Sunday, September 6, 2009

a grave situation

When I was about eight years old my hamster died. It's name was Hammy hamster (yes I know). My sister and I cut the top of a coca cola can and stuffed the very still cute fluffy beast into it. Then we buried it at the bottom of the garden (funny how things are always buried at the very end of the garden, away from the house) Anyway, that was that. A few sweet eight year old words about heaven or god or both, and HH was off to meet his maker...... Two weeks later I decided to dig up Hammy. Im not sure why. I don't think its because I missed my little fluffy friend (all he did was go around and around on a wheel, a bit like me know) I just felt the urge to see what he looked like after this short period of time (I will spare you the details dear reader). I tell you this story because I just returned from a trip to England. Some family things, some professional (more filming).I wont tell you about the filming , as much as I want to, and I wont tell you about staying with my father.But I will tell you about my trip to EnGLAND. I will tell you about the damp nylon vail of sadness that wrapped its clammy fingers around me as soon as I arrived.I had grown up in this area, I, as most of us do, have vivid recollections about our childhood.I for some reason remember every detail. I was only there for 5 days but it could have been months. It didn't take long for the rot to set in and take hold. I drove all over this very familiar place, and looked and looked and looked and took a direct hit and sank immediately. It seemed I had a story for each of the places .Dr Browns house on the Southend road where I had my finger stitched back on, when I nearly sliced it off from a huge piece of glass, buried in a snow ball .The sand pit on 'bread and cheese hill' where my brother and I would dig tunnels into the sand, had it collapsed I would never have been found. Benfleet creek where I left my fishing bag with all my little hand made flies and floats and hooks (I hated fishing but I loved the stuff ) I went back but it had been taken. Rushbottom lane where I wanted to kiss Ann Wakerling but couldn't because I was so shy, even though she wanted me to. The train station where I would sneak up to London and be scarred half to death because of such a big adventure. It was a childhood full of worries and stress and a huge box of paints where I could find refuge. I saw all these old sepia stained memories again. I really wanted to enjoy my trip back home. I really wanted to live each memory again. I really wanted to bask in the memory, like it was a big warm bed on a sunday morning.I couldn't of course.What it turned out to be was a bed of nails.The place didn't hold anything good for me, it didn't feed me or give me what I so needed. I wanted beautiful sunny kodak moments, all presented in an expensive photo album,leather bound with little corners on each of the photographs. I wanted to look back and feel like I was listening to a song that was around when I first saw June Pritchard, the six year old that lived across the street. My home town of Thundersley, Benfleet, Essex, England, felt like it was on its last legs, out of breath. nearly dead. It felt like life has been leached out of every living cell.Dark.stagnant. Still. I listened to people talking, talking volumes about nothing . Sad little nothings............Nothing.
I should never have never dug up Hammy from his resting place , only to see a frenzy of maggots dining out on a free dinner.I should never have revisited my little pet only to see and smell fluids dripping from his once plump golden furry body. I should never have pulled him from the earth, to see a sticky mess woven with death. I should never have gone back to where I grew up.
They say you should never go back.'They' who ever 'They 'are were right this time.
I'm back in Paris now.I don't have a hamster to bury. But its never too late.

The photo above was taken at St. Mary's in Woodam Ferrers Essex. A grave situation indeed.


Anonymous said...

You never go back...the people you once loved are gone and only ghosts remain. The places that once existed are is either a walking graveyard or transformed into another place that quite doesn't fit. What they were and what they often a sharp contrast that jolts you.
Well done...

La Sylphide said...

I know of what you speak. Each time I go home a little more of the joy of each memory is erroded by the blah of day to day living. It makes me think that each person is also wrapped in their cocoon of memories and roboticly moving through the rest of their lives.


La Sylphide...Thank you for your comments..I just visited your blog and really enjoyed your writing....philip