I opened the Saturday paper today. The travel section fell to the floor. I picked it up. And there, sprawled across the cover was my old nemesis, The Novelist. Lying on her back in a white waffle robe, looking directly and steadily at the camera, her green eyes framed by her extended eyelashes. With a look on her face that said "isn't this all too too silly?"
I have no personal animosity against The Novelist. I was an undergraduate studing the same subject in the same year at the same college as The Novelist. So I knew her quite well. She was lovely. Bright, cheerful, happy, fond of bright clothes and parties. At the time, I was miserable as hell, invariably wore black, and spent most of my time wandering about with a notebook in one hand and a packet of cigarettes in the other. I never read Sylvia Plath, thank god, but even so, in retrospect my behaviour was embarrassingly affected.
The Novelist was not affected. She had a great time. And all these years later, and The Novelist has done Very Very Well. Very Well in that she's the kind of person whose opinion about anything and everything is sought by national newspapers. She's published many, many best-selling novels of the intellectual chick-lit kind, and has a husband and kids, and seems splendidly upright and grounded and, well, probably very rich.
All these things shouldn't matter, but they DO. I am envious. Horribly so. I'm not sure quite how or why; it may be something as nebulous as my feeling that The Novelist has Grown Up and Made Something of Herself, whilst I pootle around and make little sallies at being Grown Up, but falter in the face of things I've never been very good at. Like Being Organised and Having a Five Year Plan, and so on. Still, I am truly glad for her.