Imogen’s dark head nods up and down rhythmically, following my words in a way that I never thought was possible, as though she was under my spell.
“Next the poor girl was humiliated by the Year 11s and some of the outcasts, they were forcing her to relive memories of bad luck: Daniel’s horrible sister, Bernice had managed to steal the exact position Ezme had wanted. This was a big knock on Ezme’s acting plans, but she bounced back after she received a letter inviting her to be part of the chorus of a local play. It was a missive from the Gods!”
And that is how I continue for the entire meal. Imogen is the best of audiences; gasping in the appropriate places, with the appropriate expressions and nodding, always nodding, like one of those bouncing car-toys.
During dessert, which I don’t touch because the heat is too hot and I’m not at all peckish, I finish the story by stopping at the final performance of that local play.
“And it went incredibly well. Ezme was like a flower, growing and growing and growing, flourishing with all her acting and dancing skills. But I’m worried that Ezme is forgetting about her true talent: singing. She lets all the negativity drag her down deep into the pit of despair. And in that pit she stays, battling with Lucifer who holds her back from the light of freedom…”
Between Imogen and me, there is silence whilst all around the restaurant there is excitement and action. Some of the mothers from our group have jumped up to join the male dancers on the platform. They are swinging and jumping and generally enjoying themselves far more than they should be.
“Wow,” Imogen says into this odd silence, “That’s epic.”
I grin, “It is, pretty much, isn’t it?”
“You’re a really good storyteller, Jess.”
I blush, “No, I’m not.”
“You are! I think you should try to write it all down.”
“You think I should? I had an idea, but… I dunno, Ezme didn’t really seem enthusiastic…”
“Do you really need Ezme’s permission? You could just change the names and exaggerate everything.”
“Do you think so?”
“I think it’ll be a best seller!”
I laugh. “You have too much confidence in me…”
“Sure,” by now Imogen is chuckling too.
“Okay,” Now I know my confidence has been filled up from her sprit,
“I’ll do it!”