Captured happy foreverI am listening to Jimmy Little's cover of Cattle and cane. It's a brilliant song, which reaches across time and place to drag a man back to short pants and snotty nose days.
I remember the warm jam sandwiches on the beach with my mum and my sisters. We ran through the sand, careless in the summer sun, rolled down the dunes, played dog and rabbit on the towans. I do not remember anything about summer that was not fun.
I remember riding on my bike through the back lanes around Hayle. I would cycle for miles and eat my packed lunch in the hedgerow. Sometimes, I would cycle with Eric down to Leedstown and further, always finding new ways, new places, new worlds only two, three miles from home.
I remember football on the rec, huge games thirty-a-side that were more like huge, roiling rucks than the beautiful game. Sometimes older boys would fight with fists while we cheered them on. Once we queued because some girl was having a gangbang but I didn't want that to be my first time so I walked away when I was three away from taking my turn. Maybe I was afraid that she would say no to me. That is who I am: the boy who when the whole village is fucking some chick thinks he will be the one she says no to.
I remember wearing my dad's brothel creepers with my hair stiff with gel, parading up and down the Memorial walk, looking for rockers to taunt. One time, we found them, a gang come down from Truro or somewhere else distant and we punched it out with fists and chains out the back of the Co-op.
I remember walking across the roof of KB's house, out of my brains on the contents of Mr B's liquor cabinet. They never had me round for tea again. My dad made me drink water until I begged for no more and his solicitude was like a kiss.
I remember sitting in a backstreet cafe with H. She was crying because I was leaving. I was not crying but my heart was broken. My beautiful home, my nation, the sea. I had to leave it all. My father had decided to move and I, fifteen, could not choose to stay. I have never had a place to be ever since, always restless and insecure, always wanting more and finding less and less until all I have that I value is a picture of a laughing boy, out on the sand with his sisters, the salt wind blowing his hair, captured happy forever.