You Can’t Rule My Life
By Kate Hogan
An amusing short story from our archives
You can’t forbid Sandy from doing anything, even if she knows it’s a mistake
These past weeks have been hard without Phil. I’ve tried to stay mad at him, but I’ve missed our daft arguments. The way he makes me laugh. Our walks.
That’s where it all started. Our local walking group – The Trackers. I joined, capturing Phil’s interest immediately by ending up in an unforeseen ditch, with my extravagent tumble.
“You need to be more careful,” he advised sternly as he checked me over for broken bones before hauling me out.
“I appreciate your concern,” I said haughtily, “but …”
He pointed to where I’d slipped.
I saw a murky open tank to the side of the ditch I’d fallen in.
I swallowed my pride and discovered he was quite good company in an annoying sort of way. So much so I found myself looking forward to our weekend arguments as much, if not more, than the hike itself.
A heated discussion
I think the rest of the Trackers realised what was happening long before we did. I expect that’s why they disappeared off to the pub leaving Phil and me alone in the meadow the day we started a heated discussion about the best route back.
I was halfway over a stile, wildly gesticulating to a path in the distance, when I missed my footing.
I fell, mouth half open in surprise, into Phil’s open arms. We tumbled backwards. Finding ourselves in some strange slow motion state, arms around each other rolling downhill amidst the long grass. We stopped. Our lips met.
I didn’t want to let go. I didn’t want to come up for air – ever. Neither of us did.
It’s amazing how hard love hits you when you’re unaware. Phil and I were lost to the world for the following six months. Discovering all sorts of fascinating things about each other, talking about the future as if we’d be sharing it together.
We still argued, but it was fun. We both knew where it usually took us. But the night I told him I’d signed up for a charity parachute jump he surprised me.
“You’re kidding,” he said.
I laughed – pleased with myself.
His face was white. “You can’t possibly do it. I won’t let you,” he said before throwing the tea towel he’d been holding at the sink. I missed.
“Since when do you tell me what I can and can’t do?” I said, fury bubbling.
He ran his hands through his hair. He could hardly look at me.
“Look, Sandy,” he said, “you’re not the world’s most sensible person. Say you’ll cancel it.”
I looked at his pleading face but something inside of me just closed down. “I can’t,” I said.
“You mean won’t?” Phil said.
I wouldn’t. I didn’t.
It was for the best I told myself. A man who tells me what I can or can’t do wasn’t for me. Then I’d remember how we met. Sometimes I don’t take enough care. So I’ve been sensible, joining a group of other mad and crazy people who want to hurtle themselves through the open door of a light aircraft for a good cause. Had an expert taking us through our paces. But I’m still terrified.
Today is the day though. Part of me wants to back out, but I’ve raised two thousand pounds in sponsorship money. I’ve learned a lot about myself these last weeks too. I’m headstrong, determined, foolhardy, and I miss Phil more than I thought possible. He’s missed me too.
I rang him last night just to hear his voice and tell him I was sorry I couldn’t back down.
He was sorry too. Said he hadn’t meant to try and rule my life, he loved me. He said I should do what was right
I confessed I didn’t really want to jump but I would on one condition. “I’ll do it,” I said, as if it had been his idea all the time. “But only if you’ll be there to catch me when I fall.”
“I’ll always be there for you,” he said.
That’s all I need to know. As much as I’d like to, I can’t argue with that at all!
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