At Thirteen

A letter to my thirteen-year old self as tagged by Little Brown Dog. http://littlebrowndog-littlebrowndog.blogspot.com/


Congratulations, Kid!
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!



Comments

Cait O'Connor said…
Lovely, I could just picture her by the stable gate with her dog.
Cait O'Connor said…
Lovely, I could just picture her by the stable gate with her dog.
Oh poor young and in love girl - haven't we all been there . . .
Flowerpot said…
This brought back many painful memories!!!
Pondside said…
Chris, it sounds as though you were a pretty mature 13 year old - crush and all. Looking at your photo, it's clear that the lunar landscape, braces and lumpy home-made numbers didn't scar you! I'd like to have met your 13 year old self!
Debs said…
I felt for your thirteen year old self when reading that. What a lovely letter.
I used to drag a JRT by the name of Heidi....cringe
Frances said…
Hello Chris,

I think you've written a grand letter to 13-year-old you. Bet that the 13-year-old might have just written back!

Did you keep a diary at that age?
Here I am being nosy.

xo
Wooly Works said…
Ah, young and in love. It makes me grind my teeth and sweat profusely. I don't miss those teen years, do you? Thank goodness we all survived and have become competent adult women--against all odds.

Great letter. You were certainly much more mature and self aware than I ever was at that age.
Hannah Velten said…
Sounds like me aged 13 - had a huge crush on a boy who rode...never reciprocated - painful! By the way, the re-write looks like it's nearly done...well done! Are you going to post an itsy-bitsy extract, I wonder?!
UN PEU LOUFOQUE said…
Ah loves young dream I bet Ron hasnt wethered time half as well as you have dear!
LittleBrownDog said…
Loved that picture of 13-year-old Chris and Ron the stable boy (wonder whatever happened to him?). And I bet your spots weren't as bad as you think - or as bad as mine were at that age. (I'm coming to the conclusion that spots may well just be nature's way of holding us back from unsuitable liaisons with people called Ron - or in my case, a 15-year-old Danish exchange student called Jan - I used to stand at the window playing David Soul with tears bumping down my acned cheeks...)

By the way - re your comment on my blog; it only sounds like I've done a lot when I write it down - I haven't actually got any work yet. And my word-count has been stuck at 3000 and something for about six weeks now. Not impressive. And remember, re FTT - the darkest hour is always just before dawn. You're so nearly there...

LBD xx
Lane said…
'Little Chris' is only too familiar:-)

lol at 'Ron'. Mine was called Trevor:-(
Pipany said…
God I hated being a teen!!! Makes it all come back reading your letter Chris. Hope this year is a good one for you and your book xx
Milla said…
Loved those velvet trousers! You make yourself sound so attractive, too, but clearly it paid off!
Zinnia Cyclamen said…
Ouch that first year of teenagehood, it really wasn't what I expected, I'm so glad I'm middle-aged, it's much more fun! Very resonant letter, Chris.
Posie Rosie said…
Happy New Year Chris, good to catch up. You must have been so proud watching your boy onstage...and seeing your book in print and on sale, well done you. Loved the letter to yourself,. brought back many memories of being 13. Posie x
CAMILLA said…
Loved reading that letter to yourself Chris, I loathed being thirteen, freckles and plaits.

Hope this year is a good one for you Chris, and best of luck with your book.

Camilla.xx
Grouse said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grouse said…
You took us all back there, Ch. I can remember posing with my neighbour's Afghan Hound in my hotpants...I was 16 and probably looked cooler but in reality just as nieve as the 13yr old you!!!!

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