Feminism Forgotten, New Beginnings
Chapter One, Amelia
Oh no. The results have been posted. After all this time longing for it to put me out of my misery it has come and now I wish it hadn’t. Aidan and I are meeting today and we have a pact to open the results together. What will he think of me when I fail?
Ever since Dad lost the election everything in this house changed. Mum and Dad argue like they hate each other and I am ignored more than ever. Minerva has been sloppy with cleaning as she is dating a man called Derek. Whenever Dad mentions it Minerva threatens to quit and leave him in a lurch. She shows him. Nowadays she can adopt an attitude to put him in his rightful place. Good for her.
If only I could be happy. Life seems uncomfortably different. Sometimes I wonder if the changes are for the best. Before this house was reasonably peaceful but now it is a warzone. Matthew Manx said recently that equality is a big step but slowly it will become easier. Weirdly I don't believe him. I can't see equality every being easy.
Before I had Aidan to take me to a marvellous magic land. Now we barely meet up. Please Aidan. Don't forget me. Ever.
Chapter Two, Aidan
Disappointment. The only word to describe life now. I'm disappointed with Matthew Manx. Somehow he made his ideas seem like quick fixes. Equality isn't going like he planned. If anything men hate women now because they are being difficult. Women have to make decisions the women say and when they don't get there way they make a long speech about how they are equal ect. Arguing is common. Men and women argue on the streets. Imagine. Before, although unfair, was an easier life.
I'm disappointed with my Dad. He just left. How could he do that? Several times I've felt like ripping up his last letter. All it contains are words. Some of it I bet are lies to make him seem good and innocent. The last bit is jargon to me, "To find out the beginning look at the end (remember that Aidan)". Blah, blah, blah. But I can't bring myself to do it, it would be like ripping a part of him. Inhumane. Cruel. Memory disposal.
Recently I've been disappointed with my Mum. She won't do anything, Nearly nothing. Tears constantly drip down her face like droplets of rain. I'm scared to leave her because what if she did something silly? Depression makes people do all sorts of things. Selfish I call her in my head because she stops me living a care free life. She stops me meeting Amelia, my breath of fresh air - which may sound cliché and cheesy but is the truth.
Mostly I'm disappointed with myself. Why can't I be useful? Why can't I make things better? Why can't I look at Amelia like I used to? Maybe it is myself that stops me from seeing Amelia. Whenever I do see her I imagine her as a woman. Constantly complaining and nagging. Never being happy with me. It scares me. What if she changes like that? I love her too much to make her unhappy.
I'm meeting her today. Whenever I see her she seems older and more unhappy. Soon she will be a frighteningly frail old woman at the age of fourteen. Help.
Chapter Three, Amelia
He's late. Again. Only a minute but still. Before the catastrophic change he was always early. Now he's not only late always but he acts differently. Somehow I feel different around him. self- conscious.
Oh, now he's coming. Why does he always wear that pained expression as if he's in a torture chamber? Where did his sincere smile go?
Impatiently I flap my letter at him. Why is he taking forever to reach me? Before he'd run to me but now he wearily walks towards me as if he is intentionally prolonging the time it takes him to reach me.
"Hello, slow coach," I say jokingly.
"Hi," Aidan says, almost reluctantly.
"I got my results," I say conversationally, trying to disguise how hurt I felt at his previous tone.
"Do you want to open it now?" Aidan asks.
"Er, yeah, no, I don't know. Let’s just sit down," I say, frustrated.
"Amelia, don't worry. You will have passed. But if you don't want to open it in front of me I will understand," Aidan says comfortingly.
"I miss this," I say sighing.
"What?" Aidan asks, looking confused.
"I miss us. How we used to talk to each other and meet up," I explain.
"We still do. Sometimes. It's not my fault my Mum's depressed," Aidan says thickly.
"I never said it was. Funnily enough though I get a feeling you wouldn't meet me even if your Mum wasn't depressed," I retort. I put my hand over my mouth. I wish I hadn't said that. Truthful though it was it shouldn't have been said. It was too much like an allegation.
