Deep in the poor part of Chicago at dusk time, a boy is slouched on the ground, back against the brick entrance of a 7 Eleven. He is thinking, almost pensive, about something. You could place his age around fifteen, perhaps even sixteen- with his shaggy, untamed mane of fire red hair and freckles sprinkling ever last inch of his body.
He is huddled in a ratty, thread-bare brown sweatshirt, trying to savor some warmth on this chilly October evening. A "Chicago Cubs" baseball cap obscures his face from view to all who pass him. The jeans he wears are baggy and frayed at the cuffs. His sneakers are barely passable as red converse from the dirt and wear on them. A back-pack sits next to his feet, and like everything else he posses, it is in bad condition.
He shudders in chill, remembering why the city in which he resides is called "The Windy City". Pushing a few stray hairs out of his vision as he peers upward towards the sky, his curious brown eyes glimmer in the street lights, which have just flipped on for the night.
And for once he notices a woman- pretty and presumed to be college aged- in distraught, looking around the street. Sandwiched under an arm is an art portfolio and strapped onto her other shoulder is a Vera Bradley tote-bag. She glances his way, with a warm smile that could heat up anyone on a night like tonight as she gingerly approaches.
"Hey," she greets, smile still plastered onto her face. "Do you know when the buses come around?"
The boy looks to her and gives an affirmative nod . "Every half hour, and the last one came twenty-five minutes ago." He turns his head and expectorates.
"Thank you so much. I need to get to North Western campus. I was visiting a friend from around her for the day," she explains, even though he never asked for a reason or anything else from he. No doubt, she must be out of town, or at least unfamiliar with this neighborhood. She seems too open to be from this part of town.
She joins him on the ground because the bench for the bus is busted and she could use some company. Though she seem uncomfortable sitting on the ground in the blue mini skirt she wears. "I`m Evangeline," she introduces herself to him, extending a delicate hand to shake.
He does not give her his name, a hand to shake, nor a acknowledging glance. Instead, he ignores her and fumbles with his back-pack, pulling a container and something else out. Evangeline looks over to see that it is a packet of Marlboro cigarettes and a lighter. The boy opens the cigarettes, pulls one out, and places it his mouth.
"Really, a child your age smoking?" Evangeline exclaims as he lights up his smoke. He shoots his eyes at her, glowering.
"You`ll give yourself cancer, you know," she informs him as he takes a particularly long drag. He expels the smoke from his lips. "Whadda you care," he spits. "You`re not my mother…. Hell, you don`t even KNOW me."
She is taken back by this rude remark. "I`m just saying," she begins; somehow firmness stays with her voice. She seems to have a prepared lecture on the dangers of smoking, but abruptly stops talking after her pardon. She doesn`t say a single word for a whole minute, absently cracking her knuckles in thought whilst the boy puffs on his smoke.
The boy, in-between drags of his cigarette, looks her over. She is gorgeous with a petite frame, a moon-like radiant complexion, and blonde curls held by a simple light blue headband, tumbling down and tickling her shoulders. Her eyes were as bright as the night star.
Just then, the door to the 7 Eleven bursts open and a clearly temperamental shop keeper appears in view. His face is a steamy red, melting through his balding tufts of grayish-white hair. "You`ve been here all afternoon, kid," he yells to the boy. "Get away from my store!"
Disdainfully, the boy looks up and snorts, breathing a ring of smoke like a dragon. He is clearly not threatened. "You ain`t the boss of me," he retorts with strut in his voice, like he`s questioned people before.
"Do I have to call the cops?" The shop-keeper threatens, stepping out of the store and walking towards them. Before the door shut behind him, a few startled costumers peek out. "You`re loitering, don`t you know!"
He makes a grab for the boy`s arm, and the boy drops his cigarette on the ground as he springs up to his feet. The boy tries to make a break away, but forgets to grab his back-pack. So instead the shopkeeper grabs for the abused backpack and throws it at the boy. From all of those years of wear and tear, the back-pack finally splits, spewing out the contents all over the street. A spray can, a busted empty beer can, cigarettes, a lighter, crumpled pieces of paper, and a slingshot all fall out into a messy pile.
The boys begin to thickly curse under his breath as he falls back to the ground to collect his things. The shopkeeper whisks away back into the shop, and he seems pretty satisfied with himself. Evangeline crawls onto her hands and knees, offering a hand to the boy.
"Here, let me help you," she offers, setting aside her portfolio and bag and collecting up the papers into her arms. She can`t help but notice that all of them all report cards and teacher notes.
The cigarettes have fallen out of their pack, and the ginger shuffles them back into it with haste.
"Oh dear," Evangeline remarks, seeing the horrible condition of the bag, which now has a gigantic split from where it was stitched. "Is there anything I can do for you?"
"No," he hisses, shoving the cigarettes and lighter into his jean pockets. He snatches the papers and beer can, gets up, and discards them into a near-by trashcan.
He stashes the slingshot and spray can into his hoodie.
"You sure?" Evangeline springs to her feet, and gently places a hand on the boy`s arm, even if she hasn`t known him for very long. She seems to be a very empathic character.
The boy snatches away and grabs for his backpack, which now belongs in the garbage as well. The lighting from the street-lamp is just well enough that when the boy turns around, Evangeline can see his face. It is youthful and bright, so she is positive he is a high-schooler. However, a strange, almost navy-hued bruise darkens the tip of his chin and several white colored scars etch the side of the face. Whether they are from a scrap with other boys or an abusive home, she is unsure.
"I should be headin' on," he begins, placing his hands in his pockets, about to pass her.
The long-awaited for bus looms down the road, and unexpectedly she calls out. "Wait, I didn`t catch your name."
He looks back to her, glares for a moment and asks, "What?"
"I gave you my name, so what might yours be?"
Casually, just before walking off, he responds, "My name is Lampwick."