Going Places

Going Places

By A.R Barton

About the Author

A.R Barton is a modern writer, who lives in Zurich and writes in English. In the story Going Places, Barton explores the theme of adolescent fantasizing and hero worship.


The story revolves around a teenage girl Sophie, her family and friends. She is a daydreamer, who is always lost in her dreams of becoming rich and sophisticated though in reality she is a worker at biscuit factory. The story suddenly twists up when Sophie make a wild imagination of meeting Danny Casey, a famous footballer. She also makes a story in front of her brother that Casey will come to meet her on a fixed day as per a promise he made to her.


Sophie and Jansie are two teenagers who are coming back from school. They both work in a biscuit factory. Sophie is lost in her imagination of owning a boutique shop and becoming famous like Mary Quaint, a fashion designer. Jansie tells her not to dream big as it requires lots of money which they don’t have. To this she replies that she will become an actress, earn a lot and then own a boutique. Jansie being a realistic person does not support her thoughts. On reaching home Sophie feels choked in that small house which is full of the stove’s steam and looks untidy because of the dirty dishes. Her father is eating and her mother is busy in the kitchen. She goes to meet her elder brother Geoff, who is a trainee mechanic and is busy repairing some motorcycle part. Geoff talks very less about his personal life which made her imagine of his personal life which she considers very interesting and wants to be part of it. She shares a secret with him that she met Danny Casey the famous footballer in a boutique. Her brother and her father do not believe her. But she tries to make them believe this. She also tells her brother about her date with Casey. Her brother does not believe her but gives her a chance to believe her story. On Saturday Sophie and her family go to watch a football match as all of them are great fans of football. Their favourite team wins due to a goal made by Casey. All of them feel so overjoyed. When Sophie returns home with her little brother Derek, Jansie questions her about the reality behind her meeting with Danny Casey. Sophie gets angry with her brother because of letting her secret out but tries to handle the situation and succeeds. She then visits a secret place near a canal to meet her hero Casey who doesn’t show up. She knows that it was just her imagination but she was so lost in his love that she doesn’t want to come out of this. In the end she returns back to her home with sadness in her heart. But when she comes across the Royce’s boutique, she again finds herself lost in her hero’s dreams.


“When I leave,” Sophie said, coming home from school,
“I’m going to have a boutique.”
Jansie, linking arms with her along the street; looked doubtful.
“Takes money, Soaf, something like that.”
“I’ll find it,” Sophie said, staring far down the street.
“Take you a long time to save that much.”
“Well I’ll be a manager then — yes, of course — to begin with. Till I’ve got enough. But anyway, I know just how it’s all going to look.”
“They wouldn’t make you manager straight off, Soaf.”
“I’ll be like Mary Quant,” Sophie said. “I’ll be a natural.
They’ll see it from the start. I’ll have the most amazing shop this city’s ever seen.’”

Boutique: a small shop selling fashionable clothes

The story begins with a conversation between two teenage girls Sophie and Jansie. Sophie lives in a world of imagination whereas Jansie is totally opposite to her. Sophie imagines of owning a boutique one day, a place where she can sell fashionable clothes. Jansie feels that it requires a lot of money to open up a boutique. She also tells her that it will take her a long time to save that much amount. To this Sophie replies that she will work as a Manager and when she will save enough money then will work on opening up a boutique. She is interrupted by Jansie as she tells her that nobody will hire her straight up to the managerial post. Sophie changes her plan and decides to be a fashion icon like Mary Quant. She also adds that she will have the best boutique shop that no one has ever seen in the city.

Jansie, knowing they were both earmarked for the biscuit factory, became melancholy. She wished Sophie wouldn’t say these things.

When they reached Sophie’s street Jansie said, “It’s only a few months away now, Soaf, you really should be sensible. They don’t pay well for shop work; you know that, your dad would never allow it.”

“Or an actress. Now there’s real money in that. Yes, and I could maybe have the boutique on the side. Actresses don’t work full time, do they? Anyway, that or a fashion designer, you know — something a bit sophisticated”.

And she turned in through the open street door leaving Jansie standing in the rain.

“If ever I come into money I’ll buy a boutique.”

“Huh – if you ever come into money… if you ever come into money you’ll buy us a blessed decent house to live in, thank you very much.”

