A Time for Giving


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3. The Morning After

You can probably picture the scene. You can probably picture me. Hair all ragged from a lack of sleep, tossing and turning like I’m Houdini escaping from his straight jacket. Yes, the following morning I awoke with straw like hair, figuratively speaking, my whole look resembled the appearance of me having stuck my fingers in the plug socket and caused myself an electric shock. I looked dreadful; and that’s just one way of putting it.

Let’s just say, Dad and I hadn’t ended on great terms last night, in fact, another expression of this might be to say that Christmas in our house would officially be nada - none existent.

What had Dad been thinking?! It’s one thing to go behind your own family’s back to help out another family, but tom invite THEM to OUR Christmas celebration without having the thought to consult us, it was disturbing and appalling.

Two stinking weeks before Christmas and there I was at 11:53pm on a Thursday night, gingerly throwing stones against the window of my best friend’s bedroom pane. Marty's an unusual creature; you couldn't possibly refer to a human being. To the eye of a stranger, my friendship with Marty would look defyingly odd! Ever the posh girl that I, I wear fancy frocks and smarten my appearance before each morning. Even my PJs have to be ironed and my hair perfectly styled just for lounging around in. Marty's a punkish rocker type, pink and purple ombré hair with distinctively distinguishable layers and overly straightened. Jet black eye liner, listened to heavy rock music and generally seen wearing black.

Mum and Dad have witnessed our friendship grow over the past 17 years and so our alternating stereotypes aren't exactly weird for them; nor Eli, nor Marty's parents. Marty's relationship with her parents is as solid as a rock, they're relatively alternative too, didn't celebrate holidays in the traditional fashion that I'd grown up to know and love. Marty's parents are wealthy hippy type people. Vegans, don't believe in technology and had chosen to bring up Marty with firm restrictions. The naughty step wasn't their way of bringing Marty up. If she said something or did something out of turn, either Mr or Mrs Frasen would take Marty aside and gently converse that the way she was behaving wasn't acceptable. I admire them, but I have my own reservations about their choice of parenting methods - sometimes the naughty step is a good thing, but I guess that's a personal decision to make.

7:30am the next morning, I was sound asleep when I was roughly shoved by Marty, awakening me from my deep slumber.

"Ow!" I groaned aloud, struggling to picture where I was and how I'd gotten in to Marty's bed, almost as though I'd had way too much to drink. I hadn't, had I?!

"It's 7:30 Emmy! If you want a lift to college be ready in ten minutes, if not you'll be walking your sorry behind the whole way!"

I yawned, my kids of my eyes steadily closing once again "It would help if I'd had a decent night's sleep!" I groaned wearily.

"You! What about me?! I woke up to find you'd not only decided to plant yourself in My bed! But you'd also taken up more than half of your share! Kicked me continuously and then had the nerve to let me shiver all night while you were all snuggled up, warm and toasty with MY duvet!"

I chuckled, bed sharing had always been the golden rule with Marty. I was always welcome to crash at her place, but under no circumstances was she going to share her bed, not even top to tail. Of course I hadn't consciously crawled my way in to her bed, I knew how grouchy she could get and I'd rather lay on an uncomfortable lumpy mattress shivering the whole night, rather than be scolded by Marty for trying to muscle in on her sleep.

Clearly I'd fallen asleep again as once again, I'd woken up disorientated. Though this time, the memories quickly flooded back and seeped in to my brain. What I couldn't remember was how I'd left the conversation with my parents. Had I stormed off? Had they stormed off? Or had it been a mutual agreement? I decided to tackle that hurdle a little later on. Marty must've been downstairs. Or maybe teasing the ends of her hair with her rat tail comb for the final time. I glanced at the clock. 23 .... I became alarmed as I read 10:23 on the clock, each second ticking by in a blur!

I grabbed my phone from my coat pocket. 0 messages.

Marty!!! It's 10:23!!! I've only just woken up! Why am I not at college?! How!!!

In less than ten seconds, record time, my phone began to deafeningly ring "Marty!" I answered angrily.

"Don't blame me Emmy! You were warned." Marty chuckled at the other end, in less than about three minutes the silence would turn in to chaotic shrieks of excited students.

"I didn't think you were serious!" I cried anxiously. My track record for being on time everyday and having been the only student not to miss a day this semester was officially and utterly ruined.

Marty continued to goad, "Guess a letter addressed 'to the parents of Jemima Vinette' could be on its way anytime soon" she laughed in a teasing manner. By birth, my parents had named me Jemima Ingrid Vinette. Vinette pronounced Vinaé. Apparently as a child, my parents were continuously complimented on their choice of name and how it was so different to the more common and tamed names that parents were choosing these days. Unfortunately for them, I didn't share their enthusiasm in a name such as Jemima, I'd rather go for something more current and in with the times and so that's how Emmy came about. Not exactly common and not exactly unusual. Apparently at the age of three, I'd defiantly told my Mother that it she referred to me as Jemima one more time that I'd been changing my name to Diamond and believe me, ever since that day, apart from disciplinary or official reasons, I've been Emmy. Emmy Vinette. We lost the Ingrid part too! Mum seems to have reason to believe that as I mature, I'll want to be Jemima once again, maybe even Ingrid in my later life.

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