Run the Tape Backwards
I had just arrived home at about 1am, I had just finished work, and Joe had just walked me home. We had had a busy night at work and a lot of fun. After running round in the kitchens all night I was so tired I went straight to bed. Whilst laid in bed starting to drift off I began to think about Joe, and how much I loved him, until I finally dropped off to sleep, and became enveloped in my dream. I was sitting in a room that I didn’t recognise. It was quite dark. There were no lights on and I couldn’t find the light switch, the only light visible was that of the television.
I sat down on the nearest couch and stared at the T. V. All I could see was a snowy background. I heard the video player start up; it was making its usual buzzing noises as it ate whatever video was in the machine. The remote was lying on the floor next to my feet, and I was curious to know what video was in the machine. I pressed the ‘Play’ button. Nothing appeared on screen. I assumed that it must have reached the end of the tape so pressing the rewind button I sat and watched the tape it was of someone I couldn’t quite ‘make out’, running extremely quickly backward.
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My curiosity got the better off me so I pressed the ‘Play’ button. I could see myself sitting at a round table with balloons in the middle. I could see myself staring at something out of camera shot. I could see by the look on my face it was a boy, because I had a grin on my face, and I looked warm and friendly. My cheeks were flushed. As I stared at the screen and looked into my eyes they were bright and wide, sparkling like stars, I liked this boy. I didn’t quite recognise where I was so I rewound it further, but this time more slowly.
I could see my friends dancing; I began to laugh because they looked like they where having so much fun. I finally realised where I was; it was my Mum’s birthday party. It had actually only happened a few weeks previously. As the tape went back further I recognised the boy that I was staring at. I pressed ‘Play’ on the remote. It was Joe, standing at the bar. I remember that he was getting us both a drink. Again I rewound the tape more this time going back a lot further, earlier into the day of my Mum’s birthday. I press the ‘Play’ button. Joe is sitting on the couch.
He is in my house. I can see through the front window that I am standing outside, I am greeting four of my friends that have just arrived, Alex, Tiffany, Becky and Katy. I look back at Joe’s face. He has a look of anxiety on his face. This is the first time that all my friends have met my new boyfriend. I pause the tape for a while and sit and think, I can remember the way I felt that day, I was so happy. This is because I was with all the people I love with a lot of my family having come down for my Mum’s birthday. I was with my dearest friends, and of course my boyfriend.
All I can see on the screen is Joe smiling through the window with that smile that makes me shiver, but on screen I don’t notice him smiling because I am busy greeting friends. I decide to carry on rewinding to see what else is on the video. I press the ‘Play’ button at a still quite recent event. I am sitting in the car with my Mum. She is telling me about my real Father. My face is in shock, I can’t really believe what I’m hearing, I remember just how I felt at that particular moment, emptiness, and even guilt but for some reason I had no idea why. I ‘pause’ the tape and just sit there looking at the tears on my face.
I had been crying. I rewound a bit more and then pressed ‘Play’. I turned the volume up so I could hear what was being said to me. My Mum was telling me the real reason why my parents had split up. She’s sitting there and telling me that ever since I was little my Father had been having an affair with his brother’s wife. I can see the disgust in my face, the passion of hatred in my eyes. I sat watching the television all I could think about was him, how he had ruined my life and my Mum’s and sister’s life we would never be the same again all because of him. I can remember sitting next to my mum trying to believe what was been said to me.
All this time I had believed that they had grown apart and just didn’t like each other any more, but this was much deeper than that, this was horrible. I look terrified. Mum then looked at me with sorrowful eyes and began talking again, ‘Sarah, I’m sorry about all this. ‘ I saw myself begin to cry. I started to rewind the video further this time going back about 5 years ago, I am watching the summer before my 11th birthday. I am just about to start comprehensive school in year 7. I am sitting on the sofa of my old house the one which my Father and sister now live in.
I can remember feeling really upset because I hadn’t seen my Mum for nearly two weeks. Whenever we asked Dad where she was, he would just shout at us and tell us to mind our own business. But this time he was telling us where she was and why she wasn’t going to come back. Laura and I were sitting side by side both with the same horrified look on our faces. My Father was telling us that Mum and he were splitting up, and wouldn’t be getting back together. I asked my Dad why this was happening, and the only reason he gave me, that it was all Mums’ fault.
I felt sick, I didn’t know how to react, weather to be angry, sad or happy I was so confused. As I sat staring at myself on the screen I thought to myself why ever did I go through that pain, because if I knew back then how my life would change for the better I never would have bothered with emotions. I then realised that the tape was still playing and took notice of what was going on. My Father is asking us a question, my face is distraught the exact words that came from his mouth sickened me, he had said ‘live with me and you can see your Mum and have anything you want, but choose your mother and I never want to see you again’.
My sister being a materialistic girl chose my Father, but I was so shocked and angry at the way he had told us. I had a look of despair on my face. I lost all feeling nothing now seemed to matter to me, all I could think was that I had lost everything, nobody loved me. My eyes welled up, I could see the wetness of them and my face went blotchy. I can remember thinking ‘How can I please everyone? No matter what choice I make someone will get hurt’. I stare at the screen looking at my face, it is blank, as though I am thinking hard, thinking what decision to make, as I look deeper and deeper I can see my watery eyes flicker.
I watch as my eyes open wide and look up towards my Father, I stare at him meaningfully I can remember all the thoughts swimming through my mind. I watch as my eyes close for a short period. I sit on the couch and I remember a certain thought that sprung to the front of my head. I can remember it floating around in big bold letters so I couldn’t miss it; the message was telling me that any person who can give an ultimatum like that to their daughter obviously does not love them. I sat and thought, and said to myself before my emotions get the better of me I will rewind some more to see what else is on the tape.
This time it is a happier mood, I can remember straight away what was going on, I’m with my new family and my new Dad, well I wouldn’t really call him new, as I have now known him for nearly 4 years. My uncle and me are having a game of snooker in the snooker room. We are both dressed up for a wedding, me in my beautiful midnight blue bridesmaid dress, and my uncle in his best-man suit. I look so happy. I rewind more to get nearer the beginning of the day, I am getting into my bridesmaid dress and also helping Mum get in her wedding dress, she is about to marry my Dad.
It is last summer. I can remember this so well, once Mum and I are ready my uncle comes upstairs and we have our portraits taken. My Mum looks so beautiful and for the first time in years she looks so happy. I can see the look on my face. How proud I am that Mum has finally found a new husband, and I can see my little brother running round the room in his knight costume, he looks so handsome. As I sit and watch I remember some of the great times that my new Dad and I have had these last few years and how I have now accepted him as my Dad.
I watch as my Grandad comes through the door and looks at his daughter with great pride in his eyes. He takes her in his arms and tells her he loves her, it’s a beautiful moment. The next thing I see is my Uncle Martin and me standing side by side watching my Mum and Dad get married. We stand in the garden of the house we were staying in. The house was a miniature castle. It was beautiful. As I sit and watch the video I look at my Mum and Dad and look at the love in their eyes, the kind of look that you know if you keep starring nothing will go wrong.
They never lost each other’s gaze, they held onto it throughout the vows, as though they were holding onto each other. The next thing on the video that I see is Dad and I exchanging promises to one-another, this is a particularly special moment for both of us because in a way he was adopting me. He speaks to me with a pure tone, I can tell he means what he is saying. For the first time since my parents broke up I feel accepted I feel as though I actually am loved and this love is coming from someone that not only loves me, but also loves my Mum as well.