Perhaps you didn’t notice that the clock ticks
faster these days, you failed to observe how
the mornings start at eight thirty, nine thirty, ten…
that before things get properly going, the day
starts fading towards late afternoon. And how
pens run out of ink lately. The novel you thought
at last you have time to finish merely displays
scar-like scratchings when you attempt to write
another chapter. Again and again frustratingly
another hour passes, another year.
You can’t exactly remember what you did yesterday
or the names of those folks you visited last week, but
some things come back in excruciatingly detailed
technicolor. You are seven, the Second World War is
still screaming across the sky with its nightly load of
V-1 bombs. You wake at six, your mother is frying
eggs, making toast. A bird outside sings like Gracie
Fields. The grass, mown yesterday, still smells like
rolling in it, like hide and seek, like handstands.
Today is special. At school they’re handing out a
ration of chocolate powder. Each kid must bring two
tins to fill. You’ve been waiting for weeks that seem
like years. You trudge up the hill to school, your miniscule
cocoa tins rattling in your satchel. You’re early, a blackbird
laughs from his perch on a wire, singing like a musical
box that doesn’t need winding.
And then you’re at last in line for the chocolate. All the
other kids have huge tins and yours are so tiny. And the
teacher filling them doesn’t like you. Perhaps it’ll run out
before your turn. And the fragrance of that incredible
chocolate powder fills your nose, your every longing pore.
You can drink it in milk or just pour a little into your palm
and lick those sweet memories melting on your tongue, as if
that heavenly taste would continue forever, your tins would
never empty and every minute of your life from now on
would be filled with slowly sipping slurping goodness.
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© Johnmichael Simon