I Remember

by Abigail Maskill

I remember –
In a gala field watching a message board that I couldn’t read
the letters flickering past, just red shapes and lines.

I remember thinking that men physically couldn’t cry,
and that babies came from mummy’s tummy via a zipped opening just above the belly button,
and I remember thinking I could find Neverland in the Netherlands
(first country to the west and straight across that channel ‘till dawn).

I remember playschool –
and insisting my name was written Agail
(after all, it is my own name – I’ll write it how I like. Now give me that crayon back.)
I also remember the first day at “Big” school –
and I had a Minnie mouse dress.
Bright puce – I remember it twirling as I spun till I was dizzy in the schoolyard.

I remember being fought over and tugged between kids at breaktime, and I remember going
for months with no one to play with.
I remember sitting on a doorstep and feeding the “imps” that lived in the undergrowth just outside the library –
I remember I must have been older than eight,
because I remember the class four teacher with a vendetta against me,
and all I stood for.
(Or at least my handwriting and vacant nature.)

I remember a horrible hoax.

I remember the fresh start, new leaf, clean slate –
I remember wanting to go to that school beacuse it looked like Hogwarts
(nothing more, nothing less).

I also remember the first impressions of everyone who made one.
I remember now, looking back, that they were mostly right.

I remember putting parmesan and pepper in Pizza Hut ice cream, and sitting in a back garden
at midnight avioding slugs, and singing Queen songs in a foreign country, and the locals joining in.
I remember tears at the window of a wet paint room.
I remember streamers and party hats in the park – and remembering, I realise we must have looked insane.
I remember a crumpled Daily Mail article that gained blotches and stains as it did
the rounds – but I remember finding it first.

I remember someone noticed I wasn’t doing too well, and I’ll always remember them for that –
and I remember long, long phone calls and sound-proofing my door.

I remember loud music, whether in the back corner of a stadium or being crushed into the
amplifiers, feeling the beat pulsate at the back of my head and sicken my stomach, and
jumping along out of time anyway.

I remember finding an old friend, quite by chance – finding we had turned out the same after
all.

I remember writing these lines –
At least five times
And remembering.