Here she was, an intelligent woman with a daughter almost fifteen and she still felt with that small, landslide jolt of shock when she glimpsed herself in the mirror sometimes that she hadnt yet quite gotten her own life started. As if she was still waiting here in Ayresville, her foot patiently hovering on the accelerator, for her chance to get going. Shed do it soon, though. Shed enrol in something, once Soph had finished school, and didnt need her there every day. Something that would bring all her short courses together, all her skills areas. Alternative medicine, maybe. Or comparative philosophies.
For goodness sake, snapped the spectre of her mother impatiently, as it clicked out of the house in its sensible shoes, stop your moping around and get up and do something; its disgraceful.
Sandy turned Alisons mug again, took another unsatisfying sip. No, it would be get up off your fat behind and do something. Never arse, or even backside. And Janet, her mother, never mentioned Sandys weight unless it was in mean little parting asides like this one, designed to both deny her the right of reply and to leave her with the unpleasant lingering impression that the reason nobody mentioned it otherwise was that they were all too polite to bring it up.
Not that overweight, she thought defensively. Five or six kilos at the most. All she had to do was cut out the wine and it would melt off her.
What had possessed her, all those years ago, to drop out of her Arts degree?
Rich, probably. He could talk her into anything, back then.
Shed find out how much of her old degree she could get credits for, anyway, and start to focus on herself for a change. Become a practitioner of some kind, or a consultant. Then, finally, all the pieces, all the little things here and there shed done which her mother insisted on calling dabbling, as if she was a bloody duck or something all of it would make sense as elements of the wisdom shed gathered on the journey. Diverse fragments of a whole. Healing insights.
She brushed the pieces of wax into her hand and tipped them into the bin, then drifted back to the couch and unfolded the local paper. Still three-quarters of an hour to go before Sophie came home.
An auspicious day Wednesday for Aquarians, her stars said. Watch for a sign that will signal your way forward through a doorway you werent expecting. Lucky number eight, lucky colour orange.
She considered what had come in the mailbox that morning. Richs postcard and a brochure, from her belly-dancing mailing list, inviting her to a week-long residential workshop to reclaim her Inner Goddess.
Isnt it time you allowed nature and tranquillity to nurture you at Mandala Holistic Wellness Centre? the brochure had asked, and she had thought, with a small grim smile, you bet your arse it is. She scrutinised the photos with longing women doing yoga on a hillside in the sunset, women laughing around a table at a candlelit dinner, looking scrubbed and pampered and serene. Yes, please. Slap bang in the middle of the school holidays, needless to say, the hardest time to try to get away. Was a mailbox like a doorway? It would be the right omen, an invitation like that; a sign for the path ahead. Belly dancing was tonight; she might just ask around to see if anyone else was thinking of going.
Excerpted from The World Beneath by Cate Kennedy. Copyright © 2011 by Cate Kennedy. Excerpted by permission of Grove Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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