'Angela Breaks Free' by Ninette Hartley

I’m a tad fed up.

Cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing, making beds, moving through forests of detritus left by family of one husband and three children. It’s time to stop, time to change.

Isn’t there a piece of paper somewhere that says I have a degree, that I am a graduate, a person? Is there a photograph? I can't remember who I was before…

Before I was Mrs - before I was Mum - before I was - Love. Do I have an actual name?

Ah yes I remember it. Angela.

I peel off my yellow marigolds and throw them into the sink, rip away the Keep Calm and Carry On apron. A cup of coffee would go down well so I make one and take it into the living room so that I can think.

Before my brain turns to mush and I forget all my dreams and aspirations and lose my identity as a person, I must make some time for myself and exercise my grey matter. They (the family) think I can’t use the computer but today I’m going to prove them wrong.

Today there is to be a big change. I go to the study, (usually my husbands domain) sweep his desk of papers, turn on the computer and Google...'distance learning'.

There are tons of courses to choose from, so many subjects I'm confused but I pick History. I'm going to do History. I will learn about the Romans, Hannibal, the Egyptians I will read and write, discover and enjoy.

I take the first step and fill in the online form. I wriggle in my seat and try in vain to stop the smile on my face from bursting into full-blown laugh.

The front door crashes and a herd of elephants thunder down the hallway.

'Mum, what's to eat?'

'You'll have to wait,’ I call, I can’t do anything at the moment.'

‘We’ll have to wait? Why are you ill or something?’

‘I’m something,’ I reply and smile.

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