“Broken Pieces of Tomorrow” – By Soulla Christodoulou
In A Nutshell
Georgia, a second generation Greek Cypriot woman, faces an uncertain future after her marriage breaks down leaving her with three young sons.
Along the way, through tears and heartache, she pieces her life together after having lost herself for too long in motherhood and matrimony.
A journey of emotional and spiritual self-discovery, love lost and love found.
Excerpts From The Book
My inspiration for “Broken Pieces of Tomorrow”.
Being honest the inspiration came from my own experience and, finally after ten years, having the head space and the time to really think about what had happened to me and accepting it for what it was; it was one of the most life-changing experiences of my life yet at the time I just martyred on. I didn’t dwell on my marriage break-up, the trauma of being cheated on and lied to, over and over again, nor did I feel sorry for myself. I didn’t have time. I was left with three young children and my main concerns were two things; letting the boys know I loved them with all my heart and keeping a roof over their heads.
So I buried all the raw, cutting feelings of disappointment, heartache, despair, resentment, and humiliation deep inside me. I focused avidly on my boys and building a career that would make sure my boys were safe and looked after in the home environment they were used to. The only thing I couldn’t change or control was their father’s absence.
So after ten years I finally felt like I was able to breathe again. I gave up my middle management and teaching job in a local secondary school and focused on my writing and a new outlet for my emotions and creativity which had been stifled with the need to survive.
I began to explore the feelings which had been bottled up for so long and in a way writing the book was my way of healing myself of all the hurt and pain, the embarrassment and the humiliation I’d inevitably felt, but also looking at how my journey had actually helped me to grow and look within myself to what life should really be like for me. What had I learned about myself, and those people who had supported me through this dark yet surprisingly positive period in my life.
So as you’re reading through Broken Pieces of Tomorrow I’m sure you’ll relate to the emotions Georgia, the main character feels, when she is faced with accepting her husband’s infidelity despite the fact that she loves him with all her heart; love, wanting it, giving it, yearning for it, is a recurring theme throughout the book.
But it hadn’t all been bad. I had a lot of fun along the way and this is portrayed in the book through the friendship Georgia has with Thalia and the girly trips they take as well as their relationship which shows a mutual love and understanding for each other as women facing adversity.
The story begins with a wonderful account of Georgia’s wedding day and then winds forward ten years with news of Georgia, now mother to three young boys, securing a part-time job in a local secondary school as a secretary. This is a welcome change to her life as she gave up her career in the hotel industry, to bring up her children as any good Greek Cypriot girl would do. Her husband Nicolas, also of Greek origin, over the
This is a welcome change to her life as she gave up her career in the hotel industry, to bring up her children as any good Greek Cypriot girl would do. Her husband Nicolas, also of Greek origin, over the years has become an increasingly arrogant and demanding man with little outward respect for his wife’s love and commitment.
Although content with her life Georgia begins to see herself differently through her new job and soon discovers Nicolas’ affair. Suddenly her life’s path is uncertain and she has to rely on herself to build a new life. With her best friend Thalia, who also has relationship troubles of her own, she finds a way forward which takes her on a journey of self-discovery with many moments punctuated with a myriad of different emotions; physical and emotional.
I hope you enjoy the story whatever your own experience of love and marriage, relationships and friendships.
Set in North London, New York and Barcelona the story moves forward at a real life pace and will delight the reader who is familiar too with the local area of Finchley, Barnet and Crew’s Hill.
Excerpt from the book
Georgia slept badly the night before their trip and the next morning a road accident diverted their taxi through picturesque villages and past quaint pubs, adding half an hour to their estimated journey time.
When Georgia and Thalia finally arrived at Gatwick Airport they ran along the main concourse towards check-in conscious of how late they were. Georgia stifled her giggles as she watched Thalia struggling with her big bold animal-print suitcase.
‘Bloody hell, Thalia, we’re going for three nights!’
