Do People Change?

Life has slowed down. We’re used to simple living. Even so, we’re starting to forget that the rest of Barbados exists at all. The island feels far away, as we sit on the edge of it.

We watched some old videos a couple of nights ago – of the girls when they were little. Lulu is about four, Delph is two. We have everything stored on a video hard drive. None of it is organised.

We clicked on random videos. Were faced with our younger selves. Us at Bardsey Island on Lulu’s 5th birthday. Lulu’s first dance exam where we were invited for a sneak preview. Lulu is so excited, she wriggles through the whole thing. Every once in a while you hear Delphine shout, ‘Yuyu!’ from the audience. There are videos too in Mum’s house. On one, a child is propelled down a snowy London hill on a sled.

‘Who is that?’ we wondered, shocked at the child’s speed. At the end, the camera focuses in on Chloe’s toddler face. She’s smiling.

In a lot of the videos, I was embarrassed to hear my own voice, rambling on. Who the bejesus was I talking to?

As if she could read my mind, Lulu asked, ‘Why are you talking? Literally no one cares.’

I had to laugh at Lu’s cheek. It made me think of the ways we’ve changed from almost ten years ago.

In one clip, I’m speaking to Jack as we sit on the beach in Bardsey Island. He looks back at me with disdain. ‘I really was a woman-hater,’ Jack mused, watching himself. We call him this occasionally. Yeah, I know, he lives on a boat with women, bla, bla. He should be so lucky. We nodded. ‘At least you’re better now.’

‘And I did talk non-stop about nothing,’ I added.

‘What do you mean, you did?’

Eye roll. Very funny.

‘What’s this one?’ Lu clicked. Toddler Chloe has just filled a plastic trolley and is taking it out of my mum’s room. Delph watches on placidly with a toy baby in her arms. Suddenly Lulu emerges at the door. Her happy expression quickly changes when she sees Chloe. She goes straight to her and starts trying to remove her top. ‘Mine!’ she yells.

In the next clip, my mum and I are trying to reason with Lulu. ‘Yours is purple, not pink,’ my voice says. Thank God I could say something useful. Little Lu looks at me, unsure.

‘It is?’

‘Can you say sorry to Chloe?’ I say. Though in fairness, Chloe doesn’t seem to care too much.

And it’s a stupid question – because Lulu instantly begins to yell again. Runs and then crawls straight under the bed. The clip ends.

We shook our heads and looked at our now 14-year-old Lulu. Do people really change?

‘You better not show that at my wedding,’ was her short reply.

Oh yeah, we agreed. Totally won’t.

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