Day 226 – Folie à Deux – Part 9

Word count: 1078

Vicky was shouting again in her room. Catherine could hear it from her own bedroom, over the sound of music. It was beginning to become very draining. It was not the first argument that Vicky had on the phone. Every day there was something – some drama that necessitated a verbal battle via the mobile phone bandwidth. Catherine was sick of it now. For a few days now they had been alone in the house together while their parents were at work. Catherine was revising – her first exam had already been and gone and she was now well into the swing of revision. For the next two weeks, Catherine needed silence and calm and serenity. She did not need her sister screaming down the phone at her university friends about some stupid mundane thing while Catherine tried to sort out the rest of her life.

Catherine kept on having to remind herself that she had got into university – all unconditionals. These exams were just for extra credit, they did not really matter. She chewed the top of her biro, not sure what to do. The argument had been going on for less than a minute and she was unsure as to whether or not she should go through and say something. At the back of her mind, Catherine knew that this argument might last another five seconds or another five minutes. Either way it was distracting to her – not least in the noise pollution but in the fact that Catherine had no clue as to what these arguments were about. It bugged her to no end that she did not know. Vicky spoke radiantly of university – of all her brilliant, happy friends; of how she had so much fun and of how it was all so perfect. Vicky never spoke of the hardship of university. She never mentioned exams or coursework. She never complained once. Catherine was suspicious because there could be no doubt as to who she was talking to: it could only be university friends. She had not bothered to speak to any of her old friends since she had arrived back home.

After another minute, Catherine had had enough. Slamming her pen on her paper, she got up and stormed through to the hallway. Her hand was poised to knock on the door, but from here she could now make out a little of what was being said… she hesitated.

“No, you listen to me you bastard, enough is enough! I have told you! I gave him the money, it’s him who stole it! It’s him you have to hassle!” Vicky paused, clearly receiving an earful of swearing from the other end. “You know what, fine then – do what you want. I know you won’t do anything. I paid you fair and square. You knew what you were getting into when you did the deal. You sort it out.”

From the finality of her words, Vicky had just hung up. Catherine could hear her stomping around her room. She was even more curious than before. Money – owing? Was Vicky in debt? Was Vicky in trouble? What was such a big secret that she could not tell her parents, tell her sister? Catherine listened even more intently, pressing her ear slightly against the door. She could hear her sister sobbing softly. Catherine was quite surprised at the emotion bubbling away underneath Vicky’s happy exterior. She felt bad for her sister, but at the same time the last year could not be undone. Catherine was unsure whether or not to knock on the door and check was okay. Her sister was clearly upset, but would it make it worse to reveal to her that in fact the entire conversation had been heard? After all, Vicky evidentially wanted it kept a secret…. who was Catherine to smash that illusion?

Stepping back from the door, Catherine retreated into her room and sat on the edge of her bed. So much was going through her mind right now. Leaving school, exams, going to university – if she even chose to do that. It was all a mess in her mind. Her parents wanted her to get a nice degree and a nice job, but Catherine had no idea what she wanted to do in life. Everything at school in the last year was telling them all that they needed to know what they wanted to do by eighteen. If you wanted to be a teacher, you needed to do A, B and C. If you wanted to be a lawyer, you’d need to do this or that. Life needed to be mapped out from this age and Catherine was panicking because all she wanted to do in life was sit back and enjoy whatever came her way…. she wanted more time to bugger around in school. She wanted more weekends spent with her best friend, she wanted all those long holidays… she did not want nine til five… she did not want a career or a job with health care benefits and enough salary to pay off a mortgage. Did she really want to learn anything more? It was stressful enough with these exams, it would only get harder if she went to uni? All these ideas were frothing and fermenting away in her mind every day for the last six months. Now the time to finally choose was here and her life plan was a blank canvas. Catherine was petrified. She supposed she would end up going to uni regardless. It was the easiest option. Everyone else would go there from her year and her parents would probably drag her to every lecture by her earlobes if she refused.

From across the room the revision notes stared back at her. It must be almost five in the evening now. Another day gone. Her parents would be home soon, the dinner would be cooked and after a few more hours revision she would be asleep. It was the doctor’s again tomorrow. The next step was anti-depressants. The sleeping had not stopped yet. Every now and then she would slip away to a garden or a bedroom. The other day it had even been a kitchen. It all appeared to be part of the same fictional house: perhaps one day she would know it all as if it were her own, but for now it would have to wait… reality was calling her and ignoring its cries would only make things worse….

~ by S.G. Mark on May 20, 2012.

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