by John Ammirati
Nate always had their attention. He sat slouched in his seat on the bus. His gang of four sat around him, leaning in towards him. Their tracksuited teenage presence was not uncommon on the 22 bus route that passed through the Withington suburb of Manchester. They were particularly loud and vulgar today, except for Nate, who said little and said it softly.
They got off the bus and entered a cornershop and spread themselves out through the aisles. The clerk behind the counter kept an eye on them. They taunted him and stole snacks and ran out the shop.
They soon stopped running and walked to Mauldeth Road Park and took up residence at their usual bench. Two girls they knew approached them. They spoke only to Nate. They asked if he was going to a party that night. Nate’s gang said they’d be there but the girls ignored them. Nate just laughed and said “Maybe.”
As one girl spoke to Nate, his eyes rolled back and he fell to the ground. His mouth frothed and he shook violently on the ground.
“He’s spazzing out!” yelled Laz, the un-official second in command. The boys watched Nate for a few seconds, then ran off. The girls stuck around for a second longer and then ran themselves.
Days later, Nate phoned his gang but no one answered his calls. The same for the girls. In Mauldeth Road Park one afternoon, a week after his seizure, Nate saw his gang at their bench. Laz sat in Nate’s spot and the girls hovered over him. They pretended not to see Nate.
John Ammirati is 28 and lives in Manchester.