Book Excerpt from The Ever-Changing Dream by Geraldine Taylor

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The Ever-Changing Dream

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Jesse Jobson peered out his bedroom window, gazing into the distance, yet entranced
in a field of dreams. The night had worn on, but the still of the night had not kept him
from seeking, nor staring, nor searching…….for that solution.
‘Tap, tap, tap’, there were three familiar knocks at his door.
“Jesse, I trust that one is sleeping, for there is school in the morning.” A gentle reminder
of the day ahead from his endearing and ever-enthusiastic mother Suzie. On the
contrary, his father Jimmy was of the more laidback kind, yet stern with respect to his
dealings of daily life.
Somewhat timid in nature, Jesse’s days in the midst of parental guidance, were often
spent either trying to please or trying to prove accomplishment. Yet in the face of daily
trials and personal challenges, his journey was soon to be accompanied with valued
assistance by an unfamiliar fellow.
With a new day begun, came the rising of the sun, yet Jesse lay heavy asleep. ‘Tap, tap,
tap’, there were the knocks at the door.
“Jesse, I trust that you’ve showered and brushed your teeth, your breakfast awaits you
at the table.”
“Hmmm, hmmm,” mumbled Jesse, still half in a daze.
“I’ll be down in a minute.”
The clock hand had turned another quarter, but there was still no sign of Jesse. He had
continued to lie under his duvet, in waiting for but a dreaded time. For Jesse the school
day ahead meant on-going trials with unfamiliar rivals, who sought to spoil the
experiences of anyone they regarded as inferior. The majority of his classmates were of
the friendly kind, yet there were also the few whose aim it was to disturb the peace of the
day. Jesse was therefore in no hurry to vacate his haven and begin his journey to the
school gates on time.
On this occasion there was to be no more friendly taps at the door, only amplified rage in
order to hurry Jesse along. “Jesse Jobson, for the last time, GET A MOVE ON OR
YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE!!!” Jesse jumped to attention at once, making a desperate
dash to the bathroom to carry out a very rushed routine. The moments that followed saw
Jesse scurrying down the stairway like a one-armed bandit, with one sleeve hanging
loose, toast at the teeth and his tie stuffed into his trouser pocket. In all manner of
disarray he followed his mother to the car, who was anxious to get going, as tardiness
was not her forte.
Suzie’s royal red car was in need of repair, although several scratches later, she still
deemed it to be ready and reliant. She was always fond of her ready Rebecca, but to
Jesse he felt continued bouts of shame whenever he was seen by his peers in his
mother’s beloved rusty car. ‘Cluck, cluck, cluck’ came the sound of the exhaust as they
pulled up outside the pearly purple gates of Rodrum Academy. Jesse quickly ducked his
head as he caught sight of Toby who was the ringleader of the Uptown Boys. Luckily for
Jesse, he sat unnoticed by his dreaded rival.
“Okay Jesse, quick kiss on the cheek now, time for school. Aah, don’t forget later, you’re
walking back home, part of your exercise routine okay.”
With Jesse now in the building and his classmates in full glare, it was now time for him to
face the music. Fortunately, it was Tuesday and his first lesson of the day was music,
with his favourite teacher Mr Dunsall.

“Come on in everyone, take your seats, we’ll be starting s-h-o-r-t-l-y.” Mr Dunsall who
was always besotted with singing and with any musical concepts, always spoke in an
illustrative manner. He would often emphasize the end of his sentences with a high pitch
or burst out in song, to the delight of many of his students.

“Today, we are going to be watching a video on composition and taking notes thereafter,
so I’ll need two helpers to assist with the setting up of equipment.”

The first few minutes comprised a state of calm, with attentive students tuned in to the
screening. The initial calm was however to be short-lived and then came the erupting
storm. Chuckles of laughter seemingly came from the left area, but then appeared to be
coming from the other side. ‘Drip, drip, drip’. Drops of an unknown liquid could be seen
funnelling across the floor beneath one of the chairs. Mr Dunsall peered closer to the
sight. “What is the meaning of THIS!” Exclaimed Mr Dunsall with a notable high pitch at
the end. He had come to realise that one of the students had secretly brought in a drink
to the lesson, secretly sipping but unable to contain their laughter.

