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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

April 11, 2005

Painful, embarrassing, introspective - wince alert!

Nothing like exposing yourself publicly.

Roy's post about my post has in turn lingered with me and turned my attention back on things. Got me feeling sentimental and nostalgic. But I am prone at the moment. Feeling old, fat and mortal.

Two things happened over the weekend.

Yesterday I went to my mother's with the kids and she put on some home movies. One was of my eldest son's first birthday (twelve years ago). It was shocking. Not least because of how different both myself and my wife looked. Actually everyone looked different. I even sounded different. I didn't have a Nottingham accent for a start. It's an odd thing how you don't notice those around you getting older and changing.

This aspect troubled me as well. The roll call...
My mother - still alive
My father - dead
Fiona's grandmother - dead
Sarah - still alive
Ian - dead
Our dog - dead
Our cat - dead
(you get the trend?)

It was also the first time I'd seen a moving image of my dad, or heard a recording of his voice since he died. On the premise that his death has generally fucked me up quite a bit, I was expecting to find the video upsetting, but it was fine.

And on Friday I found myself trying to dig out a picture of Elizabeth Ford. I knew I had one somewhere. I thought it was in the green heineken carrier bag in the bottom of my wardrobe where most of my 80s snaps are dumped. Denied.

Checked a few other places. Denied.

Gave up.

And then I remembered that it was in a big red photo album. I think that it is in a box (our house is up for sale so we have mucho baggage sealed in cardboard boxes) in the garage.

However I did find an envelope containing letters and postcards from her. I looked at one of them. Funny how instantly recognisable her writing still is to me. She was in a sandwich bar in Moorgate as she wrote. She would phone me later that night (no mobiles or txting in those days).

It was a bad thing, being indulgent like that. Because I found myself missing her. Wishing I could travel back for a moment and say, "hello, you!"

Too much change and spaghetti.

I've not thought about her very much since 1984. How odd it is that I should be thinking about her now with any sort of fondness. I mean, at the time we were ferociously unfaithful to each other too.

And I remember the night I phoned her at her flat in Poplar, in London and said that I thought it was time to call it a day, I think I rather enjoyed the drama of it. And life went on. I saw her a couple of times after that, of course. But her drifting out of my life was painless and natural. Effortless.

Odd that nostalgia should visit me so powerfully and unexpectedly after 21 years.

I have a theory that the friendships we form during our teenage years become archetypes of relationships with people - and in later life we look to project those models onto the relationships with other people we meet. You know? We accept people as friends if they fit one of our archetypes - I have Russell-type friends, or Iain-type friends, or Roger-type friends, or Richard-type friends, or Rob-type friends.

What I'm driving at is that I suspect, having brooded over things, that all the long-term relationships I've had with women have involved a certain Elizabeth-type woman.


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