Jess

Summer 2010

BIG 150TH ANNIVERSARY MUSICAL; DON’T MISS IT!

That’s the notice pinned up in our form room. And we’re the first form to start speculating about it because our form tutor happens to be the Head of Music, Mr. Medlaye. He’s French, but an excellent pianist and a charming man.

So, of course, we set about pestering him, eager to know which musical we are to participate in. Even I’m excited about something different for next winter; perhaps I will take part…

 

A week later, Mr. Medlaye quenches our thirst and posts up another sheet underneath the first.

It’s a sign-up sheet, with the words MAMMA MIA as its header and a sub-title: ‘The classic ABBA show’.

The rain is particular wet today, the road are as slippery as wet mud, the grass on the playing field is weighed so far down, and we’re all cooped up in our little form room together. It doesn’t feel like summer.

But Ezme isn’t too snappy. In fact, today she is bubbling with excitement as she wanders over to the sign-up sheet. Of course: another acting venture for her to show off her talents. A gaggle of girls crowd round Ezme; her new ‘friends’ but the ones who only like her for her music. And, sometimes, I see them laughing at her behind her back. They don’t believe that she’s good enough.

“That,” Ezme says, pointing to the main character, Sophie, “Is the part of a lifetime. All singing, all dancing, all acting. Ha! Beautiful!”

“Don’t you start picking up on some of Charles’ dialogue,” one ‘groupie’ observes.

“Him?” Ezme snorts, “I dumped him ages ago. Too pedantic.”

Oh, this is truly a bad time for Ezme.

 

At the end of the day I grab my navy backpack and follow Ezme’s rapidly disappearing fuchsia bag. She never seemed to be the type of girl for bright pink handbags, but I suppose I don’t know her so well anymore. She has changed.

Nowadays I don’t know what Ezme does after school.

Is it a drama workshop? Or is it a secret band that she’s hiding (we wish)? Does she simply go home and chill, forgetting about the day that has just past?

“Ezme,” I call, catching up with her on the main road. She's near but she could easily slip away, and I would be stuck, alone, on the other side.

Ezme whips round as fast as a spinning top- and just as hectic. Her bag collides with the opposite hip but she shows no sign of noticing, except perhaps, the slight wince.

“Jess,” she sighs, losing all of our previous conversation’s hostility. She suddenly stops and peers at me, “Where are the others? It’s not like you to be wandering around on your own.”

“I have my own individuality,” I snap, a little bitterly.

“Anyway, what are you doing here?” Ezme sighs again, “I thought I told you never to talk to me again.”

“Yes, but, Ezme, you don’t really mean that…”

“Maybe I do! I want to get on, and acting is the only way…”

This time, it is my turn to sigh. Ezme just doesn’t get it! I yell inwardly.

“Look, all I’m saying is: before you audition for ‘The Big One’, give singing one more chance. I know this place,” I fumble about in my rucksack, but can’t reach the card.

“I have a card from them,” I say, sounding stupid because I can’t give Ezme a proper explanation.

I see Ezme roll her eyes, unimpressed, and cross her arms. So, I take a step forward, hoping that she will not take one back.

“Do what you want, Ez” I put on an annoyed voice, hoping to make her reconsider; the Ezme is used to know was a carer, someone who couldn’t hurt others…

“Personally, I don’t care. Take it or leave it, it is your life, after all. C’est la vie, whether you like it or not.”

I sound like a cheap commercial, spurting out worthless catchphrases to enthral the everyday man. Ezme still is not smiling, but she doesn’t move, perhaps interested in what I can say. Being a professional writer does have its perks sometimes!

“If you want my opinion, I say ‘take it’! Live life to the full! I’ve done so much with my life- I’ve written a book. And now I want the same for you, because I did it all for you. I did it for you, Francis.

By now I am in the middle of the road, and all my concentration is on Ezme.

“If I died now,” I call honestly, “I’d die happy.”

 “-Jess!”

The End

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