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Scared and desperate on a massive slab of concrete, barreling down in a tin-can pickup truck at speeds too fast, Jack wasn't sure exactly where he was going. The direction was all that mattered, the opposite direction of that house which had caused him so much pain and sleepless nights.

There was the week he spent locked up in his room, sick of those false friends and tired of the unreasonable enemies. He'd leave only to take a short walk down the hall to the filthy bathroom, which had mysterious puddles on the ground and occasionally a pool of vomit floating in the sink from the previous night's heavy drinking.

The women, faces caked with makeup, would stare at him and expect a witty comment. When it didn't come they gave an awkward glare and continue on down the hall to get belligerently, annoyingly drunk and if they'd put on the right kind of makeup that night maybe make it with one of the guys.

Jack's brothers had always been his close confidants, but now were never to be seen despite their rooms being only a few feet away. They would leave and get drunk and have a great time with the others, leaving Jack to his own thoughts and coming to his room only occasionally out of pity or obligation, trying to convince him to stay in the house and make a good time of it.

He had been convinced and reconvinced numerous times but his decision to leave became final in his head by the last few weeks. In truth he had known all along that he wouldn't stay, although he may have hoped privately that he would eventually fit in to this masked lifestyle of fun and brotherhood.

Now, as he drove down that highway, he was again troubled by indecision as his hometown approached only miles away. With all his material belongings in the back of the truck, he was tempted with making a return. He had good friends there but they had bothered him for months prior to his move to the house, and the drive he'd made months earlier was nearly the same in attitude and consequence except for it being in the opposite direction.

The exit approached and Jack took it, not knowing what else to do and being too broke to go anywhere else. He drove around the town with the deepest feelings of desperation and fear within him, this was the first time in his life he hadn't a home. With only a few numbers left he couldn't reach anyone by telephone to at least meet up with and have a drink to pass the time. Dejected, he drove to his last vestige of friendship at Sheridan street, where a few of his friends from high school had said they were living.

He didn't know exactly where on Sheridan street and in his searching through the residential neighborhoods he caught out of the corner of his eye a group of young people sitting in the grass as he drove past the block. With anxiety kicking in Jack was not sure whether to drive up, to be stared at as a stranger who hadn't been seen in months and may not be a friend anymore.

With an inkling that they may have seen his truck pass, he decided the anxiety caused by his return wouldn't be worse than driving by his old companions. He circled around the block and drove in front of the house, parking in front of the lawn where they sat.

They stayed sitting as he set the brake and they stayed sitting as he turned of the engine and opened his door. He walked slowly to the lawn amid stares of his old friends, sitting down in the circle and being greeted unenthusiastically.

“Hey,” said one of them.

“Whats up?” Jack replied.

A few bits of useless chatter were thrown about before silence fell on Jack and the group continued whatever conversation they'd been having. He sat plucking at the grass nervously, with the deep depression of knowing that he had no more home. He had no where to run to now, he was stuck being the victim of these silent stares or running off to a new place which he'd likely end up loathing just as much.

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The following comments are for "Sheridan Street Stares"
by flymos

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