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MEMORY

Selective Memory

Long, warm evenings spent messing around the village harbour. Watching the fishermen going about their business. I remember a general sense of well-being. It never used to be cold as it always seems to be when I stroll around the seafront today. The endless days spent indoors because of the steady rain are forgotten. Only the sunshine and warmth remain as a memory.

I lived in a little seaside village which was full of holiday makers in the summer and deserted the rest of the year. We ran free, a gang of local children of all ages. School work was never a big issue; we used to do it quickly so we could go down to the village. We used to devour enormous slices of bread and jam before pulling on our bathing costumes and heading to the harbour to join the other kids.

Our main occupation during the summer months was jumping off the harbour wall into the sea. We used to encourage one another to jump higher and higher and higher. The most admired feat used to be the big jump from the top of the small, domed lighthouse which was the highest point along the seawall. Only the most intrepid members of the gang used to do this one.

But our greatest admiration was for the beautiful, young people who drove speed boats around the bay. We used to sit on the wall watching these sophisticated creatures who lived in far-away towns and who spent the holidays sun bathing and water skiing. We used to dream of becoming members of their exclusive club and going for trips around the bay. But they never mixed with us locals.

Sometimes we went fishing off the rocks and caught dozens of silver mackerel. We used to spend hours in the rock pools which were only visible at low tide. We didn’t use to do things according to the time of day, but instead, we followed the rhythm of the sea. Our clock was the timetable high up on the wall at the entrance to the harbour which informed the fishermen of the daily times of high and low tides.

The memory selects only parts of childhood, the rest is pushed into dark corners. We never remember the whole truth, only bits and pieces picked up here and there. Memories dissolve into one another and form a blurred whole made up of sensations, not particular events.