Part 1

Episode 2

In March 1991 Ruth was living in Australia. She did not know what she wanted to do with her life. She and her mother had moved out there from Britain in 1987 when Ruth was 16. Ruth's mum was from Brisbane and  had visions of starting a new life with no debts, a big garden and tropical heat. In many ways Australia was a great place for Ruth. She met some splendid people and was happy there.

She went back to high school at her mother's wish in both Brisbane and Sydney. She has a photo of herself wearing a uniform like those girls in Neighbours or Home and Away. They really do wear them! She knew she didn’t want to go to college or have children but otherwise had no plans at all. 

She didn’t know how to do much at all, it has to be said. She did not have any independence skills. Before she lived with James, Ruth's mother had provided everything for her. Of course she didn’t know it at the time. It was just her life. 

At 18 she still hardly ever cooked, shopped, carried money. She had never paid a bill, kept a house, had a job, or washed her own clothes. She had no concept of looking after herself, no notion of responsibility for herself or to her mum. 

Ruth had ideas though! plenty of ideas. She was a would be social reformer, artist and performer , in her head and had designs for life that she never actually got further than her bedroom. Like any good teenager , she showed little respect for her parent and grew angry,  shouted and threw things around in her Mother’s presence.  Her mum had little or no answer for this or solutions and  the both always ended up crying.

Ruth knew very few boundaries, mainly because she had not been shown very many. She lived in what is often called a 'pigsty'. Since she had been a little girl, the family home had been an absolute mess. There was always  shit everywhere but it didn’t bother her, she felt safe there.

 The things she did do around the home, although perfectly capable of doing so, were not for any sense of achievement but rather a necessary drudge. She did them because her mum got upset if she didn't. Sometimes she left them delberately knowing her mum would be upset.  Ruth was a typical teenager.  She had terrible rows with her mum   mainly starting over housework , that always ended in some kind of identity crisis with Ruth wanting to leave home but never doing so.

Keeping a tidy house was not the highest list of Ruth's priorities; she was indeed like many teenagers in so many ways. She was happy when she  lost weight and thought being thin made her happier.

Teenagers can go one of two ways, they can be crippled with self doubt or be as arrogant as fuck but by either turn they are all usually, totally self absorbed.

Ruth cared about herself a bit too much and did not believe she was bad, worthless, useless or anything. She liked and loved herself, actually she liked the sound of her own voice quite a lot. Betty says it’s the best sense she gets. Ruth certainly did not think she had to do anything to gain anyone’s approval.

 In fact getting someone’s disapproval, had been a speciality of  Ruth's up to that date and she got a perverse sense of recognition from it. She puts it down to the bullying at school in England. The grey concrete carpark suburbs of West London make for great schooling , not!! The teachers reckoned she wouldn't ammount to much and the kids were fucking horrible. She didn't stand a chance really such was their preconceptions of her, so why bother!  It just confirmed her gut feeling that some people were a bit stupid and didn’t understand her in the slightest.  She was a rebel in her nightgown.  

It did not upset her, that she had no idea, no aims or objectives or skills.  She did not want to be anything. She had no ambition. She did not think she had to be, anyone or anything.  

Prap’s people never understood Ruth because she never, actually said this, she just assumed they knew . She therefore summised that most people insisted on her doing and being as they wanted her to for their own gain, glory, power trips and aspirations. That or perhaps people were making a bid to save her from being a disappointment. 

It is not an uncommon trait in teenagers, both daughters or sons to be a disapointment. Being a disappointment to people is very much a thing teenagers excel at. Not a very nice way to be viewed but many people do. Parents, Society, Teachers, pillars of the community, family, will commonly see teenagers as a disappointment. Betty feels it a proper shame really as teenagers are often the most amazing creatures.

 So often teenagers are unaware of the fact that they are many. Even if they are part of a gang or tribe, they  often think they are the only one in the world to suffer this terrible view of them and Ruth was not any different. 

  She had issues and tissues coming out of her arse and a chip on her shoulder, She had a dysfunctional and unhappy family whom she loved dearly but could not bear to be associated with. 

Even in the healthiest family settings, a great many teenagers are like this to some extent, Ruth was very much of the most ardent variety but just a teenager nonetheless. Just like any other.  

Anyway the majority of Ruth's’s crises she did have; and she had plenty; weren’t really about college or grandchildren. They sprung from the nappy mate  and they were quite average, to be expected and quite healthy really, it is not necessary to delve into them. 

Conversly the brilliant thing about being a teenager is that when things are brilliant, they really are quite quite fantastic! the new film, the new music, the new people, the places! the dreams! Being a teenager for many  is like a crash test for bi polar , with the question being can  you ride the peaks and troughs!

Ruth often had lots of fun, she had a good posse of friends right through childhood and made friends easily. She got caught smoking, got caught smoking weed! . She bunked of school and spent weekends having a proper laugh. 

Ruth's background leading up to her meeting James however,  is only relevant  for the simple fact that whatever her upbringing, whoever she was before that fateful day. It was irrelevant to the causes and reasons  for what he was or became.

There was a time, truly, there was a time, she distinctly remembers, that Ruth thought James Pound was the most wonderful thing since Velcro and loved the very thought of him. That truth is one that saddens her to this day. 

What he thought of her?  only he knows.

They had what is commonly called a whirlwind romance. She had known about him since her childhood, met him several times before, he had even stayed at her house, he was counted as a family friend and then suddenly!

 She was 19 when they got together, he was 27 and there was period when she thought they had become, were best friends.  She very much thought he was the love of her life, he was marvellous and fabulous, She thought they were going to make the most splendid things together and do such things as people do dream of.

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