Memories are our private literature. So says your Facebook thread.
Very you I thought. The you I remembered anyhow. And literature is like that. When it’s time to share, it’s time. So, hold on to your proverbial hats. Here goes.
I’d just turned 16. Finished my GCSEs and was ready for a 1991 summer of chilling. I was chilling – watching tv in my sunny kitchen – all early 90s breakfast bar and tall stools. Super uncomfy. Some daytime show was on. Maybe Going for Gold. The heat is on, the time is right – banging theme tune. Anyhow, I was eating marmite on toast and my feet were propped up. Was the only way to bear the uncomfortable angle.
Then, my cousin Kristian came in with his friends. There was usually a maelstrom of teenagers coming through my mum and aunt’s house. A few years older, they tended to smell of feet. Nothing appealing there. I was just about to turn my head back to the screen – when I saw you.
My heart skipped a beat. An actual fricking beat. I wonder now what drew me in. Eye contact? Your slightly sardonic smile? The same surprised look on your face when you saw me? Who knows.
I do know that the next two years of my life revolved around that meeting. That skipped heart beat. I swear to God – believe me, it was annoying. I would wait for you to visit. And when you did, it was pure heaven. Like The Cure song you played to us over and over again, complete with your amazing combed-back, hair-sprayed hair. Just Like Heaven.
You were the firecracker in the room. The one who shook things up. I remember a group of us walking one foggy November day – down the side of Osterley Park in West London to Norwood Green. There was a lone bagpiper playing under a bridge. He was standing by the side of the road, belting it out dressed in full kilt. We laughed – but we weren’t really surprised. This happened with you around. Life opened up in unexpected ways.
It’s fair to say we had a lot of adventures – and misadventures. That was the way then. Lots of firsts for me. Lots of lucky escapes! Then, as quickly as you came into my life, you went out of it again. We went our separate ways.
Tonight I’m suffering the fate of the person who could have got in touch more. Might have known to say goodbye. The fact is you changed my life with that skipped heartbeat. The rest is history – and literature.
Rest in peace, my friend. Who am I kidding? You are going to shake things up up there.
Meanwhile, down here this virus is no longer a number. Dammit. It sucks.