"Stop acting like you know everything because you don't," Aidan says angrily.
"I used to. Well that's what you said, isn't it Aidan?" I say bitterly.
"Stop it," Aidan shouts.
"Don't scream at me," I order.
"Don't condescend me and command me like I'm a little puppy," Aidan retorts.
Weirdly we both laugh. What is funny? Maybe we both laugh because it makes the atmosphere lighter after all the shouting. I don't know.
"I'm sorry," we say in unison.
"I feel as if you hate me," I explain.
"I don't hate you. I hate what you will become," Aidan says confusingly.
"I hate how I don't know what you mean anymore or what you think," I say sighing.
"When don't you get what I mean," Aidan asks.
"Like a moment ago when you said you didn't hate me but you'll hate what I become," I say simply.
"I meant I don't hate you now but I'll hate you as a woman if you complain and nag and resent me as much as women do me," Aidan explained.
"I'd never complain or nag or resent you. I'll bet if I did you wouldn't hate me. We can't possibly hate each other, we are in love. Besides don't you think women have a right to let off steam? Women have been belittled, beaten and betrayed by men for centuries. They want to feel powerful. They want to feel equal. They want to feel happy," I say passionately.
"But in some ways they are acting as bad as the men did," Aidan says.
"Yes, but Matthew Manx will make it so women don't have to feel they have to prove their authority," I say desperately.
"I know you don't believe that," Aidan says scornfully.
"Where did Mr Optimism go?" I ask.
"To somewhere where optimism didn't lead to disappointment," Aidan says bitterly.
"Should I open my letter," I ask.
"Yes," Aidan answers.
Slowly I open the seal. I want to keep the bad news thirty seconds behind so I can prepare myself. I slip out the letter and read:
Dear Miss Amelia Andrews
Your results from the entrance exam have been sent back from the examination board. You have achieved a score of 57/60 which is a high pass. On September 1st you will attend Latchford High School. Below are the equipment/ uniform you will require:
A pen (black or blue)
A pencil sharpener
A school bag
A physical education bag
A white polo shirt or a white sport shirt
A pair of black/ blue shorts
A pair of trainers
Black school trousers/ black skirt (over the knee)
Our school tie and blazer
A school shirt
Black school shoes
Mr Cromford (Head teacher)
Signed Mr Cromford
Aidan hugs me. I'm shocked. How did I get that high a result? How? I thought the exam was easy but I thought that meant that I had fallen into a false sense of security and the questions were secretly complicated.
"Aren't you happy?" Aidan asks.
"I'm surprised," I admit.
"I'm not. You probably got the highest score," Aidan says happily.
"They must have worked it out wrong," I mutter.
"Stop it, Amelia. You passed. You got a high pass. What will it take for you to believe it?" Aidan asks.
"A kiss from my brilliant boyfriend," I say flatteringly.
"But what if I am a let-down? A second kiss is meant to be almost as special as the first," Aidan says worried.
"Let's find out if it is," I say.
His lips touch mine softly. Softer than I expected. When they connect I see fireworks. I feel hot and happy. Freedom. Never before have I felt this happy, independent and in love.
Chapter Four, Aidan
That was magical. Better than our first kiss. Amazing as it was the feeling deflated like a holey football when out lips came apart. Breathing was a priority over feelings, though.
It was one of those memorable moments. Maybe every kiss will become even better as I'll learn to be a good kisser. Then every kiss I will savour in my memory like I want to savour every moment we spend together.
Today we had a row. I guess it was from built up frustration. We were quite loud. Yet after we laughed and somehow it made us feel stronger. I felt so happy and proud when Amelia opened her letter and was accepted at my school. After that we shared the idyllic kiss.
Sadly our time together couldn't last. Images of my Mum fluttered into my thoughts. I became worried. Amelia understood. Lucky her got to stay in our special place and have a form of escapism. Contrarily I came here and had to face it all.
