I went for a drive tonight. Just me, Edie, and my iPod. I turned down streets I’d never thought to turn down, got myself lost and confused and sufficiently uncomfortable, and then made my way back to familiar streets. I found myself home before I knew it, and now I’m on my new couch, thinking about all the random things that materialised in my brain as I drove tonight.
I remember when I was little, and mum sent me to bed early because I’d been naughty. I was terrified of the dark and I cried and cried until she sent my sister out to bed too, and finally I could calm down because someone was there to protect me. I used to hide under the covers and be reassured that my sister was bigger than me, and that she could save me from the monsters. We used to play games at night before bed, pretending we were married to the likes of Harry Potter, or the members of Hanson (shaddup, I grew up in the 90’s). We used to get told ‘read for half an hour and then lights out’, and I used to dread the darkness. It’s been a long time since I needed someone to protect me from the dark.
I remember going with mum to enrol my brother in grade prep and I was so excited. There was a wooden floored hall and at the end of the corridor was the room where the nice teacher taught. The year before I left, a teacher with curls told me that mistakes were good. It was the first time I recall an adult telling me it was ok not to always get it right.
I remember when my best friend had long hair, but I can’t picture it anymore. It was before he was my best friend, back when he was just the cool guy who worked at the video store. I remember hoping that we would be friends. Eight years later, and I can’t imagine my life without him. I remember that there was a time before him, but it’s hard to imagine clearly.
I remember dad’s hands being surprisingly more gentle with a hairbrush than mum’s. I remember putting flowers in letter boxes in my street. I remember my imaginary friend. I remember reading a story I had written aloud to my grade three class. I remember mulberry stains and the best branch on the tree. I remember cicada shells, and my great grandmother, and being picked up my in dad’s car, and the time I was funny in drama class, and hiding under the bed, and a brown blanket in a hotel room along the Great Ocean Road. I remember, and yet I don’t.
My memory is like looking at something through a glass of water; everything is a little skewed and distorted, but I know it is there. On Sunday, I turned twenty three. It is so strange to remember these things I only half remember. Because here I am, thinking I’ve done very little with my life to date. But it’s not about saving the world or curing cancer or even writing that award winning novel. It’s about all those little things. I’ve been so busy wondering how I’m going to go into my future, that I forgot that I have a lifetime of experiences, and memories. And the best part, is that my story is just starting.