Mature Aged Student
Jenny was nervous. She felt too old to be at university; especially doing something as frivolous as philosophy. It had all seemed like a great idea after the divorce but now she longed for her easy, robotic office job and the same pay check each week.
She was scared of this new adventure. She wasn’t very good at adventures… not anymore.
‘Oh, stop it!’ she growled at herself, ‘this is something you’ve always wanted to do and you will damn well enjoy it ok!’
She sat up a bit straighter on the picnic bench and tried to look purposeful. ‘If I am meant to be here, God, please give me a sign,’ she thought, staring out to the huge Moreton Bay Fig tree in front of her.
It was a beautiful campus. Grand limestone buildings with ornate archways and heavy wooden doors towered above her. Ivy covered walls were peering down onto football field sized patches of freshly mowed green lawn and the sky above was cornflower blue.
Jenny started to relax. She could quite happily see herself here for the next few years; reading books under the trees and strolling between lectures.
She still hadn’t had her sign from God though….
Her left brain was painting rainbows in the sky and rejoicing in the prospect of new challenges and creative experiences.
Her right brain was doubled over and struggling to breathe as she remembered her rent and the debt and the fact that she was 58. ’58! – How ridiculous!’ her right brain yelled at her. ‘You’re going to look like an idiot. A sheep in wolves clothing. Mutton dressed as lamb.’
Jenny slumped down in her chair. She felt deflated as the inner voice inside her screamed and the criticisms of her ex-husband ricocheted around her head. Words like ‘useless, stupid and lazy’ came marching back into her subconscious with the authority and conviction of a head master on the first day of school. Jenny suddenly felt very small as the buildings around her seemed to grow taller and taller. She began to feel dizzy…. she closed her eyes.
When Jenny finally opened her eyes the dappled sunlight felt warm on her face and there was a slight breeze in the air. Jenny noticed in front of her a flash of bright teal and a beautiful large peacock stepped out from behind the Moreton Bay Fig. The peacock walked confidently and deliberately towards Jenny stopping a few metres away from her and cocking his head to the side. They stared at each other, locking eyes for a few seconds before the peacock broke his gaze and slowly turned back towards the tree, he bobbed away with his long majestic tail dragging along on the ground behind him.
Jenny looked up to the sky with wet eyes and with a smile she whispered the words “Thank you.”
At the PIAF Perth Writers Festival last weekend I participated in a fiction writing workshop led by the author Catherine Lacey. One of our assignments was to wander around the beautiful UWA and use this as inspiration for a fiction story.
I thought I’d share my story and some of the photos that I took that led me to it….
The research and writing time was about 30 minutes.