Tracey has been my best friend for almost fifty years and we share so many memories, both before and after kids. The following is an essay I wrote in a Year 11 exam (Form 5, as we knew it!) in which I wrote about our childhood memories.
I remember the day the magic died, but I’d rather remember when it was there.
Tracey was my best friend. I mean, she still is, but we’ve changed from the children we were; the children who played in those brief spaces between school and to whom everything was a dream. What little fuel it took to keep our dreams burning then.
I remember so many things, precious things from my childhood, things which over the years I have lost. For instance, the way I talked to my pet cat and dog; I can’t talk to an animal the way I did then, I’ve tried. Tracey and I lived in our dream world, a world in which parents and animals were most important, and a dream in which the world was our oyster. I remember the way we used to cook, using soil and water for coffee (probably as good as I make now), daisy heads for eggs, and rocks for potatoes. Only we knew when those eggs and potatoes were cooked to perfection!
I remember the magical games of doctors and nurses, with our pet doll Anne the only patient. Over the years that doll suffered major changes with the most drastic being her acquisition of a rock for a heart during a major heart transplant operation!
I remember the cities we built in the sand, complete with roads and even shop signs, hexagons made from cardboard. Alas, however, the tide would eventually change, and the sea would inevitably wash away every trace of our cities, just as my childhood dreams would eventually be washed away.
The memory which hurts the most is the memory of the game of “I’m going to be” – what glamorous jobs we chose for ourselves; women spies with the precious secrets of our country safe in our head, on our way to China, a sinister man sitting across the aisle…
I remember, too, the tall ancient tree which had dominated our back garden. Looking at it now it’s hard to believe that it had at one stage of my life been an entire jungle.
Somehow over the years Trace and I changed; our minds shifted into higher gear. No longer were we little girls with games on our minds, we were “big” girls with the latest boyfriends and the latest parties on our minds.
I remember the day the magic died. I came home from school one summer, went down to our playhouse, entered, and shut the door behind me. I sat down and waited for the old spells and the magic to begin. Nothing happened. Sadly, I looked down at the teacup in my hand, cracked and dusty. Somewhere far off a door slammed and a dog barked. Slowly I left, closing the door tightly behind me.
No longer was it the ‘playhouse’; after that it was the ‘storeroom,’ used to store last year’s dresses from the school dance, last year’s hats, last year’s jeans now outgrown.
Gradually my life became more and more demanding and more and more exciting, and I learnt to put the past behind me, but nothing could fill the small empty ache inside of me, which was all that remained of my childhood dreams.
I didn’t ask Tracey how the magic died for her. I didn’t want to know…
“Time may change me, but I can’t trace time.”