asks for money, I see the teenage boy that wanted the latest trainers or whatever. I always tried to tell him its better to earn your own money to buy stuff than rely on someone else to provide it for you.’

He leans his face on his hand.

‘Isn’t that what he’s trying to do?’

‘When you put it like that …’

‘Do you think he’ll pay you back?’

I bit my lip.

‘He wanted me to write up a proper agreement with a repayment plan.'

'He still speaking to you?’

I nodded.

‘Yes, he’s coming for dinner. Wants to try and talk me round.’

‘What you going to do?’

‘I was going to say that he should get a job and save up, get established…’

‘You said was.’

‘You made me think. What if he’s miserable working for someone else when he wants to be his own boss because I wouldn’t lend him the money to get started.? It might come between us.’

I shuffled.

‘It might.’

‘I couldn’t bear to lose him…’

I rubbed my arms.

‘It might be too late for me but it’s not for you.’

‘Thanks…I’m going to lend him the money. I’d rather lose that than him.’

‘Glad to be of help.’

‘What’s your son’s name maybe I can put a good word in while I’m in there.’

‘Simon. I think you’re wasting your time but thanks for saying you’ll try.’

He patted my arm.

‘If I can’t get through to him, I’ll bring James with me and see if he can.’

‘Do you think he will?’

‘If you can get his stubborn old man to lend him money, I would say he owes you to try.’

‘You’re going to tell him about this conversation?’

‘I’m going to say I would do what you’re doing if I had to.’

‘You have to do whatever it takes don’t you? They never stop being your children.’

‘No, I suppose they don’t.’

I shook his hand.

‘Maybe one day we can all have dinner together.’


‘You never know.’

I went in the store to get my tea bags and find Simon.


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