I will write a novel, and these are fragments from that proto-text.
He would play this song for them as an example of what would happen if they were not good, or if he were not. Their anger at being taunted this way is branded into their musculature. They do not like it.
The song used second person verbs in scorn and steady hatred.
Of course they must do their utmost to avoid living out on the streets. And the One would have been living out on the streets now had she not had his help. Don’t do what I have done, she sang.
Yet by learning the skills that would keep them from living out on the streets, they were distancing themselves from the One. This was harmful and they might be thrown out before they knew enough.
And he and the One had not wanted to succeed, but had been forced to it. They resented that, and felt proud of time spent not trying. That time was their identity.
Their success surprised them, they said.
“We were not as talented as they, it was clear, because we had to try. They were made of finer stuff.”
“We did not know history because we had no personal memories of the Depression or the War, and because our school had not covered Europe yet. We did not know history.”
The two dyads battled each other for their lives, and this novel will not use the first person except in quotation marks. It will write in the third person of some characters falling into darkness.
They had suffered a great deal when they were poor and then again later, when they made the sacrifices they must to ensure they would not be poor again.
They would have liked to be artists and they felt bereft; there were great holes in the air around them where once their work had been.
They fall into darkness and mild water fills their gaps and breaches; wavelets rock and cover them.