Earmarked: set aside, reserved

Melancholy: sad

Sophisticated: worldly, Cosmopolitan

Decent: adequate

Jansie is a realistic person. She knows that in reality they are just workers at a Biscuit factory. On hearing Sophie’s thoughts, she becomes sad. When they reach Sophie’s street, Jansie tries to explain the reality of their life. She tells her that they don’t receive much at the factory where they work. She also tells her that her dad would not allow her to leave the job. Sophie, on the other hand, is still lost in her dreams. She says that she can also be an actress as it would earn her a lot of money. She also wants to run a side business of boutique as she thinks that actresses don’t work full time. When they reach home, Sophie enters into her house and turns the door. Jansie is left alone in the rain. Sophie is still murmuring the same sentence that if she will get money, she will buy a boutique. Someone in the house teases her that if she ever has money, she should buy a good house for her family.

Sophie’s father was scooping shepherd’s pie into his mouth as hard as he could go, his plump face still grimy and sweat—marked from the day.

“She thinks money grows on trees, doesn’t she, Dad?’ said little Derek, hanging on the back of his father’s chair.

Their mother sighed. Sophie watched her back stooped over the sink and wondered at the incongruity of the delicate bow which fastened her apron strings. The delicate seeming bow and the crooked back. The evening had already blacked in the windows and the small room was steamy from the stove and cluttered with the heavy-breathing man in his vest at the table and the dirty washing piled up in the corner. Sophie felt a tightening in her throat. She went to look for her brother Geoff.

Scooping: here, eating

Grimy: dirty, soiled

Sighed: breathe out

Stooped: shoulder bent forward

Incongruity: inappropriate

Crooked: bent

Cluttered: untidy, litter

Sophie’s father was eating a shepherd’s pie. His face was unclean with dirt and sweat. Her younger brother Derek, said to his father that Sophie thought that money grew on trees. He also felt that she was not realistic. Her mother who was busy with her work took a deep breath. Sophie noticed her working in the kitchen. Her mother had stooping shoulders that were bent forward. She had tied an apron on her back which was bent and not in the right shape. Maybe she looked so because of the heavy burden of work on her. It was turning dark and the house was full of steam and the kitchen was messed up with litter. Sophie felt uncomfortable so she went up to her brother Geoff.

He was kneeling on the floor in the next room tinkering with a part of his motorcycle over some newspaper spread on the carpet. He was three years out of school, an apprentice mechanic, travelling to his work each day to the far side of the city. He was almost grown up now, and she suspected areas of his life about which she knew nothing, about which he never spoke. He said little at all, ever, voluntarily. Words had to be prized out of him like stones out of the ground. And she was jealous of his silence. When he wasn’t speaking it was as though he was away somewhere, out there in the world in those places she had never been. Whether they were only the outlying districts of the city, or places beyond in the surrounding country — who knew? — They attained a special fascination simply because they were unknown to her and remained out of her reach.

Kneeling: be in a position in which body is supported by knees.

Tinkering: repairing

Apprentice: learner

Suspected: guess, think

Outlying: distant place

Fascination: captivation

Geoff was in the next room, sitting with bent knees, on the carpet. He was repairing some parts of his motorcycle. He was a trainee mechanic who had left his school three years ago. He had to travel long distances in search of work. Sophie was sometimes doubtful about his brother as he didn’t speak much about his life. Therefore, she always imagined about the way of life her brother led. She was so jealous of his silence because she wanted to know about the places that he used to visit. She thought that they could be some distant places in the city or maybe some countryside. All these thoughts were so captivating because they were far away from her reach.

Perhaps there were also people, exotic, interesting people of whom he never spoke — it was possible, though he was quiet and didn’t make new friends easily. She longed to know them. She wished she could be admitted more deeply into her brother’s affections and that someday he might take her with him. Though their father forbade it and Geoff had never expressed an opinion, she knew he thought her too young. And she was impatient. She was conscious of a vast world out there waiting for her and she knew instinctively that she would feel as at home there as in the city which had always been her home. It expectantly awaited her arrival. She saw herself riding there behind Geoff. He wore new, shining black leathers and she a yellow dress with a kind of cape that flew out behind. There was the sound of applause as the world rose to greet them.