Although usually a pleasant teacher, Mr Dunsall had a specific way of imposing
detentions on students whose behaviour was out of line. Like a regimental army officer,
he shouted “ATTENTION”. At this point that specific word meant all pupils had to
abruptly stand to their feet. It was now Mr Dunsall’s turn to proceed to point exactly to
the pupil who would be designated the detention. He then pointed to Maggie, who had
brought the drink to the lesson, exclaiming “DETENTION”, whilst wiggling his second
finger in her direction at the same time. She knew she was his unwholesome candidate
this time for a thirty minute detention of writing repeated lines. ‘I will conduct myself in an
orderly manner, I will conduct myself in an orderly manner…….’

To top it off, whilst the pupils were all standing, another pupil then began to display a
brief dance on periodic occasions. At one moment swaying to the side, standing still,
then clicking his fingers and following on with the moonwalk. “What is the meaning of
THIS!” Beckoned Mr Dunsall.

“Er sir, I forgot to give you my note from my parents.” Insisted Royson, the dancing
student. He then presented a bewildered looking Mr Dunsall with a shiny note, glaring at
every crease, yet crumpled with every crunch.

“Er sir, it tells you, I’ve recently been told by my doctor that I suffer with ‘danceritus’.”
Mr Dunsall appeared now to have become enflamed with fury.

“Are you being real with me? Are you having a laugh?”

“Er no sir, I’m having a dance!”

“Well you won’t mind if I take this note and run it by the headmaster later now, will you?”
After such a disturbance, it then took another several minutes before any calm could be
restored and the lesson plan back on track.

“I must say students, it is such a SHAME,” said Mr Dunsall shaking his hands in the air
with all emphasis.

“It is such a SHAME to have instances where just a few spoil the experience for the
rest.”

Jesse’s muddled morning consisted of music, followed by English Literature, break and
then PE. At least now he could look forward to his lunch hour and replenish his restless
mind.

Aligned in the dinner queue, he now waited to be served after rustling through several
trays before he could find a squeakily clean one.

“Well what can I get you?” said Mrs Sunders ready to serve the eager pupils.

“Triple chips, thanks!”

“Triple chips,” exclaimed Mrs Sunders. “No not today, we’ve started a new healthy eating
scheme. I can give you triple carrots if you like.” Jesse shuddered his shoulders in
response and then proceeded on to his next available choices.

The second half of the lunch hour, usually saw the majority of pupils scurry off into their
peer groups or well known cliques. Jesse would keep the company of his best friend and
loyal pal Daz. For Daz however, a great deal of his school experience included being
mocked for not wearing shirts that were immaculately laundered white. They had
become befriended soul mates, solely because they were both regarded as being
different and somewhat inferior by other less challenged pupils. They had both seen
each other through tough times and had rarely parted company throughout their school
years.

Both Jesse and Daz had come from modest backgrounds and on many occasions had
to ‘make-do’ with what their respectable families could provide. In retrospect although
they had been the butt of other pupil’s jokes, they continued to support each other
morally and emotionally.

At the other end of the school fields, amongst the crowds was Elizabeth, who stood
talking among friends. She both dazzled and caught the eye of Jesse on a number of
fond occasions, though not to her knowledge.

She exuded a flamboyant combination of both flair and confidence, which rather
appealed to the dozens. Elizabeth was in the league of the more popular pupils since
her school life began. Her prestigious father, a highly driven entrepreneur, would always
be seen on his arrival to collect Elizabeth in the latest sports car. With such a life of little
need, or want, their existing states seemed worlds apart.

As the lunch hour drew to a close, other pupils proceeded towards their respective
classes, although not always in an orderly fashion. Jesse and Daz soon found
themselves both sandwiched and squeezed between the mass of Uptown Boys.

“Oi you, can you get out of my way?” Barked Toby, in an effort to intimidate Jesse.

“I, I, can’t, I’m stuck.” Insisted Jesse.

“Well if you were any shorter, I bet I could squish you like a toad.” Implied Toby.

“Leave him alone Toby, haven’t you bothered him enough this week,” said Sid of the
Uptown Boys in an effort to defend Jesse.

