There is a certain taste to it, a weight. It has its own roundness, depth and texture. There is the sweet-sharp tang of a raspberry. The lightness of a balloon drifting across a cloudless sky. A cool blue note, like a love-song played at twilight. A sleekness, a flicker, a whisper, and it’s gone.
Memories move and shift like waves on the shore. I dabble my toes and the story flutters, showing me glimpses, moments, then evading me again. There are no cold hard facts after all, but only speculation. Nancy again: “Stop. That’s not how it happened. I didn’t say that. Why do you always have to do this? You’re just making stuff up.”
And it’s true: there is so much I have forgotten, and so much more that might never have happened at all. I was always making up stories, telling and retelling things that had happened, to make them more interesting, to make them mine. “You tell lies,” this girl said to me once, at school. But Alix just looked at her with her cat-green eyes and said coolly “You have no imagination.”
Of course, I didn’t know then about the pitfalls. Deception taking shape on the tip of my tongue, its rich snake coils. Now, they tell me it is best after all to stick to what’s real. The only problem is I can’t seem to separate what was from what might have been anymore.
What’s real is now. Myself here. High summer again and the streets are hot and dry, a desert seemingly without end. The blankness of time to be filled with nothing but the sounds in the distance: a siren, a thumping bassline. This small room, these paper walls, this house. Looking out of my window. There could be anything out there. There could be something.
Something. A story perhaps? Out there are our stories, haunting the empty streets like ghosts. On days like these I feel restless, buoyant, as if I could just take off and fly into a story. I could tap the heels of my old red sandals together, one-two-three, and I would lift up from my window on invisible wings. I’d fly beyond the city limits, back over the fields and the woods, and touch down by the house on the hill, back in another story. There’s no place like home. Back again, through the gate, down the path, into the garden. Stop. Play. Play it again. Down the rabbit hole, into the eternity of a moment that has long since passed me by.