Perhaps: maybe

Exotic: foreign, non-native

Longed: wish

Affections: fondness, love

Forbade: ban, prohibit

Instinctively: without conscious thought

Cape: wrap, stole

Applause: clapping

Sophie imagined about her brother’s personal life. She thought that her brother never spoke about his life but maybe he knew some non-native people who were very interesting. Though she knew that her brother didn’t have many friends, still she felt that it was possible that he might have some special friends. So, sometimes she wished she could become close to her brother so that he would take her out with him. She knew that her father would never allow her to do so. Even her brother considered her not big enough to go outside. But she was growing impatient and wanted to go outside as she believed that she would be comfortable there just like in her own city. So, she imagined her riding with Geoff, he wearing a shiny black jacket and her wearing a beautiful yellow dress with a stole flying behind her as they would ride his motorcycle. She dreamt that people stood up to welcome her by clapping when she rode with her brother.

He sat frowning at the oily component he cradled in his hands, as though it were a small dumb animal and he was willing it to speak.

“I met Danny Casey,” Sophie said. He looked around abruptly. “Where?”

“In the arcade—funnily enough.” “It’s never true.”

“I did too.”

“You told Dad?”

She shook her head, chastened at his unawareness that he was always the first to share her secrets. “I don’t believe it.”

“There I was looking at the clothes in Royce’s window when someone came and stood beside me, and I looked around and who should it be but Danny Casey.”

“All right, what does he look like?”

“Oh come on, you know what he looks like.”

“Close to, I mean.”

“Well — he has green eyes. Gentle eyes. And he’s not so tall as you’d think…” She wondered if she should say about his teeth, but decided against it.

Frowning: annoyed

Component: part, piece

Cradled: hold

Abruptly: suddenly

Arcade: Gallery

Chastened: subdue, humble

Her brother looked annoyed at the oily part of the motorcycle that he was handling. He was trying to make it work but all his attempts were wasted. Sophie said that she met Danny Casey, a famous football player. Her brother suddenly looked at her and asked her where she met him. She said that she was in a gallery when she saw him. He didn’t believe her and asked if she told this to their father. She did not approve of her brother’s question as she wanted to say that he must know that he is the one with whom she shared her secrets. So, she began her story that she was at Royce’s boutique and was looking for some dresses when somebody came and stood behind her. She turned and found him to be Danny Casey. Her brother asked her about his appearance. She told him that he had green coloured gentle eyes and was not as tall as she thought him to be.

Their father had washed when he came in and his face and arms were shiny and pink and he smelled of soap. He switched on the television, tossed one of little Derek’s shoes from his chair onto the sofa, and sat down with a grunt. “Sophie meet Danny Casey,” Geoff said. Sophie wriggled where she was sitting at the table. Her father turned his head on his thick neck to look at her. His expression was one of disdains.

“It’s true,” Geoff said. “I once knew a man who had known Tom Finney,” his father said reverently to the television. “But that was a long time ago.” “You told us,” Geoff said.

Grunt: a low rough noise

Wriggled: twist, turn

Disdain: scorn, disrespect

Reverently: with deep respect

While both brother and sister were in their conversation, their father entered the room. He looked clean and shiny as he had taken a bath. He switched on his television and sat on his chair after shifting Derek’s shoe from his chair to the sofa. As he sat in his chair, Geoff told him that Sophie had met Danny Casey. On hearing this he turned towards Sophie. He looked at her scornfully because he couldn’t believe her. Geoff clarified it to be true. The father then told them that he once knew a man who had known Tom Finney a long time ago. Tom Finney was a legendary footballer. He took his name with great respect. Geoff agreed their father had told this earlier.

“Casey might be that good someday.”

“Better than that even. He’s the best.”

“If he keeps his head on his shoulders. If they look after him properly. A lot of distractions for a youngster in the game these days.”

“He’ll be all right. He’s with the best team in the country.”

“He’s very young yet.”

“He’s older than I am.”

“Too young really for the first team.”

“You can’t argue with that sort of ability.”

“He’s going to buy a shop,” Sophie said from the table.

Her father grimaced. “Where’d you hear that?”

“He told me so.”

He muttered something inaudible and dragged himself round in his chair. “This another of your wild stories?”

“She met him in the arcade,” Geoff said, and told him how it had been.

“One of these days you’re going to talk yourself into a load of trouble,” her father said aggressively.

“Geoff knows it’s true, don’t you Geoff?”

