You’ve found out you’ve got a good head on your shoulders; it’s already opened doors money can’t. Just as well really, because you’ll never be rich. Well, not in material terms anyway. So get used to the bargain basement clothes but take heart from the fact that the days of the hideous homemade numbers Mum forces on you are numbered. Going back to that head of yours; it’s a shame it’s obscured by a lunar landscape of acne, thick glasses and wires all over your teeth but things, as they say, will get better. People who get close enough not to care will say you have nice eyes… but I’m afraid that’s what’s known as cold comfort.
You’ve got a secret, haven’t you? You’re in love for the very first time. You know it’s love because you think you’re going to faint whenever you see the object of your desire. He’s a stable lad, of course, I mean who else do you see here in the heart of the racing industry? But he’s a cut above the usual stable rats, as your Gran calls them, who leer and wink at you from the back of their horses. His soft dark curls nestle in the nape of his neck, his blue eyes sparkle and he speaks to you kindly – like he does the horses, I expect. Whippet thin, he’s 24, wears tight velvet trousers on racing days and you think, poor spotty deluded child, that he might ask you to run away with him!
Actually, it’s not that much of a secret because you’re not exactly subtle. Even the family dog, Zorba, (Mum’s Greek period) a miniature dachshund, knows because every afternoon at the same time you wake the poor creature up from where he slumbers in front of the gas fire (lit or unlit) dreaming of worrying socks and chewing laces, to stick a lead on him just to drag him across the road to the stable gate. Whilst you are ‘nonchalantly’ hanging around waiting for the adored one to appear you are already worrying about how to let him down gently when he does ask you to run away with him. It’s nothing to do with sex, because you haven’t the faintest idea of what that might be about – it doesn’t even enter your head - but because you can see that the disadvantages are:
1. He lives in a hostel which doesn’t look very nice.
2. Mucking out horses is probably not a lucrative occupation.
3. He’s called Ron. It’s just not a very romantic name, is it?
In due course, my little beetroot-faced one, you will love and you will be loved, you will hurt and you will be hurt. On that subject, when you get dumped for the first time, a few years from now, Dad will find you crying downstairs in the middle of the night and say ‘Cheer up, Miss Chris, it will never be this bad again.’ Know that he is lying – he just wants you to stop crying. By the way, Dad is a very remote figure now, always working and often away from home but once you go to university you’ll form an unbreakable bond which will last all his life.
In a little while, when you’ve finished casually dragging Zorba up and down at the gate, you’ll go home and do your school work. Yes, kid, it’ll all work out, exams, university, ‘good’ jobs but ask yourself this… what do you really want to do? Learn to listen to that inner voice – it’ll save me a lot of bother further down the line!