Some Written – I
She’s one of those people that you know. Growing up, her mum was down trodden and vocal about it. No weeping softly into her marigolds and then tucking her daughter into bed with a smile. The mother was a ‘heroine of a tragedy’ type, not quite ‘woe is me’ or ‘me miser’, but she would over react if a hair was out of place and then proceeds to explain why it was all the father’s fault.
To be fair, her dad was no better, disappearing like that. He made the perfect scapegoat; a perfect example of the horror show that she now insists is Love. He moved by the sea and invited her down with a postcard. Years have passed, but it is still with bitterness that she reads his emails, the joint signature of the new mister and mistress conjures memories of ‘lost’ birthday parcels.
So with that as a foundation, she embarked on a love of her own. She is afraid to admit, even now, how much she wanted it to right those past wrongs. How much she wanted someone reliable, honest, not at all like the fellow sixth former she eventually chose.
It will not surprise you to hear that he failed to break the cycle of men behaving badly. He was, after all, 16. He was, after all, new to the game. He was, after all, flawed – as people are wont to be. But you won’t hear a smidgen of sympathy from her. He broke her heart! He cheated on her with her best friend! It was unforgivable! Notice the emphasis on him? Well, obviously it was his fault. The friend was powerless to his boyish charms. He had been disloyal, just like her father. That’s how men work, she came to believe, and she wants you to believe. That is how all men work, and all women live at the mercy of these tyrants, even if they send him a message that reads ‘im horny lol’.
I know what you’re thinking: so what’s new? Tell us something we haven’t heard before. Boo hoo hoo. But what you have to understand is that she is from a small town. And small towns are notorious for housing people with skewed perspectives. In her sleepy town, I can only imagine, it’s easy to be a phoenix. Amongst the rows and rows of semi detached houses and nuclear families. Five door hatchbacks lined up neatly. A domestic animal of some kind, but usually a cat or a dog because no one wants to rock the boat. All she’d have to do is cough at the wrong time and that would be the topic of conversation for the foreseeable future. No doubt the house at the end of the street, with the single mum and the prodigal son, and the daughter whose feminism was becoming militant was treated like enemy barracks.
She played in the street on her own then. On the horizon she could see the outline of a city life – the north I’m familiar with, the Arctic Monkeys, modern kind of North England. It was close. The urban, working class, industrial revolution based history vibes float towards her. She becomes obsessed with the idea of the wider world, while never really venturing there. She doesn’t have to. She totally gets it. Her small scale worries are similar to that occurring in a cities underbelly, right? She’s amped up now, like she personally fought a war, or faced discrimination, or stood at the picket line demanding equality. If anyone asks, she’ll say she’s from that city, born and bred. But it’s not hard to tell it’s not true; if she was from the city, she wouldn’t make her daddy issues her defining feature. She’d know she’s no phoenix. That she has to join the back of the queue.