“He don’t believe you-though he’d like to.”

Distractions: diversion, disturbance

Grimaced: angry

Inaudible: unheard

They were discussing football players. Father said that he thought that one day Casey might become as good as Finney. Someone among Geoff and Sophie replied that Casey was better as he was very talented, but their father did not agree. He said that he was very young and as there were so many diversions for a young footballer, he might work hard. Geoff did not agree and said that he was with the best team and the best player too. Meanwhile, Sophie told them that Casey was going to buy a new shop. Her father looked at her angrily and asked her as to from where did she get to know this. He doubted it to be one of her imagination. Her brother interrupted and said that she met him. Her father warned her that such things could lead her to trouble. She then tried to justify herself by saying that Geoff knew this and trusted her. Her father replied that he did not believe her although he wanted to.

The table lamp cast an amber glow across her brother’s bedroom wall, and across the large poster of United’s first-team squad and the row of coloured photographs beneath, three of them of the young Irish prodigy, Casey.

“Promise you’ll tell no-one?” Sophie said.

“Nothing to tell is there?”

“Promise, Geoff — Dad’d murder me.”

“Only if he thought it was true.”

“Please, Geoff.”

“Christ, Sophie, you’re still at school. Casey must have strings of girls.”

“No he doesn’t.”

“How could you know that?” he jeered.

“He told me, that’s how.”

“As if anyone would tell a girl something like that.”

“Yes he did. He isn’t like that. He’s… quiet.”

“Not as quiet as all that — apparently.”

“It was nothing like that, Geoff — it was me who spoke first. When I saw who it was, I said, “Excuse me, but aren’t you Danny Casey?” And he looked sort of surprised. And he said,

“Yes, that’s right.” And I knew it must be him because he had the accent, you know, like when they interviewed him on the television. So I asked him for an autograph for little Derek, but neither of us had any paper or a pen. So then we just talked a bit. About the clothes in Royce’s window. He seemed lonely. After all, it’s a long way from the west of Ireland. And then, just as he was going, he said, if I would care to meet him next week he would give me an autograph then. Of course,

I said I would.”

“As if he’d ever show up.”

“You do believe me now, don’t you?”

He dragged his jacket, which was shiny and shapeless, from the back of the chair and pushed his arms into it. She wished he paid more attention to his appearance. Wished he cared more about clothes. He was tall with a strong dark face. Handsome, she thought.

“It’s the unlikeliest thing I ever heard,” he said.

Prodigy: a young person with exceptional qualities

Strings: here, group

Jeered: tease someone

Apparently: seemingly, evidently

Dragged: pull

Unlikeliest: unexpected, doubtful

Geoff’s room was full of pictures of footballers. There was a picture of Casey also who has been described as a young Irish man with exceptional qualities. Sophie told her brother another secret of her but on the condition that he would not tell this to their dad. His brother did not want to believe her but listened to her because of her undue stress. She then told him that when she met him, it was she who started the conversation by asking him whether he was Danny Casey. She also asked for an autograph for little Derek but as both of them didn’t have any pen or paper, he promised to give it in their next meeting. Her brother did not believe this as he was doubtful of what she was saying. So, he picked up his jacket and left. Sophie wondered if her brother did not care about his looks much though he should be doing so because he was tall and handsome.

On Saturday they made their weekly pilgrimage to watch United. Sophie and her father and little Derek went down near the goal — Geoff, as always, went with his mates higher up. United won two-nil and Casey drove in the second goal, a blend of innocence and Irish genius, going round the two big defenders on the edge of the penalty area, with her father screaming for him to pass, and beating the hesitant goalkeeper from a dozen yards. Sophie glowed with pride. Afterward Geoff was ecstatic.

“I wish he was an Englishman,” someone said on the bus. “Ireland’ll win the World Cup,” little Derek told his mother when Sophie brought him home. Her father was gone to the pub to celebrate.

Pilgrimage: religious journey, but here their devotion towards football match

Mates: friends

Hesitant: undecided

Ecstatic: joyful excitement

On Saturday Sophie, her father and two brothers went to see the football match of their favorite team- United. It was a regular thing for them because they were all huge fans of football. Sophie, Derek and her father stayed near the goal and Geoff went up higher with his friends to see the match. Team United won the match with a score of 2 and nil. The second goal was made by Casey and he did it with such perfection. Everyone was happy, Sophie was so happy that she glowed and Geoff was so excited.

