Thursday, 2 October 2014

Second installment of the story ...

So now is the time to release the second part of the story into the wide blue yonder.  No reactions so far but maybe this part will get some comments!

No!  This wouldn’t do.  Why did it have to be that way?  She was her own woman, after all; she didn’t have to become her mother if she didn’t want to … and she didn’t want to so much!

Ellie put her mug down and headed upstairs.  After a dusty search under the bed (why did she never move furniture and clean under it?) she found what she was looking for.  Under a pile of cards, letters and postcards was a small blue note book.  It had a large yellow smiley stuck on the cover and the corners were scuffed.  Down on side was a faded strip; too many years left on her sunny window sill tucked under a French-English dictionary.  She pulled it out and stroked the cover gently.  For a moment she was 15 again; feathered hair, kohled eyes, platform shoes and Oxford Bags.  Ellie’s fingers trembled as she opened it.

There, in her younger-self’s handwriting, was her name and address.  It had been many years since she’d been there and many more since she’d lived there.  A drawing of a flower on the inside cover, several hearts coloured red and purple and a rotten anagram of a boy’s name.  What had he looked like?  She couldn’t remember.  After several pages – most of which contained a boy’s name (not always the same boy!) she found what she was looking for – her life list.

When she was 15, Ellie and her friends had each written a list of what they were going to do with their lives.  They had vowed, very serious thing to vow, that when they were ‘really old, like, 25’ they’d meet up and check their lists.  Of course that hadn’t happened – they’d lost touch when several of them didn’t stay into Sixth Form.  New friendships had formed, they changed when University started and even Uni friends had drifted away eventually.  So the life list had never seen the light of day again.  Thirty five years was a long time to wait to find out if she’d got the life she’d always wanted!   

Ellie’s Life List – by Ellie Jordan, age 15.

  1. Get married to either David Cassidy or Donny Osmond.
  2. Go to university and get a degree in English.
  3. Become a poet.
  4. Squeeze into size 10 jeans.
  5. Dye hair red and get loads of curls.
  6. Go to Italy and snog an Italian boy.
  7. Learn to drive and buy a 2CV.
  8. Learn Italian.
  9. Learn to ski.
  10. Become famous.

‘Wow, Ellie thought, ‘That’s quite a list!  I’ve managed 1 and a half – went to University and married; not David or Donny but that was always a bit ambitious!’

These were the ambitions of a 15 year old girl with stars in her eyes; real life hadn’t turned out quite like the teenage fantasy but that was true of most teenage fantasies – wildly impractical.  Her actual life had turned out to be rather conventional – after University a dull job; marriage; kids; some lovely jobs and several more dull jobs; approaching retirement and death!

‘God I’m depressing myself!’ thought Ellie.  ‘Better pull myself together or I’ll be in the kitchen swilling paracetamol down with gin!’

The list had depressed her more than she would have believed – all that potential, all those dreams and what had happened?  She’d got caught up in the boring business of ‘life’.  True of most people, maybe, but not what she’d wanted for herself.  She’d been the first member of her family to take A levels and go to University; these were chances that others hadn’t had – had she made the most of them?

Ellie wondered what her 15 year old self would say if she could see how it had all panned out – no snogging of fit Italian boys, little poetry and certainly no size 10 jeans!  She had a vague memory of sitting on a friend’s bedroom floor and writing the list.  Whose bedroom had it been?  She didn’t remember.  Who was there?  Still she didn’t remember.  Something so important had been pushed out of her mind and it took a shock in a mirror to remind her that she had once had ambition.  Tears welled up in her eyes and she rushed to the toilet for some tissue.

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