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  • elliejauthor

The Desperado Years

Updated: Sep 29, 2022

The Eagles were my Ed Sheeran. I was also lucky enough to see the Eagles live. The song Desperado swam through my brain during every lesson, which is probably another reason I didn't do well at school. I wasn't unintelligent, the real problem was that although I was there in body, I was very rarely there in spirit. I had such an active imagination and was so bored by the lessons, (no offence to any of my previous teachers. I was a hard child to teach), that sometimes just one word was enough to send me into another world.

I remember a geography lesson when the teacher mentioned an island off the coast of Africa. Zanzibar. Zan-zi-bar. It rolled off the tongue like a buzzing bee. Africa. Heat. White cotton clothes. Flat roofs. Markets. The smell of spices. Mango trees. Banana palms. Sandy beaches hot under my feet. Tropical waters. Small fishing boats bobbing on a blue, blue sea. Narrow streets. A thief. My bag........!

See how easily it happens?

Do you 'drift away' at times? Well, I think everyone loses concentration for short periods. My trouble was that I could be 'gone' for pretty much the entire lesson. I was scolded more times than I can tell you. Told repeatedly 'I must pay attention in class!' Ordered to catch up at home, as if there wasn't already enough homework. I decided a plan of action was called for or I would never pass my exams. I would learn to focus. Learn to stay in the real world. It wouldn't happen overnight, I told myself, but I would get better at it as time went on. Optimism. Don't ya just love it.

I'd heard deep breathing can concentrate the mind. Taking my seat, I laid out my books, pen at the ready. So far so good. I inhaled. Filled my lungs. Then slowly exhaled. Still in the present. This was good. Another deep breath. This must be what a pearl fishers do - those people who dive to unbelievable depths without oxygen. Sometimes they're attacked by sharks. Imagine running out of breath. Unable to surface. Leg caught in the jaws of a great white.....yep, this is how it happens. Sigh.

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