Friday, December 18, 2009

Mentors, Muses & Monsters Finalist: Gemma

Tribute to Andy
by Gemma Noon (Somewhere South of Heaven, The Literary Project)

Andy was my first real boyfriend. We were 15, invincible, naive and ambitious. He was going to be the top engineer in the country, probably work on the first deep space shuttle or something equally cool. I was going to be a writer. I'd win all sorts of prizes and be bigger than all the bestselling authors combined. We believed in each other. Nothing else mattered.

We were going to marry. Date set, ring on my finger, everything. We were 19. Then we realised it was habit and we weren't in love. I didn't write anymore. I concentrated on getting a degree and a "real" career. Andy stopped dreaming about building Starships. He focused on the machines he welded up, the guitar he played and the motorbike he loved. We grew apart, had nothing in common. After a while, I cut the ties.

A few years later, on my way back from my "real" job, I looked up and saw him through the bus window. It was a shock, and I started to think about giving him a call to catch up on old times. It felt odd, and I didn't know if he would be happy, angry or amused at any contact from me. I didn't want my friendship to be rejected. So I didn't call. I figured if we were meant to be friends, then fate would intervene.

Andy died the following day. Motobike crash, on the road where I lived. He was 23.

If it could bring him back, I would be rejected a billion times and be thankful for every single one of them. All I wanted was the chance to tell him that there were no hard feelings, that I wanted to be friends, that I missed his geekiness and the daft comments he'd come out with. He was the first person to ever have complete faith in me, and I knew that I had wasted his support and his kindness. We were never meant to be, but I am a better person for having known him.

I started to write again. It was stilted, poor, and far from publishable. There is a lot of bad poetry in there, as well as short stories that were unremarkable at best. It helped; even the bad writing helped. I don't think what I write is bad these days. I think, if he could read it, he'd think that his faith in me was vindicated. I know he'd be cheering me on, and waiting for The Call to tell him my work was about to be published.

Andy taught me that life is too short for you not to pursue your dreams. His death has taught me that if you put things off, like writing that book, making that phone call, seeing an old friend, then you'll wake up one day and it will be too late. You can't rewind time, no matter how much you might want to. He also taught me that if you don't seize the opportunities that come your way, then fate just might intervene and take them away from you for good. If you don't take risks, then you'll never achieve anything.

I'm not afraid of rejection anymore.

21 comments:

_*Rachel*_ said...

A chilling and beautiful memento mori, Gemma. Congratulations.

Leslie said...

A lovely, touching piece. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Merry Monteleone said...

A wonderful tribute - beautifully written, Gemma.

Kerry said...

that gave me goosebumps. (and that's hard to do.)

Tina Lynn said...

Gemma,
You made me cry. I am going to accost you. On your blog. On Twitter. And anywhere else I can find you. Ah, geez. Who am I kidding? *big, squishy hugs* I believe in you, too.

rissawrites said...

Wow, you brought tears to my eyes.

Thank you for the reminder. Now I am going to go offline to play with my child and cherish every moment.

Georgia said...

Wow. This was beautiful, and exactly what I needed to read today.

Rebecca Knight said...

God bless, Gemma--this was wonderfully moving. Thank you for sharing this piece of your life with us. It's so true that we have to seize every moment we've been given.

Happy holidays, and good luck with your writing! :)

Gemma Noon said...

Wow, I am truly overwhelmed by all of the lovely comments about my entry.

Muchos thanks to Moonrat for running this competiton - I look forward to reading the rest of the finalists' entries and the winning entry too.

Thank you all very much for taking the time to comment. It means a lot to me xxx

Clair said...

Gemma. Your writing never fails to bring a tear to my eye, make me smile, or have me feel something. You should know that other people believe in you too x

The Novelist said...

Amazing

katyk said...

Made me cry and I always think it takes a really powerful piece of writing to do that.x

Bernita said...

Made me cry.

David Alton Dodd said...

Such a powerful and amazing story, with a great lesson. Thank you for sharing this.

Jackie said...

Tears...
Jackie

Chris Eldin said...

The Michael Landon of entries...

Beautiful and touching. Thanks for sharing such honest emotion.

Matilda McCloud said...

Lovely piece, Gemma, and so true. You can't rewind time. Sometimes I wish I could--to spend more time with people who are gone, but I can't. So you're right--take the time to do it (and to pursue dreams) today.

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

Beautiful story thanks for sharing.

Kristan said...

Moonrat, these are beautiful. Thanks for this contest. I hope you don't mind my linking to these entries!

stephanie said...

How lovely. A beautiful tribute.

Sarah Laurenson said...

*sniff* *sniff*

Thanks!