‘I couldn’t decide which shoes to bring and then I thought I might need my boots as well and then I thought if we go clubbing I’d need my high heeled ones as well. Better safe than sorry hun.’
They queued for less than five minutes when a chirpy blond ground steward summoned them to the check-in desk. Georgia handed over her compact navy Samsonite suitcase, placing it on the scales with ease unlike Thalia who struggled to lift hers onto the conveyor belt.
‘You’re lucky he didn’t charge you excess baggage – you were overweight by four kilos!’ Georgia said as they walked away from the desk.
‘Darling…I’ve never been over weight.’ Thalia’s laughter attracted the attention of all the men in another queue as the girls walked past.
‘I can’t argue with that. You look like an athlete and you never exercise! It’s not fair.’ Georgia placed her arm across her bloated belly.
‘Well, I do exercise actually,’ said Thalia, ‘just not the traditional form.’
‘Well, listen to you. No more than me so how come I don’t look like an athlete?’ Georgia smiled to take the sting out of her comment. She knew Thalia struggled with ‘no sex’ since her separation.
‘Just saying it as it is, babe. You know me,’ said Georgia.
‘Yeah, sex mad and insatiable.’
‘Not quite insatiable. I’m going without sex for four days to be with you, my honey.’
‘Such a sacrifice, thank you my darling. Will make it up to you. This holiday will be worth it.’
They both looked up at the departures board, scanning row after row of information for their flight number.
BA227 New York (JFK) B32 08:25 Go to Gate 27
‘Come on, babe. It’ll be miles away,’ said Georgia, looking across at the huge yellow sign, a black arrow pointing the direction to Gates B1 to B32.
‘We’ve plenty of time yet,’ said Thalia, up-dating her Facebook status with an airport selfie.
‘The plane won’t wait for us. You can do that later.’
‘It’s done. Look already got four likes and one comment.’
Waiting for their boarding numbers to be called up they babbled, Thalia already flirting with the older gentleman sitting opposite them in the Departure Lounge.
‘You girls are going to make this an interesting flight for sure,’ he said to both of them.
‘We will indeed,’ said Thalia, ‘Where are you sitting?’
‘Up front. I always travel Club World when on business,’ he drawled, his American accent booming at them.
‘Well, we will make an excuse to come up front and see you,’ said Thalia.
‘Don’t worry about her. I’ll keep her strapped into her seat,’ said Georgia. ‘It’s me you have to worry about,’ she said, giggling.
‘Yeah, the quiet ones and all that,’ said Thalia.
‘Sounds like you are both quite a handful,’ he chuckled.
‘Well, Georgia’s more like two,’ said Thalia, tilting her head towards her bosomy friend.
‘Can’t argue with that,’ drawled the American a mischievous twinkle in his eye as he winked at them both. ‘And I’m Bobby by the way.’ He leaned across and shook their hands in turn.
‘Thalia and Georgia,’ said Georgia, trying not to lean too far over as she became conscious of her buxomness.
‘Well it’s my pleasure. If you’ll just excuse me.’
Georgia and Thalia watched him walk off and carried on chatting, Thalia’s laugh like a brass bell clanging across the relative quiet hustle of the waiting area. An announcement over the public address system shushed them both.
‘Passengers Mrs T. Ellinas and Mrs G. Josephides, Flight BA227 to New York,
please make yourselves known to the airline staff at the check point with your boarding
passes and passports.
Passengers Mrs T. Ellinas and Mrs G. Josephides, Flight BA227 to New York,
please make yourselves known to the airline staff. Thank you.’
‘That’s us,’ said Thalia, looking at Georgia.
‘Bloody hell. It’s got to be your overweight luggage.’
‘Attracting more attention, eh?’ Bobby said as he walked back towards them, lowering himself into his seat.
They walked over to the staff checking passengers’ boarding passes clutching onto their hand bags and made themselves known. They both handed over their travel documents.
