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The World Around Him

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Phil quite liked to be alone, it provided him the chance to be lost in his own thoughts, uninterrupted. Usually his friends would ask if he was okay when he spaced out for too long, to which he assured them that, yes, he was perfectly fine.

And he was; being alone and immersed in his imagination allowed for his own comfort. So on a quiet Thursday night when the moon was bright and the wind was warm, it seemed to Phil a perfect chance to look out the window with his bedroom lights off.

However, his mother had different plans, “Phil! Would you come here?”

“Yeah mum, I’ll be just a minute.” Phil sighed, usually it wouldn’t annoy him to be called out by his mother, especially because she understood him so well. He slowly sat up and skipped down the stairs, finding his family at the door.

“We’ve been invited out last minute to a small party.” His mother smiled, slipping on a thin sweater in case the night brought cold with it. Phil nodded and looked to his brother Martin, who was in uni now, and therefore didn’t have to go, but their mother seemed adamant to have them all out. His mother continued restlessly, “Do you want a sweater dear? Please don’t bring your games this time either!”

“Just down the street is it?” Phil’s father asked his mother, for what Phil guessed must have been the third time judged by her slightly annoyed tone.

“Yes,” She replied, looking at Phil, “Should we walk?”

“Can we?” Phil asked, slightly excited to be out on this perfect night.

“I don’t see why not,” Phil’s father replied, as they all started out the door. Phil and Martin walked silently next to each other. Phil always found it amazing how well they got on, now that they were older they didn’t fight like they used to as kids, and even then they barely fought. They were almost complete opposites, but siblings are always close at heart, he supposed.

Soon the family arrived at a house with all the lights on and kids running around the lawn.

“Dan! Dan, stop!” A young boy yelled, annoyed. As Phil got closer he could tell the boy was smiling aggressively, though.

“Hello!” Phil’s mother called out to the kids on the lawn, the one apparently called Dan looked a few years younger than Phil, he waved back politely, thought somewhat awkwardly, and continued entertaining the children. Phil followed his mother and father into the house only to be greeted by his barely familiar neighbors.

“My nephew is outside, he’s around your age,” His neighbor, Mrs. Wilson, said while smiling at him, wine glass in hand. Phil took that as his cue to be excused and quietly walked outside, Martin nudging him on the arm as he passed.

He stood on the lawn a few seconds before the boy called Dan noticed him.

“You were kicked out too, huh?” Dan laughed halfheartedly, as if testing the waters. He walked towards Phil, tripping a little as he went.

“Yeah,” Phil nodded, pretending not to notice, albeit finding it a little endearing, “I’m Phil, I live just down the street."

"Dan, I live near London. Just here visiting for a bit.” Dan looked off to the side, accidentally creating a dramatic pose. Phil laughed a little, wondering if he did this frequently, wondering if he would ever know the answer to that very question. Dan didn’t seem to notice though, and just went on staring into the empty road.

“You seem pretty good with kids,” Phil said out of nowhere, not really realizing he could be crossing boundaries or sounding creepy. Dan seemed slightly taken aback but then settled into his own skin after a few seconds.

“Not really, they’re just my cousins and I don’t get to see them very often.” Dan smiled at a little girl with curly blonde hair, being chased by another little girl. A sudden warm breeze rustled the leaves in the tree and mussed up Phil’s fringe, and when he took a quick look at Dan he noticed a small curl hidden beneath the rest of his straight, brown hair.

Phil felt bad for noticing things but not saying things, it was a habit of his. He took things in and forgot he was in the same world as everybody else. A lot of people didn’t understand that he did things differently. It’s not that he doesn’t understand social cues, he just isn’t afraid to be himself and sometimes people are scared of that.

But when Phil tried to carry on the conversation about their interests, he found someone who was quite possibly, just as strange as he was in all different ways. At the very bones, they were the same kind of person; they were different, quiet, loving. They both felt some strange comfort in being alone, and most importantly, being alone with each other.

Even though it was one strange summer night in the midst of their awkward high school years, neither of them ever forgot it. It would only be a mere two years later when they crossed paths again, though neither of them knew it.


Phil spent a lot of his time at uni in his room making videos when he wasn’t in class. It was his outlet, after the sudden and unexpected (though aren’t they always?) death of his close friend and roommate. A lot of his time was a blur, and he barely knew what happened around him. Phil tried his best to stay on top of things though, fighting through the recent events.

Every now and then Phil would recognize a username “danisnotonfire”. He replied to one of their tweets, and then more just kept coming. Danisnotonfire had a lot of the same interests as Phil and didn’t seem like a stalker at all. This change was great for Phil, he found himself excited to talk to danisnotonfire after his classes got out.

It only made Phil ecstatic when they decided to meet up. Danisnotonfire, who Phil found out later was just called Dan, was only 18. Phil didn’t really mind, in fact he welcomed the change of pace and was simply happy to find someone who shared all his weird interests.

At 10:00 Phil got out of a taxi and waited at the train station. Dan was coming up to see Phil, and he was extremely excited to not only be away from home for a bit, but to see his new found friend. Dan ran off the train, not a fan of the crowd, happiness and nervousness jolting through his veins as he slowed his pace. He searched the crowd for a familiar face, knowing Phil had never seen his.

The first thing Dan saw were Phil’s absolutely electric blue eyes, then his imperfectly perfect crooked mouth. Dan slowly made his way to Phil, clutching his backpack with tight fists. He was all nerves and when Phil finally laid eyes on him, he knew just how nervous he was. Phil was almost as nervous, the only reason he wasn’t is because he’d seen this boy somewhere before.

Then it clicked.

“Dan,” Phil whispered, expressionless. The words seemed to crawl out of his mouth, slowly, silently. Phil remembered the warm breeze and the bright moon of that Thursday night in July. Before Dan could even greet Phil, Phil practically split his face in half smiling. “We’ve met before!”

“W-what?” Dan asked, the familiar scared and uncomfortable expression made it’s way onto his features, party because Phil’s smiled was so incredibly radiant and partly because he was sure he’d never met Phil before. He would remember.

“You have an aunt in Rossendale, right?” Phil was still smiling, and when he saw that Dan still had no idea what he meant, he began to explain, "Remember? You went to your aunts house in the summer and they had a party. You were playing with your cousins when I came and then when I came outside you said ‘They kicked you out too, huh?’ and you tripped while walking over to me,“ Phil went on and on without even realizing Dan had begun to understand.

"You saw that?” Dan yelled, embarrassed, “Wait, that was you?”

“Yeah!” Phil replied happily, luck finally making it’s way to him. There was no one else in the world Phil would rather be reunited with.

“That’s my favorite memory,” Dan looked down as Phil nodded in agreement, “I wish it wasn’t so dark, I would’ve remembered you.”

Phil shook his head in response, suddenly thinking of Dan’s dramatic habit of looking off to the side, “I just remember weird things is all.”