Saturday, May 17, 2008

"Have you seen the little pieces of the people we have been?"

"Have you seen the little pieces of the people we have been?"

My silver penguin copy of Brideshead Revisited, on top of my bookshelf, reminds me of afternoons sitting in the early summer sunshine in Christ Church Quad.

The Oxford Tube tickets, newly folded away in a pink box, remind me of last minute rushes, large quantities of riccardi and coke and gigs where we knew all the words to the songs.

'This Old Heart of Mine', playing in the bar at work, reminds me of driving round Swindon with the windows rolled down, shouting the lyrics and feeling every word.

The smell of Burberry Touch perfume, the bottle recently discarded, reminds me of a blue fleece hoodie, the name of a show emblazoned on it, and sympathy toast in the kitchen of a boy in the year below me.

The large wicker basket on top of my wardrobe reminds me of Ikea Wednesdays, when I would refuse to go the wrong way round the store just so that Dean could get a hot dog first.

'Sonnet' appearing on shuffle in my ears reminds me of sitting in the theatre watching the dress rehearsal of SSoB, a mixture of amazement and utter terror flowing through my veins.

The crack in my phone reminds me of sitting at a table in a pub in Sheffield as McFly's support act tried to pull each others trousers down.

A purple hat, hooked over the side of a clothes rail, reminds me of a winter spent with washing up liquid snow, noisy queues and red tinsel.

Adam Duritz's voice, popping up constantly on my itunes, reminds me of confusion, writing blindly and then being a little ashamed because, even then, I saw that it was not fair.

And I realise - as I sit in the back of the theatre that I know better than any other - what the show in front of me will always remind me of. As I listen to the scene that I heard, as background noise, so often that it sends a little thrill through me I am pushed out of this production and back into one that exists now only inside my head. Would it have been better to have left it at that? Neater, certainly. Less fun though too. And it is not that I am unhappy – that was not to be part of the deal – but there is a quiet stillness to the process. My self imposed finality betrays, I suppose, a desire to preserve this memory without it being covered in the sticky remnants of everything that went wrong. Maybe one day I shall be able to watch this play, this scene, without the ghosts who flitter through my brain. Maybe I won't. And if that is the case? Then it's fine by me.

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