It has been a week of mixed emotions this week. A very wonderful lady sadly passed away suddenly the other day. Karen had been an important part of my childhood and that of my siblings. She was a very close friend of my parents; her family and ours intertwined at many levels.
I remember a lot about the years I knew her well but she held a particularly special place in my heart because of her nails. I was never the prettiest child in the school. Permanently overweight despite all the sport and exercise I took part in; I lolloped around Miranda like desperately wanting to be included in the talk about boys and dates. When it came to sports I was a hero because of the hockey or netball goals I could score or the tennis matches I won for the school, but step out of the changing room and I was just plain Jane in the corner again.
All the other girls in the class had those long flowing locks of luxurious hair they wore loosely up framing their spotless and beautiful faces. A gracious flick and the locks cascaded down over their shoulders in rivulets of fine strawberry blond splendour. My hair sat thickly on my head with no shape whatsoever. My mother battled daily to tame it but by mid-morning it had broken free and draped heavily across my face. Underneath the mop I suffered the whole class’ share of spots and teenage torment. It just was not fair. To cap it all at 18 I went through a car windscreen and tore my face and particularly my chin to pieces hence ending the modelling career I was never meant to have.
Karen beautiful anyway never appeared anywhere without her long manicured nails looking immaculate. Her nails belied the fact that she ran a normal life of housework, motherhood, gardening and work. In my mind she was placed on the pedestal I believed she lived on, with her long fingers reaching out to their striking tips.
Naturally with such strong hair growth I also had unbelievable fast growing nails. Having very little to be happy with in my own person Karen taught me to paint my nails and promised that one day I too would be proud of them. I couldn’t wait for Friday nights when I would rush in from school and lovingly paint them with the varnish she passed on. I spent far longer learning to paint with both hands and how to lengthen the look of my short stubby fingers with gentle shades of colour than ever I spent studying history, french or geography.
Monday morning I finally found out why the compass was a necessary piece of school equipment. It certainly never made sense in my maths class but in assembly it was a great instrument for scraping the banned colour from my digits.
Karen was right. I love my nails now. To break a nail is a heart stabbing infliction which can bring irrational distress and despair to my whole family. Every three weeks I have my nails re-coloured in the latest product or developing design thanks to my wonderful friends at The Nail Workshop. The resultant effect, photographed and posted to social media advertising the methods now available to others. Karen I know would be proud of my nails and thanks to her my self-esteem has blossomed and bloomed.
I attended Karen’s funeral, which as you would expect was heart-rendering and desperately sad. She had so much to live for including a 15 week old grand-daughter who she was so excited about. It was a stroke that out of the blue struck the vibrancy and life from her. She did not recover.
There were many people at the funeral from her many walks of life; each holding their very own special memory of how she had touched and coloured their lives. I was struck by how much I didn’t know of her. She was a huge part of our childhood but behind the character that we shared she had so many different lives converging together to make up this special lady.
I drove home alone with my sadness and resolved that none of us know when our time will be up; in Karen’s memory I will seize every opportunity with both hands wide open. Maybe it was toying with this thought that I drew alongside the car that had left me standing a few moments before. He had been stopped by traffic lights in the inside lane. I drove up as the lights changed and with a feeling of recklessness knowing my 206 would never normally stand a chance put my foot to the ground.
I drew level as my smile began in one corner and spread across my face. I inched forward nudging my nose ahead. The throaty roar of decision filled the air as the bright orange Aston Martin V8 Vantage took off. I, foot to the ground could not even bask in his exhaust fumes. I did catch him up when the road again became single tracks and we were held up by a tractor further up the queue. I no longer had the urge to pass him. I had seized my opportunity and knew under any circumstances I was not going to get the better of him, but in that moment I had overtaken not just a car but all that was holding me back.
Like my unexpected meeting with the Aston Martin opportunities present themselves in small insignificant ways so take the plunge, pursue the prospect and perform the impossible. I hope that when my time comes and not too quickly; those that I have touched in some way will all agree “she seized her moments and made the most of her opportunities”.
I know many of you have followed me for a while so I am pleased to report some wonderful news. My stalker or so called neighbour has finally moved away. The weight lifted from my shoulders is immense. It is the little things I can delight in such as being able to park my car on my drive way again, unloading my shopping without him checking the bags, or hanging out our washing, nothing very momentous but when you are prevented from doing them, so restrictive. Who would ever believe I would relish putting rubbish in my dustbin. His parting shot to try and destroy me was discharged on the very day I came home re-energised from Karen’s celebration of her life.
He has gone and life is so much better already, I am safe and so are my children and husband. I now have so much material for any evil protagonist I create in future novels that may or may not get written. Now that he has moved I have heard other stories which leave a cold chill coursing through my capillaries. I was not his only victim, in some small way he has upset a lot of locals which might explain why he felt he had to leave the town altogether and move to new area.
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