Letter to G.
Dear G., I found this slide. In a cardboard box with old teenage books. Just the sort of odds and ends that you pack away, not wanting to throw out souvenirs from journeys, the records you no longer listened to and home-made things from the past. There’s no need for them any more but there are memories attached to them. Somewhere in amongst it all, in this box, I found this slide. Father probably took it and it disappeared for a while into his collection. Maybe I took it out secretly because I liked it – I don’t remember exactly.
But it’s got us on it. Standing next to each other. Me, with my typically sad expression and you, smart with a new shirt on, ready to go out, probably on a date with friends as usual at that time, and in fact, you met M. then.
I remember that I read books at the desk that had grown much too small. We got that old furniture from our parents and we furnished our teenage rooms with, as best we could. Look, here’s that wall unit of cupboards with books from our childhood. R. Crusoe next to K. Marx, then the golden and black spines of the row of encyclopaedias containing the discoverers and explorers or our world that neither of us ever read in entirety although it was a present to us both.
And above on the left next to the ship are the two porcelain penguins. They were a present from K. She liked us both. Sometimes, I saw her looking at me secretively when she visited but she looked away quickly. Then you were together with K. for a summer. I read, and wrote letters that I never sent. K., who leant her head to one side when she laughed.
And there, on the shelf is the Underground sign too. You brought it back from your trip to England. I was pleased because I thought you’d dismantled it from a station. I only sent you a postcard later from Ireland.
I’ve kept many of the books. “The Stupendous Adventures of Marco Polo”, too. I dreamt that we sailed on the seas, survived adventures and discovered countries. Sometimes I still think that we could have travelled the world. Just the two of us, you and me. We were far away from each other and at the time the same and always different. M.