“What am I gonna do now,” Luke sighed as he scrolled down his book collection on his phone, feeling bored. At the age of 38, he retired from professional football for good. The retirement was exciting because he thought he will have lots of free time. But, as time progressed, he start to feel bored doing the same thing every day; housekeeping or reading books.
“Argh this is sad,” he shouted towards his room. He doesn’t have any family to be talked to, and he is an introvert so neighbours knew that he isn’t the most friendly person in the neighbourhood. One time, when a neighbour came and invited him to a grill party, he said yes. He come, but he just sat there, looking around and nervous that people talk to him. In the end, he leaves early and doesn’t even eat the hotdogs that his neighbour offered.
He called his former teammate, Lloris. “How it’s going?” he asks. Lloris answered, “It’s been a lot of fun dude, I met a girl called Katrina and we will marry soon. Btw what’re you doing now? I haven’t heard anything from you in a while.”
Luke scratched his head, as he replied “Um, yea, I moved to a new house on a suburban in Leicester. The neighbours were actually humble, but I’m not quite fit in with them yet.”
Then Luke had an idea, and he told him “Lloris, could we meet? It’s been a long time, but I need someone to talk to & have fun with me,”
Lloris immediately answered, “I don’t think I can dude. Right now I’m in France, and I have a few events to attend. Maybe next time, okay?”. Luke got mad, and he close the phone right off the bat.
Luke mind suddenly full of frustration & anger. He decided to take a fresh walk outside. He wants to go to the park and buy some ice cream for himself, to cool his mind. “Where are my socks?” Luke thought as he rummaged through his wardrobe. He can’t find it, so he decides to go sockless. It was weird at first, feeling his sole touching the insole of the shoes, but he quickly ignore it.
Luke walked. He wore the wrong shoes, and it hurts his feet in the heels part. He said “Where are the benches? I need to take off my shoes to see what’s wrong.” in his head. The weather is cold, so he thought to himself “Well, the ice cream probably even more cold.”, so he decide to not buy ice cream. But still, he want to fresh his mind with fresh air at park.
He took the wrong path to the park and found himself in a dark alleyway. He want to turn back, but he saw something on the ground. “What’s that?” Luke squinted his eye at the thing.
Luke didn’t bring his glasses, so he’s not sure if the ‘thing’ is a human or just trash. He walked slowly to the thing, and he saw a kid, shivering in cold, wearing plastic on his feet. Luke knew he had to do something, but he was too scared to ask. After a few minutes, he gathered his brave to come to the boy. He could hear the kid’s teeth shiver.
“Excuse me, are you alright?” he whispered to the boy’s ear. The boy woke up and was startled to see a stranger was so close to him. “What’re you doin’? Are you gonna rob me? I don’t have money anymore” said the boy. Luke was shocked to see the response.
“No, I’m not trying to steal money from you, I was asking if you feel fine” Luke replied. “Hey man, do you think I’m fine?” the boy showed his holey t-shirt. “You’re so dumb dude, go away.” the boy replied.
“Um, but, um, do you want a pair of shoes,” said Luke, with his eyes looking shocked. The boy softened, and said, “Well yea I need that, but I don’t want to be in your video”. Luke is confused and asks what he means. “You are a popular guy man, everyone in the districts knows you’re a pro football player. You make this thing for YouTube videos right?”
“No” Luke shortly replied. “If you don’t want my help, that’s okay, I’ll leave you, take care of yourself.” The boy grabs & holds Luke’s hand. “Dude, do you want to help me or not? I’m shivering right now because my clothes are ripped. I thought you were a nice dude.”
Luke scratched his head and turned back. He shyly smiled, and said, “Yeah, I was gonna go get a pizza for you, I’m not going to leave you alone here in the darkness” Luke smiled. “So, what’s your name?”
“I’m Ayden. I’ve been out here for days. My parents kicked me out and I don’t have anywhere to go.” Luke’s heart sank. He knew what it was like to live alone after he lost his parents because of a car accident a few years ago.
“Well Ayden, would you like to come home with me and have a meal? You seem hungry,” Luke said. Ayden’s eyes lit up with hope. “I also have shoes that may fit your feet.” Luke continued. “Really?” he asked, his voice filled with disbelief.
“Absolutely,” Luke replied, smiling. “I want to have friends so I am not alone, lately, I’ve always been bored because there is nothing I can do in my free time. C’mon, let’s go,”
Ayden prepared his belongings, and Luke watched him. He remembers that when he is at Ayden’s age, he can’t even clean his parent’s backyard, let alone make a makeshift home in the middle of a cold & dark alleyway. “I wonder how Ayden’s parents must feel now, how do they can kick their own child?” he thought.
They walked toward Luke’s home. It’s not far, but it’s enough to make the kid sweat because of all of his belongings. “C’mon, give me that backpack, your back seems hunched,” said Luke while offering his hands. Ayden is relieved from the weight that is lifted from his body.
When they arrived home, Luke offered Ayden to clean himself in the bathroom. Ayden nodded and went right to the bathroom. Meanwhile, Luke prepared a meal for both of them. “What should I cook now, what does he want?”.
As he thought about the menu for a while, he didn’t hear a sound coming from the bathroom. He shouted “Ayden, are you okay?” but he didn’t answer. He started to worry, so he rushed back to check on him. When he opened the door, he found Ayden standing there, looking confused while touching the hot water tap.
“Ayden, is the tap stuck? Or do you need something?” Luke asked, concerned.
Ayden turned to Luke. “I don’t know how to turn on the shower,” he said, his voice shaking as he touched the ‘hot’ water tap. “Don’t rotate it Ayden.” Luke said, “You’re gonna hurt yourself with the hot water, lemme show you.”
Luke realized that Ayden had probably never had a proper shower before, and he felt a surge of compassion for the boy. He gently showed Ayden how to turn on the water to the right temperatures and also show him how to use the soap and shampoo.
“There you go,” he said, patting Ayden on the back. “You’ll feel a lot better after you get cleaned up.”
“Thanks, Luke” Ayden shyly said. He began to use the liquid soap, but unlucky for him, he spill the whole bottle. He whispered “Noo” to himself, and used his hands to put the liquid soap back into the bottle from the bathroom floor.
Luke couldn’t help but laughed. “No, Ayden, we can just use a new soap, don’t worry about it.” Ayden replied, “But it’s a waste when we can collect this and use it again.”
“These are unhygienic Ayden, it’s already on the floor,” Luke said. Ayden want to defend his opinion, but he knew he lives in Luke’s house, so he needs to follow his rules. He sighed and nodded. He began to clean the spilt soap, and continue to clean himself with a new
Luke is back in the kitchen, and thinks “Maybe I should cook hamburgers, kids these days probably liked it.”
Luke made a bunch of burgers. Little did he knew that Ayden scared to eat the burgers. Why? To know the reason, stay tuned to the next story in this series.Read the next series