Posted on November 4, 2014November 3, 2014 by Patricia Ann McNair11.4.2014 Journal Prompt Photo by Steve Schapiro November 4, 2014: We thought we could change things. Share this:ShareClick to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
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I reckon it was a time of possibilities and opportunity. Maybe that’s how it’ll be remembered in history books in year to come. We were young then and we had things our moms and dads could never have dreamed off. We had education for a start and they’d made sacrifices so as we could. And we didn’t look like them, not like our moms and our dads, not with what we wore and how we styled our hair, and we listened to music that belonged to only us.
We thought we could change the world back then. With the arrogance of our years, we thought we could make it better. We stood up to be heard and we talked of peace and love, and we meant it, every word.
There was this girl called Shelby and she was so damned pretty it hurt just to look at her. I close my eyes sometimes, when the day is busy and there’s the noise of photocopiers spitting out paper and the phone keeps ringing and the traffic on the street is a persistent rumble in my head, I close my eyes then and I see again the girl called Shelby, seventeen and her hair falling about her shoulders like felled summer barley, and she’s wearing a long skirt in rainbow colours and nothing else, and she’s dancing to the music only she can hear, and fuck, seeing her in my head and it still hurts.
It was Shelby who convinced me that anything was possible. She said all we had to do was dream and then to follow that dream. We stood up to governments and we wore flowers in our hair and it was the longest summer. It was like we held it all in the cup our two hands. It was like we could build the world anew if only we wished it with all our hearts.
I don’t really now what happened. Shelby went off with this guy called Tom. They had kids and they got a house up by Newington. He was a truck driver or something. I think at first she sat up in the truck with him. Then she didn’t.
And I got a job in insurance and I worked myself up to branch manager and I’ve got a secretary called Linda and she brings me coffee at about eleven each morning and she calls me ‘sir’ and she doesn’t even look at me.
As for the world? Well, I don’t know if it’s better or what. I really don’t know. It’s different certainly, but there’s still bad and good in it.
And today, in the street, on my way to work, there was this girl and she wasn’t wearing any shoes and her hair was loose and floating, and she gifted me a single flower, a spindly ox-eye daisy, and she said for me to have a nice day. It stopped me in my tracks and I watched her move away from me, passing flowers to anyone who’d take one. It was like she’d stepped out of the past, stepped out of that time back when, that time when the kids talked of peace and love and changing the world, or it was like I’d stepped back.