A bite-sized extract from Defining Moments, Tessa Barrie’s first crack at writing a novel.
Defining Moments is a coming of (middle) age story about Baby Boomer, Lisa Grant, ex-columnist for Focal Point magazine, who struggles to sustain a long-term relationship because of the fallout from her dysfunctional childhood. Broke and alone, her fortieth birthday looming, she faces up to the ghosts from her past, confronts the negative emotional hold her narcissist mother has over her and digs herself out of her self-dug rut.
DEFINING MOMENT 1 – LISA
GLOUCESTERSHIRE – OCTOBER 1999
She had spent her entire adult life pussyfooting around the fragile relationship she had with her mother and during the last two-and-a-half years she had been analysing the fallout from her dysfunctional childhood. Eyeballing the ghosts from her past by finishing the book she had started writing in her early twenties before her career had taken off.
It was a spoof about her life – loosely disguised as fiction – the only way she felt she could revisit her mother’s appalling behaviour. The list was endless, absenteeism, lies, deceit and her obsession with finding a teenage Lisa a husband, preferably a wealthy one. All the essential ingredients needed to create an emotionally stunted adult and jaundicing Lisa’s view on the sanctity of marriage.
Whatever happened to empathy and love? Her mother seemed incapable of showing either emotion. Perhaps it was something to do with being having been brought up by a maiden aunt? Elizabeth never talked about her Aunt Sarah. In fact, Lisa had never had a deep, meaningful conversation with her mother about anything in forty years. She knew nothing about her mother or her purported aristocratic ancestors hailing from the place of her birth, Cambridgeshire. Yet, despite Elizabeth’s atrocious behaviour over the years, Lisa had never quite been able to sever the umbilical tie that bound them together. She kept her distance but Elizabeth was always there, niggling into her subconscious.
Reservoirs of choppy water had flowed under the bridge during the last forty years, taking some of the best bits of Lisa’s life with it, along with the flotsam and jetsam. She no longer had her high-flying job and she would never find another Jack, her mother indirectly responsible for the loss of the two most important things in her life.