Or how to start off just about right ...
When I was seventeen, one of our neighbors, forty-five-year-old John Glancey, left his wife Jeannette. Apparently, good old John was living the dream with a girl nearly twenty years his junior: beach blonde hair, plastics boobs and still looking for her decency somewhere around London and beyond. Glancey couldn't have found a worst cliché for a cheap mistress if he tried. To this day, I still do not understand why on earth a girl that young would want to do Mr. Glancey. Alright but definitely not handsome, John clearly didn't look like a model. Yet, it appeared soon enough that John’s story wasn’t breaking news, except to poor Mrs. Glancey of course. They say that in this kind of situation, the wife is always the last one to find out. I can't help but wonder if part of her didn't know, though. After all, women are famously known for having this sort of sixth sense, this tiny little radar that turns red as soon as something feels odd, leading them to become suspicious, or as men love to say, paranoid.
If Jeannette's intuition ended up buried under the weight of years of marriage and blind faith, this was clearly not the case for the people around her. The entire neighborhood had noticed some significant changes in him, and this, for weeks already. He, who used to be so stuffy and chubby, had started getting in shape. He didn't have that sloppy appearance anymore, that same one that made him look dirty. He was shaving again and at the tender age of forty-five, he seemed to have finally mastered the use of a comb. He suddenly became friendly, and at times even cheerful, greeting us daily with a big smile on his face. He was terribly enthusiastic about the smallest things, like the sun shining. He even took his old Triumph out of the garage. I'm telling you, John was looking at life with glittering eyes.
And so one day, somewhere between the sun shining and the crazy rides, he just took off.
There was very little drama to it. No Mrs. Glancey helplessly throwing herself at her husband on the street, screaming and crying, and no children holding on to their daddy’s leg. No, nothing else but John loading his suitcase in the trunk of his car then quietly taking a seat behind the wheel without ever looking back.
In a way, I can understand his point of view. Technically, the man had won the lottery; not that Mrs. Glancey was an ugly woman, but by no means would she have been able to keep up with her husband’s new babe. I remember my mom talking about it around the dinner table. She had called Glancey “a disgusting pig” and wittering on about how it was all going to bite him in the ass soon enough. At that time, I was also surprised to see how quiet my dad was. I remember wondering if he, too, had ever considered leaving everything behind, his two children and wife, to start a new life.
Mrs. Glancey desperately tried to calm down the scandalmongers with midlife-crisis theories. For weeks, she spent her time explaining how her loving husband was no exception to the rules that governed men and that just like a lot of people his age, he suddenly felt the need to want all sorts of things he just could not have anymore. He simply wanted to look beyond a life that had perhaps become a little too monotonous for him now.
Obviously, she received a whole lot of support and empathetic nods, but beneath the friendly exterior and good intentions, it felt like John’s getaway made a lot of married couples ponder. They knew what the Glanceys were going through simply because they were asking themselves the same questions John had. They knew that there had to be more to life than whatever they had at the moment, but they wouldn’t dare go pursue all the things they always dreamt of: the endlessly sexy partner, the fancy sports car, never-ending excitement, the thirst for life.
But John did. He wanted to feel alive all over again. And while Mrs. Glancey was dying a little more each day, she kept hoping that her Johnny would soon come back to his senses, and eventually to her.
Just like the married neighbors, the Glanceys’ misadventure got me thinking. Deep down I felt bad for Jeannette. She was a nice lady and I couldn't help but think that she must have seen it coming. After all, she was living with the guy and she probably knew him better than anyone so why didn't she try to stop him? He was now long gone with Blondie and there she was, hurting like hell. The happiness she had built her life upon was depending on the foundations of someone else. And in leaving her behind, he had left her with no other choice than to start all over again.
I didn't want something like that to happen to me. Hell no. And while there wasn’t much I knew about love or even life yet, I had already seen enough to know what was bound to happen if I didn't make a move. If you think about it, even if we all dream different dreams, I think that we share the same kind of expectations in life, right? After all, how many people do you know that go to bed at night saying a goodnight prayer in the lines of something like: 'Dear God, I really hope I can have a shitty life, that I'll hate my job, and that I will forever be broke as hell. Oh and if in the meantime absolutely no one wants to fall in love with me, then I know I'll die a happy woman because then and only then, would I have fulfilled my lifelong dream.'
So I just sat down on my bed and started writing a whole bunch of plans and hopes that were going through my mind. Actually, this was almost like a to-do list except instead of filling it with chores, I just laid down my expectations. You know, about life. From my love life to my career and all the way to the make of my very first car, I started listing everything: I'll find my soulmate and I'll get the job of my dreams. My existence was not going to be a lousy romantic comedy. One way or another, I'll get my perfect life. The more I wrote, the clearer it got. I needed to give myself goals so that I could step into action, move from my dreams to my reality. And while I was becoming Walt Disney, turning my life into a fairy tale, the only thing left for me to do was to come up with a plan. Though, that shouldn't be too difficult. There wasn't an obstacle I could not overcome and above all, there was absolutely no reason why things shouldn't go as planned. Worst case scenario, I would always have a plan B or C, if need be.
Yes, right. The thing I didn't see coming though was that I was going to need much more than twenty-six spare letters.
Have you ever heard the saying that goes: 'God laughs when you make plans?' Well, if you ask me, I think God must have laughed His ass off when he heard me that day because ever since that moment, NOTHING went as planned.
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