I remember the view of the ocean from the back of the garden. I remember the smell of the ocean, fresh from Africa. I remember sitting on Mother Frog rock, trying to catch fish. I think I caught a wrasse. I remember wading out with Gary and his father on the reef to a deep ocean hole. I remember being scared that a stonefish might sting me. I have memories. Memories of hitting golf balls from our front lawn, seeing how far into the Forest I could get the ball to go. Memories of a Christmas Party at the Yacht Club, when Mum was sick and I got someone elses toy – and I didn’t like it at all. Memories of body-boarding in the bay, dodging the rocks by the pier.
I remember. I remember some girls at school accusing me of cheating. I don’t remember why they did that, I do remember that it hurt. I remember being bullied by a boy called Nicholas, and carrying a grudge for years. I don’t carry that grudge any more. I remember Kyla going to Mapps Fair in a pair of shorts that can’t have been more than a few inches deep. I remember seeing her when I was last in Barbados, eating fish on the South Coast. I remember some good roti from the South Coast shops. I remember the cinnamon doughnuts from Mr. T’s, in the Carter’s complex.
I have memories. Memories of playing with a NES in Tim’s parent’s bedroom; Duck Hunt, Mario Brothers. I think I have memories of Graham from that time in life. Memories of playing table tennis against Gary and his brother, on their back patio. Memories of keeping fish in a tank. Memories of a kind, older lady who kept fish in copper taches and big tanks, and Border Collies in her yard. Memories of Gillian, a girl from my primary school days, who couldn’t have lived more than 5 minutes up the road from the fish-keeper. Memories of pulling down the branches of a tree at school, so the other children could pick the fruit. I was the only one tall enough to reach. Memories upon memories.
I remember. I remember, vaguely, growing up. Snapshots in time, linked to one another by a single thread – me. I remember sailing in the Grenadines. I remember a coconut boat, with a bit of bent metal for a keel and pins for winches. I remember having so much fun with such a simple toy. I remember playing cricket on the beach, using the frond of a coconut tree for a bat. I remember playing football in secondary school, and not being very good at it. Always toe-punching. I remember throwing a discus, reasonably well.
I remember, do you? I have memories, do you?
I have memories, memories of a formidable headmistress, Mrs. Binks, in primary school. Memories of a fair headmistress. Memories of a friend of the family, who through her husband, helped ensure that I still walk. Memories of a kind lady. Memories of being just tall enough to see over the counter in the waiting area of the office. Memories of the secretary behind the counter, answering the phone, sending parents and children to the right place. Memories of her name evade me; June? Memories of the deputy-headmistress, a taller lady, dark hair. Memories of playing fun games on the Commodore 64s. Educational games.
I remember. I remember a single TV channel. I remember Grandad getting a satellite dish, big and black, sitting on a platform of concrete. I remember the pool in my grandparents back yard, now filled in. I remember baking with my grandmother – jam tarts, treacle tart, cakes, banana bread, Christmas dinner. I remember that she always made a good pastry, something that to this day eludes me. I remember coming home from school, running down the steps to Gran’s house, and demolishing some biscuits and milk while reading the comics. As I got older, I’d occasionally read more than the comics. I remember the family, gathered around the big glass table in the dining room, having Christmas dinner. I remember a yellow remote control truck. I remember being given a brown leather belt and not appreciating it fully. I still wear it, 6 or more years on.
Memories. Memories of catching lizards by using a noose made from a piece of grass. Memories of mowing the lawn. Memories of keeping the bamboo in check, and trying to make charcoal from the bamboo pieces in a 55 gallon drum. Memories of crawling under the house, looking for something. Memories of wonderful dogs, who kept us company and were part of the family. Memories of putting on classical music, and turning the volume up. Memories of dancing around the dining room table to a particular piece of classical – part of the William Tell Overture, I’m sure. I remember a photograph of myself, and the crew of one of the US Space Shuttles. I don’t remember what happened to that photograph. I remember the old building catching on fire, and the hard work to build the new building.
I remember, do you? I have memories, do you?
I remember the house I used to live in. I remember the carpet on the floor. I remember the removal of the carpet, and the polishing of the wood underneath. I remember the mahogany table, and I remember polishing that table. I remember the furniture. I remember that we took the partition out between my bedroom and the office space, creating a big bedroom for me. I remember laying in my bed at night, listening to the sound of rain on the wooden louvres. I remember climbing the partition in my bedroom when it was still there. I remember the golden apple tree, covered in bougainvillea. I remember the massive mango trees, covered in Julie mangos, and the monkeys dancing through the trees. I remember a cat called Sam, alternately short for Samedi and Surface to Air Missile. I remember bringing Sam home from the beach, a stray. I remember Nell giving birth to puppies, and keeping the puppies in a massive cardboard box. I have pictures of me taking a radio apart, but I don’t remember that. I remember Henry howling when I’d ‘play’ the harmonica.
I have memories. Memories of getting an old steam engine going for school. Memories of taking my old radio apart, and hooking it up to the LED laser kit at college, to demonstrate that sound could be transmitted via light. Memories of a storm one day, while in the lab. Memories of lightning hitting the telephone pole just outside the lab. Memories of sitting on the steps, listening to Andrew play sax, and Jomo play guitar. Memories of sitting under the mahogany trees, chatting with friends and avoiding class. Memories of a professor who wore trousers that zipped up the side of the leg. Memories of failing classes, but passing life.