“The entire neighbourhood is beige and grey, but at the end of the street sits a bright blue house. Who lives there?”
Just like every other day, the day was dull.
The sun was just not being the sun, sending the entire world into a grey, dreary mush.
Early in the morning the streets were quiet with only teenagers and children, dressed in their uniforms, were about, on their way to school by themselves or in packs. They were dressed as dreary as the day. As grey as the sky. The world around them nothing but a low, numb feeling.
Amongst these teenagers was a boy, ignoring the world around him like all of the others, never looking up from the pavement.
His name was, Jakob.
Jakob’s street was known as the most depressing street in Oakbury, with the houses the dimmest shade of grey or beige anyone could get their hands on. Most of the houses were sold cheaply, purchased by elderly men or woman; young couples with screaming babies; old couples with screaming babies; reckless teens; drug sellers; drug users. It wasn’t the most pleasant place to be around at night. You’d only find a couple of families around that seemed normal or homely.
Quickly, on his way to school, Jakob walked down his street with his black hood over his hair and white ear buds secured in his ears, loud music bursting from them, washing around his head. He liked the noise. It blocked out the world.
As he continued to walk down the street, the environment around him however, seemed to change.
It was as if the earth seemed lighter and more pleasant to be in the further away from his house he walked.
It was something he had never experienced before.
He almost felt like smiling for no apparent reason at all.
So, reluctant as he was, he raised his head to look around.
There, at the end of the street just a few houses down from him was a new, brighter looking house.
It had the same construction as all of the other houses on the street, but its windows looked joyful instead of sad and heavy, the walls looked strong instead of weak and lean, and the roof was perky instead of saggy and frail.
The colour of this house was blue.
Blue, just blue.
Everything, from the chimney, all the way down to the steps leading up to the blue front door.
All of it was a light shade of blue, just like a summer sky.
Jakob’s mother and father had been talking about some new neighbours arriving this week, but they gave no such warning to Jakob that maybe, just maybe, they would bring a blue house with them?
Just as Jakob was about to pass this outcast of a house, the front door to it opened and out came a girl.
It made him stop and stare.
She was small and looked around fifteen, just a year younger than Jakob himself. Her hair was shoulder length and a honey colour with golden highlights. Her skin was tanned and smooth. To Jakob she looked almost artistic in her school uniform, customized with badges and multicoloured hair clips pinned to her blazer. Unlike most of the girls Jakob knew from school, her face seemed natural and not painted three shades darker than it was suppose to.
As she shouted her goodbyes into the Blue House, she turned around and skipped down the steps, only noticing Jakob once she had reached her front gate.
It was only when she looked at him did he realize that his mouth was hanging open.
‘Oh, hi,’ she said, almost breathless as if Jakob had taken her by surprise with his presence, ‘I didn’t see you there.’
Jakob stood there, quiet.
Her voice was like a melody and it set off bells in Jakob’s head.
Scrunching up his eyes and shaking himself out of his trance, Jakob pulled out his ear buds and walked over to the girl.
‘Hi,’ he said, smiling at her as kindly as he could even though just doing so made his cheeks ache. He looked from the blue to house to the girl, once, twice, three times. ‘You’re house is very blue.’
The girl nodded, slotting her hands into her blazer pockets, crossing her legs over the other. She didn’t say anything to Jakob’s comment. He was glad, realizing just seconds after he said it, how stupid it had been.
It was just the start of spring yet the girl was wearing only a skirt to cover her legs and little ankle socks. Jakob knew that she was probably regretting that decision now that she was outside in the crisp, morning air.
‘Where are you heading?’ Jakob wasn’t use to being the one to encourage a conversation on.
‘School,’ the girl answered, ‘my dad said he would drive me but I chose to walk. I like walking.’
It was Jakob’s first instinct to look at the girl’s blazer to see what school she was attending.
Unsurprisingly, it was the same school as his.
He was so used to walking on his own, and yet now, he felt the urge to do something polite without his mother encouraging him to do so in the first place. ‘Do you need someone to walk with? I’m heading there too.’
The girl took a second to think before giving another nod. ‘Okay,’ she said, ‘I’ve never been good with maps anyway. I would have probably got lost.’
With a slight tip of his head, Jakob started walking, letting the girl walk beside him.
He wanted to put in his ear buds but knew that would be too rude, so he just walked in silence next to this new girl as she walked, nibbling her lip and looking around at everything.
‘This place isn’t really that interesting,’ Jakob interrupted the girl’s thoughts, ‘it has a couple of corner shops here and there, a school just out of the town and too many houses to count. Oh yeah, and a park, but people mainly go there to get high or get drunk.’
The girl wrinkled her nose.
‘Not your style?’ Jakob gave a slight chuckle.
The girl shook her head. ‘No,’ she said, ‘not really.’
Jakob gave a nod, heaving a sigh. ‘I’m Jakob by the way,’ he introduced himself, ‘I live at house fifteen.’
‘Shoala,’ the girl said, ‘good to meet you.’