Thursday, April 3, 2014

the irretrievable past.

Notes from my Childhood:

Version I:
Mother jumping out at the red light while
I anxiously call, ‘quick, quick!’. Cars begin to toot.
Thank god she got her hairbrush.
Mother swaying from side to side,
phone cradled to her ear –
she’s just been told that a little boy from up the road
has died. I look on, confused.
Painting contests with my brother, setting
up huge canvases on the window panes.
Daddy tells us that no one is the winner
(because everyone is). We protest loudly.
I have a crush on a boy called Benjamin
because he paints in red and drives a
toy car. I’m too shy to invite him to my party
so I end up with ‘Dumb Ben’ instead.
Summer of 2005 [Wilson’s Promontory]: bitten
by a March Fly and cry with pain, spend the
remaining day nursing my ‘wound’ and feeling
like a spoilt brat, a nuisance. I don’t tell anyone
about the throbbing.
All my friends parents are “split up” –
I imagine volcanoes and tectonic plates
shifting with remarkable dexterity.
I am jealous of their unique story.
Sleep over: parents who remain together
often say ‘no’ – but aren’t listened to.
Mother practices times tables with me,
7 – 14 – 21 – 28 – 35 – even now I have to
count on my fingers, for fear of getting it
W – R – O – N – G (teachers note: difficulty
with spelling, abstract reasoning and space).
I decide that I’d rather be Anne Frank than
live with my family – share new insight
with my classmates (apparently this is a
politically incorrect statement).

Spend weeks documenting arguments with
my mother and crying my teddies into existence
(just like the Velveteen Rabbit).

Version II:
BATHROOM (2004):
Extremely shocked to find
hair sprouting from private places.
Mother throws a mensuration party,
I jump on the trampoline (in defiance).
Sleep over with great-aunt and her teddy
bear collection, their glass eyes stare.
Leave secret notes for neighbours signed
with a name that is not mine.
Call police to identify a ‘strange man who
keeps watching me from the backyard’.
Police dust for footprints and never call.
Teacher won’t ready the naughty words
in Adrian Mole’s Secret Diary – but writes 
the page numbers so we can read them later.
Punished for writing with ink on my hands
(apparently it's a sign of the mentally disturbed).
Friend eats a lollypop before a knee reconstruction
and we are convinced she will die. She doesn't.
Mother writes ‘bed wetter’ on camp forms –
marched to the toilet every night despite my fierce
persistence, “but I don’t need to go!”.
2006: toothbrush for Christmas.


Note to self: flared jeans are never in.