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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 

A Series of Unfortunate Events (Updated)

Yesterday I took a trip down memory lane. We went to North Shields, and while there decided to take a trip past our old fortune cookie factory. I remember the place being dark, cold, and metallic, but now it’s simply dilapidated. I couldn’t believe it. There was actually a big sign on it that said “Warning Fragile Roof”.

It’s been nearly fifteen years since I was there. The last memory I have is of being perched on a cold metal surface by my mom and watching as her, my dad and a whole load of workers bustled around in white jackets and those horrible catering hats where you have hair nets attached. The whole concept intrigued me. You started off with some flour and whatever else, and fed it all through a whole load of mixers and other scary machines, and then you came out with cookies.

But I had my job. I looked after my sister as she slept in her portable plastic cot. She was an adorable kid, and they really did need someone to look after her. I remember the time when I’d been sleeping in the car and woke up to find dad frantically searching the factory while my mom stood by the door to the office saying, “I just don’t know where I put her. I was so sure that she was on the desk here.”

The factory was the reason I was sent to live with my Gran. It wasn’t a good place to bring up a child, and my mom and dad ran it together, my mom would have made a pretty crap housewife anyway. So my Gran took me. She couldn’t take my brother on top of that, he was six years older than me, and it would have been too much for a seventy year old woman to cope with.

My gran had a stroke just before my sister was born. She still looked after me, but couldn’t take my sister as well. I went home at weekends, and started to notice the difference between being at home and being with my gran. I adored living with Gran. You should have heard my bawl every Friday afternoon when my dad came to pick me up and take me home. But I also felt incredibly left out. My brother and sister were so close, and though home wasn’t a happy or calm place to be, I still felt like they couldn’t love me if they sent me away every Sunday night. The logical reasoning behind it was lost on my three year old ears.

I got to move back home again when things started to go wrong. My gran had a heart attack, the company van pretty much exploded, and due to a series of unfortunate events the once thriving business ended up bankrupt. Mom became a housewife just long enough to decide she didn’t enjoy it, and divorced my father.

I remember that conversation vividly. Dad sat down with me, my sister, and my brother in the kitchen. I was rocking on the back of the wooden chair, and he told me to stop, we had to talk. It all sounded so serious when he told us that mum was moving to New York without us, and that the four of us were going to move house, move somewhere else, start over.

If you were to ask me when I was happiest, I’ll tell you with certainty that it was the year after my sixth birthday. My mom had just left, we’d moved to the best house in the world, it had a huge garden and the back gate opened up to a gorgeous hillside, a stream, and basically a huge public woods that as kids we explored and made our own. It was a new school, and everything seemed to be working out.

My dad went back to art. He’d become disillusioned with the field nearly twenty years before when exposed to the politics and the “if you rub my back” attitude behind the scenes. He gave up what was published to be a “promising talent” and went to seek his fortunes in the states. Where he met my mom. And finally moving back home when my brother was three.

In the new house we were living as a family finally. My mom wasn’t there, but she made home a battle field whenever she was around. When she was there it wasn’t home, it was just painful.

A few years later things fell apart a bit again. I don’t know if it’s just that I stopped being such a child, and started to realise what was going on around me. Or maybe things started to get old, my dad started to get tired, and the house with its many wonderful mysteries and oddities, became mundane. Whatever it was, I started to realise that my dad was unhappy, my brother is scarred, and my sister is who she is. She’s superficial, and completely insecure.

And now we’re where we are now. My dad’s even more disillusioned with art, and pretty much despises the fact that he relies on it for an income. I now understand why my scars are there. I know the reason for my cynicism, and I understand why I find it so hard to trust love. It’s all so far from the fuzzy memories of being chased round the factory by my brother. It’s a long way from standing in the garden with mum and waving our van goodbye. And its far from Floppsie the Bunny and playing hide and seek in the grave yard while dad painted the church.

I grew up a little; I learnt that life wasn’t like those cut out moments. And I learnt that grown ups are sometimes less adult than their children. Going to the factory brought back many memories I’d forgotten, and it was sad to see the place I only remember as full of life, to be so dead and decrepit. But they’re just memories. And they’re long gone.

I’m scared. I’ve got to go out there and be an adult. I’ve got to forget someone I love, and I’ve got to give up a comfortable home and life style, to have cooking disasters, wake myself up in the mornings, and stop relying on other people. And it’s made me retrospective. I’m spending my hours thinking of the past with a certain amount of nostalgia, and even though a lot of it isn’t that great, writing it all down frees me to look forward to the future, while still having something that is a firm reminder of how I got here.

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You can keep the memories even if you have to go out there and be on your own. After all, memories are what we use as refrences.

And when life seems scarey, try to turn it into an opportunity instead. Fear is what tend to make us hesitate and miss out on a lot of things.

Again...you should write that book :)

Memories is what makes us who we are. I have horrible memories but it made me a stronger person. And as for fear, it is only conciousness, it allows us to stop and think for a moment about what is to come. It is only natural to be afraid to go and live your own life, because you haven't known anything else, we've been brought up under our families wing. Now we take it in our own hands, which is a scary concept, but it something we all have to do, and we aren't alone when doing it. I'm scared too, but we'll get over it. x

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  • 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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