And I just found the first thing I ever started to write for the National Novel Writing Month, back in 2004. I only managed 12,000 words out of the 50,000 that makes you a 'Winner' but I still like it - and I thought I'd share a section of it with you (yep, life's been dull lately, there's nothing interesting to post - what can I say?).
Here, the main character, Alison, takes a shopping trip on her first night as a virgin lodger, after having left the sanctuary of her parent's house.
And that night being my very first in my very first new home, I’d had to stop by the All Hours down the end of the road.
The sound of the chains that had bound me at home, falling from me, were almost audible as I wandered about the aisles carefully and lasciviously deciding on which tempting foodstuffs I desired and which general household items were absolutely necessary – but not skimp on cheap alternatives to branded names. No more having to make do with kitchen rolls cut in two for loo rolls – oh no, now I would have the softer, stronger and very much longer ones that I always knew were my bottom-given right to have. No more of that oily, nasty tasteless margarine that mother insisted was better for our hearts than butter – oh no, only proper butter, the best butter… only the kind of (salted) butter that had been personally carefully churned by the cows themselves was good enough for me now.
And it was going to be spread on proper sliced bread. None of that bloody ‘long tin’ rubbish that mum bought weekly from the market and put in the freezer and took out to slice and defrost before we could toast it… oh my good lord no, no more of all that nonsense. And proper washing liquid. None of this washing by hand stupidity and using powder that stayed hanging around the collars and under the armpits of clothes because it hadn’t been machined away nicely – and fabric softener…. Oh joy… oh bliss and heavenly angels sent from the great launderette in the sky – I was loving all this. And the kinder to your hands washing up liquid with the fluffy nappied-baby on the side – only the best was going to be good enough for me from now on.
And some chocolate. No, a whole box. A small box but a whole box nonetheless… a kind of celebratory box just for me - just for the night. The ones that the man in black comes swinging through the undergrowth to deliver to you in the dead of night… against all odds and under supremely dangerous conditions.
Oh, and a bottle of wine. And some Twiglets.
I could have spent the entire evening in there and still wanted to stay longer.
The contents of the basket that looked back at me smiled up like gifts in a Hamper as I stood in the queue. The kind of stuff that was in here was the kind of stuff I only ever saw at Christmas in our house. Well, my parents’ house. It wasn’t ‘mine’ any longer. Ha! Now I was a fully-fledged single independent woman of the world. I had a good job. Well, a job. I had a boyfriend. Well… long term partner. Boyfriend was pushing it a bit. And now I had my own home. Well… a room in a house that I paid for. I felt strong and happy and excited and…
‘Nineteen forty five.’
Ok. She could have been reminding me of the year second world war ended… couldn’t she? Deep breath. Stay calm. There are people standing behind you. Waiting. They do this every day. This is not unusual. This is fine. This is what happens out there in the outside world. People shop. People buy things they want/need/like the look of. People pay.
You can do this.
I handed over a twenty pound note. Ordinarily that note would have seen me out the week. And here it was giving me a drink and a snack for the evening and breakfast for the next three or four mornings. Oh, and keeping my clothes clean for … I didn’t know how long because I’d never turned a washing machine on before. In my life. Unless mum had said ‘could you press that button there for me, lovey…’
Lovey. She’d called me lovey. Hadn’t she? Probably once. She called dad ‘lovey’ a lot. Oh god now I wanted my mother. After all I’d just subconsciously been calling her as I’d glided (flake-like) up and down aisles. Here we go then. This is where I start the regret-trip closely followed by the guilt-ride and then onto the big ‘Ah-now-it-all-makes-sense’ roller coaster. Shit. And triple flippin’ shit.