Sitting in a plane seat for hours, inactive and restless, was difficult for Tate. It reminded her of high school and the ongoing drone of the teachers’ voices. The Haagen-Dazs, however, made her think of sunny days with her girlfriends. As each scoop melted in her mouth, thoughts of their antics and conversations swirled in her mind. Sighing, she savoured the last mouthful. She needed to get back together with them. They had been her rock and she had been drifting along aimlessly since her departure. The plane was taking her home and bringing her closer to her people.
The plant grew and crept along the wall, its leafy tendrils exploring the pristine wall. The creeper had been genetically altered and transformed into a listening device. In another part of the city, revolutionaries listened to the unfettered conversations of councilmen; conversations that lingered on the changes to bylaws that would prohibit personal freedom.
Prior knowledge enabled the freedom fighters to overcome those in power. In their victory, they claimed that freedom was a person’s right.
Once in power, the new leader ensured no plants graced the surfaces of his home and office. Then he began to enslave the majority.
The living room couch was like Grand Central Station: a flurry of daytime activity surrounded it.
Quick early morning cups of coffee were spilt on on the sofa before resting purses and briefcases were hurriedly grabbed from its centre. Once the early morning bustle was over, a sigh was heard and feet were placed on the overstuffed cushions. The lull in activity was welcomed before the beige couch was surrounded by the whoosh of the vacuum and the scent of polish.
Around noon either the twitter of book-club ladies, the rowdiness of the bingo group, or the tranquil chatter of the knitting club as preemie blankets were created was heard. Even though the space was busy, there was a calmness in the activity.
The afternoon lull was short before the plump seats were jumped on by energetic feet happy to be home. Snacks were eaten in the deep recesses of the cushions while in the next room the unmistakable sound of oil sizzled in a pan.
The couch was unused, but the sounds nearby did not bring serenity.
Then a favourite part of the day: storytime and the snuggles between parents and children.
The lull before the quiet.
Parent time while the television buzzes softly in the background.
Then the living room turns dark and the sounds of the night encroach.
The house sleeps as does the couch; resting fully and preparing itself for the repetition of the early morning routine mayhem.
The sight of the seaplane meant the influx of summer visitors had begun. Their arrival brought a buzz to the shoreline and increased revenue to many. But Jack did not look forward to the return of the family that had embraced him last year, then rejected him on the eve of their departure based on malicious gossip. He had thought their relationship stronger.
Days later, he saw them. She was cradling a baby in her arms and her parents were shame-faced. They had realised the error of their accusations when the child was born. He was obviously not Jack’s.
Standing in front of the carved stone, he remembered when the artist was feted. People would travel from all over the world to see his work and admire his handiwork. Discussions would ensue on the meaning of the pieces and what had inspired him to create them. Then the scandal erupted. He was imprisoned, the many artworks torn down or vandalised. Except for this forgotten piece in the centre of the city. Unnamed, the early work stands proudly surrounded by office buildings. A remnant of a life that was crushed to pieces by the love for a young girl.
The hardest part about setting out on a new adventure is the waiting. All I want to do is move, step forward, experience the new. Instead, I am forced to stay in one spot for hours and wait for a stranger to announce that the first step into my new venture is to begin. Not for the first time, I wish I had the money to bypass the regulations thus allowing me to move unfettered towards my destination. Unfortunately, I am merely a part of the herd.
Visiting the museum with Gerald was always such a risk. So far, though, the day had been all that she had wanted and planned. The group had seen some beautiful paintings; the children had been interested in the artifacts unearthed by archaeologists in central Europe; lunch had been surprisingly tasty; and no-one had wanted to cut the visit short due to boredom. They all moved down to the basement to look at the exhibit labelled “Though the Ages”. In front of the first exhibit, she held her breath. Predictably Gerald began, “When I was young …” Everyone groaned!
“The trouble with me is, I can’t let things go. They bug me. I see problems and I want to fix them, right here, right now. My nickname isn’t Fixie for nothing”
I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella (2019, Penguin Random House Canada)
The opening lines of Kinsella’s latest novel introduces us to Fixie, the main character. Throughout the novel we read how she continuously works to fix things and how she allows opportunities to pass her by because of this. And yet she has a chance to grow and to learn when to let things be. I enjoyed Kinsella’s latest rom-com and if you enjoy reading this genre, you will too. If you want to know more, you can read my review here.
What do you think of the introduction to the main character? Are you curious about her?