I thought I would always remember this, but over time it has become blurred. A childhood friend has just posted an old picture of us on Facebook. Fresh faced youths yet to face the realities of adult life. I can remember some details of that trip; the 13 hour coach drive on the National Express in the days back when Sunday shopping was unheard of. We stopped in Birmingham, I remember that much but what we did there is anyone’s guess. I would assume some food at the service station and then onwards again to Cornwall. The concert took place on a balmy August bank holiday. Two days of our favourite bands.
I keep trying to picture us on the coach, myself, Lisa, Ashley who I’d never met before and one other. This is the hardest part to remember of all. It wasn’t Joanne, she didn’t like the bands. I want to say Claire but I just can’t picture her sitting beside me but there was definitely four of us. I can’t ask Lisa if it was her, they didn’t know each other before or talk again after. Little things flit into my mind, the bed and breakfast – no fry up, cereal only. And the bloody crickets! So hot that we had to keep the windows open through the night but then the noise was deafening. Then they’d come into the room. This is how I know there were four of us. We ended up top and tail in single beds of one room, terrified for our lives that these crickets would turn out to be some kind of mutant insect, trebled in size and out to eat us! What imaginations we had. I didn’t sleep much that weekend.
Ash & Lisa spent some time on the beach so who was I with?? I can’t ask Claire. She’s up in the great concert hall in the sky, chasing Jim Morrison, John Lennon and who knows which other rock stars. It’s how she lived in life, I have no doubt it’s how she’s spending her eternal life.
I wish I could see her again and reminisce, maybe that would help fill in the gaps. Funny I haven’t seen her in two decades and her features are fading more and more each year but yet I can picture the events we went to, stealing cardboard cut outs from the cinema, endless bags of pick ‘n’ mix sitting and gossiping long into the night. But she’s blurry, it’s like I did all these things with a shadow
I start and stare at the picture, almost willing the other people to saunter up and join in with us so I can see the faces properly and then hopefully remember the rest. Everything is there on the tip of my brain, refusing to be drawn out any further. Maybe it will remain one of life’s eternal mysteries. Who was that fourth person? I guess my memory has failed me yet again.