Well its day two in the 'Samhain's a-coming' memories of loved ones posts, and I simply have to talk about Craig. I've been thinking about it since yesterday, wondering if I should. He was a major part of my teenage years and his death hit me badly. It took me a long time to come to terms with his passing. Is it wise, I wondered, to stir up old feelings? But the more I thought about it, the more I realised what a huge impact he had on my life. He'd be laughing at me now, telling me I don't need to do this, don't need to honour him, that he doesn't deserve it. But I do, and he does.
I was married with a child and hadn't seen him for a couple of years when I heard of his death, or rather read about it. A tiny snippet in the local paper under the awful heading 'Body found hanging'. It was 20 years ago but I still recall the feeling when I saw it, as fresh and real as though it were only yesterday; a gut wrenching, head spinning, sickening feeling that was all consuming. I forced back the tears for days in the foolish hope it was some kind of a mistake. I was numb. For a long time.
I was fifteen when I met him, and sixteen the first time we kissed. He wasn't a boyfriend. There was no 'relationship'. More an on-going saga. We dipped in and out of each other's lives. He clicked his fingers and I'd go running. It seemed very one sided at the time but looking back, I think it worked both ways. He taught me love was bitter sweet. He taught me life isn't always fair. He taught me things I won't talk about here! He taught me to respect myself and that its O.K to say No.
I set the bar by his standards. And the only time I ignored it was when I made the biggest mistake of my life.
He had an ego the size of a double decker bus (or at least it seemed that way), but he also had a great sensitivity, and the ability to really listen. And he was gorgeous! He had rugged features and long wavy hair. And the bluest of eyes that looked right into your soul.
For a long time my memories of Craig have made me sad and I pushed them to the back of my mind. I couldn't look at photographs, or visit the old haunts. My imaginings of his lonely death overtook my memories of his life.
So here I am remembering.
And its a memory full of long, lazy days and daisy chains. Of stolen kisses. Of Jelly (we won't go into that one!). Of peach coloured roses and Thunderbird (oh my, did we really drink that stuff?!) and Walnut Whips. (Mmmmmmmn Walnut Whips! I'd almost forgotten about those. I don't know if you can buy them outside of the U.K so maybe some of you have no idea what I'm talking about. In fact there aren't even many places here that stock them now, but they are like little chocolate bee-hives full of sweet, sticky goo with a walnut on top and they are delicious.)
Just writing those things made me smile. It made me want to go and dig out the photo's. And they made me smile even more. And in amongst those photo's I found a book of poems. Like many teenage girls I couldn't so much as sneeze without writing a poem about it. I didn't know I'd kept them! They are very naive, some of them are so badly written it made me laugh, but they are heartfelt and tell a story of youth better than any diary or journal could. I haven't written a poem since my early 20's. What a shame! I have no idea why I stopped, just too busy suppose.
Anyway, one of the poems I found was this. I wrote it for Craig, a few weeks after his death, when I visited the park where he had worked and where my friends and I had once spent so very much time.
The little things,
mean so much to me now.
Like walnut whips,
And I know the smell
of fresh cut grass,
would make me want to cry,
and that I'd recognise your footsteps
even after all this time.
But the footsteps are just echos,
in the trees;
just a sweet memory,
a murmur on the breeze.
The lazy days of long ago,
come flooding back unchanged,
and it seems like only yesterday
but time can't be rearranged.
So I wonder where you are now?
And if you know I'm here?
But I feel so warm
despite the wind,
and something dries my tears.
I half expect to see you,
when I look around again,
but I see so many memories
and know that nothing's changed.