The Pink Sheep

Who’s the sheep? That’s what I wanted to write. This was after seeing a picture of a group of eleven-year olds, dating back to 1986. There it was. The more I wanted to write it, the more my fingers froze.

Serves me right for Facebook stalking. It was a heck of a picture. I’d completely forgotten when we had to dress up as pink sheep. It was for a school play: Candide. I never expected to see that picture – much less to remember this experience. Made my throat bubble.

There were a few comments under the photo. Who were the boys in the photo, people were writing? My skin began to prickle as I read. No one mentioned the sheep. Why was no one asking about the sheep? I peered closer. The sheep was stylish. The sheep had attitude. The sheep was well, no sheep.

I sent the picture to my mum. Did she think the pink sheep looked familiar? Like daughter familiar? In other words, was that sheep me?

‘I remember I used to have a pink fluffy polo neck jumper,’ she wrote back.

Ok, I thought. She would remember the jumper. She may be selective with memories of her children’s’ childhood, but she can always be relied on to remember her wardrobe. I’m not laughing at her either. As time passes, this is a gift.

‘Remember that black mohair?’ I’ll ask.

Straight out of the stalls she’ll say, ‘Of course It must have been 1988-9.’ Sorted.

In the end, seeing the pink sheep photo brought me both delight and sadness. Not because I think the pink sheep in the picture is me. I was definitely dressed as a pink sheep that night.

The photo however, is questionable. Unless I’m unusually tanned for some reason, this may well not be me. Even though the kid looks unnervingly like my aunt Ela, the painted nose makes it tricky. And lots of people had fluffy, pink polo neck jumpers at that time. It was the Eighties.

I do know this. A year later, I definitely wouldn’t have looked like that. The sheep captures a moment when I was both the strongest in my life and the most naive. The photo feels like the edge of that change. The precipice.

Time is a funny thing. It may only move in one direction in terms of living. Try telling that to your sense of self though. In this, time moves in both directions. You can’t split from the past when trying to frame who you are. They should be synchronised – but they aren’t. They are often two different parts of time.

Meanwhile, the pink sheep never changes. Not in the photo. Shame no one asked who she was. Lulu helped me in the end. She said, ‘Just write the sheep looks awesome.’

So I did – on a seven-year old thread. 🐑 Lulu made me appreciate the future.

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