MY RECYCLED SOUL
What if everything did happen for a reason?
Elizabeth is a seventeen-year-old girl, who thinks she has finally found her happy place in life and love, until her parents disrupt her entire life to move to Ireland.
Her stepdad says, ‘Everything just fell into place’, as if it’s all meant to be.
Elizabeth does not want to be in Ireland with its persistent rain and damp. She wants everything to go back to the way it is supposed to be.
She is so focussed on this one wish, she does not notice Jared – but when she finally meets him, it is love at first sight. An instant connection.
However, for Elizabeth, things haven’t yet fallen into place.
An ABNA Expert Reviewer 2010, says, “Recycled Souls grabs the reader with a personal but very absorbing story, projecting the main character's emotions with unusual intensity. This contemporary Young Adult excerpt is written in the first person, from Elizabeth's point of view. Uprooted from her home, teenaged Elizabeth moves to Ireland with her mother and step-father. The writing style, expressive of a young girls' experience and accentuated by a dreamy present tense style, offers an excellent read.”
First chapter: My Recycled Soul
I smile broadly all the way home from school.
There is a skip in my step and a song in my heart, and it feels as if my life is on track, everything is perfect, and nothing could ever change how I feel—nothing at all.
I have always secretly liked Jason, and although he went out with Carol for almost two years, I still have a serious crush on him. He is, after all, the most popular, most handsome boy in school, and now it appears, he is eventually aware of my existence.
This afternoon I saw him standing on the steps leading away from school, waiting for someone, and I was going to walk past, as always. I usually pretend I do not notice him, and then at the last moment, I will look up and say, “Hi, Jason,” casually, in my over-practiced voice.
Just as I opened my mouth to deliver my line, I heard him say, “Hi, Elizabeth,” in that deep, husky voice of his.
Abruptly my mind went void of all thoughts and intentions, and although my gut feeling urged me to walk away, the butterflies in my stomach tumbling and dropping, my feet stopped moving anyway.
I turned to face him and said, “Hi, Jason,” a bit awkwardly, but making sure to let his name almost whisper over my lips–once again over practised, and my feeble attempt at being sexy.
My mind filled rapidly with screaming and shouting, so loudly, it was difficult to hear myself think and besides, I did not want him to realize he had just made my day, in fact, made my life.
I made a quick exit, before I started babbling, making a fool of myself. My feet started to walk me away, and I smiled sweetly over my shoulder, catching his gaze following me.
I cannot believe he knows my name!
I replay this very short conversation with him in my mind over and over again, the entire way home. I cannot wait to share my news with someone, anyone.
What I did not realize, is that my future is not in my hands, and change is not a choice.
As soon as I walk through my front door, I know something is wrong.
My mum and Sean approach me, and if not for Sean’s happy smile, I would be thinking someone died. My mum looks cheerful, but nervous, as she comes to stand next to me, putting her arm across my shoulders reassuringly.
Then the radiant, happy smile fades from my face, as my world crashes to my feet.
Sean announces with great excitement, “We are moving.”
“To Ireland,” he beams.
“When did this happen?” I ask in disbelief. This cannot be happening to me. Not now. Not today.
“Your mum and I have been discussing it for a while, and we made the decision last week. I have made a few phone calls, and everything just fell into place as if it was all meant to be.”
I feel fear push up in my chest, from the immense despondency suddenly filling me like a flash flood, permeating every cell in my body. I move away from my mum, mumbling, “I am going to my room. Homework.”
Moving away from my mum, I feel her hand drop from my shoulders. I sense she wants to say something. Something to encourage me, to motivate me, but I do not want to hear what she has to say.
I need to be alone.
As I climb the stairs to my room, thoughts rush through my mind: we are moving not just house or city, but country.
Sean has Irish ancestors and his great, extremely great grandfather was a lord of some importance about a million years ago. Unfortunately, being the only son, he inherited an apparent manor in the west of Ireland from his dad last year. A house that has been in his family since the time of this great grandfather and this is where we will be moving to now.
In the weeks that follow, I start having the strangest dreams. My friend, Rebecca, says it is my subconscious trying to prepare me for the future.
Although I try to hold onto these dreams, to try and make sense of them, they escape my mind as fast as water down a blocked drain. They linger for a few days at the back of my mind, and then they melt away, forgotten.
In my first dream, I am dressed in a funny medieval kind of dress and my hair is tied up in twisting braids on top of my head. I am crying despondently. The sobs shudder through my body until I become aware of someone watching me. I look up, but I do not recognise the boy looking down at me. He has dark curly hair, intense blue eyes, and his lips match his rosy cheeks perfectly. He has the face of an angel. Looking up at him, I feel a sense of peace settle over me.
I sob, “Who are you?”
“Devlin.” He says casually as if I should know who he is.
“What do you want?”
He does not reply, but he sits down onto the fallen tree trunk beside me, while looking at me sympathetically.
I continue crying, dropping my face into my upturned palms, while he sits next to me in silence.
After a while I look up at him, with red-rimmed eyes, and say, “It’s just not fair, you know.”
He looks back at me solemnly.
“I am my da’s only daughter and he always told me to be independent in a world where women are second-rated, so I cannot understand why he is doing this.” I glance at him, wondering how much I can say, but then I decide I just do not care who he tells. The whole world needs to know the injustice of what is being done to me. “He only wants to further his own aspirations of being more important than what he actually is.”
His voice is soft when he speaks, “What is it that your da wants you to do?”
“He wants me to marry Gerard, the neighbour’s son. I do not even know him.”
“Maybe it would not be so bad if you married him.”
I look at him appalled.
“I have seen him. He looks well brought up and he would not treat you ill.”
“That’s not the point. I do not want to marry him.”
I feel the damp of the night air settle on my shoulders and I shudder as a cold shiver squeeze through me.
For a couple of nights, I dream of Devlin. We are always sitting on a tree trunk surrounded by trees and shafts of sunlight.
I get to the point where I want to escape into my dreams, away from the truth of moving.
In my reality everything becomes a haze and I remain in shock and disbelief as my mum and Sean continue past me and through me, as if I am invisible, not taking any notice of me in their busy schedule to make the move happen without any problems.