Sunday, May 31, 2009

Encounters of the remembrance kind

[preamble:- this post is part of a letter that I wrote – but will never send - and has been rewritten to disguise certain details. Has also been prompted by many things, one of which was a story on another blog about the ugly and cruel things that males do to females, which made me wonder whether any of the females that I have been associated with would ever “think badly of me” but while yes, the reader might think “oh he'd never admit or write about it” - I do remember all of the many intimate relationships that I have experienced with females, but cannot remember any where I would not be thought of with anything but sincere (and mutual) affection. I certainly hope that am not unique – even though I was born in Australia.]

It may well be a symptom of advancing years, as am finding that I spend quite a lot of my time these days “remembering” things past since the greater proportion of my years are in the past (especially the “good” bits) and have a lesser proportion to “look forward to”. Not so the young, of course, since they have the greater proportion of years in which to “look forward”.

Have to admit, though, that it wasn't until three or four years ago that I thought much about one particular person at all (It was, after all, some 30 years ago when I knew her).

I came back to South Australia in the year 2000, and took up a lawn mowing/garden maintenance round. Then, one afternoon after I'd finished trimming back some extensively overgrown shrubbery, my customer (a rather attractive single woman a few years younger than self – let's call her “Lyn” - invited me to sit and have “ .. a cuppa tea and biscuits” with her. The conversation ranged over many subjects and we also discovered a shared interest in, and liking for – .. music. I was living in a house at the time – with internet, CD and LP players as well as TV, so rarely listened to “the radio”.

At some point Lyn mentioned that she regularly listened to a particular program – especially “XXXXXXXXXXXX”. I must have said something like “Oh, that name rings a bell”, so she went off and came back with a CD with a picture of a very attractive woman on it.

I can't admit to anything as dramatic as “went as white as a sheet” or “my heart stood still” but must have gone into a sudden, silent reverie as Lyn said “Is anything the matter?”. “Oh, nothing,” say I, casually “was just thinking of something else” and the conversation continued – but with me thinking; it can't be. Must be someone else.

I did, however, tune in, later, and listened to a warm, melodious, mellifluous voice – but carefully avoided listening to that program from then on – in case I was tempted to contact the presenter to find out find out if it really was the person that I remembered from so long ago. I did, of course, “know” - but kept to the principle that life and lives move on and that memory belongs where it belongs.

Guess that I “slipped” the other night and let soppy sentiment over-rule my customary reticence, discretion, and good sense.

It happened like this.

Am, at present, living in a caravan .. errm “somewhere in South Australia”.

While I do have a laptop and USB modem, there's no TV (nor electricity, in most places) – soo, I tend to listen to the radio. That Monday, I was parked at a rather beautiful “bush camp” area. Ten or so acres of reasonably level open ground – now with the first tinge of autumn green - dotted with pine trees, wood fire BBQ pits, native gums – with views of the open farmland and smidges of sea horizon through gaps in the coastal shrubbery– maintained by the owners and residents of a group of shacks and holiday houses nearby.

The population of the bush camp varies, as the caravans and campers come and go; but the other day everyone else had left, so had the place to myself.

While the weather had been generally overcast or cloudy with occasional rain showers – this particular day dawned clear. Calm, no wind, and the morning sun warmed the dew from the annexe, and the chill from my bones. The only sounds were the burble, twitter, and chirrups of the ample birdlife.

Later in the afternoon, as the westering sun began its journey into the stubble fields and began painting the clouds and sky with pastel shades of blue and orange; drifting into feathery pinks and greys, I though “oh why not” and drove the 15K to the nearest general store and bought back a bottle of port.

Sat there for a while enjoying the sounds of solitude then decided that (apart from sharing it with a beautiful woman) there was one more thing to enhance the ambience, make it all perfect, so turned on the radio – but kept it quietly in the background.

Then, of course, came her program, and I listened (with some amusement) to her struggles with pronunciations (Gaelic?) so thought, oh I really have to say something about that.

Was, by then, half-way through the bottle of port; so my normal strict reluctance to contact her slipped somewhat and I allowed “sentimental nostalgia” to escape.

Turned on the computer, connected to the internet, found the website and “contact” screen, and sent her a “cryptic” (almost anonymous) message. (I did, however, get some of it wrong, as well. The letters “Sian” are pronounced “Sharn” and “Siobhan” is pronounced “Shivawn” - but hey, Gaelic isn't my native tongue either .. heh).

So, in some ways I regret the slippage – but I DO have some very pleasant memories - and I hope that she does also - of an era, love affaires, and “time of life” that can never be repeated.


Davo said...

As with most of my posts here - there is always a much longer, more detailed, more complicated "back story" and, apart from my normal (self imposed?) tendency to "be obscure", this post took over an hour the "prepare" and send - which is pretty much the limited capacity of the laptop battery. Have also run out of fuel for the generator - so will not be able to respond "at length" until next Tuesday.

Poverty is a cruel mistress .. heh.

Vincent said...

Beautifully crafted, Davo.

And your remark about Poverty as a cruel mistress puts me in mind of St Francis, who thought otherwise:

"The Lady whom I shall serve has no other suitor, no poet has ever sung her praises, and no knight has ever fought her battles; for I will be the faithful lover of the Lady Poverty, whom all men else despise."

Davo said...

Um, hardly think that am in the same category as Frank of Assisi, Vincent.

In any case, would much prefer to enjoy extra finance now and not be in a position of perhaps hoping for some sort of sainthood a couple of hundred years after I'm dead .. heh.

Also, "poverty" is relative. Had also just finished reading a novel, spanning 40 years, beginning with the life and times of a young lad - 8 yr old, fatherless, son of prostitute in the city of York circa 1870. THAT was poverty. Had a happy ending, though.

(SHODDY PRINCE - by Sheelagh Kelly.)

Jayne said...

Oooo, I've been tempted to 'check out' old flames when paths have crossed and once discovered a good friend hiding behind the exterior.

Davo said...

It's a bittuva conundrum, Jayne. Have also noticed an apparent contradiction in this post. On the one hand I say that am confident that past relationship partners would view me with affection; on the other – am extremely reluctant to contact this one.
In this case, methinks, 'tis more to do with embarrassment – in that our respective “social status” is completely reversed.
She made far, far better use of her opportunities than I.
Also, have no intention of allowing my over-active (perhaps juvenile) imagination put me through additional emotional turmoil .. heh.