The Boy

photo by Melissa Reid

photo by Melissa Reid

I never found out exactly what happened to the boy on the trampoline. In those days I commuted by bus, crawling through the suburbs. You’d see him every morning, rising unexpectedly above the hedge around their garden: rising, falling, rising, falling, as the bus went by. Everything was normal, everyday, just another hedge around another garden around another suburban bungalow: apart from the boy, rising up from behind the hedge, falling back again out of sight, rising up, falling down.

It took me a while to work out that there was a trampoline in the garden, hidden behind the hedge. Every morning the boy was there, bouncing up and down. Even that peculiar sight became familiar, regular, expected.

Then one day he wasn’t there. I sort of missed him. And the next, and the next. One morning, a grey and a heavy sky that was about to open up with rain – we passed by and I saw a number of people in the bay window of the bungalow. Standing motionless, indistinct, somehow sombre. Grey shadows. There was a long black car in the driveway beside the hedge. And needless to say no boy bouncing.

Things have moved on and I no longer take that bus. New job, new routine. But I still sometimes wonder what exactly happened to the boy on the trampoline.

Mark Haw, Univeristy of Strathclyde. Mark says: "I am an MRes Creative Writing student at Strathclyde, writing about the collapse of civilization, which is a lot of fun. I have previously written science news and features: my proudest moment was when I managed to get a mention of the poet John Keats’ handkerchief into a piece about tuberculosis. Until the editor cut it out."