“You’ve got to live life to the full,” Pete declared, through mouthfuls of chicken and leek pie, “you could get hit by a bus tomorrow and kablam! Then it’s all over before you even realise what’s happened!”
Alice knew her brother meant well, though he could have chosen a better example to support his argument. The village of Nettleton hadn’t had a bus service in over twenty years, so the odds of being hit by one seemed fairly minimal. Heavy-duty agricultural vehicles were another matter entirely…
The point was valid nonetheless; Alice knew she should be doing more with her existence than she was managing at present. She was not yet thirty and time, in theory, was very much on her side.
It was a strange concept though; the idea that time was on her side. It had never felt that way. Time had always seemingly been against her. That glorious summer all those years ago had been all too brief before its tragic denouement. Time had, at best, been thrifty, then.
And wasn’t time meant to be a great healer? If anything, as the years had gone by, Alice felt less sure of herself, less the person she once was. Outwardly she had managed to recover some of her social graces, she could certainly feign ‘recovery’, but on the days when she had time to reflect, she felt the pain as keenly as ever.
No, on balance, time was seemingly not on Alice’s side. Time was indifferent. And truthfully she didn’t know how much time she had left, despite her relative youth. But she felt that Pete was wrong. Living life to the full didn’t mean she had to live as if it would, or at least could, end tomorrow.
Certainly if those carefree, balmy days of a decade ago had taught her anything, it was that true happiness feels like it will never end, even in the face of the coldest, harshest facts.
Still Pete was right in the sense that Alice needed to get on with life. She had been dragging her feet for far too long.
She shook herself from her reverie and smiled at her older brother.
“Look if it makes you feel better I’ll give it a go,” she agreed, “but I’m really not sure that paint-balling is going to be my cup of tea.”