Since Dad left everything changed. Firstly we sold Dads' business. It felt good. His business was the lightning over our heads. When we sold it (for a higher price than we expected) the fear about money could subside. Our money has been spent on repairing our house and the rest put in Mums' bank account.
Everyday is a struggle. Mum never wants to wake up. She says it feels better to be asleep where everything is normal. I guess she means she wants nice dreams with Dad in, though she sometimes has nightmares that are so horrific that she wakes up screaming and wailing.
Once she is awake she just looks into space. She stays still. Half an hour it takes me to persuade her to get dressed. Then she becomes obsessed with her bed: "No, I want to stay here," she whispers. Sighing I say in a whisper, "No, you want to go downstairs," and she gets up and starts walking downstairs as if it was her idea.
Breakfast and meal times are worst. She won't eat. At all. Embarrassingly I have to feed her myself like she is a child. What she will eat are miniscule portions. It's as if she wants to be a child. As if being a child will stop her hurting inside. Whenever I tell her to eat more and that I'm worried about how underweight she is she says "Stop being bossy," and gives me a girly giggle.
Pretending to be a child lasts half the day. The other half is spent listening to her howling. I listen. I try to help. I try to reassure her. But I feel as if she doesn't know I'm there. Acknowledgement doesn't come. Not when she's in a state.
Amelia I wish I could be with you all the time. I wish I had something to take my mind off Mum's suffering. I just want to be happy. Happy like I am with Amelia.
Chapter Five, Amelia
Being in our special place isn't special if you are by yourself, So I'm going back home. An advantage to life now is that I can come and go as I please.
Mum and Dad are arguing and Minerva is saying soppy stuff to Derk on the phone. I want to go back to when I was younger. Life then ws good. Dad wasn't as obsessed with politics and we sometimes had good times. Sometimes.
I go to my room and look for our old photo album. Sitting down I start to look through. The first photographs are of Mum and Dad smiling on what seem to be dates. Then there are the wedding photos. Dad looks so young and Mum looks so radiant. Obviously they splashed the cash because they had beautiful dresses, beautifully handsome suits, beautiful flowers, beautiful extravagant ice sculptures ect. Everything entirely beautiful. Surprisingly they had specially made paintings of them smiling together in a hug and a painting of them cutting a sophisticated pure- white cake.
But on the next page I gasp. Mum and Dad are standing in front of our house with a one year old baby. Me? But why don't I have new born baby photos? Looking through all the other pictures seem to be about just Mum, Dad and I and all seem to have been updated regularly. So why aren't my pictures as a baby updated?
Feeling confused I put the photo album back. I sit and stare into space. Then I become distracted by some of Mum and Dads' argument.
"Don't bring Amelia into this. She's done nothing to you," Mum shouts.
"No she hasn't. That's my point. She hasn't made me feel proud, happy or anything. She just mooches around like a lost puppy and then meets that poor boy," Dad says angrily.
"Leave her alone. You haven't exactly done anything to make her feel happy. You don't act like her father," Mum yells.
"Because I'm not her father," Dad says exasperatedly.
What? What are they talking about? What is this rubbish?
Chapter seven, Aidan
Nothing I do feels worthwhile. I mean what do I achieve by trying to make Mum be happy? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Life is nothing. Except Amelia. She's means something.
Half the time I don't know what to think or feel. Or how to react. See, I'm completely useless. Maybe is I showed Amelia how Mum is nowadays she would understand how I feel and could suggest how to improve the situation.
In many ways I am acting like Mum. Several times a day I just stare into space. I want answers. I want solutions. I want Amelia to make me feel real and alive. Yes, I live in a dream but I don't take actions to make my dreams a reality.
Chapter eight, Amelia
I can feel everything and nothing at the same time. Physically I can feel nothing. Emotionally I feel everything, betrayal, anger, upset ect. Everything.
