I don’t know the history of much but I know my history. Once, Charlemagne and Persephone meant something to me. They were great stories but they didn’t stick. I want to know the stories of the world – I am interested – I take refresher courses called bike tours and audio guides. But then they pale. Words drop like cliff rocks. Pictures remain.
It’s easy to recall the details of a life that I meet living. I remember the stories my aunty told us about her childhood in Bombay. I remember an uncle as a pantless baby running down the street and the light in my aunty’s eyes as she told it. I remember how we had to keep eating before she’d tell us another one.
I remember what I wore to parties aged sixteen by who I got on with that night. I remember the expression ‘got on with’. Ahh it’s all coming back now.
I’m not in love with the past, I protest. I just have an eye for the tiny little things.
I surprise people I haven’t seen in eight years with the details of their lives. I remember how you first met your ex-husband at the hotel your dad ran while working there for the summer. So of course I knew your father lived in Arles with your little brother. I remember how you broke your arm doing an ice-skating trick, how you’d felt proud a second before, and that time I couldn’t reach you for a full day because you’d been loved in at the beach boy’s flat and had forgotten your charger. I finally crossed you eating burger, wedges and coke because you said you hadn’t eaten anything in 24 hours. I couldn’t forget you if I tried.
And you. I remember the direction you pointed when you said you’d moved and how you were these days staying in to read. I remember when I was wearing my mum’s leopard print dress she’d made in the 80s and you told me that every man on the square wanted to have sex with me. ‘You too?’ I’d wondered. I hadn’t dared to hope. I remember how you came to my place one Sunday morning and rang the door bell over and over but I’d thought it was the creepy chef from work bringing me another foil-wrapped tandoori prawn. I didn’t answer. Sliding doors. Que sera. Chance given to circumstance. Timing or Fate.
These are the snapshots of my life. Hanging around. Just lucky to be around. Timing and Fate.