‘Really? No way? You’re joking?’ said Thalia. Georgia just looked from the stewardess to Thalia and back again, not saying a word.
‘I am gob-smacked,’ said Georgia on the plane. The air steward, took her hand luggage from her and positioned it in the overhead locker. ‘I still can’t believe this is happening.’
‘It had to happen like this,’ said Thalia, ‘it’s my birthday, after all!’ she shrieked, handing over her bag and already making herself comfortable in her very wide seat.
‘If it’s your birthday, ma’am, we will make sure you get an extra special gift,’ he said.
‘Why thank you, Jake,’ said Thalia, reading the name on his badge, ‘and my friend too…we can’t leave her out, can we?’
‘They will not believe it when I tell them back home. It’s like a dream come true,’ said Georgia, ‘I’ve got a good feeling about this trip. Not that I didn’t before. But this is just awesome!’
They both fell about laughing at her very bad American accent. The excitement didn’t fade the whole flight.
‘Smells gorgeous,’ said Georgia, rubbing the Elemis lotion into her hands, ‘needed that. My hands are dry today.’
‘It’s cos you’re getting old hun,’ said Thalia, ‘I’ll make you young again on this trip.’
‘Shut up, you cow. I’m a mere seven years older than you. What else is in our ‘complimentary amenities bag’?’ she said in her dreadful American accent again.
‘Love you too.’
‘Love you more,’ said Thalia, as she squeezed her friend’s hand.
Before they knew it, they were making their lunch choices. They chose the same starter of Smoked Shetland salmon tartare with pickled cucumber and a radish salad. Georgia selected the roasted corn-fed chicken with summer truffle and wild mushroom sauce, herb mashed potatoes, baby fennel and honey glazed carrots and Thalia dithered before finally opting for the penne pasta with red pepper pesto, basil and chilli sauce, courgette and piquillo peppers.
‘We didn’t order those,’ said Georgia as the steward handed them two sparkling flutes of bubbly pink champagne.
‘They are from Bobby with compliments,’ Jake said.
‘That’s it,’ said Georgia looking at Thalia, ‘The up-grade. It was Bobby. Oh. My. God.’
‘Those boobs babe, who can resist?’
Georgia felt her face redden as a slow panic filled her. She wasn’t in a position to do anything and she hoped Bobby wasn’t expecting anything from her. Her mind raced. Fuck. What a situation to be in. If she had realised sooner, he was behind the upgrade, she wouldn’t have accepted. Economy class would have been fine. She forced herself to have the dark chocolate fondant with caramel sauce in front of her, all the while a sickening sensation increased with each swallow.
‘I’ve got my mouth full.’
‘Bet Bobby wished it was full with something else!’
‘Stop it Thalia. It’s not funny anymore. I’m still married for goodness sake.’
‘Relax Georgi. He’s not going to jump you on the plane is he?’
‘That’s not the point.’
‘I am so full,’ said Thalia in her silly American accent again. She stretched her legs, rotating her ankles. She pushed her head back into the memory foam headrest. ‘Absolute heaven. It’s what we deserve hun.’
‘You’re right. We do,’ said Georgia as she tried to shake Bobby and his possible looming attention away. ‘I still can’t believe it.’
‘I’m telling you. The next few days are going to be incredible. New York here we come!’ yelled Thalia, not caring about disturbing the other passengers.
‘I’m taking a nap.’ Georgia closed her eyes. If she didn’t talk she could hide her sudden lack of enthusiasm from Thalia. Georgia didn’t want her own mood which had shifted from flirtatious to cautious to dampen Thalia’s.
‘I don’t think so,’ said Thalia, pressing the service button on her arm rest, ‘I’m just getting started.’
Georgia had a snooze and an hour before landing Thalia persuaded Jake to allow her into the World Class section of the plane to thank Bobby. Georgia refused to go, asking Thalia to tell Bobby she was sleeping off the champagne.
‘He can’t argue with that, can he?’
