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  • Heather McQuillan

They are all someone's sons

There are a lot of young men in my packed close-together neighbourhood. Young women too but their voices don't carry the same on the cool air. Some of these young men rejoice at being free from the restraints of family and embrace their anonymity here in the University city. They behave in ways that might make their mothers worry.

Here is one of them I observed today. He looked in need of some TLC.

Someone's Son

There was a party again last night.

This afternoon, his throat is raw from deep-throated shouting. His ears still ring with the beats, the uuugh uuugh uuugh of a rugby match in the backyard, and the sweet shatter that half-filled bottles make when they slip from frosted fingers.

He wakes when the autumn sun has already been and gone, and his belly growls. His head growls. There is nothing edible in the flat so he pulls on a jacket, torn at the shoulder from the early morning maul, and hunts for shoes. They are elusive but he finds a pair of socks, pink, women’s socks far too small for his feet, and he heads out onto glass-glistening footpaths in search of food.

On Great King Street, outside Pizza Hut, he hovers and peers through steamed window-glass to see someone he knows. He grunts, opens the door. 'Uuugh uuugh uuugh,' he calls to his friend. He winces. His throat is raw.

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