Sylvie sat at her desk, ignoring the quadratics that swirled across the books there. “When I grow up, I’ll never do Maths again,” she said to the man singing on her radio.
At college, she told her friends “When I leave here, I’m going to travel the world,”
“When I get married, I’ll put my feet up,” she said, elbows-deep in suds at the job she got afterwards.
Now she tries to calculate the bills, ignoring the sink full of dishes, staring at the calendar photo of a place she’s never been. “When the kids leave home,” she sighs.
There’s a path going up that hill in the photo, and it caught my eye because it looks really challenging. This last few months we’ve done a lot of just getting through, but I’m also aware that while the view from the top of that cliff is probably stunning, but it’s the climb that makes the experience memorable and worthwhile.
There are loads of songs that try to capture this sentiment, “The Climb” being one of the more famous. The link below is another. And as a mother, I’m used to being told to enjoy the moment, so I know how deeply upsetting that type of advice can be and how important hope is. That being said, I hope we can all learn to live in the moment, even when we don’t enjoy it. After all, tomorrow never comes.
Thank you to Sandra Crook for today’s picture prompt. I have so much I could say, so many different observations that could lead to stories, but this is the one the Muse chose this morning. Your comments and critique are very welcome.
A few weeks in, Alice was beginning to feel motherhood was her own personal Groundhog Day. She was Bill Murray, working her way through the same piles of diapers and washing and pain and tears – her own, as well as Aiden’s – over and over again.
Like Bill, she tried something subtly different each time, and although the consequences were considerably less hilarious in real life, love was still the goal. And that first time Aiden smiled, together with every time he waved his tiny fat feet in delight, she knew spring couldn’t be more than a short time away.
Once again, my Friday Fiction story has left me pondering. Or maybe it’s just shone a spotlight on something I was already thinking about. In a highbrow mood the other week, we watched Back To The Future III (previous highbrow moods the previous two weeks had included I and II) and it got me thinking about time. Not time travel, but time itself.
I’m constantly staggered by the incredible pace at which time flows, so that what our grandparents experienced as every-day seems completely alien to us. Humanity doesn’t change, and I think it’s naïve to think that the terrible things man did to man in a previous generation couldn’t happen again – aren’t happening again already – but the world in which those human actions take place, that changes wildly. I can remember a time when we didn’t have mobile phones – when we said “I’ll see you at 8 o’clock” and then we stuck to it, because we had no way to text or call and switch things up – and even when we didn’t have internet and email. But I’m part of the last generation who didn’t grow up with those things. My generation takes TV for granted, for the generation before it’s home phones, then electric light and so on.
Back to Back To The Future; the Wild West was just three generations before my parents. People who were born in that world could have fought in the World Wars, or could certainly have watched their children doing so.
As I said, I find it staggering. But I also find it magical, because books and films can take me there. I can read Little Women and jump straight into the American civil war period, or All Quiet On The Western Front and land squarely in the trenches. You don’t have to write fantasy to be a world-builder. Even the most straight-forward “here and now” novel is creating a time-capsule for the world it depicts.