‘Bet he does.’
They touched down at JFK and collected their luggage within twenty minutes of strolling into the reclaim baggage area. Georgia kept an eye out for Bobby but didn’t even glimpse him and with relief they hopped into a yellow cab for the hotel. Cars, trucks and buses raced along the streets, corn yellow cabs, just like in the movies, dotted along the highways and wide streets. The traffic noise and roar of engines came at her from all angles and Georgia slipped another two headache tablets into her mouth taking a swig of the last drop of water in her bottle.
At the hotel, an American flag blew in the light breeze above the huge brass-trimmed rotating doors, which sparkled in the mid-day sun. The porters assisted them with their luggage. Their smart uniform with the Radisson Martinique logo, across the front right-hand side of the jacket, stood out against the inky black fabric, in deep contrast to Thalia and Georgia’s casual attire.
Behind a high-shine mahogany counter two efficient-looking receptionists checked them in and before they knew it Georgia and Thalia were walking across the marbled lobby, following the porters, who carried their luggage for them. As one of the porters inserted the key card into their bedroom door, he waited for the green indicator to light up and pushed it open with his foot. Thalia swept past him as he lent against the door, holding it open with his back and she flopped, with a ceremonious plop onto the bed’s king size mattress which dominated the room.
‘Darling, however will I find you in this big bed!’ she exclaimed, before she winked at Georgia. The porters had already put the luggage down onto the racks either side of the huge mirrored wardrobe. As they backed out of the room Georgia waved goodbye and thanked them as she tried to stifle her giggles.
‘The look on their faces,’ said Georgia, as the door closed. ‘You really are mad! Happy Birthday honey! May all your wishes come true in New York! This room is fantabulous. Look at the size of the TV screen and that sofa. You sure this isn’t a mini suite or something?’
‘They like things big in New York.’
Georgia threw herself onto the bed next to Thalia. They both sighed, looked at each other and then rolled around laughing and screaming, ‘We’re in New York!’
Sitting in a Bar and Karaoke Lounge, walking distance from their hotel, the girls toasted their awesome trip with a cocktail each. The atmosphere was one of sophistication. The polished bar gleamed and the mirrors sparkled. Georgia thought the muted lighting just right and she didn’t have to fight against any overhead glare. The bar filled by the minute, men in suits, women in high heels and short skirts, men in jeans and shirts. As they chatted, the barmen were busy plunking ice cubes into glasses, un-corking bottles of champagne, refilling the coolers, adding a splash of this and a splash of that to all colours of cocktails.
Both Thalia and Georgia were laughing, excited to be out, and getting looks from all directions, from men and women alike.
‘Well, the men want to be with us, instead of their boring wives,’ said Thalia.
‘And the wives wish they could be having as much fun as us, instead of being with their boring husbands,’ said Georgia laughing and then almost choking on the cocktail the barman had recommended. He looked over and smiled at her.
‘Well, you should’ve stuck to the non-alcoholic one you chose first missy,’ said Thalia. ‘I mean mescal and peppercorn what’s-it Cointreau?’
‘And Lillet rosé and cilantro,’ read Georgia off the cocktail list, pulling a face as she took another sip, still not quite sure of the taste which hit the back of her throat as she swallowed.
‘Anyway, cheers honey,’ said Thalia, clinking her tall glass of ‘Beaten Gypsy’ against Georgia’s.
‘Fuck,’ blurted Georgia out of nowhere. ‘I think those two are coming over.’ No sooner had the words come out of her mouth, Thalia had already responded with a perky ‘Hi.’
‘Hi,’ repeated Georgia, putting out her hand to introduce herself while she tried to re-position herself on the bar stool which, covered in soft Nubuck was rather slippery to sit on. She bit down on her lower lip realising she’d come across a little bit tipsy as she tried again to balance herself on the seat.
‘You’re from England?’ said the taller of the two dark-haired guys, his jeans so tight Georgia was surprised his voice could be that deep.
