THE GAP IN OUR LIVES

Sign of the Times-0204 Image by Christine Renney

Back then we were living in a bedsit, a shared house. We were no longer students but hadn’t yet attempted to take advantage of our qualifications. At twenty eight we were still young, or at least not old.
We worked, had signed with an agency and accepted whatever they threw at us. We hadn’t garnered any experience in a particular field. If and when we were offered a fulltime position we quit and moved on. Clara and I refused to be tied down.
Admittedly, we had to label our food in the cupboards and take advantage of the communal fridge but we were happy. We each had a laptop and headphones and wanted for nothing else.
We were able to save most of our earnings and if one of us wanted to stay home and get to grips with a big and unwieldy book then we would do just that. And we boasted about how wise we were. Our friends were befuddled by our choices and thought us arrogant or foolish, or both.
But Clara and I vowed to each other that we would never, ever concern and worry ourselves with spreadsheets and product placement, with the crunching of numbers.
We intended to travel and we certainly talked the talk, sitting up late into the night making our plans. But in reality the trips we made were few and far between and they gradually came to resemble the holidays that our parents enjoyed. And it seemed unlikely that at almost thirty we would up stakes and set off around the world.
Our friends thought us foolish for not joining the fray, for not chasing the same goals, the goals they had set for themselves. And of course they were waiting in the wings, readying to crow, readying for the last laugh and tell us ‘we told you so’.
We were aware of how easily and quickly we could hop onto that other planet. We realised also that we had to go there, that moving there and settling down for the long haul wasn’t optional. But still we resisted and so our life together began to implode.

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9 comments

  1. unbolt

    Interesting… my first association with this picture was the World Map. Even the title ‘THE GAP IN OUR LIVES’ worked very well… we’re separated by continents… and this story… hmmm… yes! It works awesome.
    Great post, Mark!

    • markrenney1

      You are right – when Christine and I were looking through for a photograph to go with this post this one seemed ideal as we also thought it looked like a map. Thanks so much, regards Mark.

      • Joseph Nebus

        It is surprisingly plausible-looking for a world map. Do you know if the painting was done deliberately to evoke Europe and Africa or if that was just a stroke of luck?

        The scene is quite well-drawn, too, a strong setting out of the scenario.

      • markrenney1

        Thanks again Unbolt. The photo is of a tiled column covered by paint which is flaking away. It looked like a map anyway but we turned the picture through 180 degrees and voila something akin to the world proper jumped out at us. Glad you liked both the writing and the image Joseph and thanks for commenting.

  2. markrenney1

    Dylan sang ‘May You Stay Forever Young?’ but our interpretation of forever young changes as we age. Thanks Chris.

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