Friday 23 September 2016

Auld Acquaintance

Choose a number, any number, with zillions of noughts at the end and you may well have the number of published books out there ready for you to read.  This 'statistic' comes to mind because I have found myself drawn to re-reading favourites I have already read at least once before. This time, I was aware of an unexpected response.  I had a sort of walking in to a familiar room feeling.  The room was full of people I knew and cared about and furnished comfortably with  no jarring elements to spoil the reunion. Conversation was relaxed and easy even though I may have forgotten some of the events and names of people that cropped up.

Having many years under the belt, (I don't understand that. Where did that saying originate, I wonder.  Do let me know if any of you knows)  as I was saying, under the belt memories seem to have sections.  There are those which are fixed, like your skin you might say. I suppose that would cover essential learning: how to eat, walk, talk for instance and, no, I do not mean to be arch here, because the predicament came to mind of a friend who had to relearn all the above after a severe car crash when she was nineteen years old affected her brain. Then there are the visual vignettes.  I believe I remember picking raspberries with my Mother in the garden when I was three. Of course, I may just  remember remembering. I  see myself holding a rusk in a laterally neutral position in front   of my baby young to see with which hand it was reached for and grabbed.  This was because there were several left-handers on both sides of the heritage. (Since you ask, one leftie, two righties). Then   there are the memories which act as memorials for the Dear Departed.  Every time I look at a potentially too tired item of food I hear a late someone very dear to me say "Put it in the freezer until you don't feel guilty about throwing it out". This section has a b) sub-section: things which recall those who are still very much alive.  "Listen to me, I tell you something..." the opening phrase from a loved one whose first language is not English, now acquired by many of my circle to start a comment of our own. A four-year old female lifting the skirt of a two-year old female to pull her blouse down straight: the catalogue is endless.  But it has just occured to me what this is all about, the re-read books, the recall of recalling and so on and so forth.  It is a way of reaching out to old friends real and fictional and to past happennings as a sort of Goodbye.  Not because that is necessarily  something to be dealt with as a matter of urgency but because, after a very long life, the number of Goodbyes to be got through will take a very long time .  Bore da

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