Last day of school. The two best friends sit by the canal underneath the baking sun. One sips a soft drink from a plastic bottle. The other throws little stones into the water. After the summer they begin separate secondary schools. The one with the drink passes the bottle to his companion. He takes the bottle and swigs from it. He licks the flavour from around his mouth. Sweat from his top lip mingles with the sweet taste. The bottle is handed back. A suggestion is made.
“Why?” questions the other, puzzled expression contorting his cherubic face.
“I saw it in a film,” comes the response. This is good enough for the questioner. They remove their trainers from their bags. Suggestion boy ties the laces of each trainer together, fastening a knot into a uniting umbilical cord. “Give me your trainers so I can tie the knot for you,” he says to his friend when he is done.
“I can tie knots,” defends the questioner weakly, whilst offering his trainers. Moments later they are back in his sweaty palms. “I’m not going to get them in the tree,” he doubts. Said tree is on the other side of the canal, but a branch reaches out to them across the glistening murky water.
“Yeah you will. Just aim high.” The questioner measures the distance. He still doubts. But he throws. They swing across the air, before plummeting disappointingly into the water.
“See. I told you.” He is gloomy. His friend is aiming. He launches his trainers. They arch high. They drop into the intended target. They tangle themselves. They hang. The boys admire in silence. The gloom is lifted.
They eventually go their separate ways. They see each other only a few times over summer. They begin their new schools and make new friends. They lose touch. But the thought of the trainers, bonded to one another in that moment, comes to symbolise the friendship they have in their memories.