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One of my earliest childhood memories is of being whisked up into the arms of an older brother and taken outside into the backyard of the family home where we would sit atop the timber picnic style outdoor table and chat about anything. It didn’t matter what the topic was. Maybe my brother would point to some birds flying overhead, or we would laugh at the antics of the pet dog, or even look for Care Bears in the clouds. It didn’t matter. It was a distraction you see and I think even as a four or five year old I knew it, but it was easier just to pretend. Somewhere inside the house, usually in the kitchen or front living room, my mother would be on the floor, hysterical and unwilling or unable to pick herself up. My father and maybe another brother or two would take an arm or shoulder each, in an attempt to lift her up and escort her to her bedroom.
Somehow, someone must have been delegated the responsibility of removing me from the scene. Considering I was seven to ten years or so younger than all my four brothers, I imagine they were accustomed to the drama but wanted to shield me from it. My memories of these instances present in quick, sharp snapshots, like the clicking frames of a camera; and usually at angles that just allow for a glimpse around the corner of the dining room wall or behind a kitchen bench, as I looked back over the shoulder of whoever was carrying me towards the back door. It was confusing and scary, but easier not to ask questions and seek out those Care Bears in the clouds instead.
I am two years old and am sitting on the shiny wooden floor wearing a soft yellow dress. My legs are stretched out before me as I watch my unaware father sitting near the open window. The white shear curtains desperately try to touch him but he is unaware of them as well. The sunlight has succeeded in wrapping itself around him but all he can see are his big shiny shoes. He is polishing them with such love, such focus. The big shiny boat shoes that will faerie him far, far away…
The first vision recorded as a landscape comes from my parent’s Bettle car.
It is also the only one I have as a memory as them two being a couple. It is an obsessive picture which makes sense in my personal history but I tend to question its reality continuously. Did it really happen ? I still don’t know.
I was a baby or kid, not really sure, and we were leaving my grandparents’ house. We are parked by the big green porch, I might have been on my mum’s knees. My father is getting into the car after few words with his parents. I can see my grandparents vaguely but my vision is attracted by the garden. My grandparents had a huge house by the Seine. The back garden for growing the vegetables, and the front for flowers and fruit trees.
On the left was the furnished garage were we lived, on the right a massive metallic garage in use, and in the middle the mansion. My eyes were contemplating the flowers of multiple colours. Mix of different types of flowers, roses only are stuck in my mind. In the foreground was the frame of the left back seat window of the car, then the wall with the vivid greens fence, then the flowers in myriad. Blur silhouettes of people talking and moving in front of the vegetation. It was a bright morning like late spring. The front garden was bathed in warm light and the characters and myself included, in the shades of the big trees.