A fair amount of weird shit has happened to me over the years. I like to think that I’ve had a boring life but the evidence stacks up to say that the amount of bizarre and/or entertaining things that have happened in my lifetime is comparable to any other 23-year-old who has been too lazy to get off his ass and travel the world. Every once in a while something triggers memories of things that happened years ago and I had forgotten. I’m sure one day I’ll wake up and remember some more evil shit that happened to me in a child care centre - but not today. Save that for the regressive memory therapy and the subsequent lawsuits.
This would have taken place in the mid to late 80’s. Somewhere between 1987 and 1988. I’m not entirely sure. My grandparents lived in a flat in a street just off Burke Rd, Camberwell - near the junction for those of you will a fetish for deadly intersections. I used to spend all my school holidays there and thus most of the time was taken up piss-farting around the local area and making trouble with the girl who lived next door in a prototype juvenile criminal partnership. I can’t think of any bigger crime we committed than kicking some flowers and ringing people’s doorbells and legging it but it all seemed pretty hardcore at the time. When they got evicted and left all their possesions behind I climbed into their garage and pinched a vinyl single copy of Bruce Spingsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” that I listened to ad-bloody-nauseum on my grandmother’s record player. What a dumbass kid.
Anyway - this is all scene setting shite. We’re getting to the main issue. Somehow in the course of our childhood shenanigans we came to know these two Chinese student girls who lived in the next block of flats to the left of ‘ours’. I’ve got no idea how we ended up there but I distinctly remember them giving us tea and the fact that we hung out there for two or three weeks solid of a school holidays. I totally had a crush on one of them - as much as you can when you’re six/seven years old and have no idea what’s going on - and took every opportunity to go there.
Then one day, probably a month after we’d started visiting them, I almost got run over by a car caning it out of the driveway of their flats. It was being driven by a rather stern looking Chinese guy and the girl from the flats was in the backseat on her own crying. I never saw her, or the other girl she lived with again. I often used to wonder whatever happened to her but I hadn’t thought about it for years. Then today I must have read or seen something that triggered it in my memory. What had she done? Who was she? Obviously I’ll never know but I expect that image of her in the car to come back on and off through the rest of my life and haunt me.
P.S - If you were the people who lived next door to my grandparents I’d like to formally apologise for nicking your vinyl single. Write in and we’ll discuss compensation.