Sometimes Jean wonders if she’s supposed to be able to envision her future completely, at her age.
It sure feels like it when every grown up around more or less has started talking about her future like it’s something that’s going to be decided right this minute, something that you make a decision about when you’re 15 and then stick with for the rest of your life.
She knows life isn’t like that. It’s pretty obvious that the grown ups she knows haven’t been following some great plan they wrote down in high school – her mum hasn’t even decided on a career and she’s over thirty, still waiting tables downtown. Or maybe that is her career choice, Jean isn’t sure.
Either way, her mum has been a good mum and seems pretty happy with how her life turned out, after all.
It’s not something they talk about over dinner or anything but Jean has pretty much figured out her mum and Eric wants another baby. It’s a bit crazy considering how tiny their house is and how extremely little money they have, but whatever.
Jean knows her mum would be sad if she told her that it’s crazy so she doesn’t. She just makes a quiet promise to herself that she won’t have kids when she’s poor.
August tells her sometimes that he wants a hundred kids with her and that they’ll live in a big house at the heart of Barchester, not in the working-class neighbourhood Jean lives in now. She actually likes this hood, and the people, and she isn’t sure she ever wants that fancy sort of place August talks about. She doesn’t tell him that either.
Sometimes it seems the older you get, the less you tell people. You just walk around with all these thoughts and secrets and don’t tell anyone about them.
She knows mum and Eric are very proud of how orderly they keep the house and how they all work together to keep it clean and in working order. Even Joshua helps out now that he’s a bit older.
He’s struggling to learn basic stuff in pre-school too, which seems harder for him than it had been for Janessa who’s always been a geek.
Joshua has too much energy for geekery, he’s always running around.
Mum claims he’s most like Jean what with her football passion and everything but Jean really does like reading, too, just not all the time.
Truth be told the most honest thing in her life is football. That’s her passion, that’s the one thing she can keep doing day after day after day and never get tired of. Some of her team mates will whine about the weather or how cold they are but Jean doesn’t even feel that when she’s focused enough.
They practice twice a week but Jean often takes the bike up to the soccer field during the weekends or at night, once she’s done with her homework.
She wants to keep that advantage she has over the rest of her team, that edge that makes her score, that makes people cheer for her and shout her name when they play games.
It’s better than everything else, that feeling of being the best.
“I hope you will continue with football in the future, Jean,” her coach tells her after practice one day. “I’d like to see you try out for the national junior team in a year or two.”
Jean blinks. “Really?”
Coach Sanderson nods, offering a little smile. She typically looks stern but everyone knows she’s really nice deep down, unless you give her a reason not be.
“Really, Jean. You’re very, very promising.”
“Thanks.” Jean isn’t even sure how to respond to all of this, isn’t used to being told things like ‘you should play with the national team’. It’s just too big for words, really. “I mean, I love football. I… don’t think I’ll ever stop playing.”
Jean thinks as she walks out of the changing room that night that she actually knows, really knows for the first time, what she wants to do with her life.