WRITTEN BY JACQUI COOPER
Would Janey’s dream board work – or might it end up driving away the good things she already had?
Janey had spent the best part of a wet Saturday afternoon happily cutting out pictures from magazines and pinning them to a newly purchased corkboard. Now she stepped back to admire her handiwork.
“What is it supposed to be?” asked her husband Declan, peering over her shoulder.
Janey hadn’t heard him come in. Quickly she slipped the final photo into her pocket before he could catch a glimpse of it.
“My dream board,” she said proudly. “According to an article I read, we can attract things into our lives just by focusing on them.”
“Well if that’s true it would go a long way to explaining Aunt Sadie’s slug problem. Because as you know, that’s all she talks about these days. She’s just off the phone now about the havoc they’ve wreaked on her cabbages.”
“That’s exactly it,” she said.
“It’s called The Law of Attraction. If Aunt Sadie is constantly thinking about slugs, then she’ll just keep attracting more slugs. Which is why from now on, I intend to focus only on the good things in life. Things I really want. Like all the fabulous, wonderful things I’ve put on on my board, see?”
Dec peered at a photo of a squat, sleek sports car
“A car like that doesn’t look very practical if you ask me. Or very comfy.”
“It’s a dream car,” Janey explained loftily. “It represents my dream to one day own a car which doesn’t have a leaking sunroof. A car that will start when I want it to and actually get me from A to B without breaking down.”
“And what about this one?” Declan continued, frowning at the board.
“A big house on a hillside in Los Angeles? You’ve never mentioned that you want to live in the States.”
“I don’t necessarily want to live in Los Angeles,” she said patiently. “As I say, it’s a representation of my dreams. I want a nice house. And I think we can both agree that this one here is a very nice house.”
Declan studied the picture.
“If I were you, I’d focus more on somewhere with an indoor pool,” he suggested, poker-faced. “An outdoor one like that would be pretty much wasted in our climate.”
Was he making fun of her board, or making fun of her dreams? Annoyed, Janey picked up the corkboard and carried it into the bedroom.
However Declan wasn’t finished and trailed after her.
“What about the pirate? I can’t imagine what he’s doing there. Unless – oh, wait – don’t tell me he’s your dream man?”
He was laughing at her now.
“A representation of my dream man,” she told him loftily.
“I hate to tell you, “said Dec,” but I doubt Captain Jack Sparrow here is the type to take the bins out every fortnight. And I don’t think he’ll remember to buy milk on his way home from all that looting and marauding, either.”
Janey blinked back tears. He didn’t get it. Here she was, fast approaching thirty, in a boring job, and driving a clunker of a car with no change in sight. She and Dec both worked all hours but they never seemed to have money left at the end of the month for essentials, never mind the odd luxury.
While she loved him dearly, what was wrong with dreaming bigger, wanting a better future for both of them?
He realised he’d upset her.
Hey Janey, love, you know I was only teasing, right?
Keeping her back to him, she defiantly propped up her dream board on the chest of drawers where she could look at it every day.
Dec lingered a moment longer as if he had more to say, but then left without another word.
On her way to work the next day, Janey saw a fancy sports car, very similar to the one she’d pinned to her board. The driver was revving impatiently at a red light. The car doors opened upwards and the seats looked worryingly close to the ground.
She had a sudden image of driving Aunt Sadie to the shops in it. Even if they got her in, her rather ample bottom would be practically scraping the road and it would take both her and Dec to lever her out.
On top of that, as far as Janey could see the car didn’t appear to have a boot of any kind. Where would they put the shopping bags?
That evening, she went through her magazines again and replaced the car on her board with a different model. This one was still sporty, still nice – just maybe a better fit for her lifestyle.
A week or so later, when she gave Aunt Sadie a lift, her aunt’s eyes were bright with excitement.
“I have some news!”
“Is it about slugs?” asked Janey, wearily. “Because I think we’ve said all we can –”
“Not slugs, no,” said Sadie. “You know that house at the end of my road? The one you’ve always liked? Well, it’s up for sale!”
Janey did know the house. As a child she’d loved the quirky, round windows, the rambling-rose covered porch and the garden swing. She’d always lingered when she walked past it, dreaming about what it would be like to live in such a lovely house.
As soon as she got home she looked the property up on the estate agents website, poring over all the photos.
Four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a playroom and a kitchen with French windows opening out into the garden.
It was everything Janey could ever wish for…
Her heart quickened as she realised that far from being on the other side of the world, her dream house was actually right here in her home town.
Downloading one of the pictures, she printed it out. Taking down her dream board, she removed the house in LA, then replaced it with the new picture.
She still had another photo – the secret one she had been carrying around in her bag for days now. The one she hadn’t dared to pin up once Declan started poking fun at her activities.
She was still dithering about whether or not to pin it on now when Dec came to stand beside her, taking in the changes she had made to the board.
“Now that, love, that I could give you,” he said quietly.
She frowned at him.
“What do you mean, give me?”
He shrugged. “Well no matter how hard I work, I doubt I could ever give you a hundred-grand car, or a flash house in LA with huge gates and an infinity pool.
“And as for a pirate, even I know I don’t have a swashbuckling bone in my body. But this car? And a house like that one? I think I could do that. In fact, I promise I will. One day.”
Janey stared at him in amazement. He had seen her dream board as a slight on his ability as a provider? On their life together? Only now did she read the anxiety in his eyes.
“Oh Declan,” she said softly. “Don’t you see it’s not up to you to give me these things? I don’t even want them particularly.
“I told you, I want what they represent. Financial security. A nice house. But I want us to build our dreams together. A home, a –” She stopped, suddenly distracted, peering at him. “Is that a goatee?”
Declan stroked his chin a little self-consciously.
“I’ve just started growing it. I know I’m no Johnny Depp, but what do you think?”
I think it’s gorgeous.
“You do?” He grinned. “There’s something I’d like to add to your dream board. If that’s OK?”
“It’s our dream board. And yes – of course it is.”
Shyly, he held out a picture of a baby: a little girl.
“I know we talked about kids and decided now wasn’t the right time. But I’ve been thinking and, well… not necessarily now,” he said quickly, watching her face. “But I thought… maybe… one day?”
Janey’s heart swelled. Slowly she opened her hand to reveal the picture she had been carrying around with her. It was a baby boy.
“One day,” she agreed. Standing on tiptoes, she kissed him, knowing with heart and soul that whatever the future brought, her dream man at least was already sorted.
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