Sunday, July 16, 2006
Sunday Scribblings - With baggage
As she returned from the bar with another carafe of wine, she couldn't help overhearing, what Tina said about her,'Suzie's problem is that she comes with baggage, it can put people off.' Is that what her friend really thought? She stuck a smile on her face and managed to drift through the rest of the evening.
Later, at home, lying in bed she thought more about it, 'with baggage', but surely everyone had what they called 'baggage', it was life's experiences, part of her character, part of what made her Suzie. Without it she would be a tabula rasa ready for the first mark to be made. She was not going to deny what life had thrown at her, she thought it made her interesting, she was not afraid to talk of past happenings and current beliefs. How could Tina have said that, she was always the first to say to her, 'Go on Suzie, tell me another tale' or she would remark when with acquaintances, 'Suzie, has led a very interesting life, tell them Suz'.
She fell asleep looking back at the past and her so called 'baggage'. As a child she had always stuck up for the underdog in the classroom, always sure of herself she would berate anyone who thought they could poke fun at a less fortunate child. She was always the one rescuing fledglings from their nests and trying to keep them alive, to no avail, and every time they died she would burst into floods of tears. Teenage years were awash with causes 'make love not war', 'hell no we won't go' agreeing with the draft burners in the Vietnam war, even though she lived in a small seaside town in the South of England. Protest marches and student takeovers of the campus, Suzie always had to be part of it. By the time she got to San Francisco it was not the place she thought it would be, but no matter she would become an eco-warrior instead. Until her late thirties, she roamed the world, helping one cause and then jumping on to the next. Eventually, she met, in foreign lands an overseas journalist from London, fell deeply in love and without, it seemed to her, being able to catch her breath, was married and living in London.
Three children followed, they brought more causes into her life, suspected closure of a local nursery, merging of two comprehensive schools, wherever she turned as they grew up she seemed to be needed on one committee or another. All her experience with so many different causes made her the person people would look to for help.
As time moved on, the children left for university and after that on to lives of their own. Her husband was based most of the time in London now, and they spent many late evenings talking about him going freelance, selling their home in London and moving to a quieter life in the country. She agreed, laughingly, saying that she was sure there would be village committees that she could join and the W.I., but perhaps it was time to start enjoying life, get a dog, plan a garden, do all the things she had always been too busy to do because of her causes. Her husband wanted one last overseas trip, his paper wanted an experienced reporter to go to Baghdad. Suzie spent her time sorting out belongings, to make a move easier, and thought of the trips they planned, cottage hunting, when he came back.
It was not to be, her husband never came back from Iran, a missile exploded in their hotel. What was Suzie to do? She didn't want to move to the country alone. There was only one route out. The family house was sold and she moved into a small flat in the centre of London, surrounded by bustle and life. What else was left for her but to turn back to causes, with an even bigger determination to change the world. It was what kept her living from one day to another and if that was living 'with baggage' and putting people off, she didn't care, she did good and it helped her survive.