It all makes sense now. Mum wanted a child but she didn't want the mess or pain that is the process of labour. So Mum and Dad talked and they thought of adoption. Dad wanted a boy but all of the boys Mum said looked too messy and at that time Dad cared about what she thought. So Mum wanted a girl, still a baby but not too young. After all the paperwork and everything they got me from Mums' twin sister (who I never knew about, then again I never knew about the adoption or Mums family- I never saw photographs or met any of them- or anything about my family).
Maybe that's why I don't fit in. Mum only liked me when I was young and Dad always resented me as he wanted a boy to follow in his footsteps in politics. In the first photos we fit together but when I am around the age of nine you can tell there is no chemistry between us. Well not good chemistry. I look extremely uncomfortable and Mum and Dad seem impatient as if they have stopped an argument to take a photo and were waiting to resume it. Or Dad was peeved because he was interrupted from ordering Mum around to take a photograph- by somebody- and Mum is annoyed because she is being demanded.
I feel so unwanted. Somebody just gave me up. Did they feel nothing whatsoever towards me? Right now I feel so used. Mum wanted me primarily to have something she didn't already have. I was adopted because of my Mums' spoilt nature.
They should have told me outright. This was a horrible way to find out - after hearing their argument I was confused so I went to Mum for more information and I certainly got it. Almost too much. Now I know I was unwanted, adopted just for the sake of it, betrayed for years and deprived of the chance of having a decent family.
I need Aidan. He's the only good person around here. The only advantage of being adopted was that I made friends with Aidan who I wouldn't have met otherwise. Aidan is the only person who cares about me. The only person who can make me feel better.
Chapter nine- Aidan
Amelia is upset. She wants to meet up. It must be something bad to make Amelia cry as she never openly shows her feelings. Never.
It is quite late so I've put Mum to bed already and generally she sleeps for quite a long amount of time so I shan't worry about her. My worry is Amelia.
Chapter ten, Amelia
He is coming. Thank goodness. I phoned him and asked if he could meet me in our special place and he said yes he would. Grateful doesn't sum up how I feel towards him now. Thinking about it he could have easily refused to come as it is late so I am touched that he's decided to come. Extremely touched.
"What's wrong?" Aidan asks.
"Everything," I say and I hug him as hard as I cry.
"Amelia, what's wrong?" Aidan repeats.
"I was born unwanted. I was adopted just to be something else for Mum and I've been stuck being hated by Dad and ignored by Mum when I could have been with another family," I ramble tearfully.
"What? You're adopted? But you look just like your Mum," Aidan says in disbelief.
"I was adopted from my Mums' twin sister," I explain.
"I didn't know she..." Aidan starts, shocked.
"No, neither did I," I say bitterly. Then feeling that I need to explain further I say: "Mum adopted me from her sister and then she cut her sister off because I was born illegitimate which made the women who had illegitimate children look bad and their relatives and friends guilty by association,".
"You weren't unwanted. I'll bet your Dad bullied your Mum- your real Mum- into giving you up for adoption," Aidan says.
"That doesn't make me feel better. It just means that my real Mum didn't fight back," I moan.
"Every family in this country has flaws. Your family isn't perfect but you could have had worse. I'm sure you weren't unwanted. I couldn't live without you," Aidan says.
"Yeah, I guess I am being sorry for myself. My parents don't make me who I am, real or not," I say bravely.
"Anyway, the past is the past, we can't change it but we can live for now," Aidan says.
"Yes. I start at my school tommorrow," I say happily.
"See, that's what you should think of," Aidan says brightly.
"Mr Optimism has returned," I say grinning.
"Only because he had to," Aidan says.
Aidan's right. Unwise it is to think of the past. It brings up unwanted and unneccessary memories that are unchangeable. My goal is to live for the future.
Chapter eleven, Aidan
When I went round to call on Amelia she was in a state. Standing up with all her school things and uniform on she started gabbling to me.
© Copyright 2016 Skye Bagshaw. All rights reserved.
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