Friday, 25 July 2008

A Land Of Make-Believe

The sun was hot. That summer was a scorcher. I remember the sweat trickling down the sides of my face. I was always sticky and grubby – I spent most of my time outdoors playing with my new friend. We went to the park, played in my back garden, and roamed the local vacant land – a very mysterious and lonely place when you’re nine years old.

The little plot was quiet and still – like a forgotten, empty writing book left over from school. It was close to home – I could see the roof of my house – and yet it was so different. There was a wild tangle all over its surface – a strange mix of fast growing weeds and the more familiar garden plants my mother grew at home. It felt like another country – but just around the corner from home; very handy when you wanted to play pretend.

That day we were intrepid explorers, bent on a secret mission to save – something or someone or other. We were very important anyway. It was vital that we succeeded; everything hung in the balance. I had “borrowed” my mother’s carving knife and had it stuck into the waistband of my shorts – like a real explorer I told my friend. I used it to hack at the jungle undergrowth we were slowly making our way through – the native machete wielding bearers had disappeared because of the multitude of ferocious wild animals we were always encountering.

That expedition had been very unlucky – we’d lost a couple of the natives right at the start to a huge pack of lions and tigers (Like I said, I was nine – and very shaky on geography) and then the marauding bands of wild tribesmen had polished off a good number more – but we had fought valiantly and hard – heroes both. And we’d saved the rest of the bearers from hideous certain death (having their heads shrunk on their necks, and then being boiled alive for the tribesmen’s lunch. I didn’t have much sense of a time line too at that age).

As the sun lowered in the sky, and the evening crept up on us, I wiped my eyes clear of sweat and turned to my trusty companion:

“How about we come back and finish this after tea? My Mum’s called us twice, and I know she’s got some ice-lollies in the freezer-box for afters”

“What flavour?” asked my gallant sidekick.

“Raspberry Ripples”

“’k then – race ya?”

1 comentarii:

Lee said...