When Rebecca turned eighteen years of age she felt that love was truly something of an ethereal element that shouldn’t be dwelled upon too much. It was too fickle and elusive to predict and far too tender and fragile to force, like blowing bubbles out of the soapy liquid circle one placed before their lips. It was all done gently but just like the bubble you never really knew how long it might last or where it would land.
She was happy that her Mum had made the effort to not drink on her birthday, she had even helped to set the table for the friends that Rebecca had coming to celebrate her special day.
After the birthday when her Mother was sleeping and the kitchen was cleared and the flat tidy again, Rebecca reflected on the day she became eighteen years old. Her two friends from school both had boyfriends and one of them, Jenny, even suspected she may be in the first stages of pregnancy. After they had all scoffed the corned beef pie and various sandwiches and were preparing to leave, Rebecca had asked her “you must really love him then Jenny?” She was shocked to hear her reply “he’s alright, his Dad’s rich so that’s cool”.
She lay on her bed and looked up at the poster of the rainbow on the pale blue ceiling. “I wonder what it is that attracts two people in the first place?” she spoke to the rainbow as though it was a living person. The colours always made her feel happy and there was one for every kind of day she’d had. The light was fading outside and she reached to the bedside table and turned on the lava lamp. She could hear the gentle snoring of her Mother and wondered if she should check if she was in bed or not.
She got up and after placing a blanket around her Mothers’ prostrate figure she went into the small kitchen before returning to her room with a packet of crisps. She would have enough packets left for tomorrow even though she’d hoped she’d be able to take some pie with her too. It would be a long day at her first festival and she wanted to be prepared with provisions for the day. She finished the crisps and before she got ready for bed she smiled at the thought that she would go to her first festival alone, she wasn’t sure why, but she felt as though she might meet somebody there.
The weather was wet and windy and as the curtains were opened she felt her heart sink at the sight of it. Undaunted she showered and dressed and made breakfast for herself before taking a tray with brown toast and coffee through to her Mum’s room. Her Mother stirred as she sat on the bed. “Richard is that you?”
“No Mum it’s Rebecca, there’s some coffee here for you” and she leaned over and kissed her Mums shoulder.
“I did love your Father y’know, it wasn’t my fault!"
“I know Mum, try to rest some more. There’s some chicken pieces and pasta salad in the fridge for later. I’ll be back quite late tonight”.
Her Mum sighed “Where are you going?”
“Oh it’s a celebration thing the girls have put on for me y’know, eighteen and all that stuff” she lied unwillingly.
There was no immediate response from her until she shuffled underneath the blanket and said “O.k. then, see you later”.
After the entrance gates she’d been given a map by a poncho’d youth who looked incredibly upbeat considering the pouring rain. The clouds had become a solid layer of grey while she’d travelled on the train to get there but she wasn’t disappointed. It felt exciting and as she looked at the map she saw the names of the various stages and villaged tents that were condensed into the festival area. One of the names of the tents caught her eye, so she decided to head towards it trying to sidestep the beginning quagmire forming from the rain. She took a packet of crisps from her small backpack and wished she’d worn wellies instead of walking boots.
Michael saw her as she stood in front of the tent. She was dressed plainly in a Marks and Spencers' grey sweater and plain blue jeans yet she seemed to radiate a strong presence that immediately caught his attention. He’d felt a bit out of place with his plain grey jeans and St Michael blue hoodie and had quietly sat in a corner of the large tented village. It was funny but before he’d seen her he’d felt as though he’d been rather mad to come to the festival in the first place. He wasn’t sure what he was doing here, it had all been so spontaneous yet without knowing why, he felt as though he might meet someone.
Rebecca looked up at the board above the tented village, it read ‘ARCO IRIS’. Colourfully dressed people of all ages were meandering in and out and she felt self-conscious in her pale blue jeans and grey sweater. She wasn’t certain whether she should go in, and for the first time since she’d booked the ticket she had doubts about what she was doing.
As he got up from the cushions and began walking towards her, he saw someone else approach her and felt a sinking feeling in his stomach but stubbornly continued walking. As he got closer to her he thought he saw bubbles in the air and he stopped. She was a couple of metres away and he realised that the person who’d stopped to talk to her was someone dressed as a clown handing out sweets and blowing soapy bubbles. There really were bubbles in the air. As the clown turned and walked away a large bubble floated out in front of Michael. He moved towards it with his opened right hand.
Rebecca saw the bubble too, hovering in front of her.
She stepped towards it with her hand outstretched...