For those that fear Rachel is based upon them I have to say fear not there are many more examples. I am an avid people watcher and that, rather sadly, makes writing all the easier. For me it is not about the immediate and tangible aspects of what you see but what lies beneath the surface of that first image. Allow me to share two examples.
I spotted what should, by ages alone, have been a father and daughter pairing in the pub last night. The couple should not have necessitated a second glance but something about the young girl cried out. I’m not sure that I could pick out what it was that drew me to look closer but there was clearly more to the story.
It may have been the almost alabaster make up, not quite in keeping with the style of the clothes. Was this selected as a rebellion? Some outer indication that all was not well. Or was it that the foundation was applied to thickly for such young skin, not juvenile application but mature and deliberate over application. I know that you will all think of over indulgent nights followed by messy makeup but there was something more in this face. It was as if the mask that she chose to hide behind had subtle, possibly subconscious, clues offered like a code that would never be deciphered.
Whatever that clue was it drew my eye, almost instinctively, to her ring finger which seemed almost too fragile for the jewellery which adorned it. An engagement ring that was uncomfortably close to theatrical jewellery blurred the boundaries of childish dress up and the adult implications of marriage. The guy shepherded his ward into a booth, perhaps it was pure chance that she became pinned in a corner. I couldn’t help reflecting on the tortured soul that cried out from eyes far too dark for one so young.
The next time I glanced over the man was planting a kiss on his partner, her hands clasped in his. Rather than a firm and loving grasp the large hands seemed to trap the young girls hands, like a butterfly incapable of escape. There were clearly choices that this young girl had made and, I don’t doubt, reasons for those choices but there was a sad oblivion in the eyes that spoke of being trapped.
This morning I left the hotel at 4.30 am and was surprised to see a young lady slipping on the frosty path in front of me. The venues opposite the hotel are ‘lock ups’ that is to say that there is no residential accommodation despite, in some cases, appearances. As she righted herself and tottered to a less frosty area it was clear that she had left a pub. There were no lights on and certainly there is no licence in the area that extends to such an early hour.
As I came nearer I realised that it was not just the 4 inch heels that seemed inappropriate for conditions, the general dress was that of a night out and not an early morning start. Shoulder length dark hair was strewn over her shoulders in the way that only a ‘five finger brush’ can achieve confirming this was the end of a long night. The ‘lucky’ night had ended like Cinderella’s ball and the walk, or totter, of shame had begun.
The excitement of last night’s whispered conspiracies had given way to sober guilt or worry. Fumbling in her bag for a phone that had doubtless been turned off last night she took another slide on the pavement. The elegant beauty that had strode into the pub and inspired the late night now an oddly dressed foal trying to control her own legs.
You can tell me that both of these women were free to make their choices. You can tell me that I am reading too much into what I see, that these ladies are happy. But in these two examples, as in everyone that I see, I believe there is an undercurrent of fear, insecurities and need. Perhaps it is part of the ‘broken wings syndrome’ but the story that I see is not an empowered one but a sad one. I see women who are misguided and shackled by their own misunderstanding of their ‘value’ in life.
So girls, when you read Rachel’s story remember that she is all around you and probably as close as you think. Guys when you tell me of conquests and I seem to glaze over I’m sorry it’s just that my perspective is different.