Every Friday, the Loose Bloggers Consortium get together to post about a particular subject; today's topic is Times Remembered. Check out the other blog members:
- Conrad of www.levintel.com
- A Creative Writer in Progress
- gaelikaa's Diary
- I truly am dumber than Einstein
- Magpie 11
- Ramana's Musings
- The Silver Fox Whispers
- Ginger at De-Composition
Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future and time future contained in time past. If all time is eternally present, all time is unredeemable. Burnt Norton, Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot
On this Friday in December in 1976, I lost my best friend.
I was a little girl of seven and it was a school day like any other. I woke up, reluctant to get out of bed. Mum was shouting to us all to get up, in that way which left us with no choice but to thud our uncooperative feet on the floor. As I stood up, the cold air hit me, little draughts coming through the window sill. Shivering, I headed downstairs.
A nice smell enveloped me as I settled down at the table for breakfast; Ready Brek or Weetabix was the cereal of choice in the winter, with hot milk, the memory of which has eluded me but it filled my belly and, after getting ready, my sisters and I trudged off to school.
On arrival, we ran through the gates and into the ancient Victorian building, freezing and pink cheeked, hoping to get a heat from the old, rusty radiator but the wicked Head Mistress blocked our path as we headed towards our heated nirvana and threw us out. She told us to stay out until the bell rang or we would face her wrath.
We ran around, trying to stay warm with bare hands and bare legs; our coats weren't enough to keep the heat in so we eventually snuggled together in the shed, watching our breath as it flowed out of us like fog. I kept peeking out, looking out for my best friend Thomas but he was nowhere to be seen.
When the bell rang, I looked anxiously behind me, hoping to see a glimpse of him running up the road but he wasn't there. I was worried he'd get into trouble. We entered the old building and after hanging up our coats in the cloakroom, made our way to the classroom to finish making the puppets we had started for a school show. Thomas loved the puppets and our alternative fairytale theme, Little Blue Riding Hood. We both were in charge of writing the script, which we loved doing and today, we would be making our own puppets from papier mache and wood. He had been so excited the day before.
I sat by myself, sulking. No-one else seemed bothered that he wasn't there. Where was he? He couldn't be ill as he was fine yesterday and anyway, no-one ever stayed off sick at our school, unless they were in hospital. I put my hand up and the teacher ignored me. I persevered until eventually she sighed and asked me what I wanted. "Where's Thomas, Miss?" I asked. She sighed once again and stood up, ignoring what I'd said. But then she addressed the class; "Children. Thomas will not be coming back to school. Now back to work". And that was my answer.
I wanted to ask more but I knew I'd be met with a frown and possibly the belt; this teacher used any excuse to give it to me. I sat at my desk, the noise of everyone chattering disappearing as my own thoughts consumed me; where in earth could he be? Had something happened? Why didn't he tell me? I was so confused and scared; I had an ominous feeling that I would never see him again.
I never did find out what had happened or where he went. I went to his house as soon as school finished and there was no reply to my knocks. I opened the letterbox and peered in to find nothing; literally nothing, not even the carpets were there. I cried all the way home, then wiped my eyes before entering the house and spent the night sitting on my bed, staring at the blue flowered wallpaper and the poster of David Cassidy that belonged to my big sister. I wanted to rip that stupid grin of his face as anger began to fill my little head. The grief I felt was too much for me to bear but bear it I did until I had no choice but to accept that he was gone.
I hoped that one day I may find him or see him again. I thought about him every now and then and as I grew older, I wondered what he would be doing, where he was living, who his friends were. When the internet arrived, I periodically searched for him but his last name had eluded me by then. I asked old classmates, my sister about him; no-one even remembered him. It's like he didn't exist. But there he is, in the old class photo, staring out at me with that cheeky wee grin. I hope that one day, he looks for me.