She’s been an underachiever for so long it’s begun to feel like a second skin, part of her nature.
It’s like all of those previous years when she was a wealthy person, living with her successful father in a fancy estate, have been erased from her memory and all that remains is this, right here and right now. For the past seven years she’s been Imogen’s mother first and foremost. That’s the most important thing. She had even begun to give up the idea of culinary school when Dennis, Imogen’s father insisted on giving her enough money to cover the costs for the rest of the education. It had felt wrong at first, accepting the money like she’s a charity case but he had told her he considered it an investment in their kid’s future, that he hadn’t been a good dad up to that point and that offering some money was the least he could do. Eventually, she had come to accept the whole thing.
Now that diploma is mere months away and Josephine almost can’t believe it.
But it does come with a certain confidence, knowing that she will be able to do something else than turning greasy hamburgers over (and over and over and over) for minimum wage and with horrible working conditions. That she will get out.
Everything about her current situation becomes more bearable when she thinks about it like that.
Even the late-night breaks when her feet are swollen and ache from standing up for hours and she only has time to go down to the soda machine and get something to drink. Or when some shitty customer has insulted the food, which happens surprisingly often because apparently people can’t tell beforehand that if they go to a cheap burger place they will get – wait for it – cheap burgers to eat. Who would have guessed.
Five years from now, Josephine has decided, she will serve great, proper food to polite people.
It feels like a small step in the right direction when she gets a promotion just before summer and a massive relief that she won’t have to spend another July trapped in a greasy kitchen, sweating like a pig.
One of the benefits is better, more reasonable working hours which means she actually gets to have dinner with Imogen rather than sneak into her room in the middle of the night just to get to see her daugther before going to bed.
More often than not Timothy works late these days, though, so they’re rarely having the kind of family dinners Josephine had hoped for when they got married and bought their own place. It will happen, though, sooner or later. She’s sure of it. Tim, too, has to climb the ladder in his field of work and the gaming industry is a tricky business but he’s got talent and patience and she hopes it will pay off. He claims he’ll only have another 15 years before he’s too old for such a youth-oriented workplace, however, so she’s not sure what to think some days.
Another thing she’s unsure about is the right time to expand their family. She knows Tim would love to have children, preferably two of them, and she’s been fantasising about giving Imogen brothers or sisters for a long time now. She’ll be a great big sister and Josephine would love it if she’s not already a teenager by the time that happens. Neither of them are youths either, they can’t afford to wait too long, but a little while yet. They more or less have to, since their finances are anything but in order after taking on such heavy loan for the house.
“It will work out,” Tim always says to her when she frets about it. All of it.
And she believes him.
They spend as much time as they can with their friends, especially during the warm summer evenings when it’s perfect to host a simple barbecue and let the kids play together.
Petra doesn’t go anywhere with her new boyfriend these days so Jospehine is never surprised when he tags along to the gatherings.
He seems like a great guy despite not being a social butterfly of any kind, but Petra isn’t looking for one, either. She’s looking for safety and strength in a person, now more than ever. When the rumour reached them about Ben’s new woman and the fact that they’re expecting, Josephine had felt like she was mere seconds away from taking a bus to wherever the heck he’s living now and beat him up.
But Petra truly seems to be over it, over him, and Josephine can see why. Rutger is so much more her type, he’s probably the one she should have married and had kids with in the first place if she could travel back in time.
Cindy and her family are there, too, often serving as constant reminders of biological clocks that seem to tick loud every time little Joanna makes one of her baby noises. It seems like an eternity ago that Josephine spent her days with an infant and there’s no denying she feels tempted.
Part of her can envy her fiend Cindy who had started having kids when she was no more than a kid herself, weird as that may sound. At least there’s no pressure to have siblings then, no stressful race against time.
Imogen declares more and more often that she would like a baby in the family, as well. Especially if it means she can babysit and earn some simoleons. Josephine doesn’t quite know about that, but either way it’s a scenario and possible dilemma for the future, not the present.
It’s a good thing Imogen has a lot of kids her age in their little group of friends as well as in her family – there’s a lot of things to be said about having little sisters and brothers when you’re a grown-up and your dad is really too old to go for it again, but it does bring a certain flavour of life to their otherwise small family.
And the same goes for their little circle of friends – if you don’t have family you want or can spend time with, you will have to create your own. Family by choice.
* So, haven’t played in over a month. Again. And fallen behind on everyone else’s updates as well. It just keeps happening to me. 🙂