Self-Help / Literary Fiction
This is the story of two very different young men, from two very different worlds. Tyson is from the rough streets of Trentan, Joey from the affluent northern suburbs. The worlds of these two young men collide through a chance encounter, and as a result, they begin to question their life situations. This connection sparks a shared journey of self-development; one which brings about necessary changes for both men.
The story has a self-help thread throughout, which is inspired by the author’s personal experience of living with anxiety and depression. The text conveys the truths that enabled him to rise out of suffering, and to live a life of peace and fulfilment. The teachings are centred on the concept of “present moment awareness”, and how this can be applied to everyday life.
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Clearing his throat, the man began to read.
“I wake to the sound of a screaming baby and kids running up and down the hallway. I live on the ninth floor of a social housing building, sharing the space with my mother and younger sister. My father left when I was twelve, so I’m the man of the house. It’s a role I take seriously. Certainly more than he ever did.
I rise out of bed and stare out of the window at the streets below. They’re beginning to show life. Rubbish trucks pass, people begin the commute to work, and shopkeepers lift the cages on their stores. The homeless who have found a night’s rest in the shop front are moved on without a second thought, or any risk of compassion.
Another day in paradise.
I’m born and raised in Trentan, an inner-city district known for its high crime rate and not much else. The community has been neglected. Everything here, from the roads to the services, is in a state of disrepair. Life is hard.
After working all night, I’ve only managed a few hours of sleep. I make my money selling drugs. It’s dangerous work, but I’m good at it. In Trentan, that’s reason enough to carry on.
I’m a product of my environment. Not by choice, but as a result of been raised in a broken home in a low-income area. My life of crime was set in motion long before I could make a conscious decision.
From a young age, I was exposed to things that no kid should see. There were good times for sure, but things could turn violent at any point. One minute you’re playing with your friends on the street. The next you’re witnessing a murder over drugs. And sometimes, what went on in the house was even worse.
These memories stick with you, and in many ways they harden you. Constantly seeing people die or taken away by the police makes you see life as temporary and unforgiving. Subconsciously, this makes you live for the moment. You never know when your time might be up.
With that mentality, you don’t think long term. You look for quick success. You can’t afford to take your time and establish a career; money is needed now. Selling drugs is the natural progression. Drugs are everywhere in Trentan, and there’s always a market for them.
I’m stuck in a cycle perpetuated by poverty and fear. I know if I stop selling, my family will end up homeless. I can’t let that happen. If I don’t support them, nobody will. Not my Dad. Not the government. Nobody. This keeps me doing what I’m doing. I don’t see any other option.
About the Author:
Tom Watts was born and raised in New Zealand and has spent some time living in Australia. After growing restless down under, he moved to London, where he currently resides and works as an urban designer, a career that he has been pursuing since graduating university. Tyson & Joey has been a background project for Tom, developing organically over several years as a response to his mental health challenges. For more information on the author and his works, visit tomjwatts.com.