Chloe Wilkins 2019

The Swan

Ernie Davidson had cried that morning, one of the very last emotions people would have expected Ernie to feel after his long list of savage and criminal acts. His shameful past had haunted him as he slept that night leaving him feeling restless and dreary. That night he had dreamt of a small boy he had bullied 20 years ago. The small boy he had tried to kill that early Saturday morning.

 

Ernie got out of bed and wiped away the warm, salty tears that had swelled his bloodshot eyes. As he washed his face with cold water and brushed his hair back with a broken comb, Ernie caught the gaze of his reflection looking back at him in the mirror. His face was scarred and rough, His shoulders hunched, his hair in desperate need of a trim. Ernie stood up tall, adjusted his crumpled tie and said firmly, “I’m not worthless, I can do it”.

 

Ernie turned the corner and the cream coloured building came into view. “Psychologist Rehab Centre” it read on the dark blue sign. Ernie had booked an appointment last Friday to discuss his troubles and actions and get help to learn how to make the most of his life. As he walked slowly along the cracked pavement in the cold winter’s air he could feel his heart pounding against his chest.

One of his good friends Raymond had suggested the psychologist centre after many sessions of tiresome work to help get a job and work on his social life. It had been a year now since Raymond had started therapy and his life was now back on track. Ernie longed to be like Raymond now and wondered why he had continued his ravish behaviour when Raymond had invited him to come with him to Rehab.

Ernie opened the glass door and felt a gush of warm air. He took off his dirty jacket and sat down in the waiting room. He looked around at the glum, sad faces that surrounded him and wondered why they were here, If one of them was a kid that he had bullied when he was younger.

“Ernie Davidson”, the lady sitting at the reception desk called.

 Ernie got up and walked over to the desk. The women looked above her wide brimmed glasses examining Ernie.

“Third door on the right”, she said with poise.

Ernie adjusted his tie once more and began making his way down the corridor. As he reached the third door he thought he might throw up. He felt dizzy, as if this was a bad idea, like he was stuck at snail’s pace while the whole world raced around him. Printed in gold letters on the door, the name,

PETER WATSON

 

Peter had just finished arranging his paper work when he heard a quiet knock on his door. He knew he had a new patient to talk to today but was not sure of the time or who the person exactly was. The lady working at reception was quite shy.

“Come in”, Peter said calmly at the sound of the unsteady knock.

 The door opened and Ernie stepped into the room, quivering harshly. It had been 20 years since peter had seen Ernie. He had almost died the last time he had seen him, and his mother insisted they move out of Liverpool before matters got worse.

Ernie was much taller and much more intimidating than Peter could remember. His red curly hair sat scruffily around his face, his posture was stooped, his body scared. Ernie’s same dark eyes looked at peter. He looked helpless the same way Peter had felt, so long ago.

 “Sit please” Peter said.

 He could feel his heart racing but he sat there composed and blank. Ernie glanced at peter unable to read his thoughts.

“Why are you here?” Peter said sharply.

“To err umm, be better” said Ernie trembling at every word.

 Peter felt a fire sparking inside of him. It took all of his will power to stay calm.

“can you err um help me” Ernie asked again.

Peter stood up and whacked his hand against the desk. He could not stay placid any longer.

“HOW DARE YOU SHOW YOUR FACE INFRONT OF ME”, “HOW DARE YOU ASK FOR MY HELP” Peter yelled.

Ernie whimpered frightened in is seat. This is what people had felt when he bullied them. This is how people felt while he gained the pleasure. He hated it with every inch of his body. He was powerless and he deserved every bit of it. Ernie brought his hands to his chest,

 “I want to apologise to you for everything I ever brought upon you. I’m sorry for being a bully, I’m sorry harming you that Saturday morning”.

 Peter dissolved back into his seat. The great Ernie Davidson was apologising to him and he knew he meant it. 

“Thank you,” Peter said quietly staring at his folder.

It had been two months since Ernie and Peter had reunited and things for Ernie were looking bright. He had been doing community work and made some money running errands

“Next week I will help you apply for a job,” Peter said shaking Ernie’s hand.

 The two men walked to the glass door of the building and up the path that had brought them together, then waved turning their separate ways feeling assured and ready for what awaited them in the future.