I have so few memories. I suddenly knew the truth and sadness of that. I share some other part’s memories, but they are not really mine. Do I even have one memory that is?

What madness have I stumbled into? Time and time again.

Yes. I have one memory. I am at playgroup, in that old village hall with the green wooden chairs and the cold toilets, and I am playing with a toy farm, by myself. I become aware of two adults observing me. I hear a voice in my head: “Make sure to seem very absorbed in your game, so they don’t think you mind playing by yourself”. I obey.

People have said to me that I can’t possibly remember something that happened when I was three. But I had an elaborate inner world when I was three. In some ways I was adult, aware of how I appeared and attempting to manipulate it, trying to hide how I felt and control my behaviour.

Yes. This is me.

I have another memory. I am maybe nine years old, sitting next to my mother as she drives the metallic green Ford Escort she had out of the village. We have just turned the first corner onto the hill. Part of me is talking to my mother, part of me is thinking about school, part of me is making up sentences which she then divides into groups of two or three letters, which she taps out against her teeth, sometimes counting spaces, sometimes not, an activity that she does obsessively. (query the strict dictionary definition of obsessively, perhaps she only does it continually?) always trying to get a pleasing number. Part of me is looking out of the window, and I am thinking about something else far away and entirely. When suddenly I come shockingly out into the body, and I see the reality of it. Those are my legs. I have legs. That school bag is mine, and the woman sitting next to me is my mother. And it all looks so alien and yet so vividly present I feel dizzy. I look at my mother and I wonder suddenly whether she also usually lives as far away inside herself as I do.

Yes. This is me.

I am back.

 

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