Sophie’s father went to the pub after the match and so she brought her brother Derek back home. Derek told his mother that this time Ireland would win the world cup.

“What’s this you’ve been telling?” Jansie said, next week.

“About what?”

“Your Geoff told our Frank you met Danny Casey.”

This wasn’t an inquisition, just Jansie being nosey. But Sophie was startled.

“Oh, that.”

Jansie frowned, sensing she was covering. “Yes — that.”

“Well-yes, I did.”

“You never did?” Jansie exclaimed.

Sophie glared at the ground. Damn that Geoff, this was a Geoff thing not a Jansie thing. It was meant to be something special just between them. Something secret. It wasn’t a Jansie kind of thing at all. Tell gawky Jansie something like that and the whole neighbourhood would get to know it. Damn that Geoff, was nothing sacred?

Inquisition: questioning

Nosey: curious

Startled: sudden shock

Frowned: angry

Glared: stare angrily

Gawky: graceless

Sophie was inquired by Jansie as to what was she telling everywhere. Sophie surprisingly asked her the reason for asking her this question. She then told her that her brother Geoff told Janise’s Brother, Frank that Sophie had met Danny Casey. Sophie got angry because she had never thought that her brother would disclose her secret. She was worried because Jansie had the habit of sharing secrets with the whole neighborhood which she didn’t want to happen. Sophie got angry with Geoff’s behavior.

“It’s a secret — meant to be.”

“I’ll keep a secret, Soaf, you know that.”

“I wasn’t going to tell anyone. There’ll be a right old row if my dad gets to hear about it.”

Jansie blinked. “A row? I’d have thought he’d be chuffed as anything.”

She realized then that Jansie didn’t know about the date bit — Geoff hadn’t told her about that. She breathed more easily. So Geoff hadn’t let her down after all. He believed in her after all. After all, some things might be sacred.

“It was just a little thing really. I asked him for an autograph, but we hadn’t any paper or a pen so it was no good.” How much had Geoff said?

“Jesus, I wish I’d have been there.”

“Of course, my dad didn’t want to believe it. You know what a misery he is. But the last thing I need is queues of people around our house asking him, “What’s all this about Danny Casey?” He’d murder me. And you know how my mum gets when there’s a row.”

Jansie said, hushed, “You can trust me, Soaf, you know that.”

Row: here, so much noise

Chuffed: cheerful

Misery: discomfort

Hushed: quiet

Sophie explained to Jansie that this was her secret and she didn’t want to share it because then people would line up outside their house and ask about this. Her dad would kill her for this. Jansie got surprised to hear this, she said that she thought that her father would be happy to hear this. But Sophie told her that it was not so and the continuous noise of the neighbors could disturb her mother too. She realized that Jansie was not aware of each and everything so she felt happy that her brother did keep some parts a secret. She then told her that she had met him and asked for an autograph but couldn’t get it because of a lack of pen and paper. She even tells Jansie that her dad did not believe her. Jansie promised her to keep her secret.

After dark, she walked by the canal, along a sheltered path lighted only by the glare of the lamps from the wharf across the water, and the unceasing drone of the city was muffled and distant. It was a place she had often played in when she was a child. There was a wooden bench beneath a solitary elm where lovers sometimes came. She sat down to wait. It was the perfect place, she had always thought so, for a meeting of this kind. For those who wished not to be observed. She knew he would approve. For some while, waiting, she imagined his coming. She watched along the canal, seeing him come out of the shadows, imagining her own consequent excitement. Not until some time had elapsed did she begin balancing against this the idea of his not coming.

Canal: waterway

Wharf: dock

Muffed: messed up

Solitary elm: single tree (elm is a tall tree)

Elapsed: pass, go by

After it was dark, Sophie went through a sheltered path along a waterway. It was far away from the noisy city. She used to play here as a child. She sat on a wooden bench that was under a long elm tree. According to her, it was the perfect place for lovers to meet. She sat there and started waiting for Casey. She got lost in her imagination of Casey coming to meet her. After a while, she realized that he was not coming and it was just her imagination.

Here I sit, she said to herself, wishing Danny would come, wishing he would come and sensing the time passing.

