Steve’s life at the house was far from harmonious. There was probably fault on both sides, but the damage had been done early on. Arguments kicked off over something and nothing. Their fraught relationship may have stemmed from his parents being unhappy he spent so much time away from home, whilst Steve felt picked on whenever he was at home. It was a no win situation. Being in the firing line, he was always on edge in the house. The relationship was fractured and time did not heal. His father often yelled “You’re not good enough” while Steve bit back and shouted “You don’t know me.”

The school holidays gave Steve more freedom so he went hiking for weeks at a time. Sometimes, he went with friends and others he was alone in the hills. Typically, he got up early and took tins and packets of food from the kitchen cupboards. Hopping on a bus to the edge of a town, he walked onto the map. In his assault pack was a tent, sleeping bag, stove, food, water and spare clothes. He navigated across the wilderness, often walking up to thirty kilometres a day. Steve grew in fitness and self-sufficiency.

Occasionally, the Nobody family would go on holiday, which involved his father, mother and brother staying in a five star hotel while he camped in the hotel grounds. They dined in restaurants while Steve cooked his own food on a stove and washed in a nearby stream. But he liked this time away from them. On trips with the family, he kept a low profile and only spoke when spoken to. In this way, he seemed to attract less attention and it made his time near them more bearable.

But there remained a foreboding atmosphere when they returned home. Steve tried to live with his head down, but flak was inevitably thrown his way. Most times, he was not drawn into an argument but, occasionally, it was too much and he answered back. This would lead to a one-sided screaming situation. Steve looked forward to the day he could walk out for good.

Copyright © 2022 Callum Stanford.  All rights reserved.

Author: C.Stanford

Writer, blogger, outsider, survivor.

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