At seventeen you are either blessed or cursed. The sad fact of the matter is that there are many factors, ones which are wholly beyond your control, that play into that equation that lands you in the In-Crowd or banished to the Outcasts. My existence fitted more soundly in the middle, as though Blessing and Curse took turns fighting over exactly which would claim me, which I more or less had little care for. At seventeen I was a little, well screwed up.
Not crazy screwed up or anything like that. Just more aware that I wasn’t sure who I was yet than most. Or maybe more willing to admit it, might be a better way to put that. It seemed no matter how I sought to find myself; I never was able to find a place where I felt I belonged. It also helped that we were never in the same place longer than a school term. Having no long term friends certainly did me no favours. Also, consider that my parents really had no business having a child. They didn’t abuse me or even treat me poorly; they just really had no concept of how to go about childrearing. Which considering that I was not only unplanned, but also a surprise to my pushing 40 parents, it makes some sense.
They did their best. Which considering that I’d lived in 20 different cities before my sweet 16 (many of them not within the boarders of my native America) was saying something. Truly, my childhood was almost gypsy like. Mostly because my father’s greatest love, history, was also his obsession and he was always on a quest to sate said obsession. This in truth made his nature rather fickle. Whenever we moved there was that rare peaceful time when I began to hope. That this would be the last move that I could have a best friend or join the swim team if I wanted. But it never lasted, after a few months he’d grow restless and his fixation soon had his eye wandering to a different position with a different college.
In this respect my mother wasn’t much help. Supportive of his addiction, yes; willing to deny him his addiction, no. I suppose to her, it didn’t bother her to try and find another position every time he grew bored. It didn’t bother either of them that I’d stopped unpacking my things by the time I was 12. Or that our apartment, loft, townhouse, house, tent or whatever living arrangements they were bound to find always consisted more of boxes than actual furniture. It didn’t matter to them if there wasn’t immediate access to running water, electricity or indoor plumbing. It was hell having two archaeologists for parents, especially when it became quite clear that their careers were more important than the creature comforts and attention a normal teenage girl requires.
So, there I was at seventeen chomping at the bit to turn eighteen and go off to college and start my life over. You better believe it was going to be different! I’d have my own place to come home to every night, with all my things unpacked and placed where they belonged and a modern bathroom that I wouldn’t have to share with twenty or more people. It was less than half the year away and I couldn’t wait. I so longed for the normalcy of a life away from a dig, just the simple things that most people took for granted.
The summer after my junior year of high school, of which I’d started in a completely different school, held such promise. No dig that summer! I was ecstatic! The Professors had promised, in honour of my golden birthday we would do something different for the whole summer. I admit I was doubtful they’d keep their promise. It seemed that something persuasive always popped up and before I knew it their well meaning promises were out the window. But, really I shouldn’t have doubted them. Instead, I should’ve been down right suspicious. I should’ve been old enough to know better really, that either one of them would put aside their passion for history and actually do something that was relevant and interesting to a seventeen year old girl.
So imagine my surprise when our things were packed up, sigh, for the second time in sixth months and shipped across the Atlantic to where I find myself now, sweating my buttocks off in a heavy wool dress slaving over a fire. The Professors had volunteered me for this latest curse. Kitchen help to crotchety Mrs. McCabe who’s accent was so thick I could barely decipher her instructions, which was horrifying enough, until you factored in that the whole keep (as in castle) was a Medieval re-enactment. And the most important rule, first and foremost was that nothing modern was allowed. My iPod had been confiscated the first day. My cell phone with my only link to the outside world had shortly followed.