9. A World Of Stone

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The wiser you may be,

The harder it can be to see,

In this world made of stone

Such a long, long way to go

Such a long way from home.


When I wake the next day, Minnie's not there and her bed hasn't been slept in.

A brief wave of panic is quickly replaced with indignation. If she thinks staying out all night will make me change my mind about staying in Hamburg, she's got another think coming.

I get up and throw my clothes on, intending to go and look for her when I catch my reflection in the mirror of the bedroom. I'm wearing the same as I did yesterday, which I thought looked good at the time, but now I've met Astrid I feel frumpy again. She's so chic and stylish. The clothes she wears look so... so modern. Sharp and sophisticated and... well, grown up, whereas me and even Minnie, we look like kids in comparison. I toy with the idea of asking her where she gets her things from before I remember we're leaving and I probably won't see her again.

Grabbing my jacket, I rush down the stairs of the hostel, get to the front door and stop in my tracks. I drop back into the shadows of the doorway again and peer out, careful to stay hidden.

George is waiting outside. He gingerly places one foot in front of the other as he treads along the edge of the bottom step of the stairs that lead up to the hostel's doorway. He's wearing the same leather jacket as he had yesterday. It hangs open as he hold his arms out to balance like a tightrope walker. He accidentally slips off the side of it so he returns to the end of the step and tries again.

I watch him for a moment before reasoning that if I want to get out of here, I'll have to go past him. I skip down the steps with as much confidence as I can muster.

George stops and looks up. 'Hi...' he says.

'Have you seen Minnie?' I ask him brusquely, stopping two steps above him. 'She didn't come back here last night.'

'Yeah, she stayed at ours,' he replies. 'She had Stu's bed when Stu went back with Astrid.'

I roll my eyes, muttering, 'Bloody typical,' under my breath. I try to move past George, but he catches my arm.

'Uh, I was...' he starts then drops my arm and sticks his hands into his jeans pockets. 'Can I talk to you for a minute?'

'I think we had a lifetimes worth of that yesterday, George. What's left to say?'

'I don't know. I just don't want to leave it like this.'

I sigh shortly. 'Alright. Go on then.'

'Not here. Let's go somewhere.'

Ten minutes later we were sitting in a steam filled café, not dissimilar the ones at home in Liverpool. I feel a strange twist in my stomach, as I realise I can't call that home anymore. I lean my head on my hand, and rub a gap in the foggy condensation on the window next to our table so I can see the street outside. The sky is a lot clearer today, bright and crisp, but it's still cold. This part of the city is busy. Lots of cars and people hurrying around.

George is waiting at the counter to order us some coffee. He's got his back to me so I can watch him without him knowing. I wonder what he wants. He made himself pretty clear yesterday. I suddenly feel incredibly sad. A week ago I'd been totally in love with this boy - or so I'd thought. Now that was all over. Shattered in an instant.

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