It struck me just now. Why do I remember those days of all days?
One could have countless vivid memories, but I have days where nothing happened etched upon my mind. Vividly. My spots of pause and poetry.
My first year of school. I walk home on one of those golden autumn afternoons. It is still warm, the sun is out, the trees are tinged with a mixture of yellow and green. Nothing happened. I walked. I dreamt. I realised at some point on the road that I had not paid attention to where I was. My thoughts were too absorbing, whatever they were. I recall the surprise at having got home completely unmindful of the road. It was lovely.
Another moment of pause and poetry from early childhood. I sit on the staircase of our veranda. I have a bowl of strawberries with milk and sugar in my hand. It must be early July. The sun is soon to set and now peaks through the treetops, giving the greens of the garden a golden hue. It’s a very warm evening. I am barefoot and totally happy.
A later one. Of which I even have photographic evidence. I have gone for a stroll in the park. It is October and already chilly, but not overwhelmingly so. It remains pleasant, the crisp air and the smell of decaying leaves. I wear two ponytails and a red coat. I think of my sweetheart and send him a text message. I feel hope amidst delicious melancholy. We had had a fight, but it is going to be all right.
I have a couple of childhood memories that seem so peculiar I can’t but doubt their veracity.
First one is this: I’m out with my baby sister and parents. They have to pop into a store in one quiet side-street. The five-year-old me is told to behave, not leave the store front, not talk to strangers and mind the baby. I proceed to do so until a strange woman approaches. She is very old, has a long nose and wears a black coat reminiscent of a cape with a hood. She looks into the pram and asks me something or tells me something about babies. I’m absolutely horrified. She radiates evil and mental instability. And I’m to be in charge. I’m so terrified I can only pray “Please go away, please go away. Please leave us”. She eventually goes away and all is good again.
But her likeness to a witch, the black cloak, the crooked long nose, the manner of her peeking into the pram – could women like that really exist in the 1990s? Or has my memory heavily embellished it?
Another peculiar memory comes from my teens. We lived in a city flat near a busy road and opposite our house was a small park. One day I saw a brown horse in the park. There’s a little yellow house nearby where the horse was kept in a stable and sometimes the owner took it out for a ride in the park. In the middle of a city. Across a heavy-traffic road! Who keeps horses in the city! On a property no larger than 1800 square metres. And goes to ride in the park……..
Another memory with horses: I’m walking on a forest path which connects one part of the city with another. Two people on horseback come and ride past me. Once again – in the city! It’s rare enough for someone to keep goats, though that has been done, but horses? On small town properties?!