‘Yeah, from London actually,’ said Thalia, re-adjusting her posture with her back straight, sitting tall.
‘Oh, that’s awesome. You don’t look British,’ chipped in the second guy, his voice smoky, his T-shirt stretched across his tight muscle bound chest.
‘We’re of Greek origin. Greek Cypriot,’ said Georgia.
‘No way. Jeeez. We’re Greek too. We live here in Manhattan. Our parents are Greek.’
‘Both of you?’ said Thalia.
‘Yeah. We’re brothers. I’m John and this is Panos.’
‘I don’t believe this,’ said Georgia, ‘I knew there were lots of Greeks in New York but to meet Greeks…’
‘That’s got to be a coincidence for a reason,’ chimed in Thalia.
‘How long are you here for?’ said Panos.
‘It’s our first night,’ said Thalia.
‘Well, let’s make it a first night to remember,’ said John, reaching out to stroke Thalia’s upper arm. She beamed at him, enjoying the attention. Georgia thought maybe Nicolas was right about Thalia enjoying the limelight. Without warning she thought of him and missed home. She felt a long way away from him and the boys and wondered if they were all okay. She wondered whether allowing Thalia to persuade her to come to New York had been such a good idea.
They ordered more drinks and as they moved to a secluded corner, Georgia leant into Thalia and whispered in her ear, ‘What the hell are we doing?’
‘Having fun, Georgi…we’re not doing anything wrong so just chill,’ said Thalia.
A ‘reserved’ sign perched on the low rattan coffee table surrounded by an emerald green velvet sofa and four tub chairs in a turquoise and cream stripe.
‘You must be more than regulars if you have reserved seating,’ said Georgia, as she lowered herself into one of the tub chairs, always the observant one.
‘Well, we are what you call big in New York.’
‘Oh, yeah? How big? What do you guys do?’ asked Thalia.
‘You know the New York Yankees, right?’ said Panos.
‘Well, we’ve heard of them but don’t know them,’ said Georgia with a sarcastic tone.
‘Well, we do all their catering – every game, every function, every event, every PR session.’
‘Wow, that’s amazing. You must be rolling in it,’ said Thalia. Georgia knew the money impressed Thalia.
‘Yeah, we live the high life here, don’t we bro?’ Panos nodded in agreement.
John sat on the couch just big enough for two, his broad shoulders taking up almost half the width of the sofa and chatted to Thalia next to him. A bit too close, Georgia noted. She listened while Thalia told him everything about her separation and how awkward Tony was being, not believing how open Thalia could be with a complete stranger. Panos sat and listened too for a while, sipping his drink straight from the bottle. He made polite small talk with Georgia who chatted without thinking too much, careful not to be drawn into a situation, whatever that might be.
‘Yeah, how about we get out of here now. Where do you two want to go? Anywhere. We’ll take you. We have a limousine outside,’ said John.
Thalia looked at Georgia. ‘Oh, my God!’ she screamed. ‘It’s like Pretty Woman.’
‘We can go up west, there’s a great Lap Dancing Club.’
‘Lap Dancing?’ said Georgia.
‘No funny business. We’ll just have a drink,’ said Panos. He seemed to sense her awkwardness, the edge to her voice. Somehow Georgia didn’t believe him. He looked almost as nervous as she felt.
‘And I’ll pay one of the girls to dance for you,’ said John, eyeing up Thalia and running his tongue over his lips.
‘Let’s do it,’ said Thalia jumping out of her seat and dancing to the tune being pumped across the bar. ‘Whoop!’
‘God help me,’ said Georgia, but she forced a smile and jumped up too, swaying her hips and waving her arms around in the air to the beat. She wondered where this was going.
‘Told you I’d need the high heeled boots,’ shouted Thalia, to be heard above the music, as she carried on dancing.
‘Go, girl,’ said Georgia, smiling, but her mind was full of panic.