Each week, we pick a short fiction piece from our Fairlight Shorts archives to feature as our story of the week. This week, we’ve chosen a story about differences by Alex Pickett.
Alex Pickett was born in South Wales and moved to Dorset during his childhood. He has a lifelong passion for all things creative, including writing, painting and illustration. Alex holds a degree in psychology, specialising in the science of reading, and works as a primary school teacher – a job he adores. His style of adult fiction is contemporary, often focusing on identity, relationships and memories. He has also self-published two collections of stories for younger readers, inspired by nature. Alex lives on a quayside, and the sea is often present in his writing.
‘Awake’ focuses on the friendship between two boys, despite their differences.
He pedals with bold, heavy movements and when there’s an incline, he swings his legs out and flies, silent and free. I envy him his perfect happiness. I pedal as fast as I can, always behind him, trying to copy. He’s wearing shorts, quite rightly. It’s a balmy summer holiday evening, the air still baked in the last of the day’s heat. I chose jeans, and now I regret them, but I don’t like my legs very much. They’re not like his.
The path is rough as we come off the main track and make our way through the trees, down to the reservoir. I match the path that Adam carves out, avoiding the larger piles of bracken. At some point there’s a stream. He manages to sail through with rough, angry grace. I ready myself, I pray, and yes, I’ve managed to do it too. The icy water splashes onto my ankles. The sudden cold is a shock; it propels me onwards.