I feel the pangs of doubt stirring inside me. I watch for him but still, there is no sign of him. I remember Geoff saying he would never come, and how none of them believed me when I told them. I wonder what will I do, what can I tell them now if he doesn’t come? But we know how it was, Danny and me — that’s the main thing. How can you help what people choose to believe? But all the same, it makes me despondent, this knowing I’ll never be able to show them they’re wrong to doubt me. She waited, measuring in this way the changes taking place in her. The resignation was no sudden thing.

Pangs: sharp pain

Despondent: disheartened

Resignation: departure, leaving

Many thoughts came to Sophie’s mind. She waited for Danny to come but he didn’t come to meet her. She felt a deep pain inside her. She thought that people didn’t believe her story. If Danny came, she could tell them that she was not lying. Again she thought that it is not an easy thing to make everyone believe oneself. As so many thoughts were coming to her mind she felt like many changes were taking place inside her. All this was very painful and she wanted to leave now.

Now I have become sad, she thought. And it is a hard burden to carry, this sadness. Sitting here waiting and knowing he will not come I can see the future and how I will have to live with this burden. They of course will doubt me, as they always doubted me, but I will have to hold up my head remembering how it was. Already I envisage the slow walk home and Geoff’s disappointed face when I tell him, “He didn’t come, that Danny.” And then he’ll fly out and slam the door. “But we know how it was,” I shall tell myself, “Danny and me.” It is a hard thing, this sadness. She climbed the crumbling steps to the street. Outside the pub, she passed her father’s bicycle propped against the wall and was glad. He would not be there when she got home.

Envisage: predict

Crumbling: broken

Sophie became sad. She felt it to be very tough to bear the burden that Danny didn’t come to meet her. She had been waiting for him, though she knew that he would never come. She was also worried about how people would doubt her and disbelieve on what she said. She also thought that Geoff would beat hard against the door on knowing that Danny didn’t come to meet her. So she’s quite sad now. As she was walking back to her home, she saw her father’s bicycle in front of the pub. She felt happy that she would not have to face her father on reaching home.

“Excuse me, but aren’t you Danny Casey?” Coming through the arcade she pictured him again outside Royce’s.

He turns, reddening slightly. “Yes, that’s right.”

“I watch you every week, with my dad and my brothers. We think you’re great.”

“Oh, well now — that’s very nice.”

“I wonder — would you mind signing an autograph?”

His eyes are on the same level as your own. His nose is freckled and turns upwards slightly, and when he smiles he does so shyly, exposing teeth with gaps between. His eyes are green, and when he looks straight at you they seem to shimmer. They seem gentle, almost afraid. Like a gazelle’s. And you look away. You let his eyes run over you a little.

And then you come back to find them, slightly breathless.

Reddening: blush

Freckled: pale/brown spot on skin

Exposing: uncover

Gazelle: An Asian-African antelope

While Sophie was returning to her home, she passed through Royce’s boutique. She again imagined meeting Danny Casey. She again tried to initiate a talk with him by asking him if he was Danny Casey and also asked for an autograph

And he says, “I don’t seem to have a pen at all.” You realize you haven’t either.

“My brothers will be very sorry,” you say.

And afterward, you wait there alone in the arcade for a long while, standing where he stood, remembering the soft melodious voice, the shimmer of green eyes. No taller than you. No bolder than you. The prodigy. The innocent genius. The great Danny Casey.

And she saw it all again, last Saturday — saw him ghost past the lumbering defenders, heard the fifty thousand catch their breath as he hovered momentarily over the ball, and then the explosion of sound as he struck it crisply into the goal, the sudden thunderous eruption of exultant approbation.

Melodious: musical

Lumbering: moving in awkward way

Hovered: fly

Momentarily: briefly

Thunderous: so strong like thunder of cloud

Eruption: explosion

Exultant: overjoyed

Approbation: Approval, acceptance

When she asked for an autograph, they both realized that none of them had a pen or paper. She felt sad for her brothers. When Casey left, she kept standing there thinking of his sweet voice, green eyes, innocence and his geniuses. Then her imagination took her to the football match she had watched with her family last Saturday. She imagined Danny Casey striking the goal in such a heroic way that she felt an explosion on the football ground. She felt so overjoyed with the winning of the united team and with the heroic performance of Danny Casey, her hero.