Well here we are, October 1st & as promised I’m putting up the first instalment of an unfinished novel I have lurking on the hard drive. I’m not sure what to do with it – to finish or abandon, that is the question.
Read on, dear blog follower & let me know what you think.
It all started when she decided to grow out her fringe.
Ellie was tired of the same old hairstyle; she’d lost count of how many years she’d worn her hair this way. Time for a change! A long conversation with her hairdresser later and she was growing the fringe out. They also decided to leave her colour to grow out so they could change this at the same time. This was fine to start with – just a longer fringe to deal with and some puffing of hair from her eyes. Later, as the fringe grew longer, she tried in vain to tuck it behind her ears; there wasn’t enough hair to do that so it continued to flop in her eyes.
She bought some sparkly clips in an attempt to get it out of her eyes, where it was driving her mad. However, she looked like a four-year-old who’s gripped their hair back in an attempt to look grown-up. The hair flopped into her eyes for weeks, making her cross.
Eventually her hair was just long enough to secure with an Aliceband. She was stunned by her reflection – she couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen so much forehead! She had no idea if it made her look silly, older or just shocked. At least the years had been kind to her and there were no visible wrinkles. Heaven knows what lurked under the skin! A wrinkled soul perhaps?
Then one day the dreadful moment happened. Ellie looked in the mirror to adjust her Aliceband and saw her mother looking back at her. Time stood still. She stared and stared. There was no doubt about it; she had morphed into her mother. There was the hair parted in the middle and swept back; admittedly no waves in Ellie’s but the colour was identical. A streak of grey across the side, a sprinkling of grey through the rest. The nose was different – thankfully she’d got her father’s nose rather than the Miller beak. Her lips were slightly fuller than her mother’s but as she stared at her reflection they were drawn slightly down, mirroring her mother’s pursed look of disapproval. Her eyes looked tired, dark circles under them reminded her of those on mother’s face in the last months of her life.
There was no doubt – she was turning into her own mother.
Ellie staggered away from the mirror and slumped onto the stairs. How the hell had that happened? All her life she’d been desperate to look like anyone other than her mother; looking like your mother was a curse. As a teenager she’d joked with her friends about how like their mothers they looked. The worst thing anyone could say about you was that you looked like your mother – it was even worse than being a bad kisser or wearing last year’s fashion.
Now it had happened – her mother had invaded her face! The scary thing was she had no idea when it had started. Was it a sudden transformation? Or had it crept up on her slowly? More to the point, why had no-one said anything?
There was no getting away from the fact that she was getting older. The last birthday had been a zero one – the ones that people always said were ‘Big Birthdays’. For Ellie it had been a number to keep quiet about. Not that she lied about her age; she’d rather it never came up at all. Some of her friends had got frozen at 45 – some more convincingly than others – but she was prepared to admit to 50 if she had to but was happier if people thought she was ‘in her 40s’. Thankfully she looked younger than her age so the question of her actual age rarely came up – she’d smile coyly if someone asked and allow them to ‘guess’ she was a Forty-Something.
Ellie got up from the stairs and went into the kitchen. Without thinking about it she filled the kettle and put it on to boil. She went through the mechanics of making a mug of tea and wandered into the lounge. She felt in a daze; the years really were passing faster and she was getting older, more like her mother (curses!) Was she really on the verge of becoming an old woman?
Was that how she thought of her mother, as an old woman? Memories came flooding back – her mother sitting on the beach under an umbrella; her mother wrapping herself up in an Aran cardigan; her mother insisting on a plate for a single biscuit. There were no memories of her mother behaving badly; having too much to drink; wearing unsuitable clothes; enjoying life. Did she seem like this to her children, a dull, boring old woman?
As she sipped her tea, Ellie felt sad. There was no getting away from it – she was getting older. The number of years she had already lived was probably greater than the number left to her. This was a sad thought. She tried not to think about mortality if she could avoid it – even though she joked about her funeral plan! So, there it was; life was slipping away, she was turning into her mother and she’d got old age, slippers and a bus pass to look forward to.
By the way, by the magic of technology I’ve scheduled this post – as it hits the blogosphere I’ll be doing a spin class at the gym! Who’d have thought, eh?