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An Unlikely Pair - 3

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3.


Jacqui was admitted to The Central School of Speech and Drama in London, a huge achievement for which she was celebrated by her family, her school and by the community in general.  She left for London shortly after her eighteenth birthday.

            Anne had expected this to be the beginning of something special in her life.  For years she had wanted her sister out of the way, and was initially thrilled to be the only Hepworth twin left in Morecambe.  She soon realised that she had spent so much time trying to be the opposite of her sister that she hadn’t considered what she could be.  She had left school with barely a qualification to her name, and there was no progression to be had at the bakery at that time. 

            She had devoted her youth to not being her sister, and now when she was left on her own, she didn’t have a clue who she was.  Her reference point had upped and moved to London.  Despite all of the pent up hatred and resentment, Anne felt like a part of her had been taken away from her – that twin bond shining through even the most turbulent of circumstances.  Now she didn’t have to be the second best twin, Anne struggled to think what it was she could be.

            Her parents shared her fears privately, or so they thought.  Anne couldn’t sleep one night and accidentally heard Cyril and Hilary talking about her.  “The only hope she has is that she finds herself a good man,” Hilary was saying.

            “That’s right, there is that.  But she’s going to have to learn to smile,” Cyril agreed.  “I think any man would think twice about approaching her when she glowers the way she does.” 

            “I do worry about her.  I can just see her ending up alone, and I’m not sure she’d make it by herself.”

            “Well a bakery’s wage is not enough to sustain a woman, that’s for sure.  She needs a strong husband.”

            Those words hurt Anne because she knew that they were true.  With no other options presenting themselves, Anne Hepworth was happy to write off her life and turned her attentions on finding the man who could offer her a future.

 

The way Jacqui saw it, Anne got an extra year off from the world than she did.  Jacqui had to trail-blaze through their childhood, and she felt that she had to be good to set the standard.  Jacqui took the brunt of Cyril and Hilary’s expectations and knew that she couldn’t fail.  There was no opportunity for her to rebel, as people just wouldn’t have tolerated it from her.  She grew up in fear of generating the same disappointment that Anne did. 

            University was always going to happen for her, even if she hadn’t wanted to go.  Teachers had been making recommendations for her to pursue drama from when she was twelve.  So she had studied drama at college, and then, in turn, at university.  Cyril and Hilary believed that Jacqui could really make it in drama, and they supported her in this to the point of being over-bearing. 

            She was forced into being the sensible one, and it was only once she had left Morecambe and her family that she was able to see this.  It was a sudden rush of freedom that she discovered upon arrival at university and she made the most of the opportunity to do just as she pleased.  There was a fun side to Jacqui that she had kept largely to herself in favour of the pursuit of academic success.  There was no need to hide this anymore.  She loved the anonymity of living in the capital, and surely would have devastated her parents if they had learned of half of the things she did as a drama student.

            It was at university that Jacqui really discovered drama and the exhilaration of method acting.  The friends she made there were the types who would happily refer to themselves as bohemian, and wished for their lives to be as dramatic and exciting as they were in the pieces they performed.  This meant plenty of experimentation and exploration of the self through various drug trips and bed-hopping adventures.  Two months after arriving in London, Jacqui took part in her first orgy.  She and her four housemates decided to push all of the boundaries of getting to know each other and fell into a prolonged session of group fumbling.  They spent the following weeks relishing picking up the pieces and thinking about how they felt about themselves and each other.

            Jacqui cannot remember how many people she slept with during her student days, something that she is only moderately ashamed of in the present day.  She liked the consequences when they came, and was equally pleased when she got away with the things that she did.  In her quest to become a better actress, she exposed herself to infatuation, over-indulgence, betrayal, poverty, submission, domination, infidelity, abuse and as many other set-pieces as she and her friends could muster.  They treated feelings with little care and tended do almost anything as long as it made them feel alive.

            She slept with older men and some of her tutors, and experimented with women.  Countless times, there were at least three people involved.  She helped people to cheat and she cheated on people in turn.  She placed herself in situations where things were bound to happen.  She wanted a huge range of human experiences to channel into her future as an actress. 

            Her life in London was also one of dinner parties and plays.  All of them wanted to not just experience, but to network as well.  They each wanted to be a huge name and they wanted to make their mark in their own way.  Of course, as actors, they wanted to be infamous.  She tried out many different things – vegetarianism, feminism and even a spot of fascism when she was auditioning for a rather gritty wartime play.

            For Jacqui it was less about being perceived as something as it was about being free to do just what she wanted.  She lost touch with her friends back home and tried to visit Morecambe as little as possible.  She associated it with a sense of entrapment, as many children do when they first get let loose on the outside world.  She would speak to her parents regularly, giving them a diluted version of her life, but not once did she make any attempts to contact Anne, and this worked both ways.  Of all the things she had left behind, Jacqui was furthest away from her twin.


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