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An Unlikely Pair - 2

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2.

For Jacqui to succeed at college, she needed to keep her head down and work as hard as she could.  Anne disentangled herself from academia and instead associated herself with men who could offer her very little in life aside from a few joints and a place to crash when she didn’t wish to go home.  Jacqui had one steady boyfriend throughout college, so Anne drifted towards a series of ill-founded one night stands with the most undesirable looking types in the room.  She went for the stoners, or the bikers or the bedroom revolutionaries – people who were disillusioned with the world but too apathetic to do anything about it.  She became quite adept at spotting a no-hoper at ten paces, the people who were destined to view their lives as a series of wasted opportunities.  She liked the instant gratification and the delayed self-loathing that these encounters afforded her.  It was the opposite of succeeding, and to Anne, that was success in itself. 

            This made it so much easier for Cyril and Hilary to love Jacqui more.  In Jacqui they saw a studious, friendly and talented girl. In their other daughter they saw trouble, rebellion and unhappiness.  It was obvious who was the more likeable of the two, and it would have been a challenge for even the most impartial parents not to have a preference.  Being disliked was the opposite of being liked, so it stuck with the theme.

            Jacqui valued beauty sleep and occasional bouts of fun.  Anne used her wages to become something of a party girl.  She didn’t tell her family where she was going and couldn’t have been surprised when her constant detachment eventually resulted in their disinterest.  Jacqui was showing real dramatic ambition – she had won lead roles in local theatre group productions, and was developing into a well rounded and valued member of the community.  People would stop Hilary on the streets and tell her how proud she must be of her slightly older daughter.  These people usually chose not to mention Anne lest they cause offence. 

            There was no relationship between the two sisters as their eighteenth birthdays approached.  Jacqui had spent years trying to humour Anne through her rebellions, but eventually she had given up.  It wasn’t for Jacqui to consider how deeply unhappy Anne must have been to have actively carved out the non-future that she was heading towards.  Jacqui just saw a bitter, unpleasant version of herself, and was by  It felt to both of them that they had been pulling away from each other for most of their lives.  I wasn’t there, so it’s hard to know who was more to blame. this point as keen to dissociate from Anne as Anne was from her.


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