Sixteen months ago, when I started to write this book (Mother of Christos, was it that long ago?) I did a bold thing. I started with the prologue. Armed with a simple idea, (one’s life taking a trip down the toilet) I decided one little page of writing was to be my guide, my push, the fulcrum to build a rich, funny story around—and funnily enough, despite my incessant editing and the story growing arms and legs I never could have imagined, this one chapter has more or less remained the same.
Over the past year or so I’ve shared book excerpts on Facebook and sometimes chunks of chapters with family or friends, but never a whole chapter! Oh no! Like a primary school child aggressively covering her notebook in case Martha Ryan copies her top notch work on Ancient Egypt, I’ve been holding on to them for dear life. It stops now! It’s time to give away a bit more…
Behold… the Prologue! In Amy’s own words.
They say bad things come in threes.
Unplanned triplets when the cost of creches has gone through the roof and you’re only after getting your figure back after little Isaiah.
Stuff like that.
Well on the day I got fired from my job and then dumped by my boyfriend all I was waiting on was losing an eye or getting a whack off a bus or finding a grey hair.
Fate, Karma, or whoever you are that has it in for me, I cried silently, (Derek? Attracta? Eros?) I’ll be over here, leaning against this wall and panting while you decide how best to finish the job.
I know in films you see dramatic life-altering stuff happening all the time in the space of twenty-four hours. For example you might meet the love of your life on the train (real soulmate-meeting hotbeds, trains, if Hollywood is anything to go by) or you could find out you’re the queen of a small but proud principality off the coast of Aruba renowned for honey-roasted ham, you know, those sort of things: random and irrevocably life-changing.
That’s in films though. Not real life.
In real life, when you both reach for the last box of chicken goujons on special offer in the supermarket you don’t fall into the kind of mad passionate love where you’re so busy staring into each others eyes you don’t notice your blackened frostbitten fingers have fallen in with the peas. The only frisson of passion you feel is deep despair that there’s a good chance you won’t be having goujons and chips for dinner. In fact the man you brush fingertips with doesn’t even know what a frisson is—but if you were to put him under pressure and ask him he’d take a wild guess at “a poncey way to cook a chop”.
And so, having a fairly serviceable grasp of the distinction between film and reality I could never have imagined that in the space of a day my life could go from normal and perfectly acceptable to one resembling the stuff that comes out when you unblock the drain.
But just like the Irish weather, or goitre, you can’t plan for these things, because that’s exactly what did happen.
And to tell you the truth I hadn’t the foggiest idea what the upshot of it all would be past the initial feelings of failure and eating my weight in crisps and then eating the extra weight I gained from all the initial crisps in even more crisps.
In fact this story may very well have ended prematurely in a Kettle Chip bloated tragedy followed by a straight-to-telly true life movie shown on a Monday night at four o’clock in the morning.
But seriously, all joking aside though (well, sort of joking; let’s not get too hasty and underestimate the power of crisps here) what I was fairly certain about was that I couldn’t trundle along anymore and hope for the best.
Because for some reason after it all happened I realised I was going to have to finally face my fears and do all those horribly terrifying things they tell you to do in those mad books like ‘reassess where I’m going’ and ‘look inside myself’ and ‘figure out who I am’ and maybe, just maybe, as the great Heather Smalls of M People would say in such a predicament ‘search for the hero inside myself’.
Heather, I said at the time, I don’t know if I can.