Thursday, September 15, 1983

Everyday life

I did go out last night; I met Deborah and Jeremy in the virtually empty Moon. Despite promises, Steve, Nick Gaunt and Lee didn’t turn up. It took me an hour or so and a few pints of cider to overcome shyness and self-consciousness; it’s quite depressing the regularity with which this occurs, and no doubt I’ll be similarly hampered for the first few days and hours of the new term.

Deborah looked very smart and respectable and she hasn’t changed a bit; she’s working at a solicitor’s for a year and going on some law course at Brynmor next September. She seems very content with the way her world is going. She told me that when she first met me it was as if I was “someone to look up to”!

I hide my true self behind a mask of pleasant superficialities, so that people often gain a totally inaccurate picture of me.

Both Jeremy and I told her of our dissatisfaction at what we’re doing at university, and she made me feel a bit guilty by telling us both how lucky we are; it was clear just from her demeanour and attitude that she’s happy with her lot and has unpretentious desires. She said it annoyed her when girls who want houses and husbands were condemned: “Why shouldn’t they want these things?” . . . to which we could only vaguely counter that if they really looked about them then they would want more, but what that ‘more’ is we were totally unable to say.

What right have we to condemn and shoot to pieces other people for wanting something from their lives which we don’t? At least they’re sure of themselves and don’t waste time with pointless frustrations and empty questions. I’m sure I came across to Deborah as unhappy, which really I’m not. I haven’t anything to be unhappy about.

“What you need”, she said to me with final certainty, “is a love affair,” and she even suggested Claire (who I wrote an apologetic letter to the other day). It sounded so self-indulgent to admit to being “bored all the time,” but it’s the truth.

Perhaps I don’t try hard enough?

Last orders were being called when Deborah finally gave us a lift home in her gold VW beetle. The previous evening’s talk must’ve affected me because when I went to bed I had really odd and disturbing dreams, akin to a nightmares; I was back at Wintersett Crescent and I kept on seeing the ghosts of brutally murdered children in the back garden. In a frenzy of fear I locked the doors trying to keep them out and even took a photograph of them running between the motionless standing figures of other (unidentified) family members. They stared out of the photo with frightening, intense eyes . . . A dimly recollected image of a body hanging in a cupboard . . .

I woke up in the grey light of early morning gripped by fear, the covers pulled tightly over my head lest the ghosts get me. Half asleep, I couldn’t imagine the daytime and being free of my fear. It was pretty bad and left me feeling quite odd.

I finally got to Farnshaw and the dry cleaner’s this afternoon, and Dad and I got caught in a terrific cloudburst which swept away the sun and sent workmen at the site of Farnshaw’s vast new supermarket complex sprinting for cover; we had to shelter in a ‘phonebox.

I really enjoyed the mundane wandering about amid streets \and shops: everything seemed vibrant and alive. Last night, Deborah asked me what excited me and I couldn’t really give her a specific answer. Today I would say that it’s life which excites me, with all its myriad permutations, unexpected rewards, wonders . . . which is probably the most positive thing I’ve said all summer.

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