“Give him a break.”

“Give him a break, next thing you know you’ll be asking me to give him a ‘wafered’
chocolate bar,” said Toby.

As the mass of pupils still remained muddled, it then took a further gruelling two minutes
before an approaching teacher came to separate the crowd.

“Oi Jesse……….until the next time!” Said Toby

After being rendered in a somewhat fearful state, Jesse did his best to keep his head
down and ‘lay-low’. To continue his aim of avoidance at least meant that he would be out
of sight from the Uptown Boys – most of the time.

At this stage of his educational as well as personal journey Jesse existed, but was not
yet truly living. The majority of days were spent wishing it away, yet the majority of nights
were spent wishing nightmares away. Either way he hadn’t yet found the practical
solutions to the challenges he faced or how to overcome the obstacles thrown in his
direction.

The journey home was fast approaching in which Jesse’s shallow breaths were
accompanied with a heavy feeling in the pit of his stomach. He was now faced with
indecision as to which way he should walk home, as well as which roads to steer clear
of. If the Uptown Boys were heading down the high road, he would surely then take the
low road.

By twenty past three the sky was clear with radiant peace, yet no inner peace resided
within Jesse. In the corner of his eye he noticed the Uptown Boys heading up Turnwell
Lane. After a cheerful goodbye from his best friend Daz, he stood still for a further few
minutes and then proceeded down Fearson Road.

As Jesse arrived at the flowery front door he breathed a sigh of relief, to have reached
the residence of territorial safety. Along with a warm greeting his mother had already laid
out healthy snacks at the ready, including sliced fruit and oatmeal bites.

“How was your day honey?” Said Suzie, with a hearty hot drink held steadily in one
hand.

“Honey”, answered Jesse in an unremarkable tone.

“Well okay, how was your day sugar?” Said Suzie!

“A load of salt, I guess!” Jesse declared.

“Oh poor lad, still not getting on with your teachers?”

“Yeah, I guess not.” The current response from Jesse as to the status quo was actually
far from the truth. In actual fact he had got on splendidly with his teachers at school,
however fitting in with a number of his peers was the issue at heart.

A good while later he scaled the stairway to his haven within the haven, to his bedroom
of personal rest from the outer world. He informed his mother that he would now be
spending time on his homework as well as a promise of valuable reading time.

In all fairness he did dedicate a good portion of the late afternoon to his homework
assignments. As for the remainder of that time, he spent that rallying back and forth in
his mind as to the ways he could overcome the indifferences he had at school. There
were on-going contemplations as to how he would get through the rest of the week with
having to breath the same air as the Uptown Boys, let alone the rest of his academic
schooling.

The contemplation count could now be counted to two hours to be precise. After strolling
down the stairs to the dinner table, he proceeded to sit down amongst his parents.

“Lamb chops or stew, take your pick my son,” said Suzie in a pleasant manner.

“Er, whichever I don’t mind.”

“Oh dear, are you still a ‘tad’ bit down in the dumps?”

“Oh, don’t worry, I’ll be fine, erm, I guess I’ll have some of those tasty lamb chops with
my tea,” insisted Jesse.

His strong silent father did actually contribute a sentence or two throughout the meal, yet
even he was too busy contemplating the business day ahead. Although communication
and father-son bonding was not yet at its highest level, they deep down have a fair bit in
common. In spite of this Jesse always did his level best to get on his father’s good side.
It had been nearly three years since they last went on a fishing trip together, or any trip
for that matter. He longed for the substance of quality time with his father of whom he
looked up to in many ways.

The family filled their evening with mugs of cocoa and quiet conversation over the latest
soap dramas. “Last one upstairs is a smelly fish!” Insisted Suzie with her dry yet quirky
sense of humour! She had been using that line in order to persuade Jesse to retire for
bed for several years, without any intention of changing it. In many ways she still
regarded Jesse as her beloved baby, of which her fondness continued to blossom as he
headed further towards maturity.

Even at this stage in his life she still peered round the door of the bathroom so as to
check that Jesse was brushing his teeth correctly. The brightly coloured ducks by the
bath was her idea and in her mind she still retained the notion that Jesse still desired
ducks……….

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