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Tuesday, May 30, 2006 

When I Grow Up

Foam runs down the outside of the windows as I write. There's a dull roar from the jet wash as it sprays water at the car. It reminds me of carwashes when I was a kid. My sister and I used to sit in the front seat and pretend we were driving through a storm. We had overactive imaginations, as kids always seem to have, and there wasn't any situation we couldn't turn into a make believe disaster of some sort.

At the bottom of our garden (we had a BIG garden) there were these two trees. One was a really big fir, and the other was an old oak. The branches would cross over and formed a huge canopy that blocked out the sun. We'd climb up into the branches with long sticks and pretend we were pirates fighting off the enemy. Generally the enemy was the red squirrels for whom the trees were home, but occasionally my dad or brother would take the role when telling us to come in for tea.

As I sit in the car I can nearly feel my sister sitting beside me, telling me to drive faster, that if we weren't careful the lightening would hit us, telling me that we need to get home. She'd squeal in mock fright as the huge fluffy rollers came down over the windscreen, and we'd both giggle when our dad told us to quit playing around. Giggling was a large part of being a kid, and I guess it's the one thing that I don't think I'll ever let go of. I still giggle like a school girl given the chance, and though it's time to move past that, grow up a little, I don't think giggling is something I'll let myself give up.

She asked me the other day: "We used to be such great friends, we were so close, what happened to that?" And for a day I thought about it, went over all the reasons why we weren't close anymore, and then as we were getting ready to leave the house today I found the answer. I was sitting on the window sill looking out the window, and she was standing facing the mirror in the centre of the room preening.

"How do I look, does this top work? Am I showing too much flesh?" It isn't cold outside, but it's cool. There is a wind, and I chose to wear a scarf along with my layers today. She was stood in a black halter neck that showed both her navel and ninety nine per cent of her cleavage. Along with hipster three quarter length jeans and flip flops. You wouldn't say that I'm one who is scared of showing flesh, far from, but I am susceptible to the cold, even though I was brought up in Northumberland and girls around here are practically immune.

I didn't point this out to her though. I learnt long ago that telling a fifteen year old to wear a jacket is about as worth while as telling a morris dancer that the bells aren't actually compulsory and really they're starting to give you a headache. And anyway, I was pretty much the same at her age. What I realised as I sat there watching her getting ready was that I don't have anything to talk about with her anymore. We used to have insanity and a crazy imagination in common, it was us against the rest of the world- the grown ups, and we were all each other had. Now we're doing so very different things. We're still both incredibly creative, but she channels it into her appearance, whereas I use my writing as an outlet.

Friendships always seem to fall apart because people just drift. We do different things, meet different people, I spend very little time at home, and because of it our friendship has suffered. When you add in sibling rivalry it all just seems to collapse. And I miss it all. I miss being a kid, I miss playing at pirates, or princesses or dancing around the garden in summer singing along to the Spice Girls. I miss it so much, but it's never going to come back.

One day I'll be able to watch my own kids acting like loonies, and I guess that will make it better. Being an adult makes up for it, not thinking of men as something you either run away from or attack is pretty good. And being able to order coffee without the parent/ guardian frowning at me is good too. Though really I could do with someone to hamper my caffeine intake. It's getting silly.

Growing up is something that I'm starting to come to terms with. Leaving home being the biggest problem for me, but as I only have a month left... It has its perks, and I wouldn't go back no matter how much I miss it. I can't just stop myself from reminiscing whenever something jolts my memory.

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About me

  • An albatross can fly for thousands of miles without getting tired. I've always thought that love is similar to flying, therefore we should aspire to be like the albatross.

    I don't know if I can do that. So far I haven't been so lucky. But one day I'll test my wings with someone, and flying won't be so hard after all. Or so painful.
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Save the Albatrosses


    * In 2001 one New Zealand fishing boat killed over 300 seabirds in just one trip, while fishing for ling.
    * Each year over 300,000 seabirds are killed by longline fishing.
    * Over the past 60 years some albatross populations have declined by 90%.
    * Annually around 10,000 albatross and petrels are caught in New Zealand waters alone.
  • Save the Albatrosses
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