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"Party Hearty Co. So, who are you and what you want?"
“Oh... uh... uh...” I stammer, no answer at all. Silence.
Bee-eep. Dial tone. Whatever.
Argh, who am I? How should I know?
Confused teenager seeks... um... to get a life?
All those questions. What do you want to be when you grow up? Career! Boys?
Being 15 sucks. Here I am; skinny, tall, uncool, complete with nerdy glasses and an unmistakable head-to-toe rash of freckles. Fart-face, that’s what kids at school call me. It’s so embarrassing!
Yet, by my birthday— voila-- I’m suddenly meant to be grown up? Only a month to go. My bullshit meter is clanging, off its dial. You, responsible? No way. Motivated? Poised? Wail!
Sniffing, I drag in a breath.
I think of Mum, her bright blue eyes just like mine. That’s where our likeness ends, though. Her skin is foundation-smoothed and clear, freckles imperceptible. I picture her sleek brown hair, classic suits, kitten heels—- neat yet savvy-- but then there’s her nose, her anomaly. It turns defiantly leftwards, souvenir of a riding accident in her teens, or so she says. Why wasn’t that fixed, you might ask. I wouldn’t dare. Don’t mess with KRISTY, it shouts.
“Julia, there you are love” Mum calls, hand on door. “How was your day? Is everything OK? Oh love, what’s up?”
She’s in the hall now, reaching out to hug me, so I let go onto her shoulder, snivelling into her hair, faces wet with tears. “I’m nothing!” I choke out “I don’t know who I am... or want... what I want to do... I can’t grow up... I’m retarded... Nobody likes me. Oh, why can’t I be like you!”
“Love, I’m here for you, it’ll be OK, remember to breathe! How about I make a nice pot of tea, and you can tell me all about it, we’ll sort it out together, you know I love you, you’ll be fine, come on into the kitchen now, out of this gloomy hallway.”
We painted this kitchen together, a warm primrose yellow, all womblike and mellow now with slanted afternoon sunbeams. It’s my favourite place in the world, my safe place. Steam fills the space, as I pour out my heart, and when the pouring is all done and done, I hiccough and giggle, and we’re off, both laughing so hard we roll off the couch. It isn’t funny!
“When I was young we had all kinds of freedom that you’ve never known. Oh, how we roamed! It gave us each a sense of who we were, our individuality, our sense of direction. I understand you’re feeling illequipped right now, but trust me, Love, it will come, and soon. I promise.
On the other hand, what you have that we never did, though, is possibilities. Unlimited! Freedom to choose. You can be whatever you dream up.
I guess it can be daunting, every option in the world available. Not our generation, we were under such pressure, get a job, get married, settle down closeby, have a family, save money for a rainly day, dress nicely, don’t rock the boat...
I think I did most things for others, first for my parents, then for your father, then for you, Love. Those goals were never my own. The real me got left behind long ago... You’ve probably never guessed how dissatisfied I’ve felt.
Well, at least there was a real you...
Joining the family business broke your Grandfather’s heart, I guess that’s why he died so young. What a sacrifice! All for family.
Did you know he loved photography? And he painted? That he was a brilliant musician? Oh, how I loved waking each morning to his piano... mmm, I’ve come to believe when we do what we love, it gives others great pleasure too.
Yet, I made the same mistakes my dad did. I don’t want that for you, Love! Julia’s always seem to be trailblazers, real go getters, we’ve seen lots on TV, haven’t we? All of them doing what they love.
Of course there’s our first woman Prime Minister, THE pioneering celebrity TV chef, Olympic medalists, a couple of yank First Ladies, Miss Earth... and more actors and writers than you can poke a stick at, a Childrens’ Laureate. All Julias bravely doing their thing, you’re in the best company.
The Beatles even did a song ‘Julia’, so did Pavlovs Dog, come to think of it. I loved that song. Juuuuliiaaa!
Oh, Love, you’ll find what you want soon, you’ll get it all in good time, and the world will be a better place because you do.”
Cringe. I hardly remember Gramps... just his tickly moustache. When I think of him, I can’t see his face, it’s all fuzzy, nor ever hear his voice. Maybe Mum’s right, do what you don’t want, and you’ll shrivel up and die forgotten. But how will I ever find out who I am, what I want?
TBC 830 words