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.