30. Looking to the Future

30. Looking to the Future

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson



Look at a calendar and school summer holidays are quite lengthy affairs, but enjoy the hemline of your favourite (and only) girlfriend whilst sitting in her garden in the sun and the holidays seem to be absurdly short affairs.

Looking back on it, Darren recalled there had been the adventure in a tent early on in the six week break, and there had been the sad affair when an old man died in a country park much later, and those two events marked the highlights of the break, those and that hemline. Two little touches of winter in a summer world.

He and Jennifer were, as usual, basking in the sun. It hadn’t been a completely sun-washed break from school because several days had been lost to wet weather, but with September and a return to the sixth form looming, the end was in sight.

Both had their inner eyes on the future. Jennifer was more determined than ever to make a name for herself as a medical doctor and Darren still had a deep fascination for their place in the totality of the Universe, and often found himself contemplating (in the solitude of his own room before drifting off to sleep) such things as dimensions and the plurality of universes and whether everything he could see in the night sky had an echo elsewhere, and if it did, which was the real universe. Such things had always fascinated him.

You know,” he said to Jennifer, having moved his deckchair as close to hers as the physical reality of wood and canvas would allow,once when I was a kid I had a little notebook, and I wrote everything I knew in it that interested me, and it was all to do with the stars and the planets. I’d love to have been one of those astronauts that went to the moon… I sometimes wonder what it would have been like if I had!”

You must have been a strange little boy,” giggled Jennifer, “but when I was that age I played with Barbie. I had no thought of performing surgery on my doll. No need to prescribe medicines for her acne. The very thought of fixing a splint to her broken leg never crossed my mind.”

Do you think it’s all part of gender engineering?” asked Darren, “like you’re a girl and girls played with dolls because, before too long, they’d have real babies to care for..?”

I don’t think it ever crossed my mind that I’d be a mother to a living breathing baby,” Jennifer told him, “I knew the doll was plastic. I knew she represented an adult person rather than a baby. Why, she even had b***s and a boyfriend, and he didn’t have any of the weird and wonderful stuff you keep in your shorts! I looked, and was disappointed!

But you combed her hair, washed her face, dressed her in nice things…” said Darren.

Because she was an extension of myself,” said Jennifer. “She was doing things that I might do if I wanted to, without having to do them, if you see what I mean. And she was my friend as well as a sort of alter-ego. But what happened to that notebook you mentioned? With all your facts and fantasies in it? I don’t see you ever looking at it these days?”

It’s probably somewhere in a landfill,” sighed Darren, “and I’d do anything to find it if it isn’t. I remember squashing my writing in really small because there was so much I wanted to put on a page… but I was ten and now I’m a lot older. Which reminds me. You’ll be eighteen soon, and I’ve been saving up to buy you a present. Any ideas what you might want?”

She shook her head. “Mummy and daddy are buying me a little car,” she said, “so that when I’m at uni I can get home to visit them whenever I want to. It’ll be nice to have a car and then I’ll be able to see you, Darren.”

I might get a job and buy a little car too,” sighed Darren, “maybe take a year off before I start on a degree course, though it’s really a waste of a year, but I want to keep in touch with you.”

And I don’t want to lose touch with you either, Darren,” she said softly, “I tell you what? Just give me yourself for my birthday: that’s all I really want.”

“”You’ll have lots of lads wanting to try it on with you, being the most beautiful girl in any college,” sighed Darren, “if only we could stay like this…”

Under the sun, and day-dreaming?” asked Jennifer, shaking her head, “but reality’s not like that. I’m not Barbie and you’re not Ken! And that lost notebook of yours … you’ll have to write your dreams down all over again, and maybe I won’t figure in any of them.”

You darned well will!” he flashed back at her, “I can’t imagine life without you!”

The book of the future hasn’t even been drafted let alone written,” she sighed, “and you know what: you’ll grow out of those shorts you like wearing, you’ll consign them to the dustbin and put on a pair of jeans with holes cut in the knees. And me? I’ll suddenly realise that there’s a great deal more to life than watching your eyes lingering over my legs, and I’ll make some changes to my wardrobe too. I’ll send my summer stuff to the nearest charity shop and buy a black maxi overcoat that leaves nothing and everything to the imagination!”

We’re more than what we wear, Jennifer.”

I know, but at this moment in time I’m in love with now. I’m in love with you, Darren, very much in love with you, and then my biggest fear is that we’ll both change. I don’t like jeans with slashed knees, for goodness’ sake!”

And I’ve not time for this black maxi-coats either! I’m in love with you, Jennifer, with the you of the here and now…”

With my silly shorts skirts?”

Especially with them! Can I be honest, love? All I really want to do is undo the clasp that holds that skirt you’re wearing up and slowly, gently, with nothing remotely like violence, remove it from your lovely body, and do it while I can, before it’s too late and we’re suddenly strangers.”

Darren, don’t…”

And he noticed that she was crying, a little trickle of moisture running down her perfect skin from her more than perfect eyes.

Don’t cry…” he murmured.

But I must,” she whispered, “because, my love, I feel the winds of change coming our way, and I don’t want them… I don’t want them at all.”

And without looking to see if they were being overlooked she undid the clasp of her skirt and, wriggling, slid it down her legs until it fell with a pretty floral wisp of coloured cloth and landed on the grass underneath her feet.

Like this?” she whispered, “before our happiness gets blown away?”

© Peter Rogerson 29.05.21


© 2021 Peter Rogerson

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Added on May 29, 2021
Last Updated on May 29, 2021
Tags: future, plans, summer's ending


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..


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