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Sunday, 13 January 2013

Why hast thou forsaken me?

A lot of posts on here have focused on my Primary School education and it seems that someone up there likes them because every time I think I've exhausted that particular avenue something else comes up to keep me waffling away on that very subject. Case in point;

Remember when I had a sudden batch of memories that I couldn't reconcile with the story of my life? Yeah? Well I've had another one.

At some point after I left Langley Park Primary School; an event which coincided with the end of my parents marriage, and which I remember well, I returned there for a brief time. The thing is, I've no memory of living in Langley Park again, or indeed of when this might have happened.

You see, when my parents split we moved in with my Aunt. From there we moved into the worlds friendliest street (TWFS). And from there; in a development that the blog hasn't reached yet, but probably will soon; we moved to the next town up the road and the house that would be my home for the remainder of my childhood.

I have no memory of any breaks in that timeline.

I'm going out on a limb here and saying that it must have happened around the time of the shift from the Aunts house to TWFS, but that's pure guesswork on my part, based on the fact that I distinctly remember the head teacher, when we were in his office on our first day back at Langley, telling my mother off, in quite stern tones, about moving us from school to school on a whim. That to me tells me that it must have been fairly soon after we had left. I may be wrong, but it's all I've got to go on.

Anyway, the timing of the event doesn't matter; I just thought it was interesting to point out how utterly incompetent my memory is. No, the point of this post is that the over-riding event that stuck out when this period floated to the top of my memory recently, was embarrassment.

I had a friend, who has been mentioned on MoaN before, during the Langley Park years. His name was Peter and in my very early years he was, most certainly, my best friend. So when we returned to LP School, I immediately started to hang around with him again. In my mind, we were still best friends.

In fact, another of the crystal clear incidents was of us getting on the bus to go for swimming practise and me rushing to sit next to him; one of the adults on the bus saw this and asked me if we had been friends when I was at the school before. "Yes Miss", I exclaimed. "We're best friends!" The look on his face when I said that made me cringe.

It was the same at break times. I would hang out with him and his group of friends; a group of friends that he hadn't had before I left. One day, one of them asked me why I always hung around them and told me I should go away and play with someone else. My reply was a rather plaintive "I don't know anybody else, though."

I should have taken the hint. Inside, I did; I knew full well that he had moved on and was not nearly as invested in our friendship as I had been. On the outside though, I kept pretending I hadn't noticed. The truth is that after we left LP the first time I always still thought of him as my best friend. I always assumed that we would go back one day and he would be there and we would pick up where we left off. No-one that I met at my new school came close, in my eyes. So to think that he had just... forgotten about me, would have broke my heart if I let it.

The brief stint back at LP Primary was exactly that; brief. Soon it was all change again and back to Chapel Street Primary, and a reunion with the Brancepeth Boys. A reunion I have no recollection of, if I'm honest; there's that shitty memory again.

Remembering this tiny little moment in my life; one that I had perhaps repressed all these years; has actually shone some light on one of the most long lasting of my personal 'not a real boy' quirks. That being, my inability to assume that I'm welcome anywhere.

When I was at Comprehensive School, I always ate my lunch with the same person (Chris); if we arrived at the dining hall together, or if he arrived after me. You see, if we arrived together we'd stand in line together and get served together and go to our table together and... you get the idea. If he arrived after me, he would get served and then he'd look around and find me and join me at my table. Simple. If I arrived after him though...

I'd get served, look around for him, see him sitting at whatever table, with whatever people, and... head in the other direction, pretending not to see him. Because after all, he was talking to those other people, so why would he want me to interrupt? I knew that he sought me out if he arrived late, so obviously wanted to sit with me, but for me to instigate it... wasn't gonna happen.

Even now, in my adult life, I can't sit down next to someone I know on a bus, or walk across to someone I know if I see them in the street. I'll go over if they see me and beckon me over, but I'm never gonna be the one to instigate contact. I just don't have it in me. At least now I know the roots of that particular social inadequacy; only 97 more to go.

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