“What do you want to be when you grow up?” her aunty asked one day over tea and empire biscuits.
Anna looked skywards, starry-eyed as she thought for a few moments. “…An astronaut!”
Her aunty snorted, sipped her tea and brushed away the pesky, brittle crumbs dusting her cardigan. “An astronaut?!” she said. “Whatever put such a silly idea into your head? Ha!”
Anna ran from the room as tears threatened to descend.
“Martha - she’s just a child.” Her father too was a dreamer.
“She should be realistic: a housewife – something which suits her station in life.”
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked Miss Clarke at school the next day. “Myles?”
“A deep sea diver.”
“…A fish!” someone else piped in.
“…A pop star!”
“A hair dresser.”
“A film star.”
Miss Clarke’s eyes sparkled as the air filled with wonderful ambitions and dreams that knew no limits.
“Anna?” she asked.
Anna sat, eyes fixed on her desk.
Anna looked up.
“Yes, Miss Clarke.”
“Anna, what would you like to be when you grow up?”
Anna gazed into space and imagined the exhilaration she would feel as she was catapulted into some unexplored and mysterious atmosphere.
“A housewife, Miss,” she replied in a soft voice.
Miss Clarke looked into her eyes as Anna’s classmates sniggered behind their hands.
“Why would you like to be a housewife, Anna?” Miss Clarke frowned as Anna fixed her eyes once more on her desk.
“It’s something which suits my station in life. Then I can give people tea and biscuits when they visit.”
published 7 March 2012