From Jester To King LXX
By Simon Barget
I revisited a few things from my youth yesterday and it came flooding back to me. I hadn’t been to my grandma’s old flat for a while, and just the sight of the model bus collection brought me to tears. Then there was the coin in one of the buses with a time printed on it and I asked grandma what it was before understanding it memorialised my cousin Lucy’s erstwhile marathon of 6 hours 21 minutes. Not the fastest of times. I must admit casting an acquisitive eye on all this stuff wondering was it worth anything, and knowing that if I so wanted, I could just breezily ask grandma and the thing would be mine. I mean all this happened so long ago, I hadn’t remembered it. Not that I doubt it. And whilst my grandmother was baking, I was trying to plumb her for the significance of all these keepsakes, where they came from, and what they meant to her, but she didn’t really want to dwell, perhaps that’s the difference between the old and the slightly younger, the old are just too old for nostalgia. And it was also clear that past all the baking she didn’t want to stay here much longer, all whilst I was poking my nose around trying to remember where the bedrooms were, trying to put things back into a whole as I had previously remembered them. But time had taken its toll because not everything made sense to me and I couldn’t place every single object or item and relate it back to the time I was hankering after. There was a great sense of panic, panic at the loss, the movement of time and the loss of it, and there was no one to survey it with, no one to condole with. And then sooner than I’d imagined, my grandmother had finished, and she didn’t have that grandmotherly aura about her even, she closed up shop more like a cleaner who’d be returning next week, and I think at this point I was already in tears, tears more of the shock of trying to recall it, tears at not being able to, tears that she’d just wanted to shut the thing out, and when we went out into the main garden I was sobbing in that way that you’re inwardly looking for that thing that will soothe you but know you won’t find it. And all the people sat out in the gardens were having a good time, so it wasn’t to be found there and I was lost, lost and lost.
Some sort of consolation was getting Nick’s family’s old computer for my spare room, although it reminded me of one of the set-ups from the ‘90s when everything was this clinical white and wires, extensions and instructions. But it was state-of-the-art for the time, one of the highest specs you could get, and the family had just got a new one so they didn’t want the old one any more. I don’t need a second computer either but I sense something so acquisitive in me, something that just wants things for the hell of it, even if I won’t even notice them being in my house. Everything was set out so nicely as if part of some art installation, and when all the other sale items had been removed or taken, there sat the computer with all of its accoutrements and disks and printers just resting there artfully and it needed a hand cart to transport it, and it didn’t help that Nick was zooming up and down in this Porsche Cayenne that he’d been given or bartered for when there were people about for god’s sake and I needed his help with moving out the computer.