Making Other Plans - Short Story inspired by Sandi Thom Lyrics
Making Other Plans
Tami walked into her old high school’s hall for the first time in fifteen years, the banner hanging from ceiling read, a disappointingly predictable, “Class of ‘95”. As soon as she stepped into the hall Tami wasn’t at all convinced she’d made the right decision, she certainly couldn’t criticise herself for taking the decision too lightly, ever since she’d read that the reunion would be happening she had spent many a waking hour engrossed in internal dialogue, discussing the benefits of coming along and comparing those with the benefits of avoiding the night as if it was a “come and catch anthrax” party. Even sitting in her car in the car park she had run through this discussion several times.
Heart racing as she stood just inside the hall. She wanted to see the building again for old times sake, it was just the people that she felt the urge to avoid. She looked on at the hundred or so people in the room, noticing them but none of them noticing her. All of them busy with conversation, most of which were probably duller than dishwater, the sort of forced, clichéd conversations that tend to occur between people who hardly know each other. Tami’s heart continued to race as she looked round the room, the longer she was in there the more she didn’t want anybody to notice her. If they noticed her then she would become embroiled in one of those conversations herself. She’d have to talk about the marriage, the divorce, why she hasn’t got any kids, the job she doesn’t really like, the house she can barely afford and all the broken dreams. When she overheard the question: “So what are you driving these days?” Tami took that as her queue to get out of the hall.
Instead of heading back to her car Tami decided to take herself on a tour of the building. The corridors and the other rooms were empty, apart from the ghosts. Everywhere Tami went she was confronted with at least one memory. Some of those memories made her laugh with her younger self, some of them at her, whilst others left her shaking her head at the sheer naivety of the schoolgirl Tami. When she went to the girls toilets she was sure she could still smell the same cocktail of hair spray and deodorant. All the gossip was ringing in her ears, most of it about boys and the majority of the exploits being talked about were more fictitious than an afternoon in Narnia.
She put her hands onto a sink and stared into a mirror, a mirror that she had looked into over a thousand times before, but this time it was different. At first the mirror lied to her, Tami looked into it and saw a mixture of herself and her schoolgirl past, no way was the reflection thirty three years old. All the people back in the hall, they all looked thirty three, some of them looked forty three, but not Tami, the mirror told her she was much younger. Then came the memories, the old reflections were futuristic. Back in the late eighties and early nineties this mirror had been magical. A hair brush in her hand would become a microphone, if she made a speech the background wouldn’t be of cubicle doors, it would be of a West End Stage, even though it was strictly no boys allowed Tami had been able to see her future husband and soul mate in that mirror.
As she continued to stare at her reflection the mirror became more truthful, the bags under the eyes, the crow’s feet seem to be growing as she watched, she tried to pretend that there was no sign of wrinkles but there were, is that really a grey hair? The only thing remaining from the schoolgirl face was a few spots, the only flaw from her looks as a youth was the only thing she had retained. Tears began to form in Tami’s eyes and gently roll down her cheeks. She didn’t wipe them away, letting them roll down her face, each one a reminder of her hope filled past.
A toilet flushed in the end cubicle, a few seconds later a woman came out.
‘Hey Tami! Oh my God, didn’t realise you were here tonight, how you doing?’ The woman said and went to hug Tami.
Tami allowed herself to be hugged. ‘I’m doing spectacularly average,’ Tami said quietly as the two of them hugged.
‘Have you been crying?’ She asked Tami as she broke off the hug.
‘Yeah only a little bit, I’m fine.’
‘You certainly still look gorgeous.’
‘You must be looking in the mirror I used to use,’ Tami said with the merest hint of a smile. ‘You got a hair brush I could borrow? Tami asked.
‘Sure,’ she said as she delved into her handbag. ‘You really don’t look like you need it though.’
Tami took the hairbrush and hit the mirror with it several times, until the mirror was completely shattered and no longer providing a reflection. Her old friend looked on at Tami with and open mouth and wide eyes.
‘Thanks,’ Tami said and handed back the brush. ‘I don’t like being lied to. Is a dream that doesn’t come true a lie, or is it something far more hideous?’
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