Going Places


A.R. Barton

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“Going Places” follows teenaged Sophie as she uses her vivid imagination to try to escape her dreary home life. On the way home from school, Sophie tells her schoolmate Jansie of her future aspirations to own a boutique or be an actress, and Jansie responds that Sophie’s ambitions are unrealistic and that she needs to be practical. When Sophie arrives home, she announces that if she ever comes into money, she will buy a boutique, but her father, mother, and little brother Derek all ridicule and dismiss this dream, suggesting that Sophie is constantly impractical about money and the future.

Looking at her small house, in which her worn-down mother washes piles of dirty dishes and cooks for her “grimy” husband, Sophie feels a “tightening” in her throat and leaves the room to find her older brother Geoff. She believes that Geoff might free her from the drudgery of her life, as she imagines that he lives an exotic and mysterious life, traveling to unknown parts of the city and meeting interesting people. However, it doesn’t seem that Geoff actually lives the life that Sophie imagines—he appears to be a shy homebody whose passion is the footballer Danny Casey.

To impress Geoff, Sophie tells him that she met Danny Casey and he asked her on a date. While Geoff initially rejects the story, her tale gains some traction as she reiterates it to her father and Jansie. The more she tells this story, the more elaborate it becomes, but still nobody seems to truly believe her—except, perhaps, Sophie herself.

On the night she said they would meet, Sophie waits on a bench for Danny Casey, seemingly believing that he might appear. However, Sophie’s sense of reality is not entirely lost and she briefly comes to terms with the reality of her situation, acknowledging that Danny Casey isn’t coming and that this is upsetting not because she wanted to see him, but because she will have to confess to her family that he never arrived, and they will be able to dismiss her once again. They “doubt me, as they have always doubted me,” she thinks, and there is little she can do to rectify that.

As she walks back home to her dismal life, Sophie sees her father’s bicycle near the pub and she retreats back into fantasy, imagining Danny Casey scoring a goal in front of a roaring crowd. In this fantasy, Casey is much like Sophie—he is “no taller” and “no bolder” than she.