Summer Buddy Holly (6)

“What would you have been?” Blue asks. “If you could have been anything.”

“You make it sound like I’m not ‘anything’ now.”

“No, silly.” She strokes his arm, reassuringly tactile. “I just mean, well, you don’t seem particularly fulfilled. Professionally, I mean.” 

“You have a point.”

“So?”

“A historian,” he says. Then: “An historian.” Uncertain as to the problematic and fleeting n.

“That surprises me,” she says. “Although you do always love all that old stuff, I suppose.”

“Why does it surprise you?”

“I don’t know, I’d have just thought that with the choice of anything you’d have said a rock star, or something.”

“Maybe when I was ten years old. By the time I was old enough to think about careers and the like, I still had too much of that ten year old boy in me. I looked to the arts, theatre, music, and everyone dissuaded me.” 

“Were you easily dissuaded?”

“Too easily. It’s why I’m not an historian.”

“Oh?”

“O levels,” he says, playing on her exclamatory questioning. “Or rather, A levels. I did worse than everyone expected in my O levels, But this was later. I hated my school. It was pretentious and cared more about its standing than it did about its pupils. Anyway, the only things I was any good at, and enjoyed, I suppose, were English, History and Geography. And I wanted to do all three of them, for A level. Only everyone kept saying ‘Ooh, too many essays, too many essays,’ and they made it sound like it was impossible to do this combination, do you see?”

“Uh-huh.”

“English was a given. I barely needed to turn up to get at least a B. So Geography or History Well, of course it was going to be History, but by the time I told the school they said the History intake was full and I’d have to do Geography.” 

“That’s a bit crap. Didn’t you argue.”

“No.”

“Why?”

“I wasn’t the argumentative type back then.”

“Good lord, Jay, I can hardly believe this is the same person!”